Dr. Onnie Byers, Ph.D


IUCN SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group

Dr. Onnie Byers earned her Ph.D. in reproductive physiology from the University of Minnesota and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Zoo in Washington D.C. working on assisted reproductive techniques in endangered cat species. Onnie joined the IUCN SSC’s Conservation Planning Specialist Group (CPSG) in 1991 as a Program Officer and was promoted to the position of Executive Director in 2005. In 2011, she was appointed CPSG Chair becoming the first female to lead the organization, including its 350 volunteer members, headquarters staff and 10 regional networks, in its 30-year history. In collaboration with government wildlife agencies, conservation organizations, SSC Specialist Groups, and zoos and aquariums, Onnie facilitates the development of management strategies to minimize the risk of species extinction. Onnie is dedicated to the transfer of CPSG’s tools and processes to conservationists around the world and to learning about and developing new tools to assist in stakeholder-inclusive, science-based species planning efforts. She has authored more than 50 scientific publications and book chapters and serves on the Species Survival Commission Steering Committee, the Conservation and Sustainability Committee of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Executive Committee of Amphibian Ark, and on the Boards of Species360 and the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders.

Onnie and her husband have 2 adult children and live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

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