With great sadness, we learned that our esteemed colleague, JoGayle Howard, passed away early Saturday morning, March 5, 2011. She was a warrior in her battle against cancer surprising her doctors with the tenacity and strong will that are familiar to us, her Zoo family.
JoGayle arrived at the Smithsonian's National Zoo in 1980 as a research intern, later earning her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. Her intense focus on animal reproduction and her success at pioneering new techniques earned her the title of "Sperm Queen," a nickname she relished. In 1993, the National Institutes of Health awarded her a prestigious Fellowship Special Emphasis Research Career Award (SERCA), which helped support her research. It was but one of many notable awards she received, along with international acclaim for her innovative research.
During her three-decade career, this remarkable scientist and woman achieved countless breakthroughs in the field of reproductive physiology, trained hundreds of students and foreign colleagues, and
played an instrumental role in saving species. In collaboration with many of you and others around the country, she rescued the black footed ferret from the brink of extinction. Clouded leopards in Thailand and in zoos around the world have JoGayle to thank for their survival. And yes, she was a member of the NZP team to unravel the giant panda reproduction puzzle for us and our Chinese colleagues.
JoGayle has been surrounded and cared for by numerous friends and colleagues for the past several months. She will be buried in Texas, her family home, and later this spring there will be a celebratory
memorial service, details to follow.
For individuals interested in honoring her memory, donations may be made to the:
SCBI/JoGayle Howard Cat Conservation Fund
Strategic Development Office
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
National Zoological Park
1500 Remount Road
Front Royal, VA 22630