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Eagle Hunters of Mongolia
Lauren McGough has been a licensed and practicing falconer since age 14, and has been particularly enamored with golden eagles as hunting partners – a unique branch of falconry that has only a handful of practitioners in the United States. After spending nearly two years as an exchange student in the United Kingdom and learning the strong European tradition of eagle falconry, she graduated from the University of Oklahoma with dual degrees in Zoology and International Studies.
In 2009, she was a Fulbright Scholar to Mongolia, where she apprenticed herself to local eagle masters and trained eagles for hunting foxes off of horseback. She loved Kazakh eagle culture so much, that she earned a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of St Andrews in Scotland on the subject.
Most of all, Lauren has enjoyed bringing the eagle training techniques she’s learned abroad back to her home country, where she teaches golden eagles in need of rehabilitation how to hunt on the great plains. The last two years she has also been using this technique to rehabilitate eagles in South Africa. Loving flight in all its forms, Lauren is an avid skydiver and is currently pursuing her private pilot’s certificate.
Dr. Dwight Lawson joined the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden in May 2014 as Executive Director/CEO. As the Executive Director, he plans, coordinates, and directs the day-to-day operations and long-term management of the Zoo, and ensures the Zoo’s continued development. Dwight came to Oklahoma City from Zoo Atlanta where he served as Director, Senior Vice President of Collections, and General Curator. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania. He holds a Master of Science in Biology and a Ph.D. in Quantitative Biology from the University of Texas at Arlington. His doctoral degree is based on more than 4 years of field research on the diversity, evolution and natural history of exploited rainforest reptiles in Central Africa. Much of these studies were undertaken while concurrently developing and directing a wildlife conservation project in Cameroon, Africa. Dr. Lawson is a Professional Fellow member of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA). In addition, he serves as Vice-President of the non-profit conservation organization, the Turtle Survival Alliance. He is a graduate of Leadership OKC. Dr. Lawson resides in Edgemere Park with his wife, Dr. Rebecca Snyder, and daughter Rory.