AWI Grants Promote Humane Solutions to Human-Wildlife Conflicts and Less Intrusive Methods of Wildlife Study

gray wolves - photo by Danita Delimont

Washington, DCToday, the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) announced the eight recipients of its Christine Stevens Wildlife Award who are developing innovative, less intrusive wildlife study techniques and more humane, nonlethal methods of resolving conflicts between wild animals and humans.

Established in 2006, the award provides individual grants of up to $15,000 and is named in honor of AWI’s late founder and longtime president, who dedicated her life to reducing animal suffering both here and abroad. Stevens founded AWI in 1951 to end the cruel treatment of animals in experimental laboratories. Inevitably, her work expanded to take on other animal welfare causes, including protecting vulnerable species, reforming methods used to raise animals for food, banning steel-jaw leghold traps, ending commercial whaling, and much more.

During the last 17 years, the grant program has funded 99 recipients, including scientists from academia, nongovernmental organizations, government agencies (federal, state, and tribal), and others (e.g., private citizens, museums).

AWI is proud to fund diverse research projects that offer win-win solutions to mitigate human-wildlife conflicts,” said Susan Millward, AWI’s executive director and chief executive officer. “The Christine Stevens Wildlife Awards also support essential wildlife science without subjecting individual animals to undue stress and risk of injury or death.”

The 2023 Christine Stevens Wildlife Award recipients are:

  • Dr. Susan Ellis-Felege of the University of North Dakota to determine if less invasive aerial surveys can replace ground surveys to measure populations of prairie grouse.
  • Dr. Austin Green of the University of Utah to investigate the effects of humans’ weekend recreational activities on wildlife breeding behavior and habitat use patterns.
  • Chelsea Greer of Raincoast Conservation Foundation to assess the effects of commonly used motion-activated camera models on the behavior of gray wolves in British Columbia, Canada.
  • Dr. Jack Hopkins of the Center for Wildlife Studies to analyze the nail tips of captive spotted, wood, and Blanding’s turtles (held for educational purposes or in rehabilitation centers awaiting release) to determine if they are captive-bred or sourced from the wild, helping to combat the illegal turtle trade.
  • Dr. Robert Long of Woodland Park Zoo to develop a synthetic liquid attractant for studying wild carnivores that will replace scents manufactured from animal products.
  • Dr. Annie Loosen of the University of Northern British Columbia and Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative to study the relationship between human recreational activities and wildlife conservation, focusing on wolverines, grizzly bears, and mountain caribou in Canada.
  • Rae Nickerson of Utah State University to investigate the efficacy of range riders to reduce predator-livestock conflicts across the American West.
  • Anastasia Rahlin of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to develop noninvasive environmental DNA methods to sample a variety of marsh bird populations around Chicago, helping to improve conservation and management of the species.

Click here for more information about the Christine Stevens Wildlife Award and the 2023 winners.

Media Contact Information

Margie Fishman, (202) 446-2128, [email protected]

The Animal Welfare Institute is a nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere—in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates and other important animal protection news.