On 31st October, 2011 Dr. Pralad B. Yonzon met with an accident while cycling home from office at around 4 PM. He took his last breath in Kathmandu Hospital, Tripureshwor, Kathmandu. His body was cremated on 2nd November, 2011.
Dr. Yonzon had three advance degrees (MSc, MSc and PhD) in biology, wildlife and ecology from Tribhuvan University, Colorado State University and University of Maine USA, respectively. Dr. Yonzon, a Fulbright scholar, had researched in the Himalayas, which range from high-altitude pastoral systems, cheese and tourists to red pandas, fishes, birds, elephants, rhinos, snow leopards and tigers. One of his many field research that had social contribution had been included in the prestigious publication “Readings From Conservation Biology: The Social Dimension” by the Society for Conservation Biology, USA.
Technically, Dr. Yonzon developed over 35 years biodiversity/human - related experience in Nepal, Bhutan, India, Indonesia and Vietnam. His professional experiences included advisors to various governments in the Himalaya, park design and management, integrated regional development and landscape-level planning. He co-edited a book entitled “People and Protected Areas in South Asia” comprising papers from 24 authors from six countries, jointly published by IUCN and Resources Himalaya. He was much familiar with regional development and collaborations in developing priorities, and to secure resources necessary to implement those initiatives.
Dr. Yonzon, a Golden Ark recipient, prepared several national and regional management plans. Dr. Yonzon led a team of social and economic planners to produce the first 10 volume reports on Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) which brought UNDP and other 8 donor agencies together. He prepared the Snow Leopard Conservation Action Plan for the Nepal Government and Elephant Conservation Action Plan as well.
Dr. Yonzon showed leadership and raised funds to transform Resources Himalaya, a 18 - year old private institution into a non-government, not for profit, regional research foundation through Nepal Government approval in 2004. Not only he had donated his personal assets and cash worth of US$ 108,571 (audited by Associates of Pricewater Cooperhouse in 2005) to the Foundation, he also enabled the Foundation as a think-tank regional institute for nomination of the Global 2007 Innovative and Leadership Institution Award for which the Foundation received $ 350,000. In his last assignment, he was engaged in scoping biodiversity priorities in the Sikkim Himalaya for a $ 100 million grant project by the Government of Japan.
Tribute to Dr. Pralad B. Yonzon