Dr. Fabian Leendertz is a recognized world authority on primate diseases and zoonotic disease specialist. Dr. Leendertz examined the emergence and persistence of pathogens such as Ebola and Anthrax in wildlife and what these and other infectious diseases mean for great apes and humans.
“2020 has shown us how devastating pandemics are to our lives and our economies. The research Dr. Leendertz has conducted over the past two decades is crucial in helping us understand not only where these diseases come from, but also what is causing them,” said United Nations Environment Programme Executive Director Inger Andersen. “The science is clear that if we keep exploiting wildlife and destroying our ecosystems, then we can expect to see a steady stream of zoonotic diseases in the years ahead. To prevent future outbreaks, we must protect and restore our natural environment.”
The annual Champions of the Earth award is the UN’s highest environmental honour. It recognizes outstanding leaders from government, civil society and the private sector. Fabian Leendertz is one of six laureates announced in December 2020, on the cusp of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030.
Together, they Act #FORNATURE.
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