On the Jan van Haaften IUGB Award for Wildlife Management in Europe
Professor Jan van Haaften (1927 –2012) was a vital steering force in our organization. He has been one of the first supporters of IUGB since the 1950s, acting for almost four decades as national IUGB Liaison Officer for the Netherlands, and an active participant in virtually all IUGB Congresses until 2011.
His professional career included research on roe deer (the subject of his 1965 Ph.D. thesis "The roe deer in different locations in the Netherlands and Slovenia"), seals, wolf and brown bear in Europe (the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Romania...) and Asia (Mongolia), and contributed significantly to our current understanding of the relationship between large carnivores and their prey. He visited the wildlife institute at Gödöllő, Hungary many times in the 1980s and 1990s.
Jan van Haaften advocated the wise and sustainable use of wildlife resources and emphasized the importance of scientific research to improve our knowledge on wild "game" populations and their management. As a Professor of "Game biology & Nature conservation," he was an exceptional teacher, as his many students from the renowned University of Wageningen in the Netherlands and other academic institutes in Europe will testify.
Last but not least, Jan had a charming personality, offering friendly advice and support when needed, and to many of us, she was a true friend and companion.
Jan van Haaften accidentally died during a summer holiday in his beloved Slovenia during the 2013 Brussels Congress's preparatory stages. When IUGB President Dr. Yves Lecocq learned of it, he proposed to create a special honour to commemorate his significance for the wildlife management profession in Europe.
This initiative resulted in the Jan van Haaften Award for Wildlife Management in Europe (in short "Jan van Haaften IUGB Award"), as a distinction bestowed by the International Union of Game Biologists IUGB for outstanding service to applied wildlife research in Europe, contributing to the best possible management and conservation.
The Jan van Haaften IUGB Award's primary selection criterion is the significance and impact of an individual's or a team's contribution to wildlife research, undertaken in Europe, resulting in practical management and conservation utilisation. This work should be characterised by a sustained record of productivity in applied wildlife research over a substantial period, with a direct value for managing and conserving wild birds and mammals, mainly when these efforts have constructively influenced public opinion.
Recipients receive a unique bronze sculpture, created by Dutch wildlife artist Pieter Verstappen exclusively for IUGB, representing a roebuck, a European species of particular interest to Jan Van Haaften.
Pieter Verstappen (born 1952) is a highly successful self-taught artist who, for decades, has been painting realistic canvases of wildlife living near his home in the Dutch Province of Limburg and its Peel moorland area. He also makes bronze figurines and sculptures. Pieter Verstappen was selected several times to participate in the prestigious "Birds in Art" exhibitions at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum (US). See also www.pieterverstappen.com