Kerry Bowman

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Kerry Bowman PhD is a Canadian bioethicist and conservationist based in Toronto, Ontario.

Currently the clinical ethicist at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, Bowman also holds an academic appointment with The University of Toronto in Family and Community Medicine and serves with The University of Toronto's School of the Environment.[1]

Bowman follows a broad range of bioethical issues, including end-of-life decision making, ethical questions in emerging technology, such as genomics, gene drive and CRISPR-Cas9,[2] cloning and reproductive ethics. He is also concerned with a variety of animal and environmental ethical questions, particularly de-extinction. “The science is moving much faster than the ethics,” he remarked. “We’ve got to take a deep breath because we’re about to alter the human genetic code in a way that it’s never been altered before.”[3]

Bowman's role as an ethicist informs the work he does as a wildlife conservationist, which focuses primarily on the great apes, as well as the interface of human cultures with conservation initiatives. Bowman has done in-situ fieldwork with all four great ape species in both Indonesia and Central Africa.[4] In addition, as an international consultant on a broad range of programs to protect critically endangered species, he has observed in their natural habitat the Sumatran rhinoceros (Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia, 1981), the Bactrian camel (Gashun Gobi Desert, western China, 2012), the Javan rhino (Ujung Kulon National Park, Java, Indonesia, 2013), as well as all species of big cats, including the snow leopard (Hemis National Park, Ladakh region, India, 2015).

A former member of the board of directors for the Jane Goodall Institute of Canada,[5] Bowman is now an ethics consultant to Jane Goodall Institute Global and the founding president of the Canadian Ape Alliance.[6] This organization operates and oversees projects in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Recognizing that the survival of the region’s great ape populations depends on the socioeconomic success and well-being of their human counterparts, Bowman established the Kahuzi-Biega Environmental School in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 2003. The initiative was designed to give young students an opportunity to acquire a basic education as well as an understanding of their role in environmental and wildlife conservation.[7] "There's absolutely no way of protecting the environment without working with local people and enriching and protecting human communities,[8]" Bowman told reporters at a 2011 press conference.

Bowman was featured extensively in a 2002 Discovery Channel documentary called “Bushmeat,” which traced the path of the illicit bushmeat trade from the Congo Basin to an underground meat market in Cameroon and beyond,[9] and in "The Ghosts of Lomako,[10]" a 2003 Nature of Things documentary in which Bowman traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo to study the endangered bonobo ape. He also appeared [11] in "Gorilla Doctors" (2014), a CBC The Nature of Things documentary focusing on the protection of mountain gorillas in Virunga, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

Indigenous Cultures

Bowman also has a strong interest in the relationship between indigenous cultures and the protection of the environment. He has done fieldwork in this area in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo with the Batwa (pygmy people), the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, the Andaman Islands and the Javari valley of Brazil.

Work with the United Nations Environment Programme

Bowman has served with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), first as author with the fourth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4) in 2007[12] and as a contributing author and expert reviewer with GEO-5 in 2012.[13] He was also involved[14] in Global Environment Outlook 6, examining the connection between human health and the environment.

North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea)

Since 2010, Bowman has joined a number of international delegations to North Korea (DPRK) that focused on environmental improvement and youth environmental education in relation to environmentally improved agricultural and environmental practice. "What is remarkable," Bowman notes, "is that DPRK may be the only country in the world that has adopted organic, sustainable agriculture as a national policy".[15]

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