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George Beals Schaller Edit Profile

zoologist , author

George Beals Schaller is American field zoologist and author known especially for his studies of large mammals in remote places.


Schaller was born on May 26, 1933, in Berlin, Germany, and immigrated to the United States at the age of seven.


Schaller received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alaska in 1955, and went on to the University of Wisconsin Madison to obtain his PhD in 1962.


During four years in Alaska he conducted wildlife surveys on the Colville River, in Katmai National Monument, and in the Arctic Wildlife Range and completed a basic study of the movements and foraging habits of caribou. As part of his Ph. D. program at the University of Wisconsin, he traveled to eastern Zaire in 1959 to begin research on the endangered mountain gorilla. The research led to a Ph. D. in 1962 and also resulted in his first book, The Mountain Gorilla (1963), which won the Wildlife Society's award in 1965 for the best writing on terrestrial wildlife. Schaller's tenure in Zaire was sponsored in part by the New York Zoological Society, an association that has been maintained over the years. Schaller was employed by the New York Zological Society in 1966 and in 1980 became its director of international conservation. Following the mountain gorilla project came field studies in India (1963 - 1965), Tanzania (1966 - 1969), Nepal (1970), Pakistan (1972 - 1975), Brazil (1976 - 1979), and China (from 1981). They resulted in several major books as well as technical and popular articles. The books include The Deer and the Tiger: A Study of Wildlife in India (1967); The Serengeti Lion (1972); Serengeti, A Kingdom of Predators (1972); Golden Shadows, Flying Hooves (1973); Mountain Monarchs: Wild Sheep and Goats of the Himalaya (1977); Stones of Silence (1980); and, with Hu Jinchu, Pan Wenshi, and Zhu Jing, The Giant Pandas of Wolong (1985). A gifted writer, Schaller combines his zeal for field work with a powerful motivation to convey the beauty of nature in prose and to decry the decline of wildlife throughout the world. For his leadership in conservation, Schaller received the Gold Medal of the World Wildlife Fund in 1980. From 1981 to 1984 Schaller studied the giant panda in China's Wolong Natural Reserve. After establishing a field research program for the critically endangered pandas, he began in 1985 to study wildlife in Tibet. His subjects include the snow leopard and a variety of grazing animals, such as wild asses, gazelles, and deer, all of which are threatened by the expansion of sheep herding.


  • He is mammalogist, biologist, conservationist and author. Schaller is recognized by many as the world's preeminent field biologist, studying wildlife throughout Africa, Asia and South America. He is vice president of Panthera Corporation and serves as chairman of their Cat Advisory Council along with renowned conservationist and Panthera CEO Alan Rabinowitz. Schaller is also a senior conservationist at the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife Conservation Society.

    Schaller's conservation honors include National Geographic's Lifetime Achievement Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the World Wildlife Fund's Gold Medal for: "Contributions to the understanding and conservation of endangered species". Schaller has also been awarded the International Cosmos Prize, the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, and he was the first recipient of the Wildlife Conservation Society's Beebe Fellowship. Schaller's literary honors include the U. S. National Book Award in Science (for The Serengeti Lion in 1973). In September 2008, he received the Indianapolis Prize for his work in animal conservation.



Quotations: "You can do the best science in the world but unless emotion is involved it's not really very relevant. Conservation is based on emotion. It comes from the heart and one should never forget that. "

"There are never victories in conservation. If you want to save a species or a habitat, it's a fight forevermore. You can never turn your back. "

"My interest in wildlife began early and I don't know how early because it's the only thing I've ever been interested in. I've always had a certain curiosity, a certain wonder about the natural world. I like to be outdoors. "

"For what are the whales being killed? For a few hundred jobs and products that are not needed, since there are cheap substitutes. If this continues, it will be the end of living and the beginning of survival. The world is being totaled. "