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Steven Sarro

Supervisory Biologist/Curator

Steven Sarro is a supervisory biologist/curator at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and primarily supervises the small mammal collection and the animal care stall. Sarro is responsible for promoting best practices in animal husbandry through collaboration with other Zoo departments on a daily basis. He plays a significant role in organized conservation and sustainable animal programs at the Zoo and around the world.

During his time at the Zoo, Sarro has been an acting curator for Primates, Asia Trail and American Trail. His career focus has been working with the African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) as Species Survival Plan (SSP) coordinator since 1995, as well as assisting in in situ endeavors, including being a first responder to the 2000 Treasure Oil Spill in Cape Town, South Africa. Additionally, Sarro has maintained the Spectacled Owl SSP and studbook for the past 26 years. In 2016, Sarro was involved in a collaboration with the Central Zoo Authority of India with Budhan Pukazhenthi, James Steeil and Kali Holder to consult and improve their best practices in veterinary medicine. 

Sarro attended the University of Delaware, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences. He has furthered his education through Association of Zoos and Aquarium (AZA) graduate level courses. Sarro has also been a consultant for a number of facilities, assisting in animal husbandry and exhibit design.

Sarro has worked at several AZA accredited institutions including the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore (bird/mammal curator) and the National Aviary (director of animal programs) before coming to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. He is involved in AZA conservation programs including being a steering committee member of the Marsupial and Monotreme Taxon Advisory Group (TAG), Pangolin, Aardvark and Xenarthrid TAG, Raptor TAG, Anseriformes TAG, Penguin TAG and Pelicaniformes TAG. 

Notable Publications:

  • “Bird Exhibits”, “Owls” and “Vultures”; Encyclopedia of the World’s Zoos, 3 Essays: FitzRoy Dearborn, 2001 S. Sarro
  • “African Penguin Species Survival Plan”, International African Penguin Conference, Gansbaai, South Africa. 2009, Sarro/Sirpenski
  • “Penguins in Outreach Programs: Is the Waddle Worth It?”, AZA Mid-Year Conference, Memphis Zoo 2014, S. Sarro