Kleiman, Devra G.

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Biographical History

Conservation biologist Devra G. Kleiman (1952-2010) began her professional career in 1972 as the first female scientist at the National Zoological Park (NZP) where she was hired to manage the zoo's captive breeding program. In 1982, Kleiman became Acting Assistant Director for Animal Programs in the Office of Animal Programs, assuming the position permanently the following year. During a series of reorganizations, Kleiman became the Assistant Director of Zoological Research and Education in 1984; the Assistant Director of Research in 1985; and the Assistant Director of Zoological Research heading the Dept. of Zoological Research in 1996. In 1997, Kleiman assumed the position of Senior Scientist. After her retirement in 2001, Kleiman served as Senior Scientist Emeritus at NZP, taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Maryland (College Park), and owned a consulting company, Zoo-Logic, LLC. During her career, Kleiman helped establish the Associação Mico-Leão-Dourado, a Brazilian non-governmental association for the conservation of golden lion tamarins; served on many international committees, working groups, and task forces for species conservation; and was affiliated with numerous non-profit conservation organizations. Much of Kleiman's research and activities focused on the reintroduction of golden lion tamarins to the wild and the captive breeding of giant pandas. Other research projects included Delmarva fox squirrels, beach (oldfield) mice, island foxes, and, more generally, primates, canids, and other mammals. She also trained other scientists in behavioral observations, vocalization interpretations, and animal reintroduction preparations. Kleiman wrote approximately 150 manuscripts and two books, "Wild Mammals in Captivity: Principles and Techniques" (1996) and "Lion Tamarins: Biology and Conservation" (2002).

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National Zoological Park (U.S.) : Employer

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  • Zoology
  • Mammalogists


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  • Zoologists
  • Mammalogists