September 29, 2011

Meet Dr. Brady Barr

National Geographic Channel reptile expert Dr. Brady Barr is the first scientist ever to capture and study all 23 species of crocodilians in the wild. For more than 15 years and through 50 countries, his goal has been to get hands-on experience with crocs in their natural habitats in order to understand how best to preserve them in the wild. Approximately one-third of all croc species are endangered and Barr’s extraordinary achievement brings worldwide attention to their plight. His latest scientific expedition takes him to Indonesia, where he attempts to answer questions surrounding a cave-dwelling population of reticulated pythons.

Dr. Barr has also participated in other research projects with leading scientists throughout the world including his ongoing research, supported by the National Geographic Society, into conservation of the American crocodile in Costa Rica, and his dietary study of alligators in the Florida Everglades.
In 2002, Dr. Barr’s expeditions took him to Cambodia, French Guiana, Brazil, Africa, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. In Cambodia, he made history in the scientific community by capturing a rare, wild Siamese crocodile, a species once thought to be functionally extinct in the wild.

In 2001, Dr. Barr assisted renowned paleontologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, Dr. Paul Sereno, in his effort to recreate “SuperCroc,” a prehistoric fossil discovery that at ten tons (9,000 kilograms) and 40 feet (12 meters) was among the largest crocodiles to ever roam the planet. Working together, they traveled the globe to study the anatomy and behavior of modern crocodilian species, looking for clues to put flesh on bone and create a life-size reconstruction of this ancient beast.

In 1997, Dr. Barr signed on with National Geographic as a field specialist for the Explorer series, becoming National Geographic’s resident herpetologist, and has since appeared in more than 60 National Geographic films and television shows, including National Geographic Channel’s popular series Dangerous Encounters with Brady Barr.
From 2001–2002, he hosted the National Geographic Channel series Reptile Wild with Dr. Brady Barr, and survived a myriad of adventures: a plane crash in the Brazilian Pantanal; getting bit in the face by a large boa constrictor; and getting pulled overboard by an angry crocodile.

Dr. Barr was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and raised in Bloomington, Indiana. He received a bachelor of science in science education from Indiana University in 1987 and, shortly thereafter, began his teaching career at Indianapolis’ North Central High School. Dr. Barr taught such subjects as zoology, biology, and earth and life sciences, championing an interactive classroom style by encouraging his students to “touch, see, and feel the animals firsthand.”
Moving to Florida to pursue graduate degrees at the University of Miami, Dr. Barr began extensive diet studies on alligators in Everglades National Park. The results of his ambitious research project have helped preserve the unique ecosystem. Barr received a master of science (1994) and a Ph.D. (1997) in biology from the University of Miami. Currently, Dr. Barr is a member of the Endangered Species Coalition of the Council of State Governments.

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