Dr. Lee Simmons is the 2013 recipient of the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group's Ulysses S. Seal Award.
The award is given to people who exemplify innovation in applying science to conservation.
“This is very, very special and means a great deal to me because I had the good fortune to work closely with Ulie (Seal) for 35 years on conservation projects,” Simmons said in a statement.
Simmons joined the Omaha zoo in 1966 as staff veterinarian. He became executive director in 1970 and remained in that position until he retired in 2009. Now he is chairman of the Omaha Zoo Foundation.
In announcing the award, the group cited Simmons for:
— His drive for safer and more reliable ways to anesthetize captive animals and his creation of a drug delivery system still in use.
— His hands-on research that led to advances in reproductive science and molecular genetics.
— The Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium's comprehensive program in Madagascar that led to the discovery of 21 new lemur species.
— His plant conservation programs.
— His immediate response to the international amphibian crisis and the creation of a cutting-edge facility to study and house endangered species.