Horse News

Craig Carpenter Downer, Ph.D. c., Presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award by Marquis Who’s Who

Dr. Downer has been endorsed by Marquis Who’s Who as a leader in the conservation movement

Craig Downer and R.T. Fitch at Twin Peaks Roundup, 2011 ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

MINDEN, NV,— Marquis Who’s Who, the world’s premier publisher of biographical profiles, is proud to present Craig Carpenter Downer, Ph.D. c., with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. An accomplished listee, Craig celebrates many years of experience in his professional network, and has been noted for achievements, leadership qualities, and the credentials and successes he has accrued in his field. As in all Marquis Who’s Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.

With more than 40 years of professional experience, Craig has been president of the Andean Tapir Fund since 1996. Prior to attaining his current role, he was a research fellow with the Wildlife Conservation Society from 1990 to 1996, managing editor of InterAction for Global Tomorrow Coalition (1987), guide/writer for the film “Wild Horses of the Nevada Desert (1982-1987), Mountain Tapir researcher for Durham University-UK (1988-1993), research services director for Animal Protection Institute (1980-1981). Earlier he served as a wildlife ecologist with the U.S. Peace Corps in Colombia (1977-1979). In addition to his primary positions, he has been an activist, researcher, speechmaker, writer, testifier, litigant, & television/radio guest (1970-2019). He has participated in TV/Radio programs/films in the Andes/US/worldwide including Those Amazing Animals (ABC), Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Los Angeles), Nevada Newsmakers (TV-Reno), Mustang Matters (Radio-Reno), LA-Television & La Luna (both in Quito), Coast-to-Coast AM (2012), National Public Radio programs in Reno-NV, Gallop-NM, Great Falls-MT, SLC-UT, Sacramento-CA, and Los Angeles-CA. He has also been an internet-radio co-host for Big Blend-Tucson.

Craig began his career as a student at the University of California, Berkeley, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in biology and ecology in 1972. He continued his studies at the University of Nevada, completing a Master of Science in biology in 1976. After obtaining some experience in the field, he returned to his education with the University of Kansas, completing Ph.D. studies, and earned candidate status for the Doctor of Philosophy in Biology from Durham University-UK in 1996. He was also an academic, researcher/lecturer, at University College North Wales in Bangor. He directed an M.S. study on Sangay N.P. & its mountain tapirs for Yvonne Guinan, in Ecuador & Wales. He also helped initiate a Ph.D. tapir study in Colombia for Diego Lizcano (U. Kent-UK). He has taught courses in biology (lab, KU-Lawrence), ecology (Universidad Cali-Colombia & CCC-Pomona), & led field courses in Sangay N.P. re: telemetric tracking of tapirs for Catholic Univ.-Quito, where he gave popular illustrated talks as well as at the National Politecnical University-Quito, his affiliate from 1989-2002. He has done extensive field studies of mustangs in U.S.

Some of the many fine publications to his credit (English, Spanish, German & French) include: The Wild Horse Conspiracy (Amazon, 2011, 2014), Wild Horses: Living Symbols of Freedom (Western, 1977), The horse & burro as positively contributing returned natives in North America (AJLS, 2014), Proposal for wild horse/burro reserve design as a solution to present crisis (Natural Horse, 2010), Overgrazing is by humankind (Bull. Theos. Science Study Gp., 1987), Tapirus pinchaque (Mammalian Species, 2010), Status & Action Plan for the Mountain Tapir (IN: Tapirs, IUCN SSC Tapir Spec. Gp., 1997), Observations on the diet & habitat of the mountain tapir (Jour. Zool. London, 2001), Tapirs (IN: Mammals IV, V. 15, Grzimek’s Animal Life Encycl. 2003), The Mountain Tapir, Endangered ‘Flagship’ of the High Andes (Oryx, 1996), Uphill Struggles (BBC Wildlife, 1996), A Paramo Paradise: Colombia’s Las Hermosas National Park (Americas, Org. Amer. States, 1981), Attitudes to tapirs, wilderness and wildlife conservation in & around Sangay N.P., Ecuador (Tapir Conservation, 2003), Cerro Negro: an important mountain tapir conservation area in the Piuran Andes (Tapir Conservation, 2009), Wilderness & the Indian Way of Life (Pyramid Lake Tribal Publ., 1998), Un Caso de Mutualismo en los Andes: Observaciones sobre Dieta-Habitat del Tapir de Montana (IN: Manejo y Conservacion de Fauna Silvestre en America Latina, Proc. Intl. Conf. on Wldf. Mgmt., Santa Cruz, Bolivia, 1997), Un registro de Tapir de Montana…, (Mastozoologia Neotropical, 2009), Agonia of the Mountain Tapir (Rumbos de Sol & Piedra, Lima, 2005), Ambito Hogareno y Utilizacion de Habitat del Tapir Andino e Ingreso de Ganado en el Parque Nacional Sangay, Ecuador (Lyonia, 2003), Der Bergtapir, (IN: Die Tapir, Ferlander Verlag publ., Germany, 2006), Tame or Reclaim? (Sangay N.P.), Landscape Design, U.K., 1996). He has also widely contributed nature photos, e.g. the fine coffee-table book with his forward: Der letzte Mustang by Peter Clotten (Muller Ruschlikon, Stuttgart, 2009).For many years, he has contributed on a variety of subjects to the Reno Gazette Journal, Sacramento Bee, Denver Post, Environmental News Service, Horsetalk-NZ, Horseback Magazine, The Record Courier, Natural Horse, & Tapir Conservation. In recent years he has been featured in several YouTube/Vimeos concerning wild horses, mountain tapirs, and other subjects.

He has given speeches in English & Spanish at professional as well as public conferences. In 2017 & 2018, he delivered his speech: “The World’s Endangered Species Today Present a Crisis of Conscience for Humanity” to several audiences including: Nevada’s Fort McDermitt tribe, CA4Elephants’ Endangered Species Rally-Sacramento Capitol, & Illinois University-Champaign. He also delivered his PowerPoint “Wild Horses & Burros: Wonderful Restorers” at these & Sparks Museum (11/03/18), Northeastern Nevada Historical Museum-Elko (2/3/17), & ISWMP event, Malibu, CA (11/19/17). He has given major wild horse talks at the University of California-Berkeley (4/20/15), Redwoods University-California (11/17/14), Colorado Mountain College-Steamboat Springs (3/28/13), St. Charles Community College-Missouri (4/26/13), King’s College – London-Ontario (5/13), the Wild Horse Summit-Las Vegas (10/12/2008, standing ovation) & the International Equine Conference (2011 & 2012). He prepared and defended a poster on wild horses at the Ecological Society of Australia’s annual conference in Alice Springs (9/28-10/4/2014) & went on to tour/give interviews at several brumby areas throughout this continent . He has spoken about the Mountain Tapir at the Biodiversity Conference-Cuzco (1996) & in Sullana & Ayabaca, n. Peru, universities in Medellin/Bogota/Cali-Colombia, Quito/Cuenca/Loja/Riobamba-Ecuador, Jyvaskyla-Finland (10/2010), & Sacramento State-CA (10/2006). He was a major presenter at the “Mountains in the Mist” conference, Waimea-Hawaii (2004) & at the Doue Zoological Gardens Conference, Angers, France (2006). In 2007, he helped prepare a permanent mustang exhibit at the Carson Valley Museum & gave the kick-off speech (6/14/07). In September-October 1986, he participated in the “Soviet Peace Odyssey” cultural exchange tour and gave a stirring speech with a green message entitled “World Peace & Unity” (Tiblisi, Soviet Georgia, standing ovation). In 2015 he spoke on wild horses at the ELAW conference Eugene-OR, where he participated 1991 as Spanish translator re: rainforest conservation-Ecuador.

He has designed & carried out a ground-breaking study of the endangered Mountain Tapir, becoming the first biologist to have captured, radio-collared & tracked this elusive herbivore (1989-2002). His efforts for this & associated species resulted in several large protected reserves, including Tabaconas-Namballe (n. Peru), southern expansion of “world heritage” Sangay N.P.-Ecuador, & protective status for large areas east of Quito associated with Cayambe-Coca N.P. He has served as guide, researcher & narrator for three films on the Andean Tapir: “Esperanza: The Mountain Tapir” (Living Planet Prod.-UK, Discovery/Animal Planet, 1995-1996); “The Mountain Tapir: Flagship of the Northern Andes” (INDECOM, Seoul-Korea, 1998), & an Ecuadorean film by LA Television-Quito, that sparked the Cayambe-Coca N.P. expansion. He and his organization has also staved off major habitat destruction in n. Peru since the 1980s.

His species inventories, field observations, ecological descriptions and photos concerning Chinquapin Roadless Area in California’s Coastal Range (1981-1995, Friends of Chinquapin) helped achieve protective status for this unique & pristine area. From 1986-2019, he similarly worked with Peruvian conservationists to defend Andean tapir habitat in northern Peru & has an IUCN SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG) approved project for creating the Cerro Negro Reserve. In 2006, he participated in/presented at the Mountain Tapir Workshop with TSG in Pereira, Colombia.

Also venturing into philosophy, poetry & music, he has published two books & one musical CD & given related talks & performances. These are The Spiritual Evolution: A Book on Reincarnation & Evolution (1981); Streams of the Soul (poetry, 2005); & “Wild Horse Rhapsody” (2005 CD w/ 13 original medleys, Joanne Grauer, pianist). Since 1996 as a member of the Nevada Poetry Society, he has achieved recognition for his poems (some published) & represented the society in 2003 at the national convention of the NFSPS. In April 2009, he gave a combined speech: “These Beautiful Melodies That Come to Me” and piano performance of his original melodies for the Ollie Classical Music group in Reno. He also had a special exhibit of his nature photos & poems (Sparks Museum, February-April 2018).

He has been a respected defender of naturally living horses & burros in the US, Canada, Bonaire, England, Australia, & South America. Since 2010, he has been carrying out herd & habitat evaluations in several regions of North America. His resulting reports include Reserve Design recommendations. His Reserve Design project aims to restore wild equids to viable population levels and to allow these animals to ecologically harmonize, naturally self-stabilize, and to greatly prevent/mitigate catastrophic wildfires – of mounting concern due to Global Climate Change. As a long-time litigant and activist, his testimony and protests have helped save many wild horse and burro herds.

A respected leader in his areas of interest, Dr. Downer has been an active voice in his community. He is a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission and the American Society of Mammologists and has served as environmental director for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe and as a conservationist with the California Conservation Corps (CCC).

Throughout his career, Dr. Downer has been recognized for his contributions, receiving the Excellence in American History Award from the Daughters of the American Revolution, a CCC distinguished service award, and support from the Chicago Zoological Society, CEPA-France, ZGAP-Germany, World Nature Association and, as a conservation fellow, from Wildlife Conservation Society-NY. He has been featured in numerous honors publications, including multiple editions of Who’s Who in America.

In recognition of outstanding contributions to his profession and the Marquis Who’s Who community, Dr. Downer has been featured on the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement website. Please visit for more information about this honor.

13 replies »

  1. Congratulations, Craig !! You certainly deserved this honor. I forwarded it on to my friend at Centre College and hopefully you will be able to do your power point presentation there when you visit KY.
    So glad you got this posted, Kathy, after I sent it to you.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank you Craig for all you have accomplished….and for helping to try and save our wild horses… certainly deserve this recognition……and RT….thanks for sharing this..and all you and Terry do…..much gratitude.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Craig, CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU for your years and years of hard work and dedication.
    Your work is so very valuable in so many ways.
    You are probably one of the few (if not only) who knew Velma Johnston (Wild Horse Annie).

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Greatly appreciate your words of support and pledge to carry on more effectively in 2019 for the wonderful horses and their right to live naturally and with sufficient habitat to realize their marvellous freedom — that is so inspiring to so many of us and uplifts the Whole Wide World we share as home with them.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. So exactly how much product does one have to pay to receive such an “honor” and did the good Mr Downer use his own money or funnel funds from his plethora of GoFundMe’s? Just curious
    This sums it up for me:
    “I recently got this email from Who’s Who which I have been listed in for the past 40 years. I have posted the letter and have completed each sentence in parentheses of what they are really saying.
    Dear Joel,
    As you know, you are a listee with Marquis Who’s Who and you are currently being considered to receive the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award (If you agree to buy some of our products). We did receive the updates you submitted recently and the final step in the selection process is to verify that all the information we have is current and accurate (and to try and sell you self-promotion packages for up to $900). I would need to speak with you briefly to explain what happens next (and to try to sell you Books and plaques costing hundreds of dollars). I’m very excited to share the details of this wonderful honor with you (and to take your money). As I’m sure you already know, this is our highest honor (and subsequently comes with a high price).
    Wow! What an honor!


  6. Congratulations! Thank you for showing leadership, courage and kindness during these trying times. You are a true inspiration to us all. I am so greatful you are fighting for the horses and our planet.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks so much, Jirina! We are in crucial times now and the enemies of the wild horses, meaning the naturally living and free roaming ones, think they are going to get their way 100% We must fight and stand up to their lies and ill-willed, narrow-minded, selfish and petty agendas. We can win, because we have the greater Truth and Justice on the side of the free and naturally living horses, who are true healers and restorers in our world.

    Liked by 1 person

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