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Herrelko, Elizabeth (Betsy)

Animal Welfare & Research Manager


Integrative Behavior & Wellness (BeWell): In pursuit of elevating animal welfare through research, practice, outreach, and compliance.

Professional Biography

  • Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Herrelko is the Animal Welfare and Research Manager at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. She focuses on advancing animal welfare science with an emphasis on animal management and how animals think. Betsy leads the Animal Welfare and Animal Care and Use Committees to ensure compliance with regulations and facilitate best practices for all species at the zoo, is responsible for overseeing research within Animal Care Sciences, and consults across animal care units on applied practices. She joined the Zoo in 2012 as the David Bohnett Cognitive Research Fellow studying cognitive bias (a measure of emotional affect) in apes. Prior to the Smithsonian, Betsy earned her master’s degree from Hunter College (New York) and her PhD from the University of Stirling (Scotland). In addition to traditional dissemination of information methods in academia, Betsy also communicates her science story through natural history documentaries. Her work with primates has been featured on the BBC, Animal Planet, and Discovery Channel.