Ron Swaisgood

Blogger Profile: Ron Swaisgood

Ron Swaisgood, Ph.D., serves San Diego Zoo Global as the Brown Endowed Director of Applied Animal Ecology. He also heads the Giant Panda Conservation Unit and is the general scientific director of Cocha Cashu Biological Station in Manu National Park in the Peruvian Amazon. Before coming to the Zoo, Dr. Swaisgood earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a doctorate in animal behavior from the University of California, Davis. His work focuses on the conservation of species in their native habitats, with an emphasis on reintroduction and translocation programs. He oversees conservation programs for species such as California condors, burrowing owls, terns, plovers, desert tortoises, mountain yellow-legged frogs, giant pandas, Andean bears, and kangaroo rats. He is actively involved in connecting society to conservation and science and engages in extensive outreach and professional service. He has mentored several students and has served as an adjunct professor at three universities. He is the recipient of more than 60 grants and has authored more than 100 scientific articles, as well as 50 articles for popular magazines and the web. He is active on several national and international conservation committees and chairs the IUCN’s Giant Panda Expert Team and the Animal Behavior Society’s Conservation Committee. As an advocate for reconnecting children to nature, he serves on committees for the Children & Nature Network and San Diego Children & Nature Collaborative, and is co-founder of the Family Adventures in Nature Club.
Titi Monkeys and Me

Titi Monkeys and Me

My pack is my pillow. I lay on the damp, leaf-strewn earth gazing up at the titi monkey, waves of nostalgia crashing all around me. In a parallel life, I could have been doing this for 25 years.   read more

Cocha Cashu: Exploring Uncharted Territory

Cocha Cashu: Exploring Uncharted Territory

For the past two years the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research has been on a journey. The path has been long, and not always straight, but the endpoint is clear…   read more

Tracking Pandas in Foping Nature Reserve

Tracking Pandas in Foping Nature Reserve

John Muir once said, “Going to the woods is coming home.” I’m with you, John. Looking up at the mist-shrouded mountains and reveling in the grandeur, I feel a bit like I’m channeling Muir.   read more

Neighborhood Creek to Zoo

Neighborhood Creek to Zoo

I grew up in suburban North Carolina, but there was plenty of nearby nature to sink my muddy feet into. The thing is, you don’t need a National Park to experience nature, just need a canyon, a creek, or a vacant lot to cultivate some nature rituals.   read more

Manu National Park: Worth the Bites

Manu National Park: Worth the Bites

In the Manu National Park, Peru, you sweat. You sweat when you walk, you sweat when you hold up your binoculars, you sweat when you eat. Worst of all, you sweat when you sleep.   read more