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Contact: Erin Scott
Sr. Marketing and Public Relations Manager
760-346-5694 x.2610

Dr. James Danoff-Burg, The Living Desert Zoo and Garden’s Director of Conservation, was recently honored with a Fulbright Specialist Award to India by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

With this grant, Dr. Danoff-Burg will be conducting meetings with leading universities in the Northern Western Ghats to better understand their needs for conservation implementation and planning. He will then use a series of training events to build capacity among the educators and graduate students who will, in turn, become the trainers for others in the area, following his departure.

“Receiving this award is a true honor as it will assist conservation efforts for years to come. My goal is to generate awareness, at the graduate and post graduate level, about professional development opportunities in the field of conservation,” said Dr. Danoff-Burg. “This region is a global biodiversity hotspot with large areas of forest outside protected areas, all facing the threats of deforestation. Poor understanding of real conservation is leading to the loss of species. This program will address and improve the understanding and skills present in this area of India for conservation.”

The Fulbright Program aims to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.

“Our colleagues in the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which oversees the Fulbright Program operations throughout the world, join the Board in Congratulating Dr. Danoff-Burg,” said Jeffrey Bleich, Chair of the Fulbright Scholarship Board.

Dr. Danoff-Burg joined The Living Desert as Director of Conservation in November 2017. For the past two decades, his research, teaching, and conservation implementation actions have focused on solutions to threats facing global biodiversity through community-based conservation approaches. Danoff-Burg recently has been a consultant on sustainable community-based conservation to zoos and aquariums, and the governments of countries as diverse as the Dominican Republic, Cambodia, United Arab Emirates, India, and Japan. Integral to all of these efforts is his deep commitment to inspiring hope for the future across the 17 countries in which he has worked.

He is Founding Director of Helping Rhinos USA, a conservation organization focused on supporting community-based conservation and education solutions to the epidemic of poaching that is affecting the populations of Black and Southern White rhinos in Africa. The work of Helping Rhinos strives to enhance anti-poaching efforts while also fostering demand reduction in consumer countries through education and outreach.

For more information about The Living Desert, visit

About The Living Desert:
The Living Desert is an AZA-accredited zoo and gardens that is dedicated to desert conservation through preservation, education and appreciation. It is a family-friendly place to explore nature and create meaningful experiences for guests that are remembered for a lifetime. For more information: (760) 346-5694 or visit The Living Desert is located at: 47900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert, CA 92260.