Senior researcher in the Department of Zoology, Tel Aviv University

Yossi Leshem is a Senior Researcher in the Department of Zoology in the Faculty of Life Sciences at Tel Aviv University and is the founder and Director of the International Center for the Study of Bird Migration at Latrun, Israel, established by Tel Aviv University and the SPNI. He also worked at the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI), the leading NGO in Israel for 25 years, as a guide, as Director of a Field Study Center, as Head of the Nature Protection Department, Initiator and Director of the Israel Raptor Information Center between 1980-1991, and as the .Executive Director of the SPNI between 1991-1995. In November 2007 he was elected as the Chairman of the SPNI Council

Leshem has been involved in many aspects of nature conservation, with the emphasis on bird research for 38 years. Since 1984, his research for his doctorate, which was conducted with the cooperation of the Israeli Air Force and the Ministry of Science, has resulted in a decrease of 76% in the number of collisions with aircraft caused by birds, and has saved 790 million dollars, not to mention the numbers of lives, both human and avian. Today he serves as Lt. Col. (Ret) in the Israeli Air Force and continues this research. In 2005 he won the prestigious Mike Kuhring Prize for achievements of high significance for improved flight safety concerning the bird-plane conflicts, and for his mission to connect safety with nature conservation via education that gave bird strike prevention worldwide appreciation.

Leshem is involved in a variety of activities in bird migration research, in educational activities that take place in over 250 schools in Israel, also in cooperation with the Palestinians and the Jordanians, and has developed an educational and scientific site on the Internet (www.birds.org.il) called "Migrating Birds Know No Boundaries". Leshem developed a 6 year research and an educational program in cooperation with the Palestinians and Jordanians under the same title as the website. At the moment Dr. Leshem is conducting a number of scientific projects, among them a project which tracks migrating birds that have been fitted with satellite transmitters, and a project that tracks migration with the aid of radar, in cooperation with a team of Russian immigrant scientists. Leshem initiated a program to use Barn Owls and Kestrels as biological pest control agents to reduce the use of pesticides in agricultural fields, which became a national program and a regional project with Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

Leshem has published three books, scientific papers, and hundreds of articles in popular magazines. Leshem visited Japan as a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo from June 30th – October 12th , 2006. Leshem is a recipient of the "Lifetime Achievement Award for Environmental Protection" awarded in 2008, presented during the sixty years celebrations of the independence of the State of Israel. He is 68 years old, married with 5 children and 7 grandchildren.

Experience

  • –present
    Senior researcher in the Department of Zoology, Tel Aviv University