Doug Smith, Ph.D

Doug Smith is the project leader for the Wolf Restoration Project in Yellowstone and has been with the program since its inception. Doug has studied wolves for over 20 years. Prior to Yellowstone, he worked with wolves in Michigan (Isle Royale National Park) and Minnesota. 

Doug is a Senior Wildlife Biologist in Yellowstone National Park. He supervises the wolf, bird and elk programs – formerly three jobs now 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 B.S. degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Idaho in 1985. While working toward this degree he became involved with studies of wolves and moose on Isle Royale with Rolf Peterson, which led to long-term involvement (1979-1994) with this study as well as a M.S. degree in Biology under Peterson at Michigan Technological University in 1988. His M.S. research focused on beavers in northern Minnesota and resulted in an 11 year study of beavers in Voyageurs National Park which eventually led to a PhD from the University of Nevada, Reno in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology in 1997 under Stephen H. Jenkins. He has also conducted beaver research in Wisconsin and Michigan as well as studying wolves in Minnesota with the world’s leading wolf expert L.D. Mech (1983).

He has published a wide variety of journal articles and book chapters on beavers, wolves, and birds and co-authored three popular books on wolves (The Wolves of Yellowstone & Decade of the Wolf which won the 2005 Montana book award for best book published in Montana) as well as publishing numerous popular articles. The third book, Wolves on the Hunt, came out in May 2015. He has participated in a number of documentaries about wolves for National Geographic and British Broadcasting Company (BBC) as well as other media.

He is interviewed widely and speaks often about wolves to audiences all over the world. His professional interests include wolf population dynamics, wolf-prey relationships, restoration of ecological processes, raptor conservation, and beaver population dynamics. He is a member of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Team, the Re-Introduction Specialist Group, and Canid Specialist Group for the IUCN. Besides wolves, birds and beavers, he is an avid canoeist preferring to travel mostly in the remote regions of northern Canada with his wife Christine and their two sons Sawyer and Hawken.

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