This gentleman stood firmly on the side of conservation, on his own terms. Late Dr. Prahlad Yonzon argued differently when most conservationists were demanding huge money to save the tiger during the international Tiger Conference held in St. Pittsburgh. He was the first person to claim that Bengal Tiger can live in high altitudes. He spotted tiger 3000m above sea level.
At a time Nepal’s conservationists showed up their division along various political and ethnical lines, Dr. Yonzon remained neutral and straight forward in championing the cause. Honored with the renowned American MacArthur award, Dr. Yonzon was the man who started the rhino count in Nepal.
He spent his time for the preservation of wild life and fought lone battles. He is known for his work in Red Panda.
Dr. Yonzon was one of the persons who played a key role to launch Annapurna Conservation Area Project.
With disputes at the policy level, Dr. Yonzon quit ACAP. He was later nominated a member of King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation. Recently, he was raising the issue of snow leopards as they were on the verge of extinction.
Pioneer wildlife biologist, Dr. Yonzon died in a road accident in Kathmandu on October 31, 2011. His bicycle was hit by a truck at Balkhu. He died at Kathmandu Hospital, according to local sources.
Dr. Yonzon had a distinguished career and was the first Nepalese and one of the first researchers in the world to conduct research on red panda in the wild.
Dr. Yonzon was also the former chairperson of Resources Himalaya Foundation, a Nepalese not-for-profit organization that helped to build skills and knowledge for young scientists in Nepal. “His loss is felt deeply among the wildlife conservation community, as Dr. Yonzon was a mentor for countless young Nepalese conservationists,” said a young conservationist.
Late Yonzon was one of South Asia’s top field zoologists and completed PhD from the University of Maine and the US. Resources Himalaya is an NGO working in the field of biodiversity conservation in Nepal, India and Bhutan.
He walked in the anti-current direction and spent his entire life in conservation. When he died, he left a void of a genuine conservationist.