College of Biological Science remembers Dr. Anne Innis Dagg

Posted on Friday, April 5th, 2024

Dr. Anne Innis Dagg and a giraffe

The College of Biological Science is remembering Dr. Anne Innis Dagg, a pioneer in wildlife biology with a particular fascination for giraffes and a staunch supporter of women in science. Dagg passed away on April 1 at the age of 91.

Dagg has received worldwide recognition for her research. She is credited as being the first western researcher to study wild giraffes, but she also studied camels, primates and Canadian wildlife. During her 54-year career, she produced more than 60 scientific papers and 26 books, including Giraffe: Biology, Behaviour and Conservation (1976), Pursuing Giraffe: A 1950s Adventure (2006), and Smitten by Giraffe: My Life as a Citizen Scientist (2016).

She was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2019 and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Waterloo, University of Toronto, McMaster University and Mount Saint Vincent University.

Dagg faced many obstacles throughout her career as a woman in a male-dominated field. Dagg was an assistant professor in the U of G’s Department of Zoology (now the Department of Integrative Biology) from 1968 to 1972, but was denied tenure. After leaving Guelph, she spent the remainder of her teaching career in the University of Waterloo’s Integrated Studies program.

In February 2019, Dagg visited the university for a screening of a documentary about her life and work, The Woman Who Loves Giraffes. She received an apology on behalf of the college and the university for the discrimination she had experienced and the Dr. Anne Innis Dagg Summer Research Scholarship was established in her honour. The scholarship provides one undergraduate researcher, with a preference for a female student, with $5,000 to support their studies over the summer months.

Dagg visited the University of Guelph again in January 2023 with her travelling exhibit, The Anne Innis Dagg Exhibit: Musings of a Scientist, Feminist, Activist, which featured her writings, poetry, and artifacts from her career.

In 2020, she established the Anne Innis Dagg Foundation, which works to preserve biodiversity by promoting a harmonious coexistence between humans and wildlife through conservation and education.

In lieu of flowers, Dagg has asked for donations to be made to her foundation.

News Archive

News Topics