Ron Swaisgood, Ph.D.
Brown Chair/Director of Applied Animal Ecology; Co-Head, Giant Panda Conservation Unit
  • SDZ Institute for Conservation Research

I have been working with giant pandas for almost 20 years. I love working with pandas because I love contributing to an effort that is much bigger than myself. The panda program is a large program involving many, many San Diego Zoo Global staff and external partners, and I am proud to be a part of this effort. I enjoy my time spent directly observing giant pandas, both in breeding centers and in the wild. One of our most significant early contributions was working with our Chinese colleagues on the conservation breeding program. In part because of these efforts, today we have plenty of pandas breeding and producing healthy cubs. In more recent years, I've come to know what the panda's life is like in the wild, and I have worked with Chinese colleagues to determine what, exactly, some of the important habitat requirements are for the species. Seeing this new knowledge applied to better policy and management has been most rewarding. Because of efforts like this, we can now envision a day when pandas may no longer be endangered. 

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