Rick Watson Ph.D.

President and CEO

Rick joined The Peregrine Fund in 1990 to establish the Madagascar Project to find, study, and conserve three of the world’s rarest and most endangered birds of prey. The project helped create Madagascar's largest rain forest national park and pioneered community-based conservation in three critical habitat sites that have served as models for many others across Madagascar and Africa. Subsequently, he started new projects in Kenya and Ethiopia, and others in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Ivory Coast. In 1998 he was appointed the International Programs Director and began leading projects in Asia and Latin America with notable team successes in solving the cause of the Asian vulture collapse, breeding and releasing Harpy Eagles, and recovering the Ridgway's Hawk. In 2007 he was made Vice President and appointed President in April 2017. In his role, he provides direction and leadership support to our conservation and research projects in countries worldwide including the U.S. and oversees the implementation of The Peregrine Fund’s 2050 Vision “to change the future.”

Rick is an accomplished ecologist with over 130 scientific publications. He graduated from the University College of North Wales, Bangor, U.K. with a Bachelor’s degree in Marine Zoology, followed by a PhD in raptor ecology from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa with research into the decline of the Bateleur, Africa’s most colorful and unusual eagle. He conducted post-doctoral research on desert insect ecophysiology in the Namib Desert, Namibia.

He especially enjoys sailing the coast of the Pacific Northwest, exploring Idaho’s mountains on horseback, downhill skiing, scuba diving, and anything else described as adventure.
Rick and his wife Chris have two grown children, Ben and Heather.

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