Conservation Awards



  • R. T. Bowyer Jr.
  • J. Esselstyn
  • J. Goheen
  • K. M. Helgen
  • T. Jung
  • N. Ordoñez
  • K. Stone
  • S. Wisely

History and Mission

In 2002, the American Society of Mammalogists established 2 new conservation awards to recognize outstanding contributions to the conservation of mammals and their habitats.

Aldo Leopold Award

The first award, the Aldo Leopold Award, is awarded to a well-established individual who has made a lasting contribution to the conservation of mammals and their habitats. We are proud to honor the memory of former ASM member Aldo Leopold with the senior award. Not only did Aldo Leopold have a significant and lasting influence in wildlife conservation and management, but he also had a great interest in mammals. He was an active member of ASM and a member of the Conservation of Land Mammals Committee (4 years) in the 1930s and during this time worked to defend wolves in Wisconsin and the Great Lakes states and grizzly bears in New Mexico. Leopold is well known for his famous land ethic philosophy, and is considered to be the “father” of wildlife ecology and management. His son, A. Starker Leopold, served as Chair of the Conservation of Land Mammals Committee in the 1950s. Students of both generations of Leopolds have had a profound impact on the field of mammalogy. In 2003, the inaugural Aldo Leopold Award recipient was E. O. Wilson of Harvard University for his valuable contributions to mammalian conservation through his development and promotion of the concepts of biodiversity.

William T. Hornaday Award

The second award, the William T. Hornaday Award, is awarded to a current undergraduate or graduate student who has made a significant contribution as a student to the conservation of mammals and their habitats. This award was not given in 2003. Nominations were considered for the first time in 2004. Hornaday was a pioneer in wildlife conservation and the “architect” of 2 of the most renowned zoological parks in the United States, the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and the New York Zoological Park in Bronx, New York. Hornaday was responsible for a number of early wildlife protection laws in the US, was instrumental in saving the northern fur seal from extinction, and authored 15 books and numerous articles about wildlife and the need for conservation. The fate of the American bison seemed to stir Hornaday most deeply, perhaps because he had himself witnessed the systematic slaughter of this species in the west. His 1889 book entitled “The extermination of the American bison” established him as a prominent defender of these animals, and in the early 1900s, he founded the National Bison Society and promoted the establishment of the Wichita, Kansas and Montana Bison Ranges.

2013 Aldo Leopold Award Recipient

The Aldo Leopold Award is awarded to a well-established individual who has made a lasting contribution to the conservation of mammals and their habitats. Aldo Leopold, the “father” of wildlife ecology and management, is well known for his famous land ethic philosophy and his influence on wildlife conservation, including his active membership on ASM Conservation Committees in the 1930s.

The 2013 Aldo Leopold Conservation Award from the American Society of Mammalogists is awarded to Dr. Joel Berger. The Award is given to well-established individuals who have made lasting contributions to the conservation of mammals and their habitats. Dr. Berger has addressed research questions about mammalian ecology and conservation in natural systems at broad geographic scales across 5 continents including

  1.  Social behavior and ecology of wild horses
  2.  Behavioral and demographic consequences of horn removal in African rhinos
  3. Effects of predator reintroduction on the ecology of prey species and on the structure of vertebrate communities
  4. Long-distance migration by mammals and conservation of their migration corridors
  5. Effects of climate change in the Arctic on demography and persistence of musk ox 
  6. Conservation of large mammals in Bhutan, Tibet, and Mongolia.

In each of these systems, our recipient and his collaborators have combined traditional approaches and novel field manipulations that facilitate stronger inferences about both fundamental and applied ecological topics. Dr. Berger also has engaged in capacity building in these projects through efforts with local conservation organizations, education and training for local scientists and students, and advising for governmental agencies.

Dr. Berger was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Sciences, twice received the Rolex Foundation's Meritorious Project Award, and won the LaRue Memorial Conservation Award from the Society for Conservation Biology. Dr. Berger has communicated his work and the importance of conservation to the public through popular articles, and interviews in popular media outlets. Such outreach is essential to influence public perspectives and consequently, public policy. In addition, these efforts serve to inspire the next generation of scientists and citizen supporters of conservation.

Dr. Berger has mentored 17 graduate and post-graduate students. One student remarked “I can attest that our recipient was an advisor who continually challenged students to think critically about questions that were most important for mammalian conservation and to think creatively about how to address them.” Perhaps most telling of his long-term impact on conservation is that fact that all of Dr. Berger’s former graduate students currently contribute to research and conservation of mammals. Dr. Berger holds an endowed chair, the John J. Craighead Chair of Wildlife Conservation at the University of Montana, and he is a Senior Scientist for the Wildlife Conservation Society. 

2013 William T. Hornaday Award

The recipient of the 2013 American Society of Mammalogist’s William T. Hornaday Award is Mr. Abdullahi Hussein Ali. The William T. Hornaday Award is awarded to a student who has made a significant contribution to the conservation of mammals and their habitats. Ali is a Ph.D student at the University of Wyoming where he is conducting a dissertation on the conservation and ecology of hirola antelope in Ijara District in eastern Kenya. The hirola may be the world’s most endangered antelope and Ali has made major strides toward hirola conservation because he is Somali and speaks local languages fluently; has worked hard to create and maintain a strong respect with local communities in Ijara; and most importantly, has a combination of motivation, patience, political know-how, intellect, and vision. Ali has worked tirelessly to educate local communities and earn their unwavering support. He is working in Ijara to disentangle the negative influence of range degradation and predation. Through a combination of GPS telemetry, analysis of long-term satellite imagery, a large-scale predator exclusion zone, and sustained community outreach and education, Ali is informing national policy toward this little-known species. Specifically, he is demonstrating that a combination of tree encroachment (driven by rampant elephant poaching in the 1970s and 1980s) and predation by recently-recolonized wild dogs and cheetah may explain the inability of hirola populations to recover in their historic strongholds. His research is proving to be crucial in guiding the Kenya Wildlife Service to identify sites for future reintroductions.  

Aldo Leopold Award

The Aldo Leopold Award is awarded to a well-established individual who has made a lasting contribution to the conservation of mammals and their habitats.

William T.Hornaday Award

The William T. Hornaday Award is awarded to a current undergraduate or graduate student who has made a significant contribution as a student to the conservation of mammals and their habitats.

Award Requirements

The recipient of each award will have contributed substantially to

  1. The conservation of 1 or more mammalian species, subspecies, or populations,
  2. The conservation of mammalian assemblages and communities, and/or
  3. Advancing the field of conservation biology through focal research on mammals.

Those contributing to the conservation of land and/or marine mammals are eligible for consideration. We interpret “contribution” broadly to include

  1. Scientific research or political activism that has resulted in the preservation of an imperiled species;
  2. Development of protective management recommendations;
  3. Acquisition of new knowledge regarding the conservation status or causes for decline of mammalian species or populations;
  4. The protection of significant mammalian habitat; or
  5. Promotion of the conservation of mammals through public education.

Required Documents

All persons are invited to submit nominations for these awards. For each award, the nomination packet should include:

  1. A brief (2 pages maximum) narrative that introduces and describes the conservation activities of the nominee;
  2. A list of relevant journal articles, government and NGO reports, newspaper clippings, and other materials that chronicle and corroborate the conservation-related activities of the nominee;
  3. Contact information for the nominator and nominee;
  4. Other supporting material as follows:

Aldo Leopold Award

A letter of nomination for the Leopold Award and a curriculum vita should be sent to  before 1 February to Joseph Cook ( If the nominated candidate is judged competitive by the Conservation Awards Committee, the nominator will be asked to send a complete nomination packet (nominating letter, curriculum vita, 3 pieces of corroborative literature that most succinctly and directly describe the nominee’s contributions to mammalian conservation, and up to 4 additional letters of support incorporated into a single PDF). The nominator should send the PDF to Joseph Cook by 1 March.

William T. Hornaday Award

Letters of recommendation from 2 individuals familiar with the nominee’s conservation activities. One of these letters must be from the student’s research advisor. Completed nomination packets in a single PDF should be sent to Joseph A. Cook ( The deadline for submission of completed nominations is 1 March.

Recipients of these awards will be announced during the banquet at the annual ASM meeting.


for outstanding contributions to the conservation of mammals and mammalian biodiversity

  • 2003—Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University
  • 2004—Russell A. Mittermeier, Conservation International, Washington, DC
  • 2005—George B. Schaller, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, NY
  • 2007—Rodrigo A. Medellín, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México,Coyoacán, Ciudad de México, México
  • 2008—Virgilio G. Roig, Jardín Zoológico de Mendoza, Mendoza, Argentina
  • 2009—Helene Marsh, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia
  • 2010—Herbert Prins, Chair of Resource Ecology, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
  • 2011—Rubén Bárquez, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET of Argentina)
  • 2012—Dean Biggins, US Geological Service, Fort Collins, CO
  • 2013—Joel Berger, University of Montana


presented to a student/young professional who has made a significant contribution as a student to the conservation of mammals and their habitats.

  • 2004—Brent Sewall, University of California-Davis
  • 2005—Isabel Beasley, James Cook University, Queensland, Austrailia
  • 2008—Angelia S. M. Vanderlaan, Oceanography Department, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 2009—Gerrit Jan Schipper III, Director of IUCN-SSC/CI-CABS Global Mammal Assessment
  • 2011—Enzo Aliaga-Rosel (University of Hawai`i at Manoa)
  • 2013—Abdullahi Hussein Ali, Univeristy of Wyoming (Ph.D. student)