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Douglas W. Smith PhD retired as Senior Wildlife Biologist in Yellowstone National Park in 2022 after 28 years of service to Yellowstone.

He supervised the wolf, bird, and elk programs – formerly three jobs combined into one under Doug’s supervision. His original job was the Project Leader for the Yellowstone Wolf Project which involved the reintroduction and restoration of wolves to Yellowstone National Park. He helped establish this project and position.

Doug received a bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Idaho in 1985, a Master of Science degree in Biology at Michigan Technological University in 1988, and a PhD from the University of Nevada, Reno, in Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology in 1997.

He is most recognized for his wolf research and management, working with wolves for 44 years across North America and Europe, most notably in Yellowstone and Isle Royale national parks. Besides wolves, he has decades of experience studying and researching beavers and birds.

As a result of this work, he has produced over 100 peer-reviewed publications, tens of popular articles, six books, and thousands of interviews, including 60 Minutes, several BBC and National Geographic specials, and several live national television broadcasts. Two books, Decade of the Wolf and Yellowstone Wolves, received awards – the Montana Nature Book of the Year and the Wildlife Society’s Best Edited Wildlife Book for 2020. Yellowstone’s Birds out in late 2023 is only the third bird book in the park’s 150-year history.

Doug is also an in-demand public speaker, having given approximately 2000 talks on wolves, birds, and other wildlife. He was selected as a National Geographic Live speaker for 2024. Since retiring and besides public speaking, Doug is consulting on several wolf management programs and helping with public outreach and media about wildlife conservation issues in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem. Other than wildlife research and conservation, Doug is an avid canoeist paddling some of the most remote regions on the North American continent, including four trips lasting a month. He and his wife, Christine, live with their two sons in Bozeman, Montana.

Doug Smith Interview

Watch Our 2024 Interview with Doug Smith

Watch our full interview with Doug Smith or watch in parts separated by question. Doug talks about how he got into his career and his "retirement." He speaks about the history of wolves in Yellowstone, the struggles they've faced, killing contests, and more. Learn more by watching the interview.

White Wolves of Yellowstone & Matriarchs of Yellowstone

Green Kids Club has been working closely with Doug Smith to create two books. White Wolves of Yellowstone & Matriarchs of Yellowstone. They will tell gripping stories showing the history of wolves from near extinction in Yellowstone to their reintroduction to the ecosystem. Illustrated by Andreas Wessel-Therhorn these stories are brought to life with beautiful and stunning illustrations. Be on the lookout for White Wolves of Yellowstone & Matriarchs of Yellowstone, written by Sylvia M. Medina and Doug Smith later this year.

Who is Doug Smith?

Environmental Hero Doug Smith Interview Parts

Watch our interview with Doug Smith in parts. Doug answers questions about who he is, his career, wolves, his PHD, and more. Watch the interview parts below to learn more!

About the author

Green Kids Club

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