Twenty five years ago John Hare set out to save and protect the wild camel (which in 2002 was listed as a critically endangered mammal), a new and separate species living in three separated habitats in China and one in Mongolia. He was an inspiration to many with his quiet determination and his refusal to accept defeat. His expeditions into the Chinese Gobi Desert with the eminent zoologist Professor Yuan Goying, and his son Yuan Lei, laid the foundation for the establishment of the Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature Reserve, to protect the remnant wild camel population in China.
John Hare travelled in Mongolia with wild camel expert and zoologist Dr Adiya Yadamsuren. These expeditions lead to the establishment of the first Wild Camel Breeding Centre in the buffer zone of the Great Gobi SPA National Reserve, the home of the remnant wild camel population in Mongolia.
Its success means we are now building a second breeding centre this year in Mongolia at Toli Bulag.
John Hare had a passion for all camels seeing them as amazing animals. The wild camels were designated as a separate species due to the incredible work by Dr Pamela Burger in Vienna. John Hare respected this wild camel which had adapted to the harsh environment of the Gobi Desert and survived for over half a million years.
John Hare was delighted to collaborate with anyone who could help with the work of the Wild Camel Protection Foundation, such as Prague Zoo in the Czech Republic and Knowsley Safari Park in the UK, as well as Dr. John Ewen, Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, who joined the wild camel team and who are now an invaluable part of the ongoing work.
Life Patron Jane Goodall, and the many Foundation Patrons, have been tireless in their support to the Foundation. John Hare was delighted when Anna Jemmett, a scientist based in the UK and long term wild camel volunteer, was accepted by the University of Canterbury to complete the first wild camel PhD.
Whilst John will be much missed, he was delighted to think the work of the Foundation will carry on after his death.
He passed away peacefully, saying his camels were ‘saddled, the harness bells tinkling in the breeze, and he was setting off on his last great expedition’.