Generous donation by Michael and Ann Hankin memorializes Cranfield’s lifetime of accomplishments

BALTIMORE, MD At a memorial service for its former top veterinarian and world-renowned animal conservationist, Dr. Mike Cranfield, the Maryland Zoo announced that an existing research internship program would be renamed in his honor.

After his departure from the Maryland Zoo, Dr. Cranfield continued to be involved in the Zoo’s many research projects and the summer research program, which is a pipeline into the zoological research field for college or graduate-level students. With the renaming, this important program has received a substantial boost of generous support from Michael and Ann Hankin.

Michael Hankin was formerly Chairman of the Zoo’s Board of Trustees. He and Ann are lifelong Zoo advocates, long-time supporters of the Maryland Zoo, and dear friends of Dr. Cranfield.

Toronto Zoo, where Dr. Cranfield was a medical resident early in his veterinary career, also announced it would be supporting the Mike Cranfield Research Internship at Maryland Zoo.

The Maryland Zoo will also install a plaque in Dr. Cranfield’s honor at the Zoo’s hospital, where he spent so much of his career and made innumerable positive contributions to the health and well-being of the Zoo’s animals.

Additionally, Michael and Ann Hankin have renamed the Michael D. Hankin Award for Conservation, after Dr. Cranfield. This honor, which is given by the Zoo to individuals who have made significant regional contributions to the conservation of wildlife and wild places, will now be known as the Dr. Mike Cranfield Conservation Award Presented by Michael and Ann Hankin.

This award was first presented in 2005. Dr. Cranfield received the award that would ultimately bear his name in 2012 due to his impactful work with critically-endangered mountain gorillas in Central Africa that led to an increase in the population of mountain gorillas during his tenure as director and had long-reaching effects for the health and well-being of the humans and animals in the communities that live among the gorillas.

“Dr. Cranfield was a pioneer who didn’t just care for the animals here in our Zoo. He was a visionary who helped establish wildlife conservation practices that have become standards for the protection of species around the globe,” said Maryland Zoo President and CEO, Kirby Fowler.

“Mike Cranfield’s impact in Baltimore and in the mountains of Rwanda, Uganda, and the Congo, where the world’s mountain gorillas live, has been game changing,” said Michael D. Hankin, CEO of Brown Advisory. “We are much more successful in our conservation efforts – in the public zoos and in the wild – because of Mike’s expertise, dedication, and commitment to excellence.”

About Dr. Mike Cranfield
Even though he had retired from the Maryland Zoo, Dr. Cranfield was still actively involved with multiple research projects and was the outside scientist on the Zoo’s Research Committee up until his death. He published more than 150 articles and multiple book chapters during his long career and was an expert on important veterinary topics such as avian malaria in penguins, cryptosporidiosis in reptiles, and macaque reproduction.

Dr. Cranfield first came to the Maryland Zoo in 1982 as Chief Veterinarian. He subsequently became the Director of Animal Health, Research, and Conservation, 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), which 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 One Health programs for the mountain and Grauer’s gorillas, orphaned gorillas, and for the people and animals working in and living near gorilla habitat.

MGVP was based at the Maryland Zoo until 2009, after which it partnered with the Wildlife Health Center at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. Ultimately, MGVP became Gorilla Doctors which carries on this work until today. Important blood and other genetic samples from the project are still housed in Maryland Zoo’s cryobank.

Dr. Cranfield leaves behind a legacy of contributions to global wildlife conservation and veterinary medicine along with hundreds, if not thousands, of people and animals he touched through his work.