World-renowned conservationist recognised at wildlife awards

Conservationist Paul Pearce-Kelly was awarded the prestigious ZSL Staff Medal last night (Tuesday 20 June 2017) at international conservation charity ZSL’s (Zoological Society of London) annual awards ceremony. 

Paul Pearce-Kelly holding an atlas moth

The ZSL Annual Awards, held at ZSL London Zoo, recognise outstanding contributions to conservation and zoological research, with the ZSL Medal being awarded to a staff member for outstanding achievement in service to ZSL. 

During his 35-year career at the Society, Paul has been hailed a conservation hero for his work saving smaller species of wildlife such as molluscs, crickets and spiders.  

Working as ZSL’s senior curator, Paul’s passion for conservation has seen him become a major force in species recovery programmes and a key influencer in the global scientific community.  

Paul’s pioneering work with Partula snails, many species of which are Extinct-in–the-Wild, has seen him lead the collaborative international breeding programme for the tiny molluscs, which resulted in the 2016 reintroduction of a number of the species into their former French Polynesian island habitats.

As well as his vital work protecting little-known invertebrates from the other side of the world, Paul has devoted much of his time to Britain’s own declining wildlife, including carrying out reintroduction work with the Barberry carpet moth, British field cricket, wart-biter cricket and fen raft spider. 

Paul serves on both the World Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s climate change task force and the IUCN Species Survival Commission’s climate change specialist group, tackling the threat of climate change to species diversity across the globe. 

ZSL’s Director General Ralph Armond, said: “I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to Paul on winning this award. After starting at ZSL in 1982 he soon found his niche with invertebrates, as Head Keeper of the Insect House, before going on to conduct a wide variety of forward thinking conservation work both in the UK and internationally. 

“The Zoological Society of London has been promoting science and conservation since its inception, and the ZSL Annual Awards provide a great opportunity for us to recognise the work of brilliant and passionate individuals like Paul, who each demonstrate their commitment to working for wildlife worldwide.”  

ZSL’s Paul Pearce-Kelly, said: “I have the greatest of respect for the smaller species fighting to survive alongside us, and am grateful to have been able to spend my career working to protect them. 

“I feel privileged to receive this honour from ZSL, and to work for a charity that truly champions its staff and the work they do for the world’s wildlife.” 

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