Professor Jonathan Baillie
Jonathan is Chief Scientist and Executive Vice President, Science and Exploration at National Geographic. Since January 2017, Jonathan has led grant making in areas of science and exploration at National Geographic and acts as Vice Chair of National Geographic Society’s Committee for Research and Exploration, based in Washington DC. Previous to this role Jonathan was Conservation Programmes Director at the Zoological Society London (ZSL) for 14 years, where he was responsible for conservation projects focusing on threatened species and their habitats in more than than 60 countries. He holds an undergraduate degree from Queen’s University in Canada, a Master of Science in Conservation Biology from Yale University, and a PhD in Biology from Silwood Park, Imperial College; his postdoctoral research was undertaken at the Zoological Society of London, Institute of Zoology. Jonathan is currently a Visiting Professor of Zoology at the University of Oxford.
Jonathan conducted his PhD field research in the Gulf of Guinea focusing on restricted-range island endemic birds. Subsequent to this he researched western lowland gorillas in the rainforest of Gabon. He has also conducted fieldwork in countries including Tanzania, Namibia, Papua and Mongolia. Dr. Baillie has played a significant role in some of the most influential documents on the status of the world’s species including the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, Biodiversity chapter of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, The WWF Living Planet Report and Biodiversity chapter of the UNEP Global Environmental Outlook. He has also helped lead the development of a series of species level global biodiversity indicators for the Convention on Biological Diversity including the IUCN Sampled Red List Index and the WWF Living Planet Index. He has recently been appointed co-chair of the IUCN National Red List Working Groups and is involved in supporting a number of countries such as Nepal and Mongolia to produce National Red Lists. In January of 2006 he founded the EDGE of Existence programme with a team from ZSL that focuses on Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species. Lastly, he is a scientific advisor for the Globe International Commission on Land Use Change and Ecosystems that reports to the Globe International G8+5 Legislators forum.
On Synchronicity Earth:
“Synchronicity Earth has always come at biodiversity conservation from a unique angle, trying to tie the arts together with science and bringing in a different audience, engaging people through a different doorway and talking to people about the natural world in an exciting way that gets them more involved. I think it has been extremely successful at that and should continue.”
“The conservation movement, I feel, needs to think more about how it communicates its message, and how it encourages people to understand the importance of other forms of life. For me, that narrative and that knowledge is an area that we need to work a lot harder to both identify and articulate in a way that’s relevant to different cultures all over the world. We’ve obviously not been telling the most relevant story, so one of our greatest barriers is our ability to effectively communicate.”