The Snow Leopard Conservancy, a non-profit, 501(3)(c) public charity organization, headquartered in Sonoma, California, was founded by Dr. Rodney Jackson, a leading expert on snow leopards (Panthera uncia) and their habitat.
“In January 1982, Dr. Jackson began three and a half years of research in the mountains of Nepal after receiving the 1981 Rolex Enterprise Award for his proposal to radio collar and study snow leopards in the wild. A June 1986 National Geographic cover story, “Tracking the Snow Leopard,” co-written by Darla Hillard, fundraiser and logistical organizer for the study, documented Dr. Jackson’s success at being the first to implement VHF radio collar technology with this species. “The monitoring of five cats produced an extensive body of information on diet, preferred habitat, home range size, abundance and density, and marking behaviors that are specific to the snow leopard.” (Searching for the Snow Leopard, 2020).
Darla Hillard’s book, Vanishing Tracks: Four Years Among the Snow Leopards of Nepal, is an extraordinary personal accounting of the hardships and successes of the landmark radio-tracking study. Darla has also written for Travelers’ Tales: San Francisco and Bay Nature magazine and was a contributor to the book Searching for the Snow Leopard and the lead author for the chapter “Environmental Education for Snow Leopard Conservation” in the book Snow Leopards, published in 2016 to launch the Elsevier Press series, Biodiversity of the World: Conservation from Genes to Landscapes.
Dr. Jackson and Darla Hillard’s continued work with rural communities led to the establishment of the Snow Leopard Conservancy in 2000 and the development of grassroots interventions, including predator-proofed corrals, Himalayan Homestays, and other economic incentives for transforming the snow leopard from a pest to a valuable asset in the eyes of local people.
Today, Dr. Jackson chairs the Board of Directors and is devoting his efforts toward supporting the new leadership team as needed, assisting in the refining of the Conservancy’s strategic approach and impact, and mentoring the next generation of promising conservationists, while Darla Hillard, who served as the Conservancy’s Education Director until her retirement, continues to serve as Advisor to the Land of Snow Leopard Network (LOSL).
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International Snow Leopard Day Festival – Kyrgyzstan
2023 U.S. Headquarters Staff Ashleigh Lutz-Nelson, Executive Director · Charleen Gavette, Conservation and Education Program Manager · Brian Peniston, Program Manager · Shavaun Kidd, Outreach Manager/Conservation Educator · Kathy Ah San, Accounts and Office Administrator ⋅ Joyce Robinson, Administrative Assistant · Darla Hillard, Land of the Snow Leopard Network Facilitator.
2023 Board of Directors Rodney Jackson, PhD, Founder/President · Raja Bhadury, Vice-President · Bob Wilson, Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer · Carolyn MacKenzie, Secretary · Caroline Gabel, Trustee · Mary Herrmann, Trustee · Tshewang Wangchuk, Trustee · Eric Newsom, Trustee.
2023 Advisory Board Christine Breitenmoser-Würsten PhD, IUCN Cat Specialist Group · Renee Bumpus, Conservation Manager, Houston Zoo · Don Hunter PhD, Founder, Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy · Kristin Nowell, Director, Cat Action Treasury · Barbara Palmer, Husbandry Advisor, AZA/Felid Taxon Advisory Group · Camille Richard, Rangeland Ecologist · George Schaller PhD · Mike Weddle, Science Instructor-Retired.