Jon Ballou
Special Advisor


Until his retirement in 2016, Dr. Jonathan Ballou was Population Manager and Research Scientist at the Smithsonian Institution's Conservation Biology Institute in Washington, DC. He was also an adjunct member of the Faculty of the University of Maryland. His research has focused on the genetic and demographic problems confronted by small populations, especially of threatened and endangered species. He is a recognized leader in developing the theoretical basis for managing small populations to maximize genetic diversity. He developed population management tools (software, applied theory) that are widely and internationally used by wildlife and zoo managers. Jon co-authored the first university textbook on Conservation Genetics (with colleagues Frankham and Briscoe from Sydney) and a Primer of Conservation Genetics. Jon was also the Species Coordinator for the International Golden Lion Tamarin captive breeding program as well as the keeper of the Golden Lion Tamarin International Studbook. He currently takes part in international efforts to preserve the giant panda, for which he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Giant Panda Zoos, 2013. Jon received his bachelor's degree in Animal Behavior from the University of Virginia, his masters in statistics at George Washington University, and his Ph.D. in Population Genetics of golden lion tamarins from the University of Maryland.  He is the 2016 recipient of the Zoological Society of London’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Zoo Community.