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Smithsonian’s National Zoo appoints Brandie Smith as new director

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo has appointed Brandie Smith as the new John and Adrienne Mars director.

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smithsonian's national zoo brandie smith director

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute has named Brandie Smith as the new John and Adrienne Mars director, effective from November 9.

Smith previously served as acting director of the Smithsonian’s 163-acre zoo. She succeeds Steven Monfort, who was the John and Adrienne Mars director until May 2021.

“I’m honored to continue working alongside such talented colleagues whose expertise drives innovations in animal care and sustains biodiversity,” Smith said. “Their work inspires future generations of conservationists.”

Overseeing operations in Washington, D.C.

As director, Smith is overseeing the zoo in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park, as well as the 3,200-acre Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) campus in Front Royal, Virginia.

She is responsible for operations at the National Zoo, which attracts approximately 1.8 million visitors annually, and for the zoo’s conservation biology research team. She also looks after educational programmes and ticketed events.

“At the Smithsonian, we have seen Brandie’s expertise, talent and leadership in action for years, including during the past several months as acting director of the National Zoo and SCBI,” said Lonnie Bunch, secretary of the Smithsonian.

“The exceptional work done there is vital to species conservation, animal care and education, and I am elated to have Brandie at the helm to help the Smithsonian secure our institutional and global shared future.”

Role effective from November 9

smithsonian national zoo

Smith started working at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo back in 2008. Prior to that, she served as vice president of animal conservation at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

She holds a doctoral degree in behaviour, ecology, evolution and systematics from the University of Maryland, as well as a Master of Science in zoology from Clemson University and Bachelor of Science in biology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

The Smithsonian’s National Zoo has around 350 full-time positions, including curators, scientists, keepers and administrative staff.

Images: The Smithsonian

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Bea Mitchell

Bea is a journalist specialising in entertainment, attractions and tech with 10 years' experience. She has written and edited for publications including CNET, BuzzFeed, Digital Spy, Evening Standard and BBC. Bea graduated from King's College London and has an MA in journalism.

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