Russell A. Mittermeier, Ph.D.

In addition to his service on the Board of Directors for the TurtleConservancy, Russ also currently serves as the Chief Conservation Officer of Global Wildlife Conservation. He was previously President of Conservation International for 25 years, from 1989 through 2014, and then Executive Vice Chair until 2017, and prior to that he worked for World Wildlife Fund-U.S. for 11 years.

Russ is a well-known primatologist and herpetologist, specializing in chelonians, specifically South American side-necked turtles (Chelidae and Podocnemis). He has conducted fieldwork for 50 years on three continents and in more than 20 countries, primarily in tropical locations, notably Brazil, Suriname, and Madagascar. Russ’s fieldwork has been focused on primates, protected areas, and other conservation issues and he is considered a leading global expert on such topics as priority setting for biodiversity, protected area creation, and species conservation.

He is active in the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature), previously serving as one of its Vice Presidents. Russ currently serves on the Steering Committee of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, is Chair of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group, and serves on the executive boards of the IUCN Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group, the Turtle Conservation Fund, Turtle Survival Alliance, and Chelonian Research Foundation. He is the author of nearly 800 scientific and popular papers and 40 books. He received the Harvard University GSAS Centennial Award in 2017, and in 2018 was awarded the Behler Turtle Conservation Award and the prestigious Indianapolis Prize for his leadership in global conservation efforts.