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The zoo is open! All visitors will require free entry passes and be required to follow safety measures. Free timed-entry Asia Trail/Panda Passes are required for the giant panda viewing.

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William Pitt, Ph.D., M.S.

Deputy Director, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute; Associate Director for Conservation and Science; Acting Deputy Director, Smithsonian’s National Zoo
B.S., University of Minnesota; M.S. and Ph.D., Utah State University

As deputy director of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, associate director for conservation and science, and acting deputy director at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Will Pitt heads science research and provides leadership throughout the Zoo in the management of all essential functions. This includes leading conservation, research, administration, collections, education, operations, public programs and formal education programs. He oversees more than 250 staff, scientists, postdoctoral fellows, and students from universities around the world 

Based at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute headquarters in Front Royal, Virginia, Pitt oversees all operational aspects of facilities including safety, security, information technology, construction, and maintenance of more than 140 buildings across the 3,200-acre research facility. These include research laboratories, houses, and dormitories for staff and students enrolled at the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation. Pitt also manages all Smithsonian Biology Institute satellite locations in the U.S. and around the world. These include locations at the Zoo and Ripley Center in Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Montana, Gabon, Paraguay and Peru.

Pitt works passionately to improve the conservation of endangered species through collaboration, education, and research. He has published more than 90 articles in peer-reviewed journals, books and science-related publications, and even patented a device used to restore island ecosystems. He holds numerous key positions in the conservation world and is currently the president of the Association of Ecosystem Research Center, associate editor for Tropical Ecology, and an active member of the American Zoological Association’s Field Conservation Committee. In addition, Pitt chairs the USFWS Aga Recovery Team, is a scientific advisor for the Interagency Brown Tree Snake Working Group Research Committee, and is associate faculty at George Mason University. Prior to leading the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Pitt spent more than a decade researching methods to reduce the effects of invasive vertebrates on native species, mediating human-wildlife interactions, and evaluating the effects of species management in Pacific islands ecosystems. He has worked extensively as a researcher for the USDA’s National Wildlife Research Center in Hawaii.
Pitt holds a doctorate in ecology and a Master of Science in wildlife ecology from Utah State University. And a Bachelor of Science in fish and wildlife biology from the University of Minnesota. He spent 24 years in the military, working as an environmental science officer for the United States Army Reserve, where he identified and assessed potential environmental and entomological hazards to humans.
Recent Publications: 
Klug, Page E., Adams, Amy A. Yackel, Siers, Shane R., Brindock, Kevin M., Mosher, Stephen M., Mazurek, M. J., Pitt, William C. and Reed, Robert N. 2021. Locally abundant, endangered Mariana swiftlets impact the abundance, behavior, and body condition of an invasive predator. Oecologia. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-021-04876-0
Steel, Argon, Jacob, John, Klasner, Ina, Howe, Kathleen, Jacquier, Steven H., Pitt, William C., Hollingsworth, Robert and Jarvi, Susan I. 2021. In vitro comparison of treatments and commercially available solutions on mortality of Angiostrongylus cantonensis third-stage larvae. Parasitology, 212-220. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0031182020001730
Pukazhenthi, Budhan, Songsasen, Nucharin, Brown, Janine, Comizzoli, Pierre, Crosier, Adrienne, Hagedorn, Mary, Gratwicke, Brian, Pitt, William and Monfort, Steven. 2020. David E. Wildt-An Inspiring Leader in the Conservation of Wild Species. Journal of Heredity, 414-416. https://doi.org/10.1093/jhered/esaa013