Peter Tolson

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Dr. Peter Tolson Gives a Wildlife Presentation to Joint Task Force Guantanamo Personnel DVIDS228122.jpg

Peter Tolson is a herpetologist who is the director of conservation and research at the Toledo Zoo, in Toledo, Ohio.[1] Tolson is well known for his regular field trips to the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.[2][3][4][5]

Tolson served in Guantanamo as a US Marine radio technician in the 1960s.[2] He credits his discovery of the base's wildlife, when off-duty to inspiring him to become a herpetologist.

Tolson's expertise has been cited by National Geographic and both the New York Times and Washington Post have profiled him.[2][3][4]


  1. "West Indian Boa Conservation". Toledo Zoo. Retrieved 2017-07-12. "Toledo Zoo herpetologist Peter Tolson, Ph.D., director of conservation and research examines the mouth of Pinky, a male Cuban boa at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station veterinary treatment facility." 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Annie Snider (2011-06-17). "Outside Guantanamo's Prisons,' It's Really a Biologist's Dream'". New York Times. Retrieved 2017-07-12. "Each year, Tolson makes a point of holding an educational show for the base's residents. Preparing for the show takes two days of running around, crawling through the base's nursery in the afternoon heat and hunting for animals by headlamp in a ravine at night, and it means precious time away from his research. But Tolson is committed to the project, in part because it was during his time serving as an enlisted Marine at Guantanamo Bay that he first fell in love with the region's animals." 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Brian Handwerk (2009-04-03). "Guantanamo's Wild Side: Huge Boas, "Banana Rats," More". National Geographic News. Retrieved 2017-07-12. "Tolson works with the Navy to radio-track Cuban boas on the base, where their numbers and sizes, he said, are incredible." 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Murray Carpenter (2017-07-13). "An unlikely wildlife haven on controversial Guantanamo Bay". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-07-12. "Tan and fit from his hours afield, with close-cropped salt-and-pepper hair, Tolson moves nimbly, with the enthusiasm of a teen, though he is 72 years old. He’s been chasing snakes for five decades in this spot." 
  5. Leona Mynes (2011-05-09). "Iguana Population Study Completed aboard Guantanamo Bay". US Navy. Retrieved 2017-07-12. "Wildlife conservation and research specialists from the Toledo Zoo completed a second Cuban rock iguana population study aboard Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, May 9."