Jan Janečka

Dr. Jan E. Janečka serves as Director of SLC’s Genetics Research Program and currently holds an Assistant Professor appointment in the Department of Biological Science at Duquesne University. His work focuses on the status and population structure of snow leopards, conservation genetics of felids, and the evolution of mammals.In the winter of 2005 he traveled to Ladakh (India) and with the Snow Leopard Conservancy conducted a pilot study examining the feasibility of estimating snow leopard distribution and abundance using noninvasive genetic techniques. This approach uses a combination of sign surveys and genetic analysis of scats to identify individuals occupying an area. The technique was shown to be very efficient for detecting snow leopards (Janecka et al. 2008. Animal Conservation), and in collaboration with in-country partners is now being used to examine the distribution and abundance of these elusive cats across Central Asia.

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These surveys will generate information critical for designing effective conservation actions.Dr. Janečka has a diverse background in wildlife science, having worked on projects integrating genetics, ecology, and conservation. He was a Rob and Bessie Welder Wildlife Fellow during both his masters and doctoral work, having studied the social structure and dispersal of bobcats at the Welder Refuge (MS in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology, University of Vermont) and the effects of habitat fragmentation on genetic diversity of ocelots in Texas (Joint PhD in Wildlife Science, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville & Texas A&M University). Janecka went on to a post-doctoral position with Dr. William Murphy (Texas A&M University), focusing on phylogenetics and diversification of mammals. During this time he also developed and expanded the snow leopard genetics project, in partnership with the SLC and other important collaborators. He has traveled extensively in Asia, including Thailand, Laos, India, Nepal, Bhutan, China, and Mongolia.

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Margaret Gee

Margaret Gee, the Snow Leopard Conservancy’s Australian Ambassador hails from Sydney. She’s worked in publishing for over 30 years, and for the last 20 years has been a literary agent specializing in memoirs and other non-fiction works focusing on nature, Himalayan cultures, anthropology, history, animal welfare, and wellness. Margaret has visited Bhutan eight times and traveled extensively in Nepal, India, Burma, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. She regularly attends the Jaipur Literature Festival and went on her first snow leopard expedition in 2019. She returned to Ladakh to search for the Grey Ghost in January 2023. Margaret’s husband Brent is a volunteer doctor with Health Volunteers Overseas in Bhutan.

Charlotte Hacker

Dr. Charlotte Hacker is a research biologist with the Department of the Interior for the U.S. government. Her work focuses on using scientific data to evaluate the effects of conservation management decisions. Her PhD work under the advisement of Dr. Jan Janecka at Duquesne University involved the use of noninvasive genetic techniques to better understand snow leopard population parameters, landscape connectivity, and diet. She continues her snow leopard research as an active member of the Snow Leopard Network, providing support for training modules and webinars. Charlotte received her MS from Western Kentucky University studying elephant behavior and welfare and her BS from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania.

Jonathan Hanson

Dr. Jonathan Hanson serves as the Conservancy’s Social Science Associate. Raised in Ireland and Malawi, Dr. Hanson is a co-founder and the Managing Director of Jubilee Community Benefit Society, who own and operate Jubilee Farm, the first community-owned farm in Northern Ireland. He has a BA in medieval history and archaeology from Queen’s University, Belfast, an MSc in business management and sustainability from Queen’s University Management School, and a PhD in snow leopard conservation and rural development from the University of Cambridge. A frequent writer, speaker, and broadcaster on environmental and agricultural topics, Jonny is also a trustee of the Nyika-Vwaza Trust, a UK-based conservation charity, active in Northern Malawi, and is an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. As well as working part-time for Jubilee, Jonny works part-time as a homemaker.