Isaac Wilson is one of Conservation Nation’s 2021 emerging conservationist grant winners. Isaac is a Herpetology keeper at the Saint Louis Zoo (STLZ) working with several species of endangered viper from Armenia with a focus on learning about their behavior and reproduction. This has long been his dream job. Since before he knew the term Herpetology, he knew he wanted to work with reptiles and amphibians. To start on the road to this dream, he began working at the STLZ in food service during his undergraduate studies. Over the years he has risen through several positions throughout the Zoo such as Zookeeping Apprentice, Seasonal Keeper, Part-time Keeper, and years later, eventually arriving at his goal of being a Full-time Herpetology Keeper. His next goal is to establish himself as a competent conservationist with formal field and research experience to help save these animals he loves.
Mountain Viper Conservation
Conducting annual field studies in collaboration with Armenian colleagues, the Center for Conservation in Western Asia (founded by the Saint Louis Zoo’s WildCare Institute) has made great strides in reptile conservation, including providing critical data that expanded and created new protected areas in Armenia. In 2019, the Center also participated in the opening of the Armenian Conservation Breeding Center (ACBC), the first dedicated breeding center of montane vipers in the world. Isaac will be a part of several projects including pre and post-brumation hematology studies, assisting with a workshop on lab protocols, procedures and treatments, and a goal of meeting with Armenia’s Governmental Education Minister to discuss hosting workshops and designing educational curriculum around the ecology and conservation of Armenia’s threatened reptiles and amphibians.
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Conservation Nation is an initiative of Friends of the National Zoo, the registered 501(c)(3) non-profit partner of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. Contributions to Conservation Nation are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.