Click to see a video about the award and Dr. Rozzi's contributions to the field. https://youtu.be/EZrKLyAKzeY
Video courtesy of 3hd Studio and COIRENAT.org
The prize is awarded by The Wildlife Society of Mexico, in conjunction with the International Council on Natural Resources and Wildlife. This prize is named after Enrique Beltran who is recognized as the first biologist in Mexico and, among other accomplishments, founded the Mexican Institute for Sustainable Natural Resources in 1952 and is known as one of the first conservationists working in Mexico.
This year was the first year that the committee of judges for the prize decided to open the nominations to include researchers and scholars from outside of Mexico. Therefore, Dr. Mary Kalin Arroyo, professor of biology at the University of Chile and the 2010 recipient of the Chilean National Prize of Sciences, nominated Dr. Ricardo Rozzi. Both Dr. Arroyo and Dr. Rozzi work with the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity in Santiago, Chile.
The awarding of this prize coincides with the announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile of the creation of the Cape Horn Marine Park near the southernmost point of Chile. The park measures 140,000 square kilometers or just under 87,000 square miles and includes the Diego Ramirez Archipelago.
The creation of the park is a result of research which Dr. Rozzi has been leading since 2000 in and around Cape Horn. The work started with the discovery of a "hotspot" of diverse vegetation in a region that has been known for its difficult navigation, through the documentation of journeys made by Charles Darwin, and also as the birthplace of the Yaghan people.
The creation of the park delineates a large aquatic area in which Dr. Rozzi and his colleagues can continue to research and promote the region. To that end, Dr. Rozzi has been working on the design and construction of the Sub-Antarctic Center in Puerto Williams, on the northern end of Cape Horn, since 2010.
With the addition of this protected area and the continued work on the Sub-Antarctic Center, Dr. Rozzi proposes to continue his conservation work in the Cape Horn region, what he refers to as the "jewel of our planet." It is for this purpose that Dr. Rozzi created and heads the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program. This program is a multidisciplinary effort including coordination from, the University of North Texas, the University of Magallanes, the Institute for Ecology and Biodiversity, and the Omora Foundation. The aim of the Program is to help educate and assist local constituents to maintain the territory in a sustainable way with the aim to help preserve the broader environment and the native flora, fauna, and wildlife.