Bill McShea originally studied small mammal population ecology, but has expanded his scope of species and topics over the years. His current focus is on informing management of wildlife in forest and grassland ecosystems. A good part of his time and effort is in Asia, both supporting conservation efforts on forest mammals and mentoring young professionals to use science to reduce human-wildlife conflicts.
McShea's first focus at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) was the role of white-tailed deer in shaping plant and wildlife populations that share eastern deciduous forests. This work expanded to look at interaction between deer and invasive plant species and disease transmission. The focus on deer lead McShea to become the co-chairman of the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Deer Specialist Group, which is responsible for setting Red List status for all deer species. In addition to deer, McShea works with Chinese colleagues to conserve large mammals such as giant pandas, takin and Asiatic black bears in bamboo forests of China.
McShea received a Bachelor of Science in animal behavior from Bucknell University in 1977, a Master of Science zoology from University of New Hampshire in 1981, and a doctorate in biological sciences from the State University of New York in Binghamton in 1985. After a postdoctoral position at Cornell University, McShea came to the Front Royal facility in 1986 as a Smithsonian Postdoctoral Fellow. He has mentored more than 30 graduate students and 100 interns during his time at SCBI. He has also collaborated with most scientists within the centers and has co-authored papers with 24 different researchers at the Smithsonian.
McShea is passionate about wild animals in wild places. His travels and work around the world have impressed on him the dedication of conservation staff and scientists in the developing world. To save the last wild animals and places will take all our science skills and expertise, as well as compassion for the people living with wildlife.

Research Interests

Wildlife management, ecology of non-game animals, surveys of mammals and birds, conservation of deer, citizen science-pollinator and invasive plant surveys, temperate forest dynamics, forest tree demographics, forest seed production, conservation in Southeast Asia and China; Surveys of large mammals in Asia and North America; warm season grass restoration; grassland ecology


Dhole Conservation in Southeast Asia

Scientists are working to save endangered dholes, or Asian wild dogs, through research, satellite tracking, conflict monitoring and community outreach.

Eld's Deer Conservation

Working with collaborators in host countries, Smithsonian researchers strive to bring Eld's deer off the endangered species list.

Giant Panda Conservation

Smithsonian scientists study giant pandas in the wild, evaluate their habitats and collaborate with partners to develop science-based conservation programs.

Myanmar Biodiversity

Smithsonian researchers help conserve Myanmar's biodiversity through research and capacity building, collaborating with local organizations for the long-term survival of species and ecosystems.

Restoring America's Wild Prairie

Smithsonian scientists are collaborating with the American Prairie Reserve to protect and restore one of North America's greatest treasures — the prairie.

Sustaining Wildlife in Sarawak, Malaysia (Borneo)

Smithsonian scientists are examining how wildlife use habitats in remote communities bordering protected areas in Sarawak, Malaysia (Borneo), while building a network of village teams to support regional conservation.

Swift Fox Recovery

Smithsonian scientists, in collaboration with the Fort Belknap Fish and Wildlife Department, are embarking on a five-year swift fox reintroduction project to restore swift foxes to tribal lands and to help reestablish connectivity between disjointed swift fox populations.