Brian Aucone is Senior Vice President for Animal Sciences at Denver Zoo where he guides the direction of the Field Conservation, Animal Care, Veterinary Medicine and Animal Welfare programs. After receiving his biology degree at the University of Northern Colorado, and doing an internship at Denver Zoo, he went to work at the Dallas Zoo Herpetarium. From there he went to Oklahoma City Zoo as the curator of Herpetology then returning to Denver Zoo in 2010. At Dallas Zoo the animals under Brian’s care were lovingly referred to as the section of death, where 130+ of the 160 or so animals he cared for being venomous reptiles.
Brian has had a passion for snakes since he was a young child and, in spite of her fear, his mother nurtured this passion. Today he focuses on all taxa and still has that boyhood passion and awe for snakes. Brian has a long history with Southwest Partners in Reptile and Amphibian Conservation (SWPARC), working with this group from its inception. On behalf of SWPARC he leads the annual Phrynosoma mccalli biomonitor training at the confluence of California, Arizona and Mexico where this lizard is endemic. Brian has worked on wildlife conservation projects in Anegada, Vietnam, Botswana, Nepal, Peru and Mongolia with a variety of taxa, including herps, and he always takes advantage of discovering the local herpetofauna while there, even if they are not the focus of his work. Pictured is Brian with a Boa constrictor imperator whom has been his faithful companion for 29 years.