Dr. George Rabb

President Emeritus of the Chicago Zoological Society, George B. Rabb served as Brookfield Zoo’s director from 1976 until 2003. Rabb’s pioneering work led the zoo towards its current position as a conservation centre, a concept Rabb has championed for zoos everywhere. Rabb received both master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and his bachelor’s degree from the College of Charleston, South Carolina. He joined Brookfield Zoo in 1956 as curator of research. Rabb created the zoo’s Education Department and was instrumental in the use of naturalistic exhibitry to provide visitors with environmental immersion experiences throughout the zoo. Additionally, under Dr. Rabb’s direction, the zoo pioneered a new approach to helping children develop caring attitudes towards nature. Dr. Rabb has affiliations with conservation organizations worldwide and is a respected spokesman on wildlife conservation issues. Most notably, he is past chairman of the Species Survival Commission of IUCN, the largest species conservation network in the world, and he founded the Declining Amphibian Population Task Force.

On the local scene, Rabb serves as President of Chicago Wilderness Magazine. He is active with the biosphere reserve initiative of Chicago Wilderness, a multi-organizational effort to maintain the exceptional biological diversity of the metropolitan region. He has long been a member of the University of Chicago’s Committee on Evolutionary Biology, and a research associate of The Field Museum.

Dr. Rabb currently serves as Chairman of the Illinois State Museum Board and is on the board of Defenders of Wildlife. In 2008, Dr. Rabb was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Council on Science, Policy, and the Environment. Dr. Rabb is a published authority on the behaviour of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, notably on social behaviour of a captive wolf pack, behavioural development in okapi, and breeding behaviour of pipid frogs. His other studies have ranged from the evolutionary relationships of viperid snakes to diabetes in tree shrews.