Ilse Köhler-Rollefson
Ilse Köhler-Rollefson

    Ilse Köhler-Rollefson is a native of Germany but has been partly based in Rajasthan (India) since she met the Raika camel pastoralists during a research fellowship on camel socioeconomics and management systems in 1990/1991.
    Her academic background is in veterinary medicine and anthropology and her research has been supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG), National Geographic Society, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and the American Institute of Indian Studies.
    She has more than 100 scientific publications in journals spanning various disciplines, including Science, German Research, Current Anthropology, Development, etc. and published a number of monographs. She is an internationally recognised camel scientist. In 1998, she was awarded the degree of “Habilitation” from the LMU University in Munich which is equivalent to professorial status in Germany.
    Unsatisfied with purely academic research, Ilse subsequently turned into a civil society activist advocating for the rights of pastoralists and other “small-scale” livestock keepers and social entrepreneur
    In 1992, she co-founded the League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development (LPP) and is now coordinating this organisation and its international network of partner organisations working for community-based conservation of livestock biodiversity, the LIFE Network.
    In India, Ilse is closely associated with the NGO Lokhit Pashu-Palak Sansthan (LPPS) which she co-founded in 1996 with Hanwant Singh Rathore. LPPS supports the Raika and other traditional livestock keepers in their search for a future through capacity-building and policy advocacy, especially for their customary grazing rights.
    Under Ilse’s leadership, LPP and the LIFE Network have been the main drivers and proponents of “Livestock Keepers’ Rights”, a concept developed by livestock keepers in numerous grassroots consultations, which is now gradually being accepted by governments, although it is still awaiting legal codification.
   Ilse’s work was recognised with a Rolex Associate Award for Enterprise in 2002, and the   Trophèe   des F     emmes of the Fondation Yves Rocher in Germany in 2009. Recently, she co-founded Camel Charisma, a social enterprise that seeks to develop and market innovative products from Indian camels

    Ilse is also working as a consultant on livestock issues for various international organisations and regularly consults with FAO on issues related to livestock biodiversity. Her areas of expertise comprise
    Ecologically and socially sustainable livestock development, especially in                 marginal areas (pastoral development)
    Project conceptualization, design, and development
    Animal genetic resources and community-based breeding management
    Policy Development for livestock and natural  resource management
    Indigenous Knowledge (IK), esp. of livestock keepers
    Biocultural Community Protocols
    Advocacy for pastoralists and marginal groups
    Animal health services (including ethnoveterinary & paraveterinary approaches).

    Her clients have included World Bank, GTZ, Misereor, FAO, ILRI, Natural Resources International (NRI), German Forum for Environment and Development, EED, League for Pastoral Peoples, Foundation for Ecological Security, and others, on a variety of issues relating to participatory livestock development with a special emphasis on breeding and sustainable natural resource management.

    Ilse is a member of the guiding group of the GAA (Global Agenda of Action towards a sustainable livestock sector), an FAO led process

    Besides more than hundred scholarly and popular articles, Ilse has authored, edited or co-authored a number of books and monographs. This includes
    A field manual of camel diseases.
    Traditional and modern veterinary care for the dromedary
    Biocultural Community Protocols for livestock keepers
    Livestock Keepers – Guardians of Biodiversity
    Invisible Guardians,
    Keepers of Genes
    Indigenous Breeds, Local Communities:- Documenting Animal Breeds and Breeding from a Community Perspective.

    She has also made a series of films on livestock issues, together with the New-Delhi based documentary makers Moving Images.
    Her popular book “Camel Karma” is scheduled to be published in September 2014.

   Further details at websites ? and at

Editorial Team