David Macdonald

David Macdonald is Director of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University. Professor Macdonald conceived, and implemented, the appeal which led to the foundation in 1986 of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, and the associated Senior Research Fellowship at Lady Margaret Hall; this was the first Fellowship in any British university dedicated to biological conservation, and the WildCRU became the first such research unit. Its aim is to undertake original research on aspects of fundamental biology relevant to solving practical problems of wildlife conservation and environmental management, and thus to underpin policy formation and public debate of the many issues that surround the conservation of wildlife and its habitats. Professor Macdonald’s research interests range broadly across diverse topics in wildlife conservation and management, both in the UK and around the world. Nonetheless, from his early work on red foxes, he has retained an emphasis on Carnivores in particular and mammals in general. He has worked on meerkats in the Kalahari, mink in Belarus, capybaras in Venezuela, crab-eating foxes in Brazil, proboscis monkeys in Borneo, jackals in Israel, amongst others, and studied creatures in the UK ranging from badgers to wood mice! Arising from these varied interests, Professor Macdonald has published over 300 papers in refereed international journals, and written or edited more than a dozen books – of which the most recent: Key Topics in Conservation Biology (published by Blackwells in 2006) explains a lot about the WildCRU’s priorities. Professor Macdonald is committed to reaching out to the wider public; in addition to writing and film-making, in the last 5 years he has, for instance, published 7 book-sized technical reports on behalf of government or NGOs, helped create a volunteer training scheme (part of which trains rehabilitated addicts in mammal monitoring), created a successful, funded internship training scheme, a business and biodiversity programme involving workshops and publications and helped create a tribal theatre group that has performed conservation dramas to 2,500 Zimbabwean village children. For 25 years he was the founding Chairman of the IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group. Professor Macdonald is very proud to have been the A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University, a Visiting Professor at Imperial College, an Emeritus Fellow of the IUCN’s Survival Service Commission and, in 2005, to have won the Dawkins Prize for Conservation and Animal Welfare. In 2006 he was awarded the American Society of Mammalogists' Merriam Prize for research in mammalogy, and in 2007 The Mammal Society of Great Britain's equivalent medal. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in March 2008.