As the curator of Great Cats, Andean bears and Kids’ Farm areas at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, Craig Saffoe is responsible for the overall care and management of 17 species and more than 50 individual animals. He works with a team of animal keepers to care for and facilitate the breeding of the Zoo’s large carnivores, including one of the most critically endangered species, Sumatran tigers.
Saffoe oversees the day-to-day management of animals and facility operations. This includes supervising a group of animal keepers and working daily with supporting departments (veterinary, nutrition, facility maintenance and more) to maintain the animals and their environments in peak condition.
Saffoe has worked at the Zoo for over 20 years. Starting as an intern in 1994, he worked his way up to animal keeper, biologist and now curator. In that time he has been a part of many successful teams including the team that managed, bred and successfully produced the first two cheetah litters ever born at the Zoo. Saffoe now leads a team that has been incredibly successful at breeding large carnivores–boasting multiple successful litters of lions, tigers and bears (Andean) ... oh my!