WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, June 29, 2022 — American Humane, the country’s first national humane organization and the world’s largest certifier of animal welfare practices, awarded Dr. Jon Paul Rodríguez, Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, with the inaugural Wolfgang Kiessling International Prize for Species Conservation on June 24th in Washington, D.C.
The award, created in honor of Wolfgang F. Kiessling, the founder of Loro Parque and a globally acknowledged leader in the conservation space, is the world’s leading honor for conservation and recognizes those who achieve signiﬁcant positive change in the ﬁeld of conservation practice, theory and research.
“Dr. Rodríguez has spent a lifetime fighting for the preservation of the legacy of life on Earth and spearheads what may well be the world’s most effective coordinated effort to save endangered species, draw attention and public support to the cause of species survival, and push back the terrible tide of extinction,” said American Humane president and CEO, Dr. Robin Ganzert. “His life’s work has been – literally – to save the world.”
Dr. Rodríguez was selected from a pool of dozens of candidates representing 16 countries across five continents who lead conservation projects that span the globe in virtually every aspect of conservation.
“We want to recognize the leading conservation scientists who are making significant changes in the fields of conservation and species preservation,” said Mr. Kiessling. “We had remarkable candidates and each one of them receives our greatest respect and admiration for their tireless work in protecting the wildlife of our planet.”
The recognition comes with a grant of US $80,000 to further Dr. Rodríguez’s work to make signiﬁcant contributions to the practical application, research and theory of species protection. The award was presented during a special ceremony in the nation’s capital drawing attendees from all over the world. Distinguished guests included Wolfgang F. Kiessling and his family, American Humane board members retired USMC Colonel Scott Campbell and retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Tom Kearney, and members of the global conservation community.
To learn more about American Humane’s vital work in preserving and protecting the world’s magnificent and endangered species, visit https://www.AmericanHumane.org/Conservation.
“We know how to do conservation, we just need to do more of it,” Dr. Rodríguez said. “Much more money is spent on destroying nature than on protecting it. If we let nature recover, she will come back. With these efforts we plan to tip the balance slightly in favor of species and ecosystems, and let them do their job in reversing declining biodiversity trends.”