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Originally from northern California, Ryan Richards' interest in wildlife is strongly linked to natural resource management and rural development. This interest in balancing economic and ecological interests led him to the University of California, Davis, where he studied wildlife biology and music. He also worked on habitat restoration projects with farmers and with public transportation ventures in California's Central Valley.

Ryan recently received an M.S. in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology and an M.P.P. in Environmental Policy from the University of Maryland. While at Maryland, he worked on land use projects with Defenders of Wildlife and US Fish & Wildlife Service. He also had the opportunity to travel to Brazil for a sustainable forestry investment project with the International Finance Corporation.

Ryan conducted his graduate research with the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia, which explored opportunities to use biomass energy markets as drivers for removal of invasive thornbush on farmland. During his time in Africa he also had the opportunity to work with farmers on integrated livestock/wildlife management practices and track several black rhinos as part of a reintroduction program.

Ryan currently works for the Smithsonian on the Global Tiger Initiative. Launched by the World Bank, this partnership of tiger range countries and NGOs links conservation and development to address the greatest threats to tiger populations. As part of this group, Smithsonian focuses on spreading best practices in protected area management to staff across the tiger's range.

In his spare time, Ryan likes to explore the outdoors, search for musical outlets in the DC area, and follow San Francisco Giants baseball.