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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dr. JoGayle Howard, Clouded Leopard Champion
JoGayle on right with long-time friend Karen Goodrowe Beck

The conservation world has suffered a great loss this week of Dr. JoGayle Howard, reproductive physiologist with the Smithsonian Institution, who passed away Saturday morning after an incredibly brave struggle with cancer. I am lucky to have known JoGayle as a professional colleague and a friend. She leaves an incredible legacy through her remarkable dedication to conservation. Her work was instrumental in saving the black footed ferret from extinction and she was a key member of the team working to save the giant panda.

JoGayle was an amazing champion of clouded leopards, contributing significantly to our body of knowledge on their reproduction in zoos. She was the driving force behind the establishment and management of the Thailand Clouded Leopard Consortium that oversees the breeding program at Thailand's Khao Kheow Open Zoo. JoGayle was passionate about clouded leopards and was a personal inspiration to me in her tireless efforts to understand and improve the management of clouded leopards in zoos and protect them in the wild. If all of us could make such an impact, our world would be a much better place. She will be missed. It's hard to believe she is really gone.

JoGayle's fascinating work is featured in a new Smithsonian Channel show, Nature's Matchmakers, airing this weekend. You can view this preview.

The Washington Post ran this article yesterday with more details of her amazing professional achievements.

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