Conservation Awards



  • Jacob A. Esselstyn
  • Jacob R. Goheen
  • Kristofer M. Helgen
  • Chris N. Jacques
  • Thomas Jung
  • Michael E. Tewes
  • Samantha 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.

2018 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 recipient of the 2018 Aldo Leopold award is Dr. Steve Goodman of the Field Museum of Natural History. Although the primary focus of Dr. Goodman’s research has been on the mammals of Madagascar, he has conducted research in numerous other African countries. His principal research interests are: 1) inventories of unknown or poorly known forested areas, 2) describing new species and elucidating the evolutionary history of Malagasy mammals, 3) application of gathered data in the advancement of conservation programs, and 4) capacity building for Malagasy conservation biologists, particularly graduate students.

Dr. Goodman is a founder of the Association Vahatra, a grass-roots organization that promotes conservation of Madagascar’s native fauna while training the next generation of Malagasy scientists in ecology and conservation biology. Over the last three decades, Dr. Goodman has helped create a whole generation of biologist and conservationists by training dozens of Malagasy graduate students and hundreds of undergraduates in modern ecological techniques, including best practices for field surveys, museum collections, data acquisition, and analysis. He has actively applied their distribution and abundance data to various large-scale conservation projects and were vitally involved in the 2003 national plan to triple the size of the protected areas system. Every letter of support highlighted the profound and lasting impact he has had, not only on the understanding of mammalian taxonomy and conservation, but on the Malagasy people as well.

To date, Dr. Goodman has received numerous awards from other organizations for his major contributions, including the Biodiversity Leadership Award (Bay and Paul Foundation, 2004), the Conservation Leadership Award (World Wildlife Fund, 2004), and was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow in 2005 and an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow in 2013.

2018 William T. Hornaday Award

This year’s recipient of the William T. Hornaday award is Kristoffer Everatt from Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth South Africa. Kris has a long history of mammal conservation, beginning as a guide for photographic expeditions of wolves and grizzly bears throughout the Yukon Territory and the Arctic. This experience inspired him to pursue a career as a conservation biologist. He obtained a Bachelors of Science with distinction from Vancouver Island University and went then went on to do a Masters at the University of Pretoria, South Africa on the status and ecology of lion, cheetah, wild dog, leopard and hyena existing in the human impacted Limpopo National Park. Some of this data provided the first evidence of these species current occurrence in Mozambique. He is now completing his PhD in Zoology at Nelson Mandela University on the influence of poaching on the landscape ecology and conservation biology of lions in the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area of South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. He has been actively engaged in creating policy, including contributing to the development of a National Action Plan for the Conservation of Lions in Mozambique and on-the-ground programs such as the Greater Limpopo Carnivore Program, the Limpopo Lion Guardians, and the Limpopo Elephant Program. Upon completion of his PhD he will be the director of Panthera’s newly established African Lion and Poaching program.

Streaming Presentations 

ASM Members can log into the Business Office site and stream presentations from past winners!

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.

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.

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. 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.

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. Supporting material as follows:

Aldo Leopold Award -- 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) should be submitted (as a single PDF file) to Erin Baerwald ( 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 and confirms that the nominees status as a student. Completed nomination packets (as a single PDF file) should be sent to Erin Baerwald ( Deadline for submission of completed nominations is 1 March. The recipient will be announced at the annual meeting of the Society.  Nominations are not retained from previous years.  Please send any questions about the award or the nomination to Erin Baerwald (


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
  • 2014—Lawrence R. HeaneyField Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL
  • 2015—Andrew T. SmithArizona State University, Tempe AZ
  • 2016—Marco Festa-Bianchet, Université de Sherbrooke, Québec
  • 2017—Gerardo Ceballos, Instituto de Ecología, UNAM
  • 2018—Steve GoodmanField Museum of Natural History


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)
  • 2014—Erin BaerwaldUniversity of Calgary (Ph.D. student)
  • 2015—José F. González-MayaInstituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Ph.D. student)
  • 2016—Héctor Ramirez-Chaves, University of Queensland, Australia (Ph.D. student)
  • 2017—Roberto Salom-Pérez, University of Idaho & Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), Costa Rica (Ph.D. student)
  • 2018—Kristoffer EverattNelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth South Africa (Ph. D. student)