Steve Monfort is the new executive director of the UC Natural Reserve System

Steve Monfort is the new executive director of the UC Natural Reserve System. Image: courtesy Steve Monfort

Steve Monfort, former director of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the National Zoo, is the new executive director of the UC Natural Reserve System. He began his new position on Nov. 4, 2021.

At the Conservation Biology Institute, headquartered on 3,200-acres in Front Royal, Virginia, Monfort led teams of scientists studying and breeding more than 20 species, including some that were once extinct in the wild.  More than 300 scientists at the institute are working to save species in over 30 countries. At the National Zoo, he oversaw a collection of more than 1,800 animals from 300 species.

An expert in zoo biology, animal health, conservation, and reproductive biology, Dr. Monfort pioneered noninvasive hormone monitoring techniques now used to measure stress in both captive and wild animals. He has founded initiativesincluding the Sahara Conservation Fund, Conservation Centers for Species Survival, the Panama Amphibian Rescue & Conservation Project, and the Global Tiger Initiative. He has also served as the chair of the Asian Wild Horse Species Survival Plan.

As an adjunct faculty member at George Mason University, Monfort co-founded the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, an in-residence program at SCBI.

Monfort has published over 150 scientific papers covering reproductive physiology, endocrinology, and behavioral ecology. He is currently a member of several specialist groups of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In addition, he was a wildlife veterinary practitioner for 20 years.

A native Californian, Monfort is a graduate of UC San Diego. He holds master’s and doctor of veterinary medicine degrees from UC Davis, as well as a doctorate in in environmental biology and public policy from George Mason University. 

Monfort succeeds Peggy Fiedler, who retired in June after serving as executive director of the NRS for more than 11 years.

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