David Macdonald (biologist)

David Macdonald
David Whyte Macdonald

1951 (age 70–71)[1]
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
Alma materWadham College, Oxford (BA) Balliol College, Oxford (DPhil)
Scientific career
FieldsZoology, wildlife conservation
InstitutionsUniversity of Oxford
Doctoral studentsRosie Woodroffe[2]

David Whyte Macdonald CBE FRSE is a Scottish zoologist and conservationist. He is the Director of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) at the University of Oxford, which he founded in 1986. He holds a Senior Research Fellowship at Lady Margaret Hall with the Title of Distinction of Professor of Wildlife Conservation.[3][4] He has been an active wildlife conservationist since graduating from Oxford.[when?]


David Macdonald's concept was, and remains, to undertake original research on aspects of fundamental biology relevant to solving practical problems of wildlife conservation and environmental management, and thus to underpin policy formation and public debate of the many issues that surround the conservation of wildlife and its habitats.[4] From his early work on red foxes he retains a specialisation in carnivores, with an increasing emphasis on felids. He has published over 300 papers in refereed international journals, and written or edited more than a dozen books, of which the most recent is Key Topics in Conservation Biology.

Amongst other things he is currently[when?] a Visiting Professor at Imperial College, chair of the Darwin Advisory Committee, Chair of Natural England's Science Advisory Committee and board member, a Trustee of Earthwatch Europe[5] and WWF-UK, and council member of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.[4]

He has done much to popularise biology with the general public. He is known for his documentary films and his popular books, for which he has twice won the Natural World Author of the Year award. His Night of the Fox won the BAFTA for Best Documentary Film of 1976, Running with the Fox won the Natural History Book of the Year award for 1987, and Meerkats United won the Wildscreen 1988 award. His films include the popular BBC seven-part series The Velvet Claw, a natural history of carnivores.[6]

Awards and honours[edit]

He won the Dawkins Prize for Conservation and Animal Welfare in 2005,[7] he was awarded the American Society of Mammalogists' Merriam Prize for research in mammalogy in 2006,[8] and in 2007 The Mammal Society of Great Britain's equivalent medal.[9] He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in March 2008.[10]

Macdonald was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2010 Birthday Honours.[6][11]


  1. ^ "Library Thing". Retrieved 17 December 2010.
  2. ^ Woodroffe, Rosemary Brigitte. (1992). Factors affecting reproductive success in the European badger, Meles meles L. (PhD thesis). University of Oxford.
  3. ^ WildCRU Wildlife Conservation Research Unit of the University of Oxford Department of Zoology
  4. ^ a b c "Professor David Whyte Macdonald". Department of Zoology. The University of Oxford. 2010. Archived from the original on 27 February 2015. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  5. ^ "Earthwatch Europe – Board and Governance". Earthwatch. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  6. ^ a b Jen Rivett (14 June 2010). "University wildlife expert gets CBE for his work". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  7. ^ "The Dawkins Prize for Animal Conservation and Welfare". Balliol College. The University of Oxford. Archived from the original on 12 September 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2010.
  8. ^ "Merriam Award Committee". ASM. Archived from the original on 25 November 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  9. ^ "Bursaries, Prizes and Awards". The Mammal Society. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  10. ^ "New Expertise Strengthens RSE Fellowship" (PDF). Press release. Royal Society of Edinburgh. 4 March 2008. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  11. ^ "No. 59446". The London Gazette (Supplement). 12 June 2010. p. 8.