Dr. David Kersey, a College of Veterinary Medicine assistant professor of physiology who played a major role in the giant panda birth at Zoo Atlanta in July 2013, and his colleague, Dr. Copper Aitken-Palmer, chief veterinarian at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, have won a gold award in the web-based “Giant Panda Zoo Awards 2013.”

The two won gold in the “Panda Personality of 2013 ‘The Human’” category, according to results announced on Jan. 17, 2014 at Zoo Atlanta. Online voting was open to anyone worldwide from Dec. 13, 2013 to Jan. 14, 2014.

Kersey and Aitken-Palmer received 33 percent of the votes to win gold. More than 239,000-votes were registered during the one-month online voting in 10 categories, according to Giant Panda Zoo’s press release.

“Dr. Aitken-Palmer and I were nominated for our collaboration in the successful artificial insemination (AI) of the twin cubs born at Zoo Atlanta and the contribution she and I have made to the knowledge of giant panda biology from our 10-plus years of research,” Kersey said.

Kersey says Aitken-Palmer is the male giant panda expert, while he’s the female expert.

“To have been nominated for this award is something special, but to have won is very exciting,” he said. “Dr. Aitken-Palmer and I work toward the goal of giant panda conservation, and we are happy to do so without acknowledgment. So to be recognized by the public for our efforts is unexpected, but it is also a real honor.”

The Giant Panda Zoo Awards are organized by www.GiantPandaZoo.com, a website about captive giant pandas around the world, to promote the important panda conservation work in China and abroad.