Dr. Guy Balme is Director of Panthera’s Leopard Program and oversees Panthera’s Furs for Life Leopard Project. He also directed Panthera’s Lion Program from 2010-2012, overseeing numerous community programs to alleviate human-lion conflict, notably in Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. In addition to his work in Africa, Dr. Balme has transferred his skills to country nationals working in Iran on Asiatic cheetahs and Persian leopards, in Brazil on jaguars, and in Mongolia on snow leopards. He has trained personnel in advanced capture and immobilization techniques used on large carnivores, and the different sampling methods used to estimate carnivore abundance. He has contributed to more than 30 scientific papers and numerous popular articles on large carnivore ecology and conservation, and supervises several graduate students working on cats.
Dr. Balme was the first recipient of Panthera’s Kaplan Graduate Awards Program, the world’s only scholarship program devoted to supporting outstanding young biologists in the field of cat conservation. In 2009, through the Kaplan grant, he completed his doctorate on the conservation biology of a nominally protected leopard population in northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He was instrumental in impacting new legislation that regulates trophy hunting of leopards in the country, and helped to revise the provincial protocol for managing damage-causing leopards outside protected wildlife areas. These efforts led to a dramatic recovery of the region’s leopard population, and Dr. Balme is currently working with several African governments to implement similar interventions in other parts of leopard range.