Professor Harry Messel was the former long-standing Chair of the SSC Crocodile Specialist Group. The award, established in 2004 in his name, recognizes exemplary service to the SSC, especially from individuals who have made a specific contribution to species conservation on the ground or through their leadership, as part of the work of an SSC Specialist Group or Task Force.

Award: a certificate recognizing the contribution, and a financial award of US$1,000, presented in a context important to the individual recipient.


September 2015
Ms Elham Abtin
In recognition of her courageous leadership of crocodile conservation and scientific research in the Sistan and Baluchistan Provinces of Iran, and her participation in the SSC Crocodile Specialist Group.
IUCN Global Fungal Red List Initiative
In particular to Anders Dahlberg and Greg Mueller, in recognition of their vision to develop and lead the innovative work on the red listing of fungi, now resulting in a huge increase in the number of fungi species assessed for their extinction risk.
Ms Cathy Dean
In recognition of her passionate and committed leadership of Save The Rhino International, greatly benefitting rhinoceros conservation in Africa and Asia, and her long-term support of the SSC African Rhino Specialist Group.
Mr Quentin Luke
In recognition of his exceptional leadership of plant conservation in East Africa, and especially for founding and driving forward the SSC East African Plant Red List Authority.
Dr Goutam Narayan
In recognition of his pivotal role on leading the Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme in north-eastern India since 1995, thus saving a whole genus from extinction, and his long service to the SSC Wild Pig Specialist Group.
Dr Mijoro Rakotoarinivo
In recognition of his pioneering leadership on the conservation of palms in Madagascar, including his huge contributions to the SSC Madagascar Plant and Palm Specialist Groups.
Dr William Robichaud
In recognition of his extraordinary leadership in raising global attention for the conservation of the Saola through the SSC Saola Working Group, building a dedicated network of scientists and practitioners in Laos and Vietnam focused on saving this iconic species.

Febuary 2012
Dr Viola Clausnitzer, In recognition of her leadership of Odonata Red List assessments, especially in Africa, and her chairing of the SSC Dragonfly Specialist Group.
Dr Richard Emslie, In recognition of his scientific leadership and support for rhinoceros conservation in Africa and Asia, and his long service as Scientific Officer of the SSC African Rhino Specialist Group.
Ms Sonja Fordham, In recognition of her leadership and her vision in shark conservation worldwide, and her long service as Deputy Chair of the SSC Shark Specialist Group.
Dr David Garshelis, In recognition of his leadership and vision in international bear conservation and management, his encouragement of bear conservationists worldwide, and his exceptional service as Co-Chair of the SSC Bear Specialist Group.
Dr Barbara Goettsch, In recognition of her pioneering, visionary and exemplary leadership of the SSC Global Cactus Assessment, and her support of the SSC Cactus and Succulent Specialist Group.
Dr Alexine Keuroghlian, In recognition of her innovative and energetic leadership of Peccary conservation and research in Brazil, and her valued participation in the SSC Peccary Specialist Group.

October 2008
Mr Craig Hilton-Taylor, in recognition of his conscientious management of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, his outstanding guardianship over the standards of the IUCN Red List process and his unstinting support to the contributing members of the IUCN SSC.
Dr Danna Leaman, IUCN/SSC Plant Conservation Sub-Committee, in recognition of her inspirational role in the development of the International Standard for Sustainable Wild Collection of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (ISSC-MAP) and for ably assisting the work of the Plant Conservation Sub-Committee.
Dr Brooks Childress, Chair of the IUCN/SSC Flamingo Specialist Group, in recognition of his active engagement in the challenges facing the Lesser Flamingo at Lake Natron, measurably demonstrating the power of the “One Programme” approach.

May 2006

Mr Robin Sharp, Chair of the European Chapter of the SSC Sustainable Use Specialist Group was awarded in recognition of his extensive contribution to the SSC’s work on sustainable use. He has chaired the European Regional Group since its foundation in 1997, and it now has 140 members in 40 countries.

November 2004
Dr Perran Ross, SSC Crocodile Specialist Group. Dr Ross was given this award in recognition of his dynamism and dedication in creating one of the most active and successful Specialist Groups, and helping to secure the sustainable use of crocodilians.
November 2004 - Youth Section
Dr Patricia Medici, Chair of the SSC Tapir Specialist Group, one of the network's most energetic and enthusiastic members was awarded for her tireless efforts in generating sustainable conservation action for the world's tapirs.