Prof. Yossi Leshem, a zoological expert from Tel Aviv University and the Society
for the Protection of Nature, received the Bruno H. Schubert Prize in Germany on
Tuesday, for his contribution to conservation and environmental
The Frankfurt-based Bruno H. Schubert Foundation presents awards
every two years in three categories, all relating to environmental protection.
The first category prize – which Leshem received this year – goes to a person
involved in either environmental journalism or nature conservation on the
ground, the second to individuals or groups who have made outstanding
contributions to nature conservation and the third to an environmentalist under
25 years old, according to the foundation.
Leshem, 65, received the award
for his unique contribution to promoting bird topics and programs around Israel,
including a national project for employing owls and falcons as biological
pesticides. He has also promoted cooperation among Israelis, Jordanians and
Palestinians on the education and use of barn owls and kestrels for similar
purposes, according to SPNI.
Meanwhile, Leshem spearheaded a joint
research project among the Israel Air Force, SPNI and Tel Aviv University that
was able to reduce accidents with birds by 76 percent and saved $860 million in
the security budget. He has also conducted joint research with the Max Planck
Institute in Germany, tracking 120 storks migrating from Germany through Israel
to South Africa, SPNI said.
The Schubert Foundation was established in
1984 by Bruno Schubert and his wife Olga, in order to recognize individuals who
excel in areas of nature conservation and environmental protection. Leshem’s
award includes 25,000 euros worth of prize money, as “a tribute to [his]
remarkable achievements as well as motivation for [his] future endeavors,”
according to Prof. Manfred Niekisch, chairman of the foundation’s
Niekisch, who is also the director of the Frankfurt Zoo, attended
the award ceremony in Frankfurt’s Old Town Hall – which dates back to the 15th
century – as did Frankfurt’s mayor and many conservationists.
stressed how excited he was to visit Frankfurt, as his mother grew up there
until she fled during the Nazis’ rise to power.
“In 1988 she returned
with a friend to visit for a week, as a guest of the mayor, and it turned out
that she was the thousandth Jewish guest returning to Frankfurt,” Leshem said
prior to the ceremony.
“On the descent from the Lufthansa plane, waiting
for her was the mayor with an orchestra and a bouquet of flowers, and there was
a celebratory ceremony at the Old Town Hall of Frankfurt, the same hall that the
[Schubert prize] ceremony will be.”