About William Xanten

William Xanten
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General Curator

Smithsonian National Zoological Park: Washington, DC

General Curator, Retired

Bill’s roots with the National Zoo run deep. As a young boy interested in reptiles he would visit with National Zoo director William Mann. His dream of working at the zoo came to pass when in 1956 he was hired as an animal keeper. Over the years Bill held a variety of supervisory positions including associate mammal curator, mammal curator and general curator.

He retired in 1996 but was asked to return in 2003 as Director of Animal Programs. In 2007 he again retired capping off a 44-year career working with animals. During his tenure he visited, consulted, published and taught zoo management around the world. From Giant Pandas to small mammals he has gathered a wealth of practical experience in managing a major collection.