Michael Wallace, Ph.D.

Conservation Program Manager

Dr. Mike Wallace serves San Diego Zoo Global as a Conservation Program Manager in Recovery Ecology. In this capacity, he manages the California Condor Reintroduction Program at our Sierra San Pedro Martir Condor Field Station in northern Baja California, Mexico.

Mike works closely with the Mexican and U.S. governments, coordinating joint activities, managing permits, and advising our partners in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (SEMARNAT), and Comisión Nacional de Areas Naturales Protegidas (CONANP). In 1998, Mike developed the California condor release program in Baja California. He is responsible for training and advising a team of four Mexican biologists in field management and release techniques. His current focus is on helping develop ways to influence the released population to forage on natural carrion foods such as marine mammals, while continuing to bolster the wild population with released birds to supplement the reproduction in the wild. Our future goal is to reach a population of 50 birds that is nutritionally and reproductively self-sustaining.

Mike earned his master’s degree in Wildlife Ecology from University of Wisconsin, where he studied reintroduction techniques for vultures. He attained two doctorate degrees, in Poultry Science and Wildlife Ecology, during which he researched reintroduction techniques for Andean condors in Peru. The trapping, field transport, and telemetry techniques Mike developed with Andean condors are now being applied to the recovery of California condors. Starting at the Los Angeles Zoo, he developed the condor breeding program over 13 years ago and continues to serve as the AZA Species Survival Plan Coordinator for California condors. He served on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Condor Recovery Team for 24 years, with more than a decade as Recovery Team leader.

SCIENCE AT WORK