London, November 1, 2016 -- The ZSL (Zoological Society of London) Awards Committee has presented the ZSL Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. John Robinson, Executive Vice President for Conservation and Science at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). 

The ZSL Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual who has made exceptional, long-term contributions to the conservation of wildlife and habitats.  

Dr. Robinson, a primatologist, received the award today at the ZSL London Zoo.

“You, above all, have demonstrated excellence and achievement in implementing significant conservation action for the benefit of the international conservation community over many years, “ said Jonathan Baillie, ZSL Conservation Programmes Director, about Dr. Robinson.  “Your input into initial discussions with Georgina Mace and Glyn Davies to draw up a memorandum of understanding between our two organisations provided the framework for the establishment of a permanent WCS presence in Europe and a close, on-going relationship between WCS and ZSL. Over the years since scientific symposia on several  issues of critical conservation importance have been held, both our organisations have worked with The Royal Foundation on the ground-breaking United for Wildlife Initiative, and coordinated on issues of common interest including the World Heritage Convention.”

While accepting the award, Dr. Robinson said: “Like ZSL’s programs, at WCS, we emphasize the importance of scientific knowledge to define conservation action, we rely on field-based conservation implementation, and we work closely in partnership with national governments and local institutions. Our two organizations have a very distinct niche within the conservation world.  There is an emphasis on the conservation of species.”   

Dr. Robinson, also WCS Chief Conservation Officer, oversees the WCS Global Conservation Program in the Americas, Africa and Asia and in all the world’s oceans. Under his leadership, the WCS field program has developed into one of the most effective science-based conservation efforts around the globe.

Throughout his career, Dr. Robinson has been influential in all aspects of wildlife conservation, including in the field, in scientific research, in academia, and at the top levels of policy and global strategy. He has been a pivotal figure in forming WCS’s great history of wildlife conservation.

Said Cristian Samper, WCS President and CEO: "John has been one of the founders and leaders of conservation biology, using science to inform conservation practice. He has built the WCS conservation program from a collection of field research projects to a portfolio of long-term conservation programs spanning 60 countries. We extend our congratulations to John and thank our ZSL colleagues for recognizing his great impact on helping to save wildlife and wild places."

Dr. Robinson received his doctorate in zoology from the University of North Carolina in 1977, focusing on primate behavior and ecology. His postdoctoral studies were with the Smithsonian Institution.

In 1980, Dr. Robinson established the University of Florida Program for Studies in Tropical Conservation, a graduate program providing training to students from tropical countries. He joined WCS in 1990 as Director of Wildlife Conservation International. He is Past President of the Society for Conservation Biology, and is a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. Dr. Robinson has served on boards of the Christensen Fund, the Tropical Rainforest Foundation, TRAFFIC, and Foundations of Success.   Since 2012, he has served as Councilor for North America with the World Conservation Union (IUCN).  He serves as a Council member for United for Wildlife, and a Board member of Science for Nature and People, two multi-organizational partnerships.  In 2003, Dr. Robinson was inducted into the Royal Order of the Golden Ark by King Bernhard of the Netherlands, in recognition of lifetime achievement and service to conservation.

Through the years, Dr. Robinson has written extensively on the impact of subsistence and commercial hunting in tropical forests and has a long interest in the sustainable use of natural resources. He is often turned to as a leader in the areas of the relationship between conservation research and practice, and the application of conservation theory to conservation policy and implementation. He has over 180 publications, including "Neotropical Wildlife Use and Conservation" (1991), co-edited with Kent Redford, “Hunting for sustainability in tropical forests" (2000), co-edited by Elizabeth Bennett, “The Cutting Edge. Conserving wildlife in tropical forests” (2001), co-edited with Robert Fimbel and Alejandro Grajal, and “Conservation of exploited species” (2001), co-edited with John Reynolds, Georgina Mace and Kent Redford,  and “Protected Areas. Are they safeguarding biodiversity?”(2016), co-edited by Lucas Joppa and Jonathan Baillie.