On the Jan van Haaften IUGB Award for Wildlife Management in Europe

One of the first supporters of IUGB back in the fifties, acting for almost four decades as national IUGB Liaison Officer for the Netherlands, and an active participant in virtually all IUGB Congresses until 2011, Professor Jan van Haaften (1927 – 2012) was without any doubt an important steering force in our organisation.
His professional career included research on roe deer (the subject of his 1965 PhD thesis “Das Rehwild in verschiedenen Standorten der Niederlande und Slowenien”), seals, wolf and brown bear in Europe (the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Romania…) and abroad (Mongolia), and contributed greatly to our current understanding of the relationship between large carnivores and their prey. Jan van Haaften advocated the wise and sustainable use of wildlife resources, and emphasized the importance of scientific research to improve our knowledge on wild “game” populations and their management. As a Professor “Game biology & Nature conservation”, he was an excellent tutor, as his many students from the renowned University of Wageningen in the Netherlands, but also other academic institutes in Europe, will testify.
Last but not least, Jan had a charming personality, offering friendly advice and support when needed, and to many of us he was a true friend and companion.


When IUGB President Dr. Yves Lecocq learned, during the preparatory stages for the 2013 Brussels’ Congress, about Jan van Haaften’s accidental death during a summer holiday in his beloved Slovenia, he proposed to create a special honour to commemorate his significance for the wildlife management profession in Europe. This initiative resulted in the Jan van Haaften Award for Wildlife Management in Europe (hereafter the “Jan van Haaften IUGB Award”), as a distinction bestowed by the International Union of Game Biologists IUGB for eminent service to applied wildlife research in Europe, contributing to the best possible management and conservation.

The basic selection criterion for the Jan van Haaften IUGB Award is the significance and impact of an individual’s or a team’s contribution(s) to the field of wildlife research, undertaken in Europe and having resulted in application of management and conservation “on the ground”.
This work should be characterised by a sustained record of productivity in applied wildlife research over a substantial period of time, with a direct value for managing and conserving wild birds and/or mammals, in particular when these efforts have influenced public opinion in a constructive manner.


Recipients receive a unique bronze sculpture, created by Dutch wildlife artist Pieter Verstappen exclusively for IUGB, representing a roe buck, a European species of particular interest to Jan Van Haaften.

Pieter Verstappen (°1952) is a highly successful self-taught artist for 30 years, painting realistic canvases of wildlife he observes near his home in the Dutch Province of Limburg and its Peel moorland area, as well as bronzes and lately also more impressionistic work. He was selected several times to participate in the prestigious “Birds in Art” exhibitions at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum (US). See also www.pieterverstappen.com


The recipient of the first Jan van Haaften IUGB Award in 2013 was Professor Harto Lindén whose long career at the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute covered research on a wide range of species, from voles to large carnivores, and in particular on grouse. He also developed the Finnish “wildlife triangle census” scheme, often described as the best game monitoring scheme in Europe. Harto was also founding Editor-in-chief of the leading “Wildlife Biology” journal, President of the Finnish Ornithological Society and, last but not least, IUGB Liaison Officer for Finland from 1987 until 2007.

As the 2015 Congress took place outside Europe, it was at the 2017 edition in Montpellier, France, that the second Jan van Haaften IUGB Award was accorded to the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust and its team of researchers – with the late Dick POTTS as its Director General from 1993 to 2001 (and before that Director of Research) – based in Fordingbridge, UK. Since its establishment in 1931, the GWCT has promoted game and wildlife management as a foundation for good conservation, in particular in farmland ecosystems. Their science has led to the development of widely used management concepts, such as the value of “Conservation headlands” (ensuring the reduced use of pesticides at the edges of fields) for biodiversity, and of “Beetle banks”, providing nesting cover and insect-rich overwintering habitat. It was Dr Nicholas Aebischer (IUGB Liaison Officer for the UK) who accepted the Award on behalf of the GWCT.

Nomination & selection procedure

The nominee should have a well-established and distinguished career that has been of undoubted significance, in particular through research leading to significant improvements in wildlife management and conservation, on-the-ground management practices, or wildlife policies.

The Jan van Haaften IUGB Award is given to a living individual, or team of individuals, with an international reputation for excellence in applied wildlife research undertaken in Europe. Representatives of research bodies may be eligible for the Award if they were intellectually involved in the research, i.e. contributed to the development, experimental design, analysis, and/or application of said research.

A nomination statement that clearly outlines the nominee’s contributions to wildlife management and applied research in Europe, providing an explicit link between the nominee’s career and a serious track record relative to wildlife management and research findings, recognised success, and application of results that have high importance in the field of conservation and/or wildlife management, is to be presented by Email to the Chair of the Scientific Committee of the 2019 IUGB Congress: To be completed!

Alternatively such nomination may also be presented as a hard copy at the latest on Tuesday 27th August – the first day of the IUGB 2019 Congress in Kaunas, Lithuania.

A Judging Panel, consisting inter alia of members of the Congress Scientific Committee and the European IUGB Presidents (past, acting and elect), will meet during the Congress to carefully examine all nominations and select the winner for the 2019 Jan van Haaften IUGB Award, to be announced next day at the Closing ceremony of the Congress.