Monday, November 19, 2012


           Oftentimes when people want to start a conservation program for an animal, they focus entirely on the creature in danger and how it can be saved. The fate of the people living near them is a much smaller problem in comparison. However, the Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) does something different. This network of conservationists has a policy that puts people first because they realize that only by changing the local attitude towards the animals can they save the animals themselves. Their mission is as follows: “WCN protects endangered species and preserves their natural habitats by supporting entrepreneurial conservationists who pursue innovative strategies for people and wildlife to co-exist and thrive.” Some groups that are a part of the WCN are the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Program, the Snow Leopard Conservancy, Save the Elephants, Saiga Conservation Alliance, and many more. While almost all of these groups focus on larger, more “charismatic” animals, the people who lead them are extremely dedicated individuals who have spent their entire lives trying to save these animals. They put most of their time and effort into educating the local people by starting schools, creating jobs, and training people how to track the animals they are there for. As a result, entire habitats are saved for not only the focus animal, but also any other species in that area.
            What I think is the best part about WCN is that every year in October there is an expo in San Francisco where all these conservation groups gather and give presentations on their work. There are also tables set up with hand-made souvenirs and gifts made by the native peoples to sell and raise money for the saving of the various animals. The conservationists are at the booths most of the time and whoever attends the expo can speak personally with these passionate men and women who are doing the very work we are learning about in class. It is a great way to get some real-life stories and also to get connections for internships or volunteer opportunities overseas. Their website has many of the talks from last year’s and this year’s expo, and they are fascinating! The website is and videos are under “Events” and then “Wildlife Conservation Expo”.

1 comment:

Lauren West said...

In case anyone is interested, tickets for the expo are $30 for students and it is well worth it. I have gone for the past three years and was really sad to miss this year. I learned so much from the talks I attended and it really sparked my interest in the field of conservation.