Dr. Michael Kreger is the Vice President of Conservation and Sustainability at the Columbus
Zoo. He works with all the departments at the Zoo, The Wilds, Safari Golf Club, and Zoombezi
Bay to develop and promote programs that save animals worldwide. He manages the Partners In
Conservation (PIC) Rwanda program and the Columbus Zoo Fund For Conservation grant fund.
He serves on many zoo and wildlife-related committees, including co-chair of the Association of
Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) North American
Songbird program, advisor to SAFE Asian Elephant, member of the AZA Wildlife Conservation
Committee, the Zoo and Aquarium Association’s Animal Management Plan/Conservation
Committee, and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums Science and Government
Before joining the Zoo, he had a 20-year career with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
International Affairs and Migratory Birds programs. As a biologist in International Affairs, he
worked on wildlife-related international treaties, laws, and regulations including CITES, the
Endangered Species Act, and the Wild Bird Conservation Act. He served on endangered species
recovery teams and U.S. delegations for wildlife-related treaties. Examples of his projects
include listing the addax, dama gazelle, and scimitar-horned oryx as endangered; a special rule
on the wood bison recovery in Alaska; development of elephant policies and positions; and
making CITES non-detriment findings. He later served as Deputy Chief of Bird Habitat
Conservation and Special Assistant to the Assistant Director of Migratory Birds. He managed
two multi-million dollar grant programs that support wetlands and neotropical migratory birds
and worked on complex conservation policy issues including tribal issues and waterfowl hunting
and bird mortality from wind energy facilities. Prior to the FWS, he worked for the U.S.
Department of Agriculture where he was the lead on zoo and wildlife issues and taught an animal
welfare compliance course at the Animal Welfare Information Center.
Kreger’s academic background includes three degrees from the University of Maryland. He
earned his bachelor of science in conservation and resource development, his master’s research
focused on applied ethology and animal welfare, and his doctorate research examined the effects
of the captive rearing methods on the survival of whooping cranes reintroduced in central
Florida. Kreger also served as a Peace Corps volunteer wildlife biologist in Honduras, mammal
keeper at the Bronx Zoo, and as a biological technician at Patuxent Research Refuge.