TAU “Bird Man” Wins German Prize
Israel’s iconic bird expert, Prof. Yossi Leshem of the Department of Zoology of TAU’s George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, is the first Israeli to be awarded Germany’s prestigious Bruno H. Schubert Prize. The prize is presented every two years in the field of environmental conservation and protection.
Prof. Leshem, who directs the TAU-affiliated International Center for the Study of Bird Migration in Latrun, was recognized for his four decades of advancing ornithology in Israel and for his numerous projects promoting conservation and environmental awareness.
Among these is a national project for employing barn owls and kestrels as biological pest-control agents and a similar project being conducted among Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians. Leshem spearheaded a highly successful joint research project between the Israel Air Force, Tel Aviv University and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel for reducing bird-related airplane accidents. The project has led to 76% less accidents since 1984 and has saved $860 million from the national security budget.
The prize was presented at a special ceremony at Frankfurt’s Old Town Hall in the presence of Prof. Manfred Niekisch, Chairman of the Foundation’s Prize Committee Board and Director of the Frankfurt Zoo, and Carl Albrecht Treuenfels, former President of the World Wildlife Fund.
The Town Hall, which dates back to the 15th century, was the same venue where Leshem’s mother, a former resident of Frankfurt who fled from Nazi Germany in 1933, was honored as a 1,000th Jewish guest of the mayor in 1988.
The Schubert Foundation was established in 1984 by Bruno Schubert and his wife Olga to recognize individuals who excel in areas of nature conservation and environmental protection. Leshem’s award includes 25,000 euros in prize money.