National Zoo director to retire in August

The director of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute will retire in August.

Steven Monfort has been affiliated with the zoo for more than 35 years, when he founded the zoo’s Endocrine Research Laboratory.

He took over as director of the 163-acre zoo in D.C. and its 3,200-acre facility in Front Royal, Virginia, in 2018.

In 2006, Monfort became the Zoo’s associate director for conservation and science, supervising approximately 100 research scientists, research veterinarians, technicians, support staff, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and research interns located at the Zoo’s Rock Creek and Front Royal facilities, according to a news release.

Monfort has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers in the broad discipline of reproductive biology.

Zoo officials confirm to WTOP that Brandie Smith, the zoo’s deputy director, will serve as acting director while it searches for a new leader.

The National Zoo reopened to the public on May 21.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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