Curator, Elephant Trails and Cheetah Conservation Station
As the curator of Elephant Trails and Cheetah Conservation Station, Tony Barthel oversees all aspects of the daily care and management of the animal collection in these exhibit areas. He supervises a staff of two assistant curators and 14 animal keepers.
With the help of his staff, Barthel is responsible for determining and coordinating any changes to the animal collection along with the associated breeding programs, animal acquisitions or dispositions. Within Elephant Trails and the Cheetah Conservation Station, he is responsible for the husbandry of the animals, enrichment and training programs, upkeep of the facilities, and coordinating research and outreach programs. He works closely with the departments of nutrition and wildlife health sciences to ensure that the welfare of the animals in his unit is prioritized and consistently addressed.
Since joining the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in 2002, Barthel has overseen the construction and opening of the Asia Trail exhibit area; facility and collection enhancements throughout the Cheetah Conservation Station exhibit; the design and construction of the Elephant Trails exhibit; and significant growth in the Zoo’s Asian elephant program.
Barthel received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Valparaiso University in 1992. After receiving his degree, he worked at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. He joined the opening team of Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 1997, and later was a manager in the animal care team for the opening of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Throughout his career he has maintained a passion for animal welfare and animal behavior. Barthel believes that Zoos offer unique opportunities to connect people with incredible animal stories, which is a profound tool for the conservation of species.
- Fazio, Jilian M., Barthel, Tony, Freeman, Elizabeth W., Garlick-Ott, Kay, Scholle, Anne, and Brown, Janine L. 2020. "Utilizing Camera Traps, Closed Circuit Cameras and Behavior Observation Software to Monitor Activity Budgets, Habitat Use, and Social Interactions of Zoo-Housed Asian Elephants (Elephus maximus)." Animals, 10, (11). https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10112026. 2024
- Yu, Jennifer H., Brown, Janine, Boisseau, Nicole, Barthel, Tony, and Murray, Suzan. 2021. "Effects of Lupron and surgical castration on fecal androgen metabolite concentrations and intermale aggression in capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris)." Zoo biology, 40, (2) 135–141. https://doi.org/10.1002/zoo.21586. 2021
- Siegal-Willott, Jessica L., Anikis, Paul, Neiffer, Donald L., Barthel, Tony, and Goodrich, Laurie R. 2021. "Use of Intracarpal Interleukin Receptor Antagonist Protein (Irap) and Hyaluronic Acid in a Multimodal Therapeutic Regime for Osteoarthritis in an Asian Elephant (Elephas Maximus)." Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 52, (1) 401–405. https://doi.org/10.1638/2019-0113. 2021
- Boedeker, N. C., Nelson, M. I., Killian, M. L., Torchetti, M. K., Barthel, Tony C., and Murray, S. 2017. "Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 influenza A virus infection associated with respiratory signs in sloth bears (Melursus ursinus)." Zoonoses and Public Health, 64, (7) 566–571. https://doi.org/10.1111/zph.12370. 2017
- Foerder, Preston, Galloway, Marie, Barthel, Tony C., Moore, Donald, and Reiss, Diana. 2011. "Insightful Problem Solving in an Asian Elephant." PLoS ONE, 6, (8) 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0023251. 2011
- Woc-Colburn, Margarita, Murray, Suzan, Boedeker, Nancy C., Viner, Tabitha, Fleetwood, Michelle L., Barthel, Tony C., Newman, Kurt D., and Sanchez, Carlos R. 2010. "Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma in a Rothschild's Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi)." Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, 41, (4) 717–720. https://doi.org/10.1638/2009-0195.1. 2010
- Siegal-Willott, Jessica L., Neiffer, Donald L., and Barthel, Tony. 2017. "Use of interleukin receptor antagonist protein (IRAP) in a multi-modal therapeutic regime for osteoarthritis in an Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)." from AAZV Annual Conference Proceedings. (Dallas, Texas) 2017-09-22. American Association of Zoo Veterinarians. 2017
- National Zoological Park Academic Department