Colonel John Blashford-Snell OBE is one of the world's most renowned and highly respected explorers.
He has led hundreds of expeditions all over the world, but it was his expeditions to Nepal in particular that introduced us to him.
For the past 20 years, John has been leading expeditions in a wild life reserve in Western Nepal known as the Bardia National Park. There, in 1992, John and a team from the Scientific Exploration Society discovered the largest elephant ever seen in the Indian sub-continent. Standing 11 '3" at the shoulder, the giant was thought by local people to be a mammoth but he turned out to be an unusual Asian elephant with a pronounced domed head.
John brings a wealth of experience working with a number of of other charities and we are looking forward to working with him to help raise the profile of CitC and attract even more donors to support us in our work.
In 1968 Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia invited the British Army to send a team to explore and make the first descent of the infamous Blue Nile. Captain John Blashford-Snell of the Royal Engineers was commissioned to select, train and lead the 60 strong party. The success of this immense expedition led to even tougher assignments such as the first vehicle crossing of the complete Darien Gap in 1971-2 and in 1974-5, navigating almost all the 2,700 miles of the great Zaire River. Both these ventures had strong environmental, medical and scientific objectives.
In 1969, following the success of the Blue Nile Expedition, JBS and his colleagues formed the Scientific Exploration Society, their aim being to 'foster and encourage scientific exploration world-wide'. The SES became the parent body for several world-wide ventures with the support and involvement of HRH The Prince of Wales.
Inspired by the spirit of Sir Francis Drake's voyage 400 years ago, John poured his energy into raising funds and selecting a team to run Operation Drake. As a result of the success of this venture, the Fairbridge Drake Society was formed to help under-privileged young people and subsequently, at the request of the Government and large number of organisations, a second and much larger global youth programme was organised. In 1984 JBS launched Operation Raleigh and by 1992 over 10,000 young men and women from 50 nations had taken part in challenges and worthwhile expeditions all over the world, returning home as true young pioneers intent on putting something back into their own communities.
In 1991, John retired from the Army and as Director General of Operation Raleigh. Following many requests to use his wealth of experience to provide similar opportunities for mature people, he set up Discovery Expeditions with his son in law Julian Matthews.
With his indefatigable energy, John has also found time to write thirteen books, including his autobiography 'Something Lost Behind the Ranges' published in 1994 and his latest book, 'Mammoth Hunt' on the quest for the giant elephants of Nepal, published by Harper Collins.
The discovery of Raja Gaj or King Elephant as he became known, led the Nepalese Wildlife Department to protect the area and this also preserved the endangered Indian rhino, the Bengal tiger, other animals and birds living in this sanctuary.