Mittermeier receives prestigious
environmental award from the state of São Paulo
São Paulo, Brazil – Conservation International
(CI) President, Dr. Russell
Mittermeier, was awarded the
environmental honor given by the state of São Paulo at an event Thursday.
Governor Geraldo Alckmin presented Mittermeier the
João Pedro Cardoso award
to distinguished individuals who have contributed highly to the state’s
environmental education, conservation and restoration.
"It's amazing that the third largest
economic power in Latin America is giving such importance to biodiversity,”
Mittermeier said during the ceremony. “Currently 12% of the state area is
protected and that number grows to 14% if we include marine areas. São Paulo is
setting is an example for Brazil, Latin America and the world."
The state of São Paulo is of particular
conservation interest because it is home to the Atlantic Forest, a biodiversity
hotspot that has been facing increased pressure from issues tied to
Other recipients of the award on
Thursday included Brazilian and international conservationists,
including Ibsen de Gusmão Câmara, Paulo Nogueira Neto and Thomas Lovejoy.
"In 1971, when I was a kid, Dr. Nogueira
Neto took me in his own car to see monkeys in São Paulo State Park,” Mittermeier
said of his fellow honoree. “I have known Admiral Ibsen for over 30 years now
and Lovejoy was the person who showed the world the importance of the Amazon,"
Mittermeier’s outstanding contribution to biodiversity conservation in
Brazil also earned him the Order of the Southern Cross by the Brazilian
government in 1989. He is a fluent speaker of Portuguese and much of his field
work has been conducted in the Amazon and the country's Atlantic Forest,
or Mata Atlântica, which stretches along
Brazil's Atlantic coast, from the northern state of Rio Grande do Norte south to
Rio Grande do Sul.
served as the President of CI since 1989. He was named a “hero for the planet”
by TIME Magazine and he is regarded as a world leader in biodiversity and
tropical forest conservation. Trained as a primatologist and herpetologist, he
has traveled widely in more than 150 countries. Mittermeier is also one of
IUCN’s four Vice-Presidents for the period 2009-2012, and serves as Chairman of
the IUCN Species Survival Commission Primate Specialist Group.
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