The Whitley Fund for Nature reconoce a la científica uruguaya Susana González

18 May 2010 | News story

Susana González,miembro de la Comisión de Supervivencia de Especies de la UICN, logró aumentar la población de ciervos de las pampas de Rocha y Salto, que están en peligro de extinción. Con su investigación ha descubierto aspectos de la vida de los venados que hasta el momento eran desconocidos.

Londres, Reino Unido - HRH The Princess Royal (Princess Anne) tonight presented one of the world’s top prizes for grassroots nature conservation – a Whitley Award – to Susana González, of Uruguay, for combining scientific study with community outreach to help safeguard the last of Uruguay’s pampas deer and the iconic grasslands where they live.

Susana González, director of Uruguay’s Instituto de Conservacion Neotropical, and Chair of the IUCN Deer Specialist group, received her honour during a ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society, London, hosted by The Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN) – the UK-based charity behind the international awards scheme.

The Whitley Award for Susana González includes a project grant of £30,000 - donated by The Garfield Weston Foundation - an engraved trophy, membership of the influential network of past Whitley Award winners, international recognition and leadership development training.

The award to Susana González recognises her 20 years of dedication to the conservation of the pampas deer, which were once so plentiful in Uruguay that European travellers, such as the naturalist Charles Darwin, marvelled at their abundance. Today, agricultural change and urbanisation mean Uruguay now has only about 1,500 pampas deer left, confined to two areas: Los Aos-Rocha and Arerungua-Salto.

The evening’s top prize - the £60,000 Whitley Gold Award – went to Dr Angela Maldonado of Colombia for her efforts around the Colombia-Peru border to end the illegal capture of night monkeys for biomedical research, including by developing alternative, sustainable, ways for rainforest communities to earn a living.

In addition, Her Royal Highness also presented six other Whitley Awards worth £30,000 each to six conservation leaders from Argentina, Cameroon, Colombia, Papua New Guinea, Russia and Uganda.

Commenting on Susana González’s success, Georgina Domberger, Director of the Whitley Fund for Nature, said: "The aim of the Whitley Awards is to identify and fund leading grassroots conservationists from around the world who are using their scientific expertise and local knowledge to inspire real and positive change for people and wildlife and the habitats they share.

“In the case of Susana González, the judges were particularly impressed by her recognition of the importance of cattle farming in Uruguay and of the efforts she is making to show farming communities that pampas deer enrich grazing land, that good land stewardship can increase the prices farm products command and that the local economy can also benefit from eco-tourism.”

The ceremony at which Susana González received her accolade was co-hosted by BBC wildlife presenter Kate Humble and witnessed by a 350-strong audience which included embassy representatives, Whitley Fund for Nature donors, including HSBC, and WWF-UK, and leading environmentalists.

In all, grants worth £270,000 were presented, bringing the total amount distributed by the Whitley Awards since its inception to £6m across 55 countries.

The Whitley Awards scheme is an annual competition, now in its 17th year. It exists to identify, fund and encourage inspirational local conservation leaders and their teams in developing countries.