BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is pleased to announce the 2012 Winner of The Michael D. Hankin Award for Conservation is Michael Cranfield, DVM.  The Michael D. Hankin Award for Conservation, named for former Chairman of the Zoo’s Board of Trustees Mike Hankin, was created by The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore in 2005 to recognize individuals who epitomize the legacy of conservation, volunteerism, and philanthropy.

The Hankin Award was presented to Dr. Cranfield today at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore in front of the Maryland Zoo Board of Trustees, Maryland Zoo staff and various Board members and staff of Gorilla Doctors.

“We are so honored to present this award to Dr. Mike,” stated Don Hutchinson, president and CEO of The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.  “His professional and personal commitment to health, wellness and conservation of endangered species has spanned three decades. He has devoted a significant amount of this time to Gorilla Doctors, even while serving as the Chief Veterinarian here at The Maryland Zoo.  His knowledge of exotic animal medicine and his dedication to enhancing the lives of animals both in zoos and in the wild is exceptional.”

Cranfield has extensive experience with both zoo and free-ranging wildlife. He first came to the Zoo in 1982 as Chief Veterinarian. He subsequently became the Director of Animal Health, Research and Conservation at The Maryland Zoo, responsible for the health and care of the Zoo’s more than 1,500 animals.  In 1998, he became executive director of the world renowned non-profit Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP).  MGVP is dedicated to saving the lives of critically-endangered mountain gorillas living in Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as well as endangered eastern lowland gorillas in the DRC.  Under Cranfield, MGVP expanded to include health programs for the mountain and Grauer’s gorillas living in Uganda and the DRC, orphaned gorillas, and for the people working in and living near gorilla habitat.

MGVP was based at The Maryland Zoo until 2009, when MGVP partnered with the Wildlife Health Center at the University of California Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine. Together, the two institutions run Gorilla Doctors, which is now under the co-directorship of Cranfield and Dr. Kirsten Gilardi at UC Davis.

In addition to his work with Gorilla Doctors as a senior veterinarian at the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center and as a consulting veterinarian at The Maryland Zoo, Cranfield also currently serves on the faculty at Johns Hopkins University. He has published more than 100 professional articles and abstracts and contributed to nine books.

A native of Canada, Cranfield is a graduate of the University of Guelph in Ontario.  He received his doctorate from the Ontario Veterinary College, where he also completed a residency in zoological medicine and completed his residency at the Toronto Zoo. He later moved to The Maryland Zoo where, in addition to his clinical duties, he pursued research on avian malaria in penguins, parasitic diseases in snakes, in vitro fertilization in lion-tailed macaques, and captive breeding of endangered frog species. In 2006, Cranfield received the American Association of Zoo Veterinarian’s highest honor, the Dr. Emil P. Dolensek Award.  That award recognizes an individual who has made “exceptional contributions to the conservation, care and understanding of zoo and free-ranging wildlife.”

The first Michael D. Hankin Award for Conservation was awarded in 2005 to Michael Hankin.  It has since been awarded four times; in 2006 to H. Turney McKnight, a farmer, attorney, outdoorsman, and outdoor writer who has been deeply involved in land preservation for many years in Harford County; in 2007 to Dr. Torrey C. Brown, currently Chairman of biotechnology leader Intralytix, Inc., and was also the state’s longest-serving secretary of the Department of Natural Resources; in 2010 to D. Keith Campbell, founder of Campbell & Co. and noted philanthropist who created The Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment in 1998; and in 2011 to Tom Lewis, attorney-at-law with Gallagher Evelius & Jones LLP, who has devoted a significant amount of his time to Chesapeake Bay issues, specifically those involving watermen and the island communities where they live and work.

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