The Maryland Zoo honors Dr. Mike Cranfield as the Winner of the 2012 Michael D. Hankin Award for Conservation. Photo courtesy of the Maryland Zoo.

Baltimore, Maryland – The Maryland Zoo of Baltimore, Maryland, honored Gorilla Doctors Director Dr. Mike Cranfield today as the 2012 winner of the Michael D. Hankin Award for Conservation. The award, named for former Chairman of the Zoo’s Board of Trustees Michael Hankin, was created by The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore in 2005 to recognize individuals who epitomize Hankin’s legacy of conservation, volunteerism, and philanthropy.  

The Hankin Award was presented to Dr. Cranfield at The Maryland Zoo in front of the Maryland Zoo Board of Trustees, Maryland Zoo staff and Board members and staff of Gorilla Doctors. Dr. Cranfield served as a Maryland Zoo veterinarian for 30 years, and as Director of Gorilla Doctors for almost 15 years. Gorilla Doctors is dedicated to saving the lives of endangered mountain and Grauer’s gorillas in Africa through emergency veterinary medicine.

Dr. Mike Cranfield conducting a medical intervention in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda.

“We are so honored to present this award to Dr. Mike,” said Don Hutchinson, president and CEO of The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. “His professional and personal commitment to the health, wellness and conservation of endangered species has spanned three decades. He has devoted a significant amount of this time to Gorilla Doctors, even while serving as the Chief Veterinarian here at The Maryland Zoo. His knowledge of exotic animal medicine and his dedication to enhancing the lives of animals both in zoos and in the wild is exceptional.”

After becoming Chief Veterinarian at the Zoo in 1982, Dr. Cranfield was promoted to Director of Animal Health, Research and Conservation, making him responsible for the health and care of the Zoo’s more than 1,500 animals. In 1998, he became executive director of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project (MGVP), at the time a program of the Morris Animal Foundation. Under Dr. Cranfield, MGVP expanded its mission to include health programs for the mountain and Grauer’s gorillas living in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, orphaned gorillas, and for the people working in and living near gorilla habitat.

Dr. Mike Cranfield conducting a medical intervention on a mountain gorilla in Rwanda.

The MGVP became a non-profit organization in 2006 based at The Maryland Zoo. In 2009, the MGVP partnered with the Wildlife Health Center at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine. Together, the two institutions run Gorilla Doctors. Dr. Cranfield is a senior veterinarian at the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center, where he directs Gorilla Doctors with Dr. Kirsten Gilardi at UC Davis.

A native of Canada, Cranfield received his Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Guelph in Ontario and completed his residency at the Toronto Zoo. After residency training, Cranfield moved to the Maryland Zoo where, in addition to his clinical duties, he pursued research on avian malaria in penguins, parasitic diseases in snakes, in vitro fertilization in lion-tailed macaques, and captive breeding of endangered frog species. He has published more than 100 professional articles and abstracts and contributed to nine books. 

The first Michael D. Hankin Award for Conservation was awarded in 2005 to Michael Hankin.  It has since been awarded four times; in 2006 to H. Turney McKnight, in 2007 to Dr. Torrey C. Brown, in 2010 to D. Keith Campbell and in 2011 to Tom Lewis.

Dr. Mike Cranfield oversees the transfer of a Grauer’s gorilla orphan to the GRACE center in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

About Gorilla Doctors

Founded in 1986 at the request of the late gorilla researcher Dian Fossey, the Gorilla Doctors’ veterinary team is dedicated to saving the lives of Central Africa’s endangered mountain and Grauer’s gorillas through health care. Powered by the nonprofit MGVP, Inc. and the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center, Gorilla Doctors treats wild human-habituated gorillas suffering from life-threatening injury and illness, aids in the rescue and treatment of orphaned gorillas, conducts gorilla disease research, and facilitates preventive health care for the people who work in the national parks and come into close contact with the gorillas.

For more information, please contact:

Justin Cox, Director of Marketing and Communications or +13364032065