Dr. Koontz received a Ph.D. in Zoology in 1984 from the University of Maryland. Over the course of his career, Dr. Koontz has worked at the Wildlife Conservation Society, Wildlife Trust (now called “EcoHealth Alliance”) and, most recently, the Woodland Park Zoo, where he served as Vice President of Field Conservation. These positions took him around the world, overseeing and consulting on conservation projects in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Dr. Koontz is perhaps best known among field conservationists for co-leading a team of scientists, veterinarians, and park managers, who from 1991-1997 successfully reintroduced howler monkeys into the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize. Dr. Koontz was also on the adjunct faculty at Columbia University for ten years, and served at the same time on the Executive Management Committee for Columbia’s Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.
Dr. Koontz has published more than 50 articles for scientific and lay audiences. He is a sought-after speaker on nature conservation and animal behavior, having delivered hundreds of public lectures. Dr. Koontz has been interviewed by numerous television and radio stations, and has served on professional committees for the World Conservation Union (IUCN), NASA, New York State, Washington State, and others.
In February 2017, Dr. Koontz retired after 35 years working in the wildlife conservation profession. He lives in Duvall, Washington, with his wife, Dr. Wendy Westrom, a veterinarian.