Ira Gabrielson

  • Ira Gabrielson
    Ira Gabrielson
  • Ira Noel Gabrielson (1889-1977) - A Life in Conservation

    The conservation battle cannot be a short, sharp engagement, but must be grim, tenacious warfare--the sort that makes single gains and then consolidates these gains until renewed strength and a good opportunity make another advance possible.

    Ira Gabrielson, Wildlife Conservation, 1941


    Born 1889 Sioux Rapids, IA. B.A. (Biology) Morningside College 1912. Taught high school biology Marshalltown, IA 1912-1915. Joined Biological Survey as field biologist 1916. Assistant Chief of Wildlife Research 1935. Director of the Biological Survey 1935-1939. Director of Fish and Wildlife Service 1940-1946 U.S. Delegate to International Whaling Commission 1946. President of Wildlife Management Institute 1946-1970. Helped found International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources 1948. Helped organize and became president of World Wildlife Fund (United States) and a trustee of World Wildlife Fund (International). Died in Arlington, VA 1977.

    David Brower once called Ira Gabrielson ‘the glue of the Conservation Movement.’ A lifelong Audubon member and author of several books, he was a man of vast stature who was able to bring together all sides of the conservation movement. He joined the U.S. Biological Survey in 1916, and became its chief in 1935, succeeding J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling. In 1940, he became the first Director of the newly organized U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. After retiring from Federal service in 1946, he became president of the Wildlife Management Institute, and was later instrumental in the establishment of the World Wildlife Fund.


    Western American Alpines (1932), Birds of Oregon (1940), Wildlife Conservation (1941), Wildlife Refuges (1943), A Guide to the Most Familiar American Birds (1949), Wildlife Management (1951), Fisherman's Encyclopedia (1951), Birds of Alaska (1958), New Fish Encyclopedia (1964).

    Conservation Highlights

    Four-fold expansion of National Wildlife Refuge System. Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (1937). Dedication of Patuxent Research Refuge (1939). Bald Eagle Protection Act (1940).