- SDZ Institute for Conservation Research
After completing his senior thesis on stress in juvenile scallops, there was nowhere to go but “up.” Now, David O’Connor is leading San Diego Zoo Global’s community-based reticulated giraffe conservation program. In addition to working in East Africa, David also works on combatting the illegal trade in bears and bear parts in Southeast Asia, and assisted on developing remote sensing technology for the critically endangered vaquita (a marine mammal) in Baja, Mexico. Energetic and dedicated, he is fulfilling his role as a conservation ecologist while also being a contract senior researcher with National Geographic Magazine and a course instructor for University of Miami’s Project Dragonfly Master’s program.
David holds a Bachelor of Science degree in zoology and earth science from the University of College Cork, Ireland; a graduate diploma in business studies from the University College Dublin; and a Master of Science in conservation biology from the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment, Ann Arbor, Michigan. For the latter, his thesis, “Foraging ecologies of giraffe and camels in northern Kenya” made him well-equipped for boots-on-the-ground, community-driven field work with San Diego Zoo Global. As a lead researcher on over 30 features for National Geographic Magazine, it’s clear that David has what it takes to make serious contributions to saving the reticulated giraffe from extinction, tall order though it may be.