Christine Stevens Wildlife Awards

Photo by K Theule - USFWS

A grant program to fund innovative strategies for humane, nonlethal
wildlife conflict management and study.


The Christine Stevens Wildlife Awards, named in honor of the organization’s late founder and president, provides grants of up to $15,000 to recipients to help spur innovative research on humane, nonlethal tools and techniques for wildlife conflict management and for studying wildlife.


Habitat destruction and degradation, urban and suburban sprawl, and ongoing challenges posed by invasive species make conflicts between wildlife and humans inevitable. Homeowners, property managers, and biologists need effective strategies to deal with conflicts—whether the encounter involves coyotes, deer, Canada geese, bears, exotic species, or a host of other animals. Though improved techniques to address some situations have been developed, more are needed. Similarly, methodologies used to study wildlife need to be humane.

The Christine Stevens Wildlife Awards is a grant program—named in honor of the organization’s late founder and president for over 50 years—created to stimulate and support efforts to devise new, nonlethal techniques and strategies and test existing products for the purpose of humanely remedying wildlife conflicts and to improve methods of wildlife study. Each year, the program provides grants of up to $15,000 to award recipients to help spur innovative and creative research to help develop such wildlife conflict management techniques and strategies. With this grant program we aim to honor Mrs. Stevens’ legacy and inspire a new generation of compassionate wildlife scientists, managers and advocates.

Christine Stevens

Christine Stevens has long been called the “Mother of the Animal Protection Movement” in America. For over half a century, she dedicated her life to reducing animal suffering both here and abroad. In the words of Dr. Jane Goodall: “Christine Stevens was a giant voice for animal welfare. Passionate, yet always reasoned, she took up one cause after another and she never gave up. Millions of animals are better off because of Christine’s quiet and very effective advocacy.”

Christine Stevens

Christine founded the Animal Welfare Institute to end the cruel treatment of animals in experimental laboratories. Inevitably, her work expanded to take on other animal welfare causes, including: preventing animal extinctions and reforming methods used to raise animals for food, banning steel-jaw leghold traps, ending commercial whaling, and much more. Mrs. Stevens supported wildlife management programs that were “win-win” situations—such as highway underpasses to facilitate wildlife movements, wildlife birth control, beaver bafflers to minimize or prevent beaver-caused flooding, and perching platforms that protect raptors from electrocution.

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Proposals Awarded Grants in 2019

  • Timothy Boycott of the College of William & Mary for projecting acoustic signals to reduce bird collisions with human-made structures in open airspace.
  • Dr. Angela Dassow of Carthage College for passively tracking the locations of packs of wild gray wolves in central Wisconsin through acoustic monitoring of their howls in order to reduce human-wolf conflicts.
  • Dr. Karen Herman of Mt. Taylor Mustangs for using population surveys and science-based fertility control to develop a humane, sustainable herd management plan for the free-roaming herd of horses in Placitas, New Mexico.
  • Dr. William Holben of the University of Montana for conducting noninvasive analysis of scat samples of North American elk to identify microbial biomarkers for wildlife disease management.
  • Naomi Louchouarn of the University of Wisconsin-Madison for investigating the effects of using range riders trained in low-stress handling to return herding instincts to livestock, making them less vulnerable to attacks by large carnivores in southwestern Alberta.
  • Paige Singer of Rocky Mountain Wild for collecting valuable wildlife data to inform the design of the Vail Pass Wildlife Byway in Colorado, which would improve landscape connectivity for multiple species.

Proposals Awarded Grants in 2018

  • Dr. James Anderson of West Virginia University for developing noninvasive genetic and environmental DNA methods for monitoring salamander distribution to aid in conservation efforts.
  • Stacy Cotey of Michigan Tech University for analyzing the snow tracks left by northern river otters to create individual genetic profiles to better monitor the animals’ behaviors, population numbers and genetic diversity.
  • Dr. Maureen Murray of the Tufts University Wildlife Clinic for determining accurate methods of screening red-tailed hawks to document exposure to dangerous anticoagulant rodenticides.
  • Dr. Susan Parks of Syracuse University for using noninvasive digital acoustic tags to quantify how often Florida manatees are involved in close encounters with oceangoing vessels and to assess their behavioral responses.
  • Christine Proctor of Harrisburg University of Science and Technology for using thermal imaging captured via drones to evaluate the population status of the eastern massasauga rattlesnake, a threatened species.
  • Dr. Tracey Tuberville of the University of Georgia for studying the dispersal, health and survival of “waif” gopher tortoises (gopher tortoises who have been injured, collected illegally or have unknown origins), to determine whether these formerly captive tortoises are suitable for release into the wild.
  • Dr. Andrew Von Duyke of the North Slope Borough Department of Wildlife Management for monitoring polar bears of the Alaska-Chukotka subpopulation by sampling environmental DNA from snow tracks to genetically “fingerprint” individual animals and estimate the size of the subpopulation.

Proposals Awarded Grants in 2017

  • Dr. Stewart Breck of the USDA’s National Wildlife Research Center and Colorado State University for improving fladry, a nonlethal tool to deter coyotes and thereby reduce predation pressure on the endangered black-footed ferret.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Burgess of the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium for developing noninvasive biomarkers to better monitor threats to the health of Florida manatees.
  • Beth A. Fitzpatrick of the University of Wyoming for studying the effectiveness of noninvasive methods to monitor greater sage-grouse populations.
  • Dr. Rachel Graham of MarAlliance for a noninvasive study to document and conserve ray species along Mexico’s Caribbean coast.
  • Jason Holmberg of Wild Me for modernizing the study of Hawaiian hawksbill sea turtles using noninvasive photo-identification tools and computer technology.
  • Dr. Andrea Morehouse of Waterton Biosphere Reserve for assessing the effectiveness of nonlethal mitigation strategies to reduce conflicts involving grizzly bears and livestock.

Proposals Awarded Grants in 2016

  • Dr. Karen Herman and Dr. Allen Rutberg of Sky Mountain Wild Horse Sanctuary for developing more humane methods to assess wild horse population size and distribution in order to guide the use of immunocontraception for population management.
  • Dr. Brooke Maslo of Rutgers University for evaluating artificial roost structures to minimize the impact on bats evicted from human-occupied dwellings, and for determining which factors contribute to structure use.
  • Suzanne Stone of Defenders of Wildlife for testing the E-shepherd collar as a nonlethal deterrent to predators in order to protect sheep in the northwestern United States.
  • Dr. Deborah Woollett and Dr. Ngaio Richards of Working Dogs for Conservation for using scent detection dogs to detect the presence of anticoagulant rodenticides and develop mitigation measures to protect the endangered San Joaquin kit fox in California.

Proposals Awarded Grants in 2015

  • Dr. Brian Darby of the University of North Dakota: New research on non-invasive methods to monitor polar bears
  • Pieter Folkens of the Alaska Whale Foundation: Developing a new and less invasive method to free entangled whales
  • Kristine Inman of the Wildlife Conservation Society: Research to create and test wildlife-friendly fencing
  • Dr. Mary Beth Manjerovic of the Lincoln Park Zoo: New research on non-invasive methods to monitor amphibian health and stress
  • Dr. Christine Sheppard of the American Bird Conservancy: Developing a new method to test glass samples to reduce bird collisions

Proposals Awarded Grants in 2014

  • Dr. Duff Kennedy of Santa Barbara Zoo: California condor nest-guarding program
  • Professor Janet Mann of Georgetown University: Noninvasive hormone monitoring in captive and wild cetaceans: collection and analysis of blow as a novel stress test
  • Suzanne Stone of Defenders of Wildlife: Assessing the efficacy of foxlights in reducing wolf-livestock conflict
  • Dr. Ron Sutherland of Wildlands Network: Ecological impacts of the red wolf in eastern North Carolina
  • Dr. Rob Williams of Oceans Initiative: Compassionate conservation: assessing sustainability and welfare aspects of marine mammal deaths in British Columbia salmon farms

Proposals Awarded Grants in 2013

  • Dr. David Bird of McGill University: Use of a remotely piloted aerial system to census raptor nests
  • Dr. Anthony Clevenger of the Western Transportation Institute: Developing a noninvasive method of locating wolverine maternal areas at a landscape scale
  • Dr. Peter Coppolillo of Working Dogs for Conservation: Safeguarding Montana’s wildlife from aquatic contaminants noninvasively, using conservation canines
  • Jennifer Mae-White Day of the University of Washington: Preventing human-wildlife conflicts through noninvasive landscape-level analysis of habitat requirements and connectivity
  • Dr. Kerry Foresman of the University of Montana: Hair traps: A noninvasive methodology for shrews and other small mammals in Montana
  • Dr. Michael Sawaya of Sinopah Wildlife Research Associates: Coupling noninvasive genetic sampling methods with cellular-enabled remote cameras to improve detection rates

Proposals Awarded Grants in 2012

  • Michael Callahan of Beaver Solutions LLC: Enable salmon passage at beaver water control devices
  • Dr. Joshua Miller of the Florida Museum of Natural History: Antlers of the arctic refuge: revealing historical caribou calving grounds from bones on the tundra
  • Dr. Maureen Murray of Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University: Rodenticides in four species of birds of prey: assessing results of recent EPA action
  • Dr. Jooke Robbins of Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies: Humpback whale entanglement rates in relation to management initiatives
  • Laurel Klein Serieys of the University of California, Los Angeles: The sublethal consequences of anticoagulant exposure in bobcats

Proposals Awarded Grants in 2011

  • Antonia Rodrigues of Simon Fraser University: Developing techniques to recover and analyze DNA from processed pangolin products for combating illegal wildlife trade
  • David Ausband of the University of Montana: Biofence: A non-lethal tool for deterring wolf/livestock conflicts
  • Dr. Thomas Gehring and Robert Truax of Central Michigan University: Developing a noninvasive technique for estimating bobcat populations: implications for imperiled felids

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