J. Paul Getty Award for Conservation Leadership

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The J. Paul Getty Award for Conservation Leadership has been awarded annually since 2006 in recognition of outstanding leadership in global conservation. The award aims to acknowledge individuals making "pioneering and substantial" [1] contributions to conservation as well as foster the development of future leaders in conservation. The $200,000 cash award goes to fund graduate fellowships for students in conservation-related fields. These fellowships are established at the institution of higher learning of the awardee's choice and named in honor of the award recipient and J. Paul Getty.

Currently, the award is administered by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on behalf of the Getty family. Conservation organizations worldwide submit nomninations to WWF and winners are selected by an impartial panel of judges from the conservation community. The Getty Award recognizes achievement in three annually rotating categories: political leadership in conservation (2006), leadership in conservation science (2007), and community leadership in conservation (2008). The 2009 Getty Award will mark begin the second rotation by again recognizing outstanding achievement in political conservation leadership.


The prize was first instituted by philanthropist and businessman J. Paul Getty in 1974 as the J. Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation Prize. Initially, the prize had the broad aim to recognize "outstanding contributions to international conservation" but was renamed in 2004 to reflect a restructuring of the award to "give it greater focus and strengthen its impact on conservation."[1][2][3] The newly established J. Paul Getty Award for Conservation Leadership was awarded for the first time in 2006.

In 1983 the Wildlife Conservation Prize was presented to the awardees by President Ronald Reagan at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. According to then-president of WWF in the United States, Russell E. Train, Reagan referred to the Getty Award as the "Nobel Prize for conservation."[4]

Award Recipients[edit]

J. Paul Getty Award for Conservation Leadership recipients (2008-2006)[1][5][6][edit]

Year Name Country Category Basis of award
2008 Roger Samba Madagascar Community Leadership in Conservation Organized the world's first community-managed no-take zone for octopus More
2007 Dr. K. Ullas Karanth India Leadership in Conservation Science Developed sohpisticated and accurate methods for monitoring wild animal populations and in recognition of his many other contributions to conservation More
2006 His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, King of Bhutan Bhutan Political Leadership in Conservation Brought about government policies that have substantially benefitted conservation and increased environmental sustainability in Bhutan More

J. Paul Getty Wildlife Conservation Prize recipients (2003-1974)[7][edit]

Year Name Organization Country Basis of award
2003 Dmitry Lisitsyn Sakhalin Environmental Watch Russia Worked to hold oil companies responsible for their effects on the environment of Sakhalin Island
Haji Masdjuni East Kalimantan, Indonesia Achievements in sea turtle protection
Francisco Solis Germani Coastal Range Coalition Chile Played a significant role in the rerouting of Chile's Southern Coastal highway
Lester Seri Conservation Melanesia Papua New Guinea Aided the native Maisin people to reduce the negative impacts of unsustainable farming techniques
Yang Xin Greenriver Environmental Protection Association Tibet, China Worked with Chinese government to protect the Tibetan antelope and the Yangtze River at its source
2002 Antonio Reina Mozambique Contributed to the conservation of Mozambique's coastal region, including the expansion of the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park
2001 Charles Darwin Foundation Ecuador In recognition of more than 40 years of conservation work in the Galápagos Islands and for its response to the Jessica oil spill occurring this year
2000 Julia Carabias Lillo Mexico Contributed greatly to the protection of Mexico's biodiversity and to the development of an international model of resource management that harmonizes environmental concerns with those of people
1999 Trinational NGO Alliance for the Gulf of Honduras Contributed to the protection and conservation of coastal and marine resources of the Gulf of Honduras
Pan Wenshi China Broke ground in panda conservation with a career that has advanced understanding of the giant panda and laid a foundation for new conservation programs
1998 M. Jean-Bosco Kpanou Central Republic of Africa Habituated lowland gorillas in the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park
1997 Forest Stewardship Council Oaxaca, Mexico For promoting environmentally sound forest management by harnessing the power of the marketplace
1996 Fundação Pro-TAMAR Salvador, Brazil For turtle conservation
Pawikan Conservation Project and Taman-Taman Sabah (Sabah Parks) Quezon City, Philippines and Sabah, Malaysia (respectively) For safeguarding a vital nesting area for sea turtles
1995 The Parc National des Volcans

(Volcanoes National Park)

Rwanda For park staff's dedication and heroism in protecting mountain gorillas during civil war
1994 Sherubtse College Bhutan For developing an innovative environmental studies program
COMUNIDEC Ecuador For fostering a grass roots conservation movement in Ecuador


West Bengal Forest Protection Committees India For their innovative community-based approach to sustainable management of the region's forests
CODDEFFAGOLF Honduras For raising awareness of threats to marine and coastal resources and promoting stricter environmental law enforcement
1991 Fundacion Peruana para la Conservacion de la Naturaleza Peru For conservation achievements in Manú National Park and Biosphere Reserve
Ghandruk Forest Management Committee, Annapurna Conservation Area Project Nepal For its involvement of local residents in the protection of their natural resources
1990 Dr. Emil Salim Indonesia Led incorporation of environmental assessments into Indonesian law as the Minister of State for Population and the Environment
1989 Professor Miguel Alvarez del Toro Chiapas, Mexico Helped establish 11 reserves, fought to preserve Mexico's wildlife, and authored books and technical publications on Chiapas
1988 Dr. Perez Olindo Kenya Made significant contributions to preserving Kenya's natural resources and played a leading role in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) African Elephant Working Group
1987 Dr. Hemanta Mishra Nepal Broke ground with his biotic studies on Mt. Everest and in recognition of his development of Nepal's park systems, work on implementing Operation Tiger
1986 Sir Peter Scott Great Britain Cofounded WWF in 1961 and made lifelong contributions to saving endangered wildlife
1985 Henri and Jean de Heaulme Madagascar Worked to preserve Madagascar's unique and endangered wildlife
1984 Dr. Jane Goodall Tanzania Pioneered research on wild chimpanzees and increased public awareness of conservation efforts
1983 Alvaro Ugalde and Mario Andres Boza Costa Rica Helped build Costa Rica's national park system
1981 Dr. Maria Tereza Jorge Pádua and Dr. Paulo Nogueira Neto Brazil Played roles in advancing Brazilian environmental legislation, establishing national parks, and supporting a network of ecological research stations
1980 Dr. Harold J. Coolidge United States Founded the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and in recognition of his career at the National Council
1979 Dr. Boonsong Lekagul Thailand Rediscovered the kouprey and in recognition of his 30-year commitment to nature education and national parks
1976 Major Ian Grimwood United Kingdom Rescued the last three Arabian Oryx and worked to protect the wildlife and natural areas of Africa, Asia, and South America
1975 Dr. Salim Ali India Studied and worked to conserve Asian birds
1974 Dr. Felipe Benavides Peru Worked to save the vicuña and other endangered Latin American wildlife

Brief Awardee Biographies[edit]

Dr. K. Ullas Karanth (2007)[edit]

Dr. Karanth has done pioneering work on tiger and other carnivore conservation across India, particularly in the Nagarhole wildlife sanctuary. He is also seen as the motivating spirit behind the creation of three protected areas in the Western Ghats forest of Southeastern India. The money will go towards funding graduate research at the National Center for Biological Sciences in Bangalore.


  1. ^ "Getty Award 2006". World Wildlife Fund U.S. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
  2. ^ "List of past winners,". WWF. Retrieved 2008-03-23. (updated only till 2003)
  3. ^ World Wildlife Fund's Prestigious Getty Award Given to India's Leading Expert on Tiger Conservation
  4. ^ Train, Russell E. (2003). Politics, Pollution, and Pandas. Washington, DC: Island Press. p. 268. ISBN 1-55963-286-0.
  5. ^ "Getty Award 2007". World Wildlife Fund U.S. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
  6. ^ "Getty Award 2008". World Wildlife Fund U.S. Retrieved 29 July 2009.
  7. ^ "Getty Award Past Recipients". World Wildlife Fund U.S. Retrieved 29 July 2009.