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Dr. Çağan Hakkı Şekercioğlu is a professor of conservation ecology and ornithology at the University of Utah Department of Biology. He is also the president of the non-profit environmental organization KuzeyDoğa (www.kuzeydoga.org) in Kars, Turkey. Born in İstanbul, Şekercioğlu is a conservation ecologist, ornithologist, and Turkey’s first tropical biologist. An award-winning photographer, Şekercioğlu’s photos have been published by National Geographic, BBC, and hundreds of magazines, newspapers, books, and other publications.

After graduating from İstanbul’s Robert College in 1993, Şekercioğlu won a silver medal at the International Biology Olympics and started Harvard University. In 1997, he graduated with degrees in Biology and Anthropology, magna cum laude, receiving a summa cum laude for his honors thesis. Before starting his Ph.D. in ecology at Stanford University, he took a year off to work in Alaska for the USGS National Biological Survey, to climb in the Andes, photograph, and explore in South America and Antarctica, and do wildlife photography in Africa for his first book “Vanishing Africa”. In 2001, he was chosen one of the 100 leading academics of Turkey by Aktuel magazine. He received his Ph.D. in 2003 from Stanford University Department of Biology, with the thesis Causes and Consequences of Bird Extinctions. He was chosen 2003 Outstanding Young Person of the Year in environmental and ethical leadership by Junior Chamber International of Turkey and he initiated his community-based conservation, biodiversity research, ecological restoration, and ecotourism projects in northeastern Turkey.

As his projects expanded in scope, he founded the Kars-based environmental non-profit organization KuzeyDoğa (www.kuzeydoga.org) in 2007. He directed KuzeyDoğa pro-bono while working as a senior scientist at Stanford University. For his community-based conservation, research, restoration, and ecotourism work at Lake Kuyucuk of Kars (www.kuyucuk.org), he received the Whitley Gold Award of the United Kingdom from Princess Anne in 2008. Following the award, Şekercioğlu succeeded in getting Kuyucuk declared eastern Turkey’s first Ramsar wetland, had the lake chosen the 2009 European Destination of Excellence, and helped create Turkey’s first bird-nesting island in the lake. As a result, Princess Anne invited Şekercioğlu to the Buckingham Palace for her 60. birthday party in 2010. Same year, Şekercioğlu joined the faculty of the University of Utah Department of Biology. Also in 2010, was chosen one of the 100 Hopes for the Future of Turkey by Newsweek Turkiye and Turkey’s Scientist of the Year by NTV, Radikal and MSNBC Turkey.

In 2011, he was chosen a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and received Turkey’s two wetland conservation awards for his individual efforts and for the work of his NGO KuzeyDoğa. In 2011, Şekercioğlu and colleagues published the books "Conservation of Tropical Birds" and "Winged Sentinels: Birds and Climate Change" (www.wingedsentinels.com). In 2013, he was chosen a National Geographic Risk Taker and received the Whitley Fund 20. Anniversary Gold Award for "Putting Turkey on the Conservation Map". Şekercioğlu’s achievements in ecological research and community-based conservation have been commended by Turkey’s president Abdullah Gül, the former prime minister Erdal İnönü, and various government ministers. In addition to his long-term work in Turkey, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, and Utah, Şekercioğlu has visited over 70 countries on all continents for research and has seen over 60% of the world’s bird species in the wild. He is a board member of the Society for Conservation Biology, an ornithology associate of the Harvard University Museum of Comparative Zoology, Fellow International of the Explorers Club, Elective Member of the American Ornithologists Union, and a full member of the Sigma Xi Scientific Society. His ecological research and conservation efforts have been covered by the world's leading media, including ABC, BBC, CNN, Fox, National Geographic, Nature, Newsweek, New York Times, Science and The New Yorker. Şekercioğlu’s three books and over 80 scientific publications have received more than 2600 citations. He is among the most cited 1% of the world's scientists of the past decade.

Turkey’s Wolves Are Texting Their Travels to Scientists

Wolves are being tracked for the first time in Turkey by KuzeyDoga Society and University of Utah, with the support of National Geographic Society, the Christensen Fund, the Whitley Fund, and Turkey’s Directorate of Nature Conservation and National Parks. Since October 2011, cutting edge GPS/GSM/UHF/VHF transmitting collars have been placed on wolves that are among…

Turkey’s First Satellite-Tracked Egyptian Vulture Covered More Than 20,000 Km In 7.5 Months

For the first time in Turkey, the intercontinental migration and return of an animal has been tracked hourly from the beginning to the end. However, only one of the three endangered Egyptian vultures tracked with satellite transmitters completed its migration and successfully returned to Turkey. Turkey’s first satellite-tracked Egyptian vulture covered more than 20,000 km in…

Happy 125th National Geographic: Brown Bears Film Their Lives with Turkey’s First CritterCams

Today is January 13th, National Geographic Society’s 125th anniversary. In National Geographic’s own words, “For 125 years, National Geographic has been at the leading edge of exploration, conservation, and scientific research. Now technology is allowing us to go places and make discoveries not possible before.” Video: Wildlife Chronicles – Cagan Sekercioglu As a National Geographic Emerging Explorer,…

Turkey Celebrates World Vulture Day by Satellite-tracking Its First Egyptian Vultures

The migration of globally endangered Egyptian vultures is under high-tech surveillance Eastern Turkey environmental organization KuzeyDoga celebrated September 1 International Vulture Awareness Day at Turkey’s first vulture restaurant in Igdir with another first for Turkey’s vultures.  first vulture restaurantOn August 17,  we started satellite-tracking globally endangered Egyptian vultures for the first time in Turkey, in collaboration with Turkey’s Ministry of Forestry…

Turkey’s First Wildlife Corridor Links Bear, Wolf and Lynx Populations to the Caucasus Forests

Dr. Çağan Şekercioğlu is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. A professor of conservation biology, ecology and ornithology at the University of Utah Department of Biology, he also directs the Turkish environmental organization KuzeyDoğa. A gray wolf (Canis lupus) photographed by one of KuzeyDoğa‘s camera traps in Kars Turkey (Türkiye) is the only country covered almost entirely by three…

Turkey’s Conservation Crisis: Global Biodiversity Hotspots Under Threat

Dr. Çağan Şekercioğlu is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer. A professor of conservation biology, ecology and ornithology at the University of Utah Department of Biology, he also directs the Turkish environmental organization KuzeyDoğa.   For me, 2011 started with a great post by David Braun, so I will thank him by ending the year with my…