Marc Bekoff is professor emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is a Fellow of the Animal Behavior Society and a past Guggenheim Fellow. In 2000 he was awarded the Exemplar Award from the Animal Behavior Society for major long-term contributions to the field of animal behavior. Marc is also an ambassador for Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots program, in which he works with students of all ages, senior citizens, and prisoners, and also is a member of the Ethics Committee of the Jane Goodall Institute. He and Jane co-founded the organization Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: Citizens for Responsible Animal Behavior Studies in 2000. Marc is on the Board of Directors of The Fauna Sanctuary and The Cougar Fund and on the advisory board for Animal Defenders and Project Coyote. He has been part of the international program, Science and the Spiritual Quest II, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) program on Science, Ethics, and Religion. Marc is also an honorary member of Animalisti Italiani and Fundacion Altarriba. In 2006 Marc was named an honorary board member of Rational Animal and a patron of the Captive Animals' Protection Society. In 2009 he was named a member of the Scientific Expert Advisory Panel of Voiceless, The Animal Protection Institute and a faculty member of the Humane Society University, and in 2010 he was named to the advisory board of Living with Wolves and Greenvegans and the advisory council of the National Museum of Animals & Society. In 2005 Marc was presented with The Bank One Faculty Community Service Award for the work he has done with children, senior citizens, and prisoners. In 2009 he was presented with the St. Francis of Assisi Award by the Auckland (New Zealand) SPCA. Marc is also on the Board of Directors for Minding Animals International.
Marc's main areas of research include animal behavior, cognitive ethology (the study of animal minds), behavioral ecology, and compassionate conservation, and he has also published extensively on human-animal interactions and animal protection. He has published more than 1000 essays (popular, scientific, and book chapters) and 30 books including Species of Mind: The Philosophy and Biology of Cognitive Ethology (with Colin Allen, MIT Press, 1997); Nature's Purposes: Analyses of Function and Design in Biology (edited with Colin Allen and George Lauder, MIT Press, 1998); Animal play: Evolutionary, Comparative, and Ecological Perspectives (edited with John Byers, Cambridge University Press, 1998), Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare (Greenwood Publishing Group, 1998), and a book on the lighter side, Nature's Life Lessons: Everyday Truths from Nature (with Jim Carrier, Fulcrum, 1996). His children's book, Strolling With Our Kin was published in Fall 2000 (AAVS/Lantern Books) as was The Smile of a Dolphin: Remarkable Accounts of Animal Emotions (Random House/Discovery Books). The Cognitive Animal: Empirical and theoretical perspectives on animal cognition (edited by Marc, Colin Allen, and Gordon Burghardt) appeared in 2002 (MIT Press), as did Minding Animals: Awareness, Emotions, and Heart (Oxford University Press) and Jane Goodall and Marc's The Ten Trusts: What we must do to care for the animals we love (HarperCollins). Marc has edited a three volume Encyclopedia of Animal Behavior (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004), and a collection of his essays titled Animal Passions and Beastly Virtues: Reflections on Redecorating Nature was published by Temple University Press (2006).
A summary of Marc's research on animal emotions titled The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy and Why They Matter, was published in 2007 by New World Library and his and Jessica Pierce's book on the evolution of moral behavior titled Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2009. Marc has also edited a four-volume Encyclopedia of Human-Animal Relationships: A Global Exploration of our Connections with Animals for Greenwood Publishing Group (2007) and he and Cara Blessley Lowe have edited a book of readings on cougars titled Listening to Cougar (University Press of Colorado, 2007). Marc's book Animals Matter: A Biologist Explains Why We Should Treat Animals with Compassion and Respect was also published in 2007 (Shambhala Publications) and Temple University Press published Marc's children's book, Animals at Play: Rules of the Game in 2008. The two-volume revision and expansion of Marc's 1998 Encyclopedia of Animal Rights and Animal Welfare was published in 2010 (ABC-CLIO) and The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons For Expanding Our Compassion Footprint was also published in 2010 (New World Library). Ignoring Nature No More: The Case For Compassionate Conservation and a collection of Marc's essays from Psychology Today called Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed: The Fascinating Science of Animal Intelligence, Emotions, Friendship, and Conservation were published in Fall 2013, and Rewilding Our Hearts was published in 2014. Jill Robinson (founder of Animals Asia) and Marc's award-winning children's book titled Jasper's Story: Saving Moon Bears was also been published in 2013 by Sleeping Bear Press. The Jane Effect: Celebrating Jane Goodall (edited with Dale Peterson) was published in 2015. The Animals' Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age (with Jessica Pierce) was published by Beacon Press in April 2017 and Canine Confidential: Why Dogs Do What They Do will be published in March 2018 by the University of Chicago Press.
Marc's work has been featured on 48 Hours, in Time Magazine, Life Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, The New York Times, New Scientist, BBC Wildlife, Orion, Scientific American, Ranger Rick, National Geographic Kids, on NPR, BBC, Fox, NaturGEO, in a National Geographic Society television special ("Play: The Nature of the Game"), Discovery TV's "Why Dogs Smile and Chimpanzees Cry," Animal Planet's "The Power of Play," National Geographic Society's "Hunting in America," and more recently in "What Animals Think" and PBS Nature's "Why We Love Cats and Dogs," "Animal Odd Couples," "My Bionic Pet," and "Animal Reunions." Marc has also appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, and 20/20.
In 1986 Marc became the first American to win his age-class at the Tour du Haut Var bicycle race (also called the Master's/age-graded Tour de France). Among Marc's hobbies are cycling, skiing, hiking, and reading spy novels.