Cristián T. Samper
Wildlife Conservation Society
Nonprofit organization executive; Research institution founder; Cultural institution administrator; Biologist
Leadership, Policy, and Communications
Scientific, Cultural, and Nonprofit Leadership
Cristian T. Samper, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Wildlife Conservation Society is a tropical biologist and international authority on conservation biology and environmental policy. He began his tenure as President and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in 2012, after serving for a decade as Director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. He dedicated his career to understanding and protecting the Earth's biological diversity. At WCS he oversees the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo, which welcome more than 4 million visitors annually, as well as 500 conservation projects in 67 countries around the world. He also served as Acting Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and was deputy director and staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. He was the founding director of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute, the national biodiversity research institute of Colombia.