Rick Hudson earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Richmond in 1977 and started his career in 1980 with the Fort Worth Zoo’s Department of Herpetology where he served as the assistant curator for twenty years. He moved to the zoo’s Conservation and Science Department in 2000 as conservation biologist. Rick has been active in the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s (AZA) reptile conservation programs, serving as co-chair of the Crocodilian Advisory Group and was the founder of the Lizard Advisory Group, which he chaired from 1990 to 2003. He currently serves on the steering committee for the Rock Iguana Species Survival Plan program. From 2001 to 2003, Rick served as chairman of the AZA’s Field Conservation Committee that developed the curriculum for an AZA course entitled Developing an Institutional In Situ Conservation Strategy.
Internationally, Rick is well-known for his iguana conservation work in the West Indies. Since 1992, he has spearheaded fundraising efforts for the Jamaican Iguana recovery program, and in 2001 he helped organize the International Iguana Foundation which has since raised nearly one million dollars for iguana conservation. Rick has contributed to the successful reintroduction over 250 headstarted Jamaican Iguanas since 1996, and the program was awarded the AZA’s International Conservation Award in 2000. During his time as co-chair of the IUCN SSC Iguana Specialist Group (2005-2008), Rick coordinated conservation work in seven countries throughout the Caribbean. He has also worked in Mexico, Costa Rica, Fiji, Peru, Madagascar, Indonesia, Europe, Myanmar, Brazil, Thailand, Honduras, Malaysia, Philippines, Belize, Cambodia, and India. His professional memberships include the following IUCN SSC Specialist Groups: Conservation Breeding, Crocodile, Reintroduction, Madagascar Reptile and Amphibian, and Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle.