- Conservation International President Dr. Russell A. Mittermeier was awarded the second annual Aldo Leopold Award from the American Society of Mammalogists (ASM), CI announced today. The ASM created the award to honor individuals who have made outstanding and lasting contributions to the conservation of mammals and their habitats. In a written statement to the recipient, the ASM's president, Dr. Bruce D. Patterson, highlighted Mittermeier's "productivity as a scientist and [his] effective leadership of several conservation organizations, especially CI."
The Aldo Leopold Award honors the memory of the early 20th Century conservationist Aldo Leopold, a former ASM member who is well known for his land ethic philosophy and considered to be the "father" of wildlife ecology and management. Last year, the inaugural Aldo Leopold Award was presented to Dr. E. O. Wilson of Harvard University, who serves on CI's Board of Directors.
"What a wonderful surprise and great honor it is to receive only the second award named after the greatest conservationist of all time, Aldo Leopold," Mittermeier said.
Mittermeier, who has a Ph.D. in biological anthropology from Harvard University, is a prominent primatologist, herpetologist and wildlife conservationist with more than 30 years of field experience in Central and South America, Africa and Asia. Having served as CI's president since 1989, he is the only active field biologist to head an international conservation organization.
Mittermeier's fieldwork has focused on primates, protected areas and other conservation issues in Brazil, Suriname, Madagascar and more than 20 other countries. His areas of expertise include biological diversity and its value to humanity, ecosystem conservation, tropical biology and species conservation. Mittermeier's publications include 10 books and more than 300 papers and popular articles on primates, reptiles, tropical forests and biodiversity.
In addition to his work at CI, Mittermeier is Chairman of the IUCN-World Conservation Union Species Survival Commission's Primate Specialist Group, Adjunct Professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and President of the Margot Marsh Biodiversity Foundation. Prior to coming to CI, he was with the World Wildlife Fund-U.S. for 11 years, where his last role was as vice president for Science.
His other awards include the Order of the Golden Ark from His Royal Highness Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands (1995), the Grand Order of the Southern Cross from the President of Brazil (1997), and the Grand Sash and Order of the Yellow Star from the President of Suriname (1998). In 1998, he was selected as one of Time magazine's "EcoHeroes for the Planet."