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Shifra Goldenberg, Ph.D.

B.S., University of Michigan; Ph.D., Colorado State University

Shifra Goldenberg is an ecologist with the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s Conservation Ecology Center and a research fellow studying population sustainability at the San Diego Zoo Global Institute for Conservation Research. As a behavioral ecologist, Goldenberg works to leverage animal behavior to address questions that simultaneously advance basic understanding of animal societies and conservation objectives, primarily conducting research in the field.

Goldenberg works with SCBI scientists and others to incorporate measurement of inter-individual behavioral differences into conservation applications. She focuses effort on developing and implementing research to inform conservation translocations in elephants, which includes understanding elephant social behavior, interactions with humans, and movement on complex landscapes. Her work addresses larger understanding of the ways in which behavior at the scale of the individual elephant can inform processes important for the conservation of populations.

Goldenberg previously worked with collaborators in Kenya to document African elephant responses to a period of intensified poaching for ivory, including social strategies following family mortality and changes in ranging patterns.
Goldenberg earned her Bachelor of Science degree in ecology and evolutionary biology and minored in Near Eastern studies at the University of Michigan. She earned her doctorate in ecology from Colorado State University’s Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology. She also completed a postdoctoral position with the nonprofit organization Save the Elephants and Colorado State University before joining the Smithsonian.
Recent Publications: 
Goldenberg, Shifra Z. and Wittemyer, George. 2020. Elephant behavior toward the dead: A review and insights from field observations. Primates, 119-128. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10329-019-00766-5
Parker, Jenna M., Goldenberg, Shifra Z., Letitiya, David and Wittemyer, George. 2020. Strongylid infection varies with age, sex, movement and social factors in wild African elephants. Parasitology, 348-359. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0031182019001653
Goldenberg, Shifra Z., Owen, Megan A., Brown, Janine L., Wittemyer, George, Oo, Zaw Min and Leimgruber, Peter. 2019. Increasing conservation translocation success by building social functionality in released populations. Global Ecology and Conservation, e00604. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gecco.2019.e00604