Hape Grunenfelder

Hape Grunenfelder


Born 1946. Ethnozoographer and graduated engineer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology with a Master in rural development. Former honorable functionary of WWF-Switzerland (chairing the regional WWF in Eastern Switzerland), he has been concerned with the issue of agrobiodiversity since the end of the 1970s. In 1982, he founded the Swiss Foundation ProSpecieRara and managed it until 1995. For that he got 1987 the Binding Acknowledgment Prize of the Principality of Liechtenstein.

After the fall of the iron curtain he established 1991 an office in Prague to co-ordinate rescue actions for endangered breeds and seeds in Central and Eastern Europe. This was one of the leading events to the later establishment of SAVE, where Grunenfelder was a main actor. In 1994 he directed the SAVE-Preparation Office in St.Gallen, which was transformed into the SAVE Project Office in 1996. In 1995 he received the Chorafas-Prize from the Swiss Academy of Natural Sciences (together with Prof. Jakobsson of Iceland) for his outstanding work for the in-situ-conservation of rare breeds and seeds. With the formidable amount of this prize he started the “Monitoring Institute for Rare Breeds and Seeds in Europe”, one of his main occupations until the end of 2010 when the Institute – in the frame of his partial retirement – was incorporated into the SAVE Project Office.

He is still member of the Board of Directors of ProSpecieRara and since 2000 also of DAGENE (Danubian Alliance for Gen-Conservation). He chaired SAVE Foundation for 1997-1999. As executive vice chairman he leaded and supported the activities of SAVE Foundation and the European SAVE Network from 1999 until 2014.

For ensuring his “Lifework” he established 2011 on his 65 birthday the family foundation GROVNI (www.grovni.org) to support also in future the conservation of biodiversity and the cultural-historical heritage.

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