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New Head of Animal Care Named at the National Zoo

Brandie Smith has been named associate director of Animal Care Sciences at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, D.C., effective immediately. Since 2008, Smith has served as a senior curator of mammals and the curator of giant pandas at the National Zoo. In her new role, Smith will lead the Zoo's team of curators, keepers, nutritionists, veterinarians and animal-behavior professionals who care for more than 300 species.

After a national search, I'm delighted that our very own Dr. Smith was selected," said Dennis Kelly, Zoo director. "For seven years, she has served as a dynamic senior curator and proved herself a strong leader in animal husbandry, project and personnel management, and within our zoological profession. With Brandie in this new role, we'll make greater strides toward our mission to save species."

As senior curator, Smith oversaw the care, management and research of the mammal collection at the Zoo, which includes animals at Asia Trail, Cheetah Conservation Station, American Bison, Elephant Trails, Small Mammal House, Great Ape House, Lemur Island, Think Tank, Great Cats, American Trail and Kids' Farm. She was also responsible for husbandry and management of the David M. Rubenstein Family Giant Panda Habitat.

Smith is a graduate of the Smithsonian Emerging Leadership Program and currently participates in the prestigious Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) 2015 Executive Leadership Development Program. In addition to her work at the National Zoo, Smith is a member of the AZA Small Population Management Advisory Group, the AZA Elephant Species Survival Plan/Taxon Advisory Group Steering Committee and the IUCN Conservation Breeding Specialist Group.

"It's a remarkable thing to be able to work in a zoo," said Smith, associate director of animal care. "I am grateful for the opportunity to lead our remarkable team of professionals, whose dedication to their charges continues to inspire me every day. I'm excited and ready for the next challenges in my new position."

Smith arrived at the Zoo after 10 years at the AZA, where she was vice president of animal conservation and responsible for overseeing the collaboration on scientific and conservation endeavors between AZA's more than 200 member institutions and almost 1,000 animal programs. Smith received a doctoral degree from the University of Maryland, with a research focus on the management of large groups of animals, such as those that live in herds, flocks and tanks, including management where breeding pairs and individuals are difficult to identify and control.