A professor has been made a Commander of the British Empire thanks to his efforts in protecting wildlife.

Prof David Macdonald, of Standlake, was named in the Queen’s birthday honours for his contributions to wildlife and conservation.

The professor works in Oxford University’s department of zoology.

He said about being made a CBE: “I think it’s a wonderful honour and feel that the honour is in two parts.

“One part is to draw attention to the importance of the subject of wildlife conservation and the other is to give recognition to the wonderful team of people that I have built up and with whom I work.”

In 1986, Prof Macdonald established the first conservation research unit – called Wild Cru – at the university.

The married father-of-three said: “To tell you the truth, while I suppose I wouldn’t have thought that I would get such an honour or even become a professor at Oxford University, I did always think that the vision I had for the way of tackling wildlife problems was a helpful vision.

“I suppose you could say I always had confidence in the vision and the mission and in the importance of the issues, but of course I did not know that I would be recognised for that.”

In a 2007 poll he was named as one of the top 10 most influential living conservationists by BBC Wildlife magazine. He finished ninth in the feature – one place behind veteran botanist David Bellamy.

Prof Macdonald, who has lived in the Witney area for 20 years and studied zoology at Oxford University, was first noticed in the world of wildlife conservation in the early 70s when he was the first to track foxes using radios.

Known locally as the fox man, the professor went on to make Bafta-winning documentary The Night of the Fox, which used then-breakthrough technology of night vision to track the creatures.

This led to him penning the book Running with the Fox.

In the 1980s, he made the film Meerkats United, which followed mongooses in the desert, and has been watched by 500m people.

Prof Macdonald’s specialist unit Wild Cru now has a team of 60 people who study endangered animals across the globe.

He has also created a training programme, based in Tubney, for people from developing countries to learn about conservation.

Internationally, Prof Macdonald is the chairman of the Darwin Initiative – the committee that decides how Britain’s money is distributed to conservation projects.

He is also chairman of Natural England’s science advisory committee.