About WildCRU

An Oxford First! Founded in 1986, WildCRU was the first university-based conservation research unit in Europe. Today we are recognised as a world leader in our field.

WildCRU was founded and developed by David Macdonald, Oxford’s first Professor of Wildlife Conservation, who continues to guide its development. His concept was to tackle the emerging biodiversity crisis and wider environmental issues by bridging the gap between academic theory and practical problem solving. This scholarly approach provides the foundation for all of WildCRU’s work and has been widely recognised. In 2004 David received the Dawkins Prize for Conservation, in 2006 the medal of the American Society of Mammalogists, and in 2007 the British equivalent. In 2008 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and in 2010 a Conservation Fellow of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and also was awarded the ZSL silver medal. David was honoured personally with a CBE in 2010, and in 2011 the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education was awarded to the University in recognition of WildCRU’s outstanding work in wildlife and environmental conservation.

WildCRU is part of the University of Oxford, within the Department of Zoology. WildCRU has close links to Lady Margaret Hall, the University’s college where David Macdonald and two senior colleagues hold Fellowships and where many of our graduate students are registered. Thanks to the Tubney Charitable Trust and the Recanati-Kaplan Foundation, WildCRU is now based at the Recanati-Kaplan Centre, Tubney House, just outside Oxford, home to our team of experienced conservation biologists, doctoral students, field assistants, volunteers and visiting collaborators.

Since 1986, WildCRU, now with over 50 researchers, has grown to be one of the largest and most productive conservation research institutes in the world. Our members have been drawn from more than 30 countries and our projects have a similarly international reach, ranging from the Scottish Highlands to Mongolia, West Africa and Borneo.

Most recently, our longstanding specialisation in wild carnivores has led to a partnership with Panthera, with whom we are developing our aspiration to become the world’s foremost university centre for felid conservation research, made possible through the generous support of the Recanati-Kaplan Foundation.

  • Three Ethiopian wolves
    Ethiopian wolves
  • Badger
    European badger