April 18, 2024 | By:

Upcoming in AZ: George Schaller, Tales from a Life in the Field

George Schaller, Tales from a Life in the Field

George Schaller has explored the wilderness of the world since 1952. A legendary scientist and master biographer of the planet’s most charismatic species, he has conducted extensive field research with gorillas, pandas, lions, tigers, snow leopards, and jaguars. George’s work has led to the creation of more than 20 parks and reserves worldwide and has inspired generations of field biologists and conservationists. He will share stories from his remarkable career, including with jaguars in the Pantanal, and his passion for and dedication to protecting wildlife across the globe.

Thursday, May 2nd
Reid Park Zoo, 3400 E Zoo Ct, Tucson, AZ
VIP Reception: 5 – 6 p.m.  $30
Presentation: 6 – 8 p.m.  free

RSVP and reserve your seat: https://reidparkzoo.org/event/conservation-connection-tales-from-a-life-in-the-field-by-dr-george-schaller/

Co-sponsored by The Rewilding Institute and Conservation CATalyst.


Dr. George Schaller is a preeminent scientist often called the father of modern field biology. Schaller graduated from the University of Alaska in 1955 with a degree in Zoology. In 1956, he participated in the first biological survey of what became the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an expedition led by Wilderness Society president Olaus Murie and his wife Mardy. The vast wilderness and the Murie’s guidance made a significant and lasting impression on Schaller. He writes, “such mentors guided me into becoming a scientific explorer of nature and, just as important, into embracing the spiritual values of wildness and wilderness.” It was the beginning of his journey not just as a scientist, but a conservationist too.

During his graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin, Schaller and his wife Kay traveled to Central Africa where from 1959-60 he conducted the first field studies of gorillas, who were considered to be ferocious and dangerous beasts. Schaller’s extensive field research proved otherwise and his now classic book The Mountain Gorilla: Ecology and Behavior, published in 1963, changed forever our view of these gentle giants. His work with gorillas inspired Dian Fossey and Jane Goodall to make their own field studies of gorillas and other primates and to work for their protection.

The gorilla study launched Schaller onto a remarkable career. With just pen and paper, camera and a keen understanding of animal behavior, Schaller revolutionized wildlife science, making the first extensive field studies of lions, tigers, jaguars, and giant pandas; the wild sheep and goats of the Himalayas were the impetus for his first journey to Dolpo. Detailed knowledge of iconic wildlife allowed Schaller to create and advocate for conservation strategies that have protected not only these keystone species but entire ecosystems. His work spurred creation of more than 20 parks and reserves worldwide, including in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Afghanistan, Brazil, and China, where he has worked since 1980 and was instrumental in the creation of the second largest reserve in the world, the Chang Tang National Nature Reserve in Tibet. For decades, Schaller was director of international conservation at the Wildlife Conservation Society; he also served as vice president of Panthera, an organization devoted to the conservation of wild cats.

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Lisa Robertson
1 month ago

Do you have a video of his recent presentation, George Schaller, Tales from a Life in the Field? He has always been an inspiration to all of us out in Wyoming, and we don’t want to miss a single word that he shares. Wish we could have been there,
Thank you so much!

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