A tribute to Dr Sue Mainka

13 February 2012 | Article
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The IUCN community is deeply saddened by the loss of its colleague and friend Dr Susan Mainka. Sue passed away on Sunday 12 February after a five-month battle with cancer. She made a huge contribution to IUCN, to the Species Programme and to maintaining the scientific rigour of our work. The Peter Scott Award for Conservation Merit was awarded to Sue by the IUCN Species Survival Commission on 4 February 2012, in recognition of her pioneering work on the conservation of the Giant Panda, her leadership of the IUCN Species Programme, and her encouragement of conservationists worldwide, especially in Asia.

Sue, who had a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine, joined IUCN in 1997 as Deputy Coordinator of the Species Programme of which she became Coordinator in 2001. In 2004, she transferred to the Global Programme Team as one of three Senior Programme Coordinators. In 2009, Sue was promoted to the position of Head – Science and Knowledge Management.

Sue's knowledge and expertise and her dry sense of humour will be missed by many. If you would like to add some words of condolence or share your memories of Sue, please post your text below.


Comments

176 Comments
1 Jerry Haigh Western College of Vet Med (Emeritus Prof)
friend & colleague
Sue stayed with us a couple of times on visits to Saskatoon. How many of you knew she was a dab hand at snooker & pool, never mind her professional accomaplishments. A sad loss to our conserv aiton community. I share the passion for rhinos.
December 20, 2013 - 19:09
2 Bonnie Petley-Saba
A tribute to Susan
In the 1980's while backpacking across Europe I noticed another backpacker sporting a Canadian flag. Through this chance meeting Susan and I became fast friends and travelled throughout Europe. In Calgary Susan and I continued our friendship & many weekends we could be found hiking the Rockies - Susan with her bird ID book in hand. When Susan joined the Calgary Zoo I enjoyed her stories of the animals. Eventually Susan left for China and I for Saudi. Years passed but I always treasured my friendship with Susan and admired her passion for her life's work. She is sadly missed.
July 13, 2013 - 10:04
3 Pam Pritchard Calgary Zoo
Great friend
It has been wonderful to read about all the people Sue touched, and all the ways she contributed to conservation. In Calgary, I admired Sue as a colleague, and had fun with her as a friend. We enjoyed many plays together and loved our visits to 'Death by Chocolate' to over-indulge. I chuckled when I saw that she was into the fondues! Thanks for being an inspiration, Sue.
April 5, 2012 - 00:16
4 J M Mbae
So saddened by Sue's demise
She was a great person, a friend to so many and always ready to offer help, always with a smile. She has died very young and she will be solely missed by all those who knew and loved her. Let her spirit rest in eternal peace, and for those to whom she was most dear, may they be comforted from knowing what a great person Sue was. Go well Sue.

March 23, 2012 - 16:12
5 J M Mbae
So saddened to learn of Sue's demise
She was a great person, a friend to so many and always ready to offer and always with a smile. She has died very young and she will be solely missed by all those who knew and loved her. Let her spirit rest in eternal peace, and for those to whom she was most dear, may they be comforted by from knowing what a great person Sue was. Go well sue.
March 23, 2012 - 16:05
6 Nathan Schulfer UW-Madison
Will be missed
Sue became a quick friend during work in China in 2010. You are missed, Sue, and I thank you for all your insights and advice!
March 5, 2012 - 18:16
7 Mary Seddon SSC Mollusc Specialist Group
Will be much missed..
It was a real shock to hear of Sue's death, as like many, I remember a ready smile, encouraging word and a determined character. I recall her making light of an injury which meant she was on crutches, and still got to the meeting, computer bag and all. She will be much missed, and the Peter Scott award was well deserved.
February 29, 2012 - 12:42
8 Jane Smart IUCN
Sharing memories of Sue
Here in Abu Dhabi (at the IUCN SSC Specialist Group Chairs' Meeting) Sue was remembered by the IUCN Global Species Programme. A minutes silence for Sue at the beginning of our staff meeting was followed by comments from colleagues who shared memories of working with Sue. Her wry humour and deep commitment to conservation will never be forgotten.
February 24, 2012 - 13:23
9 Donald Lindburg San Diego Zoo
Sorely missed
I often cite Sue's work in my writing. Many years ago, on my first visit to Wolong, before there were paved roads, I encountered Sue as resident veterinarian. Rarely have I met anyone more dedicated to giant pandas and to conservation generally. I shall miss her dearly.
February 24, 2012 - 01:38
10 Keryn Adcock AfRSG
Ms
We greatly enjoyed the pleasure of Sue's company in our African Rhino Specialist Group meetings and missed her presence in recent years when she could not attend. Sue was refreshingly open and unpretentious, contributing her insights gently , and fun to be with on field excursions. We'll have fond memories of her whenever the Group meets again.
February 21, 2012 - 08:16
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