Our dear friend and ambassador, the late Professor Marian C. Horzinek sadly passed away in July 2016. He studied veterinary medicine in Germany and began his scientific career in virology at the Public Health Laboratory in Hannover, where he worked as a research fellow of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. He helped to establish the Chair of Virology at Hannover Veterinary School, then spent a year as a research fellow at the Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientificas in Caracas, Venezuela. Upon his return to Germany, he became Head of the Exotic Diseases Division at the Federal Research Institute for Animal Virus Diseases in Tübingen.
In 1971, he moved to The Netherlands to become Head of Department and Professor of Virology and Virus Diseases at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University. In 1992, he became director of the Institute of Veterinary Research, and in 1996 he founded and directed the Graduate School Animal Health.
Since his retirement in 2001, he established and chaired a number of international scientific committees and advisory boards. Dr. Horzinek was Associate Professor at the Veterinary School in Hannover, Germany, Courtesy Professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca USA, and Clinical Professor of Virology at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis USA. During his career, he has gained prizes and awards from research organizations in Germany, Belgium, Australia, Japan and The Netherlands, and honorary doctorates from the Universities of Ghent (Belgium), Hannover (Germany), Uppsala (Sweden), Vienna (Austria) and Guelph (Canada).
His publications include >300 scientific papers and >30 books and monographs, mainly on coronaviruses and virus infections of felids. He was editor and editorial board member for scientific journals published in seven countries.
He was the founding president of the International Society of Feline Medicine, of the Advisory Board on Cat Diseases (www.abcd-vets.org) and established Veterinary Sciences Tomorrow (www.vetscite.org), an electronic online current awareness journal of veterinary research.
Why I became ambassador of the Black Jaguar Foundation
'We live on a shrinking planet - as a child, at primary school in Poland, I marveled at the maps showing white patches in Africa, Asia and South America - and I wanted to become a discoverer. Today, there are hardly any uncharted patches left, and human footprints are found everywhere on the globe. Discovery appears less of a challenge than the protection of uninhabited areas, of biotopes and virgin territories - it is responsible stewardship for nature and its inhabitants that is asked for.
Having worked on virus diseases of cats - domestic and feral - for most of my life, the Black Jaguar Foundation appeals to me.
It is not just the animal, that elegant and elusive felid, it is it ecosystem that needs our attention and care, and I am prepared to campaign for support and sponsorship to safe the species and its habitat.'