Jaffar Ud Din grew up in a pastoral village in the mountain of Pakistan, surrounded by stories of fearsome snow leopards. He has loved wildlife since he was a very young child, when he spent a great deal of time in nature, but it wasn’t until a particularly inspirational teacher in college took him on a field trip that he decided to work in conservation.
After graduating with his Masters, Jaffar went to work with the Snow Leopard Trust, where he took over as the Science and Conservation Director after just seven years. His work with local villages in the region has been monumental—he helped to establish the Snow Leopard Friendly Livestock Vaccination program, which reduced livestock loss from preventable diseases in the region. This easily made up for any livestock taken by snow leopards. Jaffar has also trained more than 150 school teachers about conservation, thus imparting his knowledge to over 2,000 students in the region and ensuring that the next generation shares this passion for saving local wildlife. Jaffar’s work in data monitoring and gathering has also led to more conservation measures being enacted in northern Pakistan.
With a doctorate from the University of Malaya, Malaysia, Jaffar will be able to lessen human-snow leopard conflict even more and study new methods of gathering data to further impact local laws and strengthen his existing work in conservation. With his unique background, Jaffar truly embodies community-based conservation, and it is clear he will continue to make an impact for the years to come.
-Text by Elizabeth Rogers