George Schaller received his Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Wisconsin. He was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1933 and arrived in the United States after World War II in 1947. His active involvement with the National Geographic Society began in the late 1960s, during his study of lions.
Director for science at the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, Schaller has spent most of his time in the field in South America, Africa, and Asia. He has studied animals as diverse as the mountain gorilla, jaguar, giant panda, tiger, lion, and the wild sheep and goats of the Himalaya. These have been the basis for his scientific and popular writings, among them a dozen books that include The Year of The Gorilla, The Serengeti Lion, Stones of Silence, The Last Panda, and Tibet's Hidden Wilderness.
Schaller has worked for many years on the Tibet Plateau, studying its endemic wildlife, which includes the wild yak, Tibetan gazelle, Tibetan antelope, Tibetan wild ass, and snow leopard. In collaboration with Chinese and Tibetan scientists, he is making the first survey of wildlife in Laos and Mongolia. Among his many awards are the International Cosmos Prize (Japan) in 1996 and the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement (USA) in 1997.
Schaller has contributed writings and photographs to National Geographic magazine, such as an article on gorillas (October 1995) and Tibetan wildlife (August 1993). He also contributed to the National Geographic book The Great Apes (1993).