San Diego Zoo Global Expertise Shared in Internet-based Academy

SEPTEMBER 10, 2012

San Diego Zoo Global is announcing the launch of an Internet-based training program for animal care staff at zoos around the world. Offered under the banner of the San Diego Zoo Global Academy, the program offers a wide spectrum of teaching models that share the knowledge of experienced zoological professionals and was created in collaboration with the Birmingham Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Smithsonian's National Zoological Park, Reid Park Zoo, Lowry Park Zoo and San Diego Zoo Global.

"Managing rare and endangered species is, by its nature, a collaborative effort. Experienced professionals are often asked to share their knowledge and teach others," said Gary Priest, curator of applied behavior for San Diego Zoo Global. "By using the reach of new technologies, we are able to make this experience accessible to more people in more places throughout the world."

The newly launched academy, found online at, currently offers nine courses in the subject of animal care and more than 200 courses and webinars on other subjects. The animal care specific courses cover the varied topics of animal training, zoonotic disease prevention, species nutrition and elephant management systems, among others. Additional courses and topic areas are expected to be added in coming months.

"It is our goal to share not only our animal-care expertise but the tremendous experience our organization has in managing and operating guest-hosting parks as well as our leadership efforts in species conservation," said Debra Erickson, director of communications for San Diego Zoo Global. "Course areas in management leadership, wildlife conservation, operations and human resources are being worked on currently and we hope to have them available soon."

The courses, which are available for professionals to download for a subscription, are highly interactive and offer certificates of completion. Course credit is available with some subjects.

The San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy is dedicated to bringing endangered species back from the brink of extinction. The work of the Conservancy includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, and international field programs in more than 35 countries. In addition, San Diego Zoo Global manages the Anne and Kenneth Griffin Reptile Conservation Center, the Frozen ZooTM, Native Seed Gene Bank, the Keauhou and Maui Hawaii Endangered Bird Conservation Centers, the San Clemente Loggerhead Shrike Breeding Facility, the Cocha Cashu Biological Research Station, the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center, and a 800-acre biodiversity reserve adjacent to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The important conservation and science work of these entities is supported in part by The Foundation of the Zoological Society of San Diego.