The home of Shooting Times and Sporting Gun

European conservation award for GWCT

The GWCT has received a prestigious award, in what it says is a fitting legacy to the work of the late conservationist Dick Potts.

The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) has received a prestigious European award, recognising its work in wildlife management and conservation.

The Jan Van Haaften IUGB (International Union of Game Biologists) Award for Wildlife Management in Europe was presented to members of the GWCT last month in the closing ceremony of the three-day IUGB conference in Montpellier, France.

“Best possible” conservation

The accolade has been awarded since 2013 for contributions to applied wildlife research in Europe that adds to the best possible management and conservation. It is named in memory of Dutch conservationist and IUGB co-founder Dr Jan L Van Haaften, whose career included research into roe deer, seals, wolves and brown bears in the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Romania and Mongolia, and contributed to the understanding of the relationship between carnivores and their prey.

Collecting the award from the GWCT were scientists Roger Draycott, Nicholas Aebischer, Julie Ewald, Ryan Burrell, Mike Short, Francis Buner, Dave Baines and Sonja Ludwig. Former GWCT scientists Dave Butler and Carlos Sánchez were also present.

Poignant award

Dr Ewald, head of geographical information systems at the GWCT, told Shooting Times: “When [it was] announced that the Trust’s research team were the recipients of the award for 2017, all of those present were delighted. Dr Lecocq, representing the judging panel, cited the international reputation of the Trust’s research, the sustained record of that research and the direct value of that research in managing and conserving game and wildlife.

“It is particularly poignant that the Trust received the award this year, following the death of Dick Potts. At the 25th IUGB congress in 2001, both Dick and Jan van Haaften were honoured for their contribution to conservation. Those of us present to accept the Jan van Haaften award this year felt it fitting to have our photograph with the award in front of the poster Dr Nicholas Aebischer had produced for the conference on the research Dick Potts had undertaken during his life.

“We felt the award reflected Dick’s legacy and was an acknowledgment of the work and dedication of the GWCT research team, as well as all GWCT staff, students and volunteers.”