British biologist Rodney Jackson, born in South Africa in 1944, has made great strides over the past 30 years to save the elusive Himalayan snow leopard.
Jackson acknowledges a lifelong fascination with rare, wild creatures. Following his master’s in zoology studies at the University of California, Berkeley, in the 1970s, he visited Nepal where he became acutely aware of the snow leopard’s precarious status, and knew he had to take action.
His radio-tracking study, launched by his 1981 Rolex Award, remains the seminal work on snow leopards. Subsequently, the Snow Leopard Conservancy, which Jackson founded in 2000, has focused on empowering local people through community-based conservation programmes, transforming the predator cat from a despised pest into a valued asset.
In addition to engaging communities in wildlife protection, Jackson plans to develop non-invasive means of determining snow leopard population size, mapping its habitat and establishing safe corridors.
Published in 2009