Sybille Klenzendorf Named CNR Outstanding Young Alumnus

Dr. Sybille Klenzendorf has been awarded the College of Natural Resources' Young Alumnus Award. Dr. Klenzendorf received her Master of Science (1997) and Ph.D. (2002) degrees from Virginia Tech's Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation. She currently is Managing Director of the World Wildlife Fund's Species and Wildlife Trade Programs.

A native of Germany, Sybille first came to the United States in 1989 as an exchange student and YMCA youth counselor at the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Minnesota. She returned to Germany to complete high school and then returned to the United States in 1991 to attend George Mason University, where she received a B.S. degree in Biology in 1994 with a 3.8 GPA. That same year, she came to Virginia Tech to begin work on an M.S. degree in Wildlife Science. Her Master of Science research project, entitled "Management of brown bears in Europe", took her to Romania, Slovenia, Italy, Austria, Norway, and Sweden to assess how those countries managed their brown bear populations. Based on those data, Sybille developed a management strategy for Austria, whose brown bear population was just beginning to increase. Following the completion of her M.S. degree, Sybille remained at Virginia Tech for her Ph.D. Her dissertation project, "Population ecology of Virginia's hunted black bear population", was part of a 10-year study that eventually provided advanced degrees for 11 graduate students. Going beyond the narrow scope of her dissertation research, Sybille initiated and managed this large-scale study during its first four years, sharing in the organization and leadership of field work by other students, technicians, and volunteers.

While a graduate student, Sybille published four peer-reviewed papers, was a teaching assistant in five courses, lectured in numerous classes, taught the undergraduate population ecology course, won the Richard Cross and Richard Chamberlain scholarships, received competitive grants or contracts from Christensen Design Corporation and the Safari Club International, and was the College of Natural Resources outstanding graduate student of the year. Upon graduation, Sybille was selected to give the commencement speech representing all of Virginia Tech's graduate students.

Following graduation, Sybille applied for a highly prized position with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Washington, D.C. Competing with over 300 applicants, Sybille was hired to the position of Senior Biologist in the Species Conservation Program, which she held from 2002 to 2005. In that position, Sybille was responsible for developing and coordinating conservation initiatives and projects for the world's populations of tigers, elephants and rhinoceroses. One of the first projects she coordinated, a study of the highly endangered Sumatran tiger, was awarded to Dr. Marcella Kelly and her former advisor, Dr. Mike Vaughan, in the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservationat Virginia Tech. In 2005, Dr. Klenzendorf was promoted to become the Director of Species Conservation Program, expanding her responsibilities to all species under the umbrella of WWF. Finally, in 2008, Sybille was promoted to Managing Director of the Species and Wildlife Trade Programs, again expanding her responsibilities into the area of international trade in wildlife.

In her positions with WWF, Dr. Klenzendorf has traveled around the world, meeting and interacting with leaders in wildlife conservation. She has considerable influence upon projects undertaken by WWF and thus on the conservation and preservation of some of the world's most endangered wild animal populations. She is in every sense of the word a wildlife manager, conservationist, and scientist. Her contributions to her field and to conservation of global biodiversity are truly outstanding for an individual not yet ten years past award of her terminal degree.






Dana Keith
Assistant to Department Head
Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Cheatham Hall, RM100, Virginia Tech
310 West Campus Drive (MC0321)
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Phone: (540) 231-5573
Fax: (540) 231-7580


Dr. Sarah Karpanty 
Graduate Program Coordinator 

Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Cheatham Hall, RM150, Virginia Tech
310 West Campus Drive (MC0321)
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Phone: (540) 231-4586
Fax: (540) 231-7580


Stephanie Hart, Director
The Advising Center
Cheatham Hall, RM138, Virginia Tech
310 West Campus Drive (MC0321)
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Phone: (540) 231-5482 Email: