Trained as an economist, Shafqat Hussain, who was born in 1969, combined his professional expertise with his concern for wildlife and, in 1998, developed Project Snow Leopard.
The innovative insurance scheme, an outgrowth of Hussain’s work for an environmental and development NGO, engages local communities in saving endangered snow leopards by compensating farmers for goats killed by the cats.
This unconventional approach has proven a success. With the funds from his 2006 Rolex Award, Hussain extended the project from three to 10 valleys in northern Pakistan, setting up insurance funds in five new valleys. He also constructed predator-proof corrals in seven valleys and implemented biological and social surveys across the region. Consequently, between 25 and 40 more snow leopards have been protected.
In addition to directing Project Snow Leopard, Hussain, nominated as National Geographic’s Emerging Explorer for 2009, is an assistant professor in environmental anthropology at Trinity College (U.S.)
Published in 2009