Regional Conservation Programs

The San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research works in more than 35 countries around the world. Programs address the biological requirements of the target species, conservation and restoration of critical habitats, and training opportunities for range-country scientists and resource managers.

Asia Regional Program. In China, a comprehensive research program has been implemented to understand the biology of several species of highly endangered Asian leaf-eating monkeys in urgent need of conservation attention, including proboscis monkeys, Sichuan snub-nosed or golden monkeys, Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys, Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys, and gray-shanked douc langurs. Additional studies in India are focusing on ways to address severe declines in populations of native river turtles.

Central Africa Regional Program. Central Africa has a rich diversity of great apes. This is especially true in Cameroon, where multiple subspecies of gorillas and chimpanzees are present. Efforts in Cameroon revolve around defining the habitat needs of these endangered primates and educating local people about how the bushmeat trade severely impacts endangered populations of great apes and other forest-dwelling animals.

Caribbean Regional Program. Caribbean tropical dry forests are among the most endangered ecosystems on Earth. Most natural lowland habitats have already been devastated, and what little remains is under enormous pressure from human development. Studies in the Caribbean region are focused on understanding the biology of the critically endangered rock iguanas and their habitats. As important seed dispersers, rock iguanas play an important role in the sustainability and health of native plant communities.

Conservation Research Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. The Conservation Research Postdoctoral Fellowship Program is the most in-depth opportunity of its kind in the world. Young scientists are sponsored as they pursue extensive fieldwork on endangered species and their habitats as part of this unique five-year fellowship program. These long-term studies are linked whenever possible to on-site laboratory and collection-based conservation programs at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park

Each of the field fellowships is guided by an overarching strategy that includes determining the biological requirements necessary for species and habitat survival, defining critical knowledge gaps, and designing new research approaches to address them. The research fellows seek active conservation partnerships with the ultimate goal of mentoring local stakeholders for effective management of programs in perpetuity and disseminate their results regionally and globally as model programs for conservation action.

Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program.
The Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program is a unique conservation partnership composed of the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the State of Hawaii, and private landowners working together on the recovery of Hawaii’s most threatened forest birds. The program manages the state-of-the-art Keauhou and Maui Bird Conservation centers, with a focus on species for which captive propagation is critical to their survival and recovery.

The ultimate goal of the breeding program is to produce birds to augment wild populations while effective management measures are being researched and developed.

Desert Tortoise Program.
In March 2009, the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, representing the Conservation Centers for Species Survival (C2S2), entered into a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to operate the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center (DTCC) in Las Vegas, Nevada. This partnership also involves working closely with the Bureau of Land Management and Nevada Department of Wildlife. Our main goal at the DTCC is to play a critical role in the conservation of the Mojave Desert ecosystem, including recovery of the desert tortoise.
Historically, the DTCC has received approximately 1,000 desert tortoises each year from the desert tortoise pickup service, which the Institute has been operating since January 2010.  Most of the tortoises it receives from the hotline are pet desert tortoises, many of which require extensive rehabilitation due to improper care in captivity. The DTCC’s mission involves rehabilitating these tortoises and preparing the healthiest of them for release back to protected designated release areas in the Mojave Desert where they can help contribute to recovering this threatened species.

Regional Conservation Programs Staff

  • Allyson Walsh, Ph.D., Associate Director of Conservation Programs
  • Glenn Gerber, Ph.D., Scientist, Caribbean Program Head
  • Paquita Hoeck, Postdoctoral Associate
  • Darwin Martinez Chamba, Graduate Student, Ecuador
  • Rupali Ghosh, Field Researcher, India
  • Julia Mercao, DVM, Research Assistant

Central Africa Program

  • Bethan Morgan, Ph.D. Central Africa Program Head
  • Ekwoge Abwe, Manager, Ebo Forest Research Project
  • James Christie, Technical Advisor
  • Abwe Abwe, Assistant Monitoring Coordinator
  • Daniel Mfossa, Assistant Cooperation Coordinator
  • Victor Nkome, Assistant Logistics Coordinator
  • Daniel Batouan, Monitoring Assistant
  • Besong Franklin Bawak, Monitoring Assistant
  • Bienvenu Bisseck, Monitoring Assistant
  • Maurice Bong, Monitoring Assistant
  • Marcel Didier Kewe, Monitoring Assistant
  • Zacharie Bekokon, Monitoring Assistant
  • Blaise Lappe, Monitoring Assistant
  • David Mahop, Monitoring Assistant
  • Elie Liboho Maleng, Monitoring Assistant
  • Jonas Mam, Monitoring Assistant
  • Phillips Aubin Manouck II, Monitoring Assistant
  • Jean Melba, Monitoring Assistant
  • Johannes Mpako, Monitoring Assistant
  • Churchill Namata Nanje, Monitoring Assistant
  • Jean-Claude Ndedi, Monitoring Assistant
  • Malenoh Sewuh Ndimbe, Monitoring Assistant
  • Christopher Menge Ndo, Monitoring Assistant
  • Elie Ndobon, Monitoring Assistant
  • Blaise Ngoma, Monitoring Assistant
  • Simon Ngwese, Monitoring Assistant
  • Mirabel Ajebel Ngyah, Monitoring Assistant
  • Allen Sone, Monitoring Assistant
  • Thomas Titti, Monitoring Assistant
  • Marc Touob, Monitoring Assistant
  • Sama Abodou, Security Guard
  • Daniel Akala, Security Guard
  • Henry Ngwane, Driver
  • Pauline Ebong, Office Cleaner

Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Program

  • Rosanna Leighton, Research Coordinator, Keauhou
  • Lisa Komarczyk, Senior Research Associate, Keauhou
  • Lynne Neibaur, Senior Research Associate, Keauhou
  • Rebecca Espinoza, Research Associate, Keauhou
  • Rachel Kingsley, Research Associate, Keauhou
  • Kara Kneubuhler, Research Associate, Keauhou
  • Kyle Parsons, Research Associate, Keauhou
  • Sharon Belcher, Senior Research Associate, Maui
  • Joshua Kramer, Research Coordinator, Maui  
  • Michelle Smith, Research Associate, Maui

San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike Program

  • Susan Farabaugh, Ph.D., Conservation Program Manager
  • Jaelean Carrero, Research Coordinator
  • Kathleen DeFalco, Research Associate
  • Ashley Higby, Research Associate
  • Angela Sewell, Research Associate
  • Sarah Sheldon, Research Associate
  • Alexanda Silber, Research Assistant

Desert Tortoise Program

  • Allyson Walsh, Ph.D., Conservation Program Manager, San Diego
  • Jen Germano, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Associate
  • Angela Covert, Senior Research Coordinator
  • Josephine Braun, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Associate
  • Pam Flores, Research Associate
  • Daniel Essary, Research Associate
  • Rachel Foster, Research Associate
  • Larisa Gokool, Research Associate
  • Lori Scott, Research Associate


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