WAZA Awards

Please click on each category to expand the list of past award recipients.

Call for nomination for the 2023 WAZA Awards has started and will end on 17 July 2023 at 23:59 PM CEST (GMT+2). WAZA Voting Members can contact membership@waza.org to get a copy of the nomination forms. 

Winners will be announced at the Gala Dinner during the 78th WAZA Annual Conference


About the Heini Hediger Award

In 1996, WAZA established its highest award for professional excellence, named the Heini Hediger Award in honour of the Swiss biologist known as the “father of zoo biology”.

Only one individual can be honoured in any given year, and since the award criteria are lofty, it is anticipated that the award might not be given out every year.

Past recipients of the Heini Hediger AwardYearWAZA Conference
Radosław Ratajszcak,
Director Emeritus of Zoo Wrocław, Poland
Simon Tonge,
Executive Director Emeritus of Paignton Zoo, United Kingdom
2021Virtual conference
Jörg Junhold,
Director of Zoo Leipzig, Germany
2020Virtual conference
Kris Vehrs,
Former Executive Director of Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), United States of America
Mark Reed,
Former Director of Sedgwick County Zoo, United States of America
Anna Croukamp,
Founder of Parque das Aves, Brazil
Rick Barongi,
Former Director at Houston Zoo, United States of America
Lena Linden,
Director at Nordens Ark, Sweden
2015Al Ain
Anne Marie Baker,
Former Director at Toledo Zoo, United States of America
2014 India
Miranda Stevenson,
Former Executive Director of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA), United Kingdom
2013 USA
Alex Rübel,
Director of Zoo Zürich, Switzerland
2012 Melbourne
Gordon McGregor Reid,
Former President of WAZA
2011 Prague
Bert de Boer,
National Foundation for Research in Zoological Gardens
2010 Cologne
Karen Sausman,
Former Director of The Living Desert, United States of America
2009 St.Louis
Peter Dollinger,
Former WAZA Executive Director
2008 Adelaide
Willie Labuschagne,
Former Director of National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, South Africa
2007 Budapest
Gunther Nogge,
Former Director of Cologne Zoo*, Germany
2006 Leipzig
Sally Walker,
Secretary and Founder of Zoo Outreach Organisation
2004 Taipei
Roger Wheater OBE FRSE FIBiol,
Former Director of Edinburgh Zoo, United Kingdom
2001 Perth
William Conway,
Former President of the Wildlife Conservation Society, New York, United States of America
1999 Pretoria
Jeremy Mallinson OBE,
Former Director of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Jersey, United Kingdom
1998 Nagoya
Ulysses Seal,
President Conservation Breeding Specialist Group of IUCN-SSC
1996 Denver
George Rabb,
Former President of Brookfield Zoo, United States of America
1996 Denver

About the WAZA Conservation Award

In 2016, WAZA established its highest award for institutional commitment towards conservation, named the WAZA Conservation Award.

This award is granted to an institution for an outstanding, comprehensive specific conservation programme that has clear objectives and excellent conservation outcomes.

Past recipients of the WAZA Conservation AwardYearWAZA Conference
Saint Louis Zoo, United States of America
WildCare Institute Center for Avian Health in the Galapagos Islands Programme
Prague Zoo, Czech Republic2021Virtual conference
Georgia Aquarium, United States of America2020Virtual conference
Zoo Zürich, Switzerland2019Buenos Aires
Taronga Zoo, Australia2018Bangkok
Monterey Bay Aquarium, United States of America2017Berlin
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, United Kingdom2016Puebla

About the WAZA Environmental Sustainability Award

In 2018, WAZA established its highest award for institutional commitment towards environmental sustainability, named the WAZA Environmental Sustainability Award.

This award is granted to an institution for outstanding, comprehensive environmental sustainability initiatives that advances its commitment and efforts towards environmental sustainability.

Past recipients of the WAZA Environmental Sustainability AwardYearWAZA Conference
Marwell Wildlife, United Kingdom2022Tenerife
North Carolina Zoo, United States of America2021Virtual conference
Detroit Zoological Society, United States of America2020Virtual conference
Taronga Zoo, Australia2019Buenos Aires
Wellington Zoo, New Zealand2018Bangkok

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.

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