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Brandie Smith

Associate Director for Animal Care Sciences

Brandie Smith, associate director for animal care sciences, oversees the care, management, and research for the mammal collection at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. This includes Asia Trail, Cheetah Conservation Station, Elephant Trails, Small Mammal House, Great Ape House, Lemur Island, Think Tank, great cats, and Kids’ Farm. She is directly responsible for husbandry and management of giant pandas.

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

Smith joined the Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s animal care staff in 2008. She came to the zoo after 10 years at the AZA, where she was vice president of animal conservation, and responsible for facilitating, promoting, and supporting the cooperative conservation and scientific activities of AZA’s more than 200 member institutions and almost 1,000 animal programs. She has written many articles and book chapters on how zoos and aquariums can plan and manage their animal collections.

Smith’s research background is in population genetics. She received her doctoral degree from the University of Maryland, focusing her research on how to manage large groups of animals—those that live in herds, flocks, and tanks—where breeding pairs and even individuals are difficult to identify and control. Her hope is that her research will help increase sustainability of both zoo and wild populations.