I have a diverse background in conservation biology, working in different sectors influencing policy and science. I started my career as a volunteer at Tehran Zoo in 1996, for outreach purposes. In 2001, I co-founded the Iranian Cheetah Society (ICS), a pioneering conservation NGO where I was the CEO (until 2008) and a senior scientist (until 2015). In 2008, I was assigned as the deputy manager of the Conservation of the Asiatic Cheetah Project (CACP) – a comprehensive conservation program established by Iran’s government and United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Nearly two decades of work with non-governmental, governmental and international enabled me to understand different perspectives of conservation problems.
My academic background was not connected only with the biology, but medical science for three years. Then I decided to shift when I started to study environmental science at University of Tehran in 2001. I carried out the first ecological study on the Asiatic cheetah in northeastern Iran for my undergraduate degree. Ranked as the country’s first student in environmental science, I was granted a full scholarship for my graduate study at University of Tehran in 2006. My masters research on craniometric and genetic analysis of the Persian leopard, funded by Iran Department of Environment. I joined WildCRU in 2013 as a DPhil student focusing on a comprehensive ecological investigation of the Persian leopard through a combination of genetic approaches, population analysis and telemetry in NE Iran which was submitted in December 2017. Currently, I am continuing my work with WildCRU as a research staff.
In 2013, I founded the Future4Leopards Project (www.future4leopards.org) at WildCRU, then upgraded to Future4Leopards Foundation as a non-profit organization in Iran dedicated to the conservation of leopards and other wild carnivores. Currently, the Foundation is pursuing its pragmatic conservation goals within multiple reserves in Iran.
I have received both international and national awards in recognition of my conservation efforts on wild cats, such as the Rabinowitz-Kaplan Prize for the Next Generation in Wildlife Conservation in 2012 and the Future for Nature Award presented by David Attenborough in 2009. In Iran I received the National Youth Award in 2010.
I have communicated my findings from my work on wild cat conservation in a wide range of publications on carnivores, from behavioural ecology, population and interaction with human appearing in both popular and peer-reviewed journals and book chapters. Currently I am publishing my first book on a practical guideline for human carnivore conflict resolution in Iran.