Steven Sarro

Steven Sarro is a Supervisory Biologist/Curator at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and supervises the Small Mammal collection. During his time at the Zoo, Sarro has been an acting curator for Primates, Panda/Asia Trail, Reptiles/Amphibians, and American Trail. His career focus has been working with the African penguin (Spheniscus demersus) as Species Survival Plan coordinator since 1995, as well as assisting in in situ endeavors, including being a first responder to the 2000 Treasure Oil Spill in Cape Town, South Africa.  Sarro has maintained the Spectacled Owl SSP and studbook for the past 30 years. In 2016, Sarro was involved in a collaboration with the Central Zoo Authority of India with Dr. Budhan Pukazhenthi, Dr. James Steeil and Dr. Kali Holder to consult and improve their best practices in veterinary medicine and animal husbandry. 

Sarro attended the University of Delaware, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in biological sciences. He has furthered his education through Association of Zoos and Aquarium (AZA) graduate level courses. Sarro has been a consultant for a number of facilities, assisting in animal husbandry and exhibit design.

Sarro has worked at several Association of Zoos and Aquarium (AZA) accredited institutions including the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore (Bird/Mammal Curator) and the National Aviary (Director of Animal Programs) before coming to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. He is involved in AZA conservation programs including being a steering committee member of the Marsupial and Monotreme Taxon Advisory Group (TAG), Pangolin, Aardvark and Xenarthrid TAG, Raptor TAG, Anseriformes TAG, Penguin TAG and Ciconiformes/Pelicaniformes TAG as well as being an AZA Accreditation Inspector.

Notable Publications:

  • “Bird Exhibits”, “Owls” and “Vultures”; Encyclopedia of the World’s Zoos, 3 Essays: FitzRoy Dearborn, 2001 S. Sarro

  • “African Penguin Species Survival Plan”, International African Penguin Conference, Gansbaai, South Africa. 2009, Sarro/Sirpenski

  • “Show Birds: Managing career goals with the “tick” of their biological clock” IAATE Conference Pittsburgh 2011, Sweeny, R; S. Hallager; S. Sarro,

  • “Penguins in Outreach Programs: Is the Waddle Worth It?”, AZA Mid-Year Conference, Memphis Zoo 2014, S. Sarro

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