” I am truly honored to be a member of the board of the Asa Wright Nature Centre. My familiarity with Asa Wright stems from my very first visit, as a teenager, which left an indelible impression on my memory. Viewing oilbirds, toucans and the incredible array of bat taxa are just a few of those positive memories. It is truly humbling to be following in the footsteps of such notable persons as William Beebe and William Conway, from WCS in their support of the fantastic work being conducted at the Centre.”
As the Vice President at the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, David A. Oehler oversees the living animal conservation management programs, as well as facets of the operations of the Zoo, and the training and development of the staff involved in these processes. For David, being an advocate for wildlife and wild places is a very rewarding role.
Previously, he served as the Curator of Ornithology for the Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx Zoo. His efforts at the WCS organization involve building on the strong commitment to animal care and conservation that has become synonymous with the WCS. A vital focus is being placed on conservation programs and imparting the importance of these programs within the WCS facilities, which include stemming the illegal trade of Congo African Grey Parrots, assessing Andean Condor populations throughout South America, conservation of endangered flamingo taxa, and others. David is embracing new technologies that will be incorporated into these husbandry and conservation efforts to improve the management of future programs.
Before moving to New York, David worked as Director of Animal Collections at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. During that period, he successfully launched a transformation in the Animal Division; with increased engagement and empowerment of the staff interacting with zoo visitors. During his tenure in Cincinnati, David also successfully served as the very first Curator of Birds for twelve years prior to his role as Director of Collections. He had a significant impact on the exhibits at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, spearheading the “Dragons” exhibit, featuring Varanoid taxa, the Wings of the World Exhibit, Night Hunters, revamping the displays and activities within the Children’s Zoo, and creating a walk through interactive displays involving avian and Testudines taxa. David has also consulted on additional projects including exhibit and conservation programs in New Zealand’s Antarctic Centre and other zoos and aquariums in the United States.
In addition to his work at zoos, he serves as President of Feather Link, Inc., a non-profit organization connecting birds and people through education and conservation. Through this program, he conducts field research in Chile to garner a better understanding of the Rockhopper, King, and Macaroni Penguin populations and to develop conservation strategies for these seabirds in concert with the Chilean Government. His current programs include the launching of a comprehensive Neotropical bat survey in Trinidad utilizing acoustic recordings. David has published a number of popular and peer-reviewed articles involving wildlife conservation and husbandry, along with visitor behavior studies. He has also served as a consultant on several productions, including “In the Womb: Animals” and NOVA’s “Evolution of Laughter” along with appearing on Animal Planet’s “The Zoo”.