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).

Connecting Communities For Conservation 

is a program built on the foundation that

local communities are at the heart of saving snow leopards.


International Snow Leopard Day Festival – Kyrgyzstan

2024 U.S. Headquarters Staff  Ashleigh Lutz-Nelson, Executive Director · Kayley Bateman Program Manager.

2024 Consultatory Support   Shavaun Kidd, Outreach Manager/Conservation Educator · Brian Peniston, Program Manager · Charleen Gavette, Conservation and Education Program Manager · Maria Azhunova, Director, Land of Snow Leopard Network.

2024 Board of Directors  Rodney Jackson, PhD, Founder/President · Raja Bhadury, Vice-President · Terry Murphy, Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer · Carolyn MacKenzie, Secretary · Caroline Gabel, Trustee · Mary Herrmann, Trustee · Tshewang Wangchuk, Trustee · Eric Newsom, Trustee.

2024 Advisory Board  Darla Hillard, Co-Founder, Snow Leopard Conservancy/Advisor, Land of Snow Leopard Network · Christine Breitenmoser-Würsten PhD, IUCN Cat Specialist Group · Don Hunter PhD, Founder, Rocky Mountain Cat Conservancy · Barbara Palmer, Husbandry Advisor, AZA/Felid Taxon Advisory Group/formerly with the Denver & San Francisco Zoos · George Schaller PhD, formerly with Wildlife Conservation Society.