The Christine Stevens Wildlife Award is a grant program named in honor of AWI’s late founder and president for over 50 years. Each year, the program provides grants of up to $10,000 to support innovative and creative research on humane, nonlethal tools and techniques for wildlife conflict management and improved methods of wildlife study. With this grant program, AWI aims to honor Christine’s legacy and inspire a new generation of compassionate wildlife scientists, managers and advocates. The 2015 grantees are as follows:
Dr. Brian Darby of the University of North Dakota: Noninvasive Methods to Track and Monitor Polar Bears by Genotyping Shed Hairs. During the day, polar bears create resting beds. Dr. Darby will genotype hair, naturally shed in the beds, to determine polar bear health and habits—a noninvasive method that does not disturb the bears.
Pieter Folkens of the Alaska Whale Foundation: Reducing Suffering and Increasing Effectiveness During Entangled Whale Rescue Responses. Disentangling whales from nets and fishing gear is difficult and can cause them injury. Mr. Folkens will be testing new tools, which are designed to ease removal and minimize collateral injury.
Kristine Inman of the Wildlife Conservation Society: Creating Safe Pathways with Wildlife Friendly Fencing. Fencing can block natural migration patterns and cause injury to wildlife, particularly the large ungulates in Montana. Ms. Inman will be collaborating with the ranching community to identify fences that pose the greatest hazard and will test innovative wildlife-friendly fencing.
Dr. Mary Beth Manjerovic of the Lincoln Park Zoo: Validating the Use of an Innovative, Noninvasive Technique to Monitor Amphibian Health and Stress. Traditional methods for measuring amphibian health and stress are invasive and potentially harmful. Dr. Manjerovic will be testing a new method, which only requires a skin swab.
Dr. Christine Sheppard of the American Bird Conservancy: Improving Standards for Testing Bird Collision Reduction Measures for Glass. Every year, countless birds die in collisions with buildings and glass. There is a current lack of humane and effective methods for testing bird-friendly glass. Dr. Sheppard will be testing the effectiveness of a more humane method to test these glass samples.