Ilse Koehler-Rollefson

Lover of camels and advocate of livestock culture(s)

Trained as a veterinarian in Germany, Ilse fell in love with camels and their keepers more than thirty years ago while volunteering on an archaeological excavation in Jordan. This led to a Ph.D. on the domestication of the one-humped camel, field research on the Rashaida Bedouin in Sudan and eventually to a study of the camel husbandry and culture of Rajasthan in the context of a postdoctoral fellowship. At this stage, the Raika camel breeders co-opted her to provide them medicines for their dying camel herds, initiating the conversion of Ilse from scientist to activist and to found the League for Pastoral Peoples and Endogenous Livestock Development (LPP), an advocacy organisation for indigenous livestock keepers and sustainable animal husbandry.


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Ilse has won several awards for her work, including a Marwar Ratan Award by H.H. Maharaja Gaj Singhji II of Marwar-Jodhpur in 2014, and in 2002, a Rolex Associate Award for Enterprise for saving Rajasthan's camels and the traditional way of life of the Raika.

To find out how it began, watch the video below