The Peregrine Fund is honored to share the news that Dr. Munir Virani has been appointed as the new CEO for The Mohamed Bin Zayed Raptor Conservation Fund in Abu Dhabi. He assumed his position in September 2021.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for all of us to continue to elevate the conversation about raptors throughout the world. Conservation is the responsibility of all of us and being a part of the MBZ Raptor Conservation Fund and my work with The Peregrine Fund is going to open more avenues of engagement for both organizations,” said Dr. Virani.
Virani’s graduate studies were supported by The Peregrine Fund and in 1998, he was hired as the Africa Research Biologist and worked his way to Africa and South Asia Program Director. In 2016, Virani was appointed as Vice President and Global Director for Conservation Strategy and External Affairs. During his tenure, he traveled the world on behalf of The Peregrine Fund, building connections between scientists and the public to better understand the role that birds of prey play in greater ecosystem.
Virani has over twenty years of experience in raptor research and conservation, project design, execution, management and fund raising. His research on birds of prey spans over four continents and focuses on creative, holistic and effective solutions for conservation problems and developing local capacity and collaborative conservation ventures.
Virani has conducted extensive research on birds of prey in East Africa, India, Nepal and Pakistan and his current strategic conservation portfolio extends to Panama on Harpy Eagles, forest conservation and indigenous communities; and in the Caribbean Islands on the threatened raptors there. In addition to his research and leadership skills, Virani is also a prolific fundraiser and an integral part of The Peregrine Fund’s Development team having raised millions of dollars for bird of prey conservation.
Virani’s career demonstrates how crucial it is to invest in the conservation leaders of tomorrow. His trajectory is a road map for future leaders and the value of creating partnerships worldwide.
He is also the recipient of several International Awards, including The Aga Khan Foundation’s award for excellence in the Field of Science and Technology and more recently the prestigious “Green Oscar” Award from the Whitley Fund for Nature’s for his work on critically endangered vultures in Kenya. Virani has published over 150 scientific and popular articles, supervised 20 students for graduate degrees and continues to develop conservation leadership around the world. He is also a globally recognized wildlife photographer, wildlife film-maker and an accomplished speaker and his TED talk on “Why I Love Vultures” has generated over one million views. His is passionate about birds of prey, cricket, wildlife photography and singing.
“Dr. Virani’s career with The Peregrine Fund has been extraordinary,” says Chris Parish, President and CEO.
“Munir will be sorely missed. His contribution to science and conservation are considerable, and that is what is so great. He’s only getting started! We will continue to work with Dr. Virani in his new role, and great things are on the horizon.”
In a statement from The Raptor Conservation Fund His Excellency Mr Majid Al Mansouri remarked, “To have a scientist of Dr. Virani’s caliber to lead our team is very exciting for us, his depth of knowledge and relentlessly curious mind will serve as a catalyst to change how the world views these incredible birds.”