George Rabb, PhD
Chicago Zoological Park
George Rabb joined Brookfield Zoo in 1956 on a research project commissioned by the Chicago Zoological Society. He worked under Director Robert Bean, son of the first Director of Brookfield Zoo. Since Rabb had no title he gave himself one, curator and coordinator of research. This was a unique position, he helped redevelop the field of animal behavior with colleagues at the University of Chicago. Dr. Rabb created the Zoo’s Education Department, and he innovated in the use of naturalistic exhibitry to provide visitors with environmental immersion experiences throughout the Zoo.
George Rabb served as Brookfield Zoo’s Director from 1976 until 2003. Under his direction, the Zoo pioneered a new approach to help children develop caring attitudes towards nature as part of the Zoo’s conservation ethos and operations. In 1985, he and the Chicago Zoological Society helped found the Society for Conservation Biology and he served on its original board of governors. From 1989 to 1996 he was Chair of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission, and he helped build it into the largest scientific network for species conservation in the world.