Director of the
Event Date: April 3, 2003
Dr. Lucy Spelman, Director of the National Zoo grew up
on a fourteen-acre farm in Fairfield County, Connecticut,
where her love for animals and nature was born.
This led her to the study of biology at Brown University,
where she graduated in 1985, and to earning her
doctorate in veterinary medicine five years later at the
Davis campus of the University of California.
Before joining the staff of the National Zoo in 1995,
Dr. Spelman served her residencies at the
North Carolina State College of Veterinary
Medicine in Raleigh and the North
Carolina State Zoological Park in Asheboro.
As clinical veterinarian at the National Zoo
for five years, Dr. Spelman has instituted a
rigorous program for the Zoo's long-lived species,
including the gorillas and bears; she conducted
clinical research on anaesthesia techniques;
and has developed treatments for geriatric animals.
During that same period one of her major
accomplishments was to ease the final years
of Hsing-Hsing, one of the two pandas given as
gifts from China during the Nixon
Administration, who was suffering from
arthritis and heart and kidney failure. She has
continued to show a strong interest in the
Zoo's giant pandas, having personally
brought the two new pandas, Mei
Xiang and Tian Tian, over from China last year.
When Dr. Spelman was named Director
of the National Zoological Park in June 2000
she set out ambitious goals for revitalizing
and modernizing the zoo and strengthening
the bond between people and animals.
In a recent open letter from the Director
to the Friends of the National Zoo and
others, Dr. Spelman said, The National
Zoo does have historical problems.
We need to renew our facilities and our
animal collection, we need to renew our
policies and procedures, and we need to
renew our commitment to research and
conservation through expanded outreach
programs and better integration of science
into our exhibits. This is our vision for the
future and we have already begun to move
in that direction.