Famous conservationist visits Chico

George Schaller shares amazing photos during Chico State lecture

A Chico connection helped to bring famed wildlife researcher George Schaller to Chico State for an appearance during a regular Friday-afternoon lecture series put on by the Biological Sciences Department and its honors society.

Schaller (pictured) was in town to visit his younger brother, Chico attorney Chris Schaller, who introduced him to a packed Holt Hall lecture classroom. The German-born conservationist is widely considered the world’s pre-eminent field biologist. He figures prominently in author Peter Matthiessen’s The Snow Leopard.

During his free lecture, Schaller shared magnificent photos from the many decades he’s spent on expeditions studying some of the most mysterious creatures in the world, including the mountain gorillas of the Virunga Volcanoes in Central Africa. His work there led the way for other famous researchers, including zoologist Dian Fossey.

Schaller, who is in his mid 70s, called upon students to take up the charge of safeguarding the wilderness: “If you really treasure a place you can never, ever turn your back on it or it will get screwed up,” he said.