Expert on reptiles
helped Honolulu Zoo

Sean Mckeown / Herpetologist


By Rosemarie Bernardo

Herpetologist Sean McKeown, former reptiles curator at the Honolulu Zoo, died Thursday at Stanford Medical Center in California. He was 58 years old.

According to his wife, Wendy, McKeown received zoo awards for being the first to breed Madagascar ploughshare tortoises. He also administered the first long-term breeding program for the Madagascar ground boas, said Wendy in an e-mail letter.

McKeown spent 20 years as a curator of reptiles at the Honolulu Zoo and the Chafee Zoological Gardens in Fresno, Calif. During that time, he helped promote the importance of conservation and captive management and breeding of endangered reptiles and amphibians worldwide. McKeown was also the editor of Vivarium magazine and internationally known as an expert on ecology and conservation of reptiles and amphibians.

McKeown wrote more than 100 articles on the care and breeding of reptiles and amphibians.

Some of his published works include "The General Care and Maintenance of Day Geckos," "Jackson's Chameleons (Cha-maeleo jacksonii): Natural History, Captive Management, and Breeding," and "Hawaiian Reptiles and Amphibians."

McKeown remained an advocate for Hawaiian wildlife preservation after he moved to Los Osos, Calif. from Hawaii.

He worked closely with former Honolulu Zoo director Paul Breese to help keep brown tree snakes out of Hawaii.

"The country has lost one of its most brilliant, hardworking and active leaders in wildlife conservation of this era. We will dearly miss him," said Breese.

E-mail to City Desk


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