Russell A. Mittermeier is currently Chief Conservation Officer of Global Wildlife Conservation. Prior to this position, he served for three years as Executive Vice Chair at Conservation International and as President of that organization from 1989 to 2014. Named a “Hero for the Planet” by TIME magazine, Mittermeier is regarded as a world leader in the field of biodiversity and tropical forest conservation. Trained as a primatologist and herpetologist, he has traveled widely in 169 countries on seven continents, and has conducted field work in more than 30 − focusing particularly on Amazonia (especially Brazil and Suriname), the Atlantic forest region of Brazil, and Madagascar.
He is active in the IUCN (World Conservation Union), currently serving as one of the Vice Presidents. Russ also serves on the Steering Committee of the Species Survival Commission, is Chair of the Primate Specialist Group, and serves on the governing boards of both the Tortoise and Freshwater Specialist Group and the Turtle Conservation Fund. He is the author of some 600 scientific papers and 19 books.
Mittermeier has been particularly interested in the discovery and description of species new to science. He has described a total of 21 new species (three turtles, seven lemurs, four tarsiers, and seven monkeys) and has eight species named in his honor (three frogs, a lizard, two lemurs, a saki monkey, and an ant).
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