Today at WILD9 / Hoy en WILD9

WILD9 is a success! Over the 8 days of WILD9, we gathered together to THINK, FEEL and ACT.

WILD9 was opened by President Felipe Calderon, and attended by 1800 delegates from 50 countries, with 10,000 on-line participants from 100 countries. WILD9 conveyed an extraordinary atmosphere of hope and enthusiasm, hosted a diverse range of working session and featured a plenary program with world leaders such as Dr. Jane Goodall; Dr. Sylvia Earle; Dr Pavan Sukhdev; Chief Tashka Yawanawa; Grand Chief Samuel Gargan; numerous Ministers; the heads of land management agencies from North America and other regions; Heinz Center Director Dr. Thomas Lovejoy; Nobel laureate Mario Molina; Dr. Amory Lovins; Dr Exequiel Ezcurra; and many others.

Download the summary of WILD9 Accomplishments >

View Video’s of WILD9 Presentations >

See Photos of WILD9 >

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News! - Noticas! - Nouvelles!

WILD at the IUCN World Parks Congress

November 7, 2014

WPC Logo

The IUCN World Parks Congress (WPC) meets only once every 1o years.  In the coming days, five of WILD’s program leaders and other close associates will be contributing significantly to the WPC program and conservation outcomes in Sydney, Australia. WPC 2014 is a landmark global forum on protected areas. The Congress will share knowledge and innovation, setting the agenda for protected areas conservation for the decade to come. Building on the theme “Parks, people, planet: inspiring solutions”, it will present, discuss and create original approaches for conservation and development, helping to address the gap in the conservation and sustainable development agenda. WILD’s World Wilderness Congress has an official relationship with the World Commission for Protected Areas (WCPA), the “Commission” within the IUCN that hosts the WPC, and is an affiliate Congress to the WPC.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House by Bkamprath

WILD president Vance Martin is a member of the core team for the “Promise of Sydney“, the main outcome document that aims to capture the boldest and most strategic thinking of governments, international organizations, communities, youth leaders, indigenous peoples, private individuals and organisations to chart the future direction for protected areas as offering and implementing solutions for the challenges faced by the planet. This central vision and outcomes document will be released November 19th. Two specific events hosted by WILD and collaborators will generate excitement and interest: on November 14th, in partnership with Canadian Parks and Wilderness (CPAWS) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), we will host a “Nature Needs Half evening” with music (Rap Guide to Wilderness!)and presentations by contemporary conservation and Indigenous leaders. On November 15th, we convene the meeting of the Wilderness Specialist Group (WSG), which was founded by WILD and is co-chaired by Vance Martin.

Eastern grey kangaroos

Cyril Kormos, Vice President for Policy at The WILD Foundation, has been instrumental in leading the World Heritage stream with many projected, practical outcomes to protect wild nature in World Heritage “natural” sites. In partnership with Parks Canada and others, CoalitionWILD program manager Crista Valentino is playing a key role at WPC by inspiring a new generation of conservation leaders. Shay Sloan, program director for our Indigenous & Community Lands & Seas project is deeply involved with the Indigenous and Community leaders. Britt Peterson, WILD Board of Directors, will be actively managing our Twitter feed.

Please follow along as our team makes the World Parks Congress a little bit wilder from November 12-19!

> View the WPC Schedule of Events for the WILD team

> Nov. 15th Nature Needs Half evening

> Follow @WILDfoundation on Twitter!

> Follow @vancegmartin on Twitter

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Team Rhino: Conservation Groups Unite for World Rhino Day

September 22, 2014

Since the day The WILD Foundation was born in the African wilderness, we’ve dedicated a tremendous amount of time and energy to protecting Africa’s magnificent rhinos. Our founder Dr Ian Player is well known as being the initiator and team leader of the innovative and internationally acclaimed project ‘Operation Rhino’ in the late 1960′s. Through relocation, safe breeding groups were established elsewhere in the country and in the world. Operation Rhino successfully saved the southern white rhino from extinction and by 2010 there were over 17,000 white rhino in South Africa.

Dr. Ian Player, Operation Rhino

Dr. Ian Player, Operation Rhino © Ian Player Archives

More recently with our Wilderness Network partners, we launched the Forever Wild Rhino Initiative to take urgent action on the steadily increasing levels of rhino poaching in South Africa. Through advocacy and awareness campaigns, the initiative supports conservation agencies and private game reserves in protecting their rhino as part of a functioning natural ecosystem.

Team Rhino LogoToday on World Rhino Day, we continue collaborating and supporting like-minded organizations by helping launch Team Rhino.

As rhino poaching has reached record-breaking levels in Africa in the past few years, much debate over controversial anti-poaching technology, tactics and policy has erupted, and many new rhino conservation groups have entered the fray — some more savory than others.

As with many nonprofit causes, missions can become fuzzy. Groups may begin to cannibalize each other’s efforts, and relationships can get hairy. Supporters are asked time and again to give money to what may feel like a losing game with no rules. In 2013, poachers slaughtered upwards of a thousand rhinos in South Africa alone, and 2014 is on track to be even worse.

All of this activity has left many rhino lovers and conservationists around the world wondering, “How can I join the fight? Who do I team up with?”

To unite rhino conservation efforts by established organizations around the globe on World Rhino Day and every day after, the International Rhino Foundation, Save the Rhino, Asian Rhino Project and The WILD Foundation are joining forces as Team Rhino.

Team Rhino Graphic

We understand that not everyone who cares about rhinos is in a position to donate thousands of dollars a year to conservation or lobby bigwigs within national governments’ environmental agencies or lend their prominent name to awareness campaigns by going on safari with media or exchange fire with ruthless poachers in the African bush.

That’s why we’ve formed Team Rhino — a massive effort to globalize support for saving the rhino from the grassroots up.

We’re forming a global roster and making local plays. From a rookie-level retweet to a major league donation, we’re recruiting members of Team Rhino to do whatever they can to stomp the competition from poachers and help rhinos win their fight for survival.

Part of the strength of a team is its members’ ability to motivate each other. We’ve teamed up with Dave Matthews and American Authors — as well as MVPs like Jack Hanna and Jeff Corwin — to call on fans around the world to learn more about the rhino’s fight and share with others.

Team Rhino: Dave Matthews

Dave Matthews joins Team Rhino

Many people don’t know that rhinos are poached for their horn, which is sold on a black market controlled by international crime syndicates that support terrorism, high-stakes drugs and arms trade, and other human rights violations. They’re unaware that rhino horn is consumed primarily in China and Vietnam and used in traditional medicine or as a status symbol even though it is made of the same substance as our hair and fingernails. Many don’t know rhinos may become extinct in our lifetime if poaching numbers follow their current trend.

As a team, we can do much more than we can as individual players. Range countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Swaziland need to hear our cheers on the side of the rhino. Consumer countries like Vietnam and China need to see our numbers as we call for penalties.

Like poachers and wildlife criminals, we must cross international and organizational boundaries to defeat them. Team Rhino is a global rallying cry to champion rhinos — a call to rush the field to declare victory for rhinos.

> Join Team Rhino!

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The rocky road to reconciliation: when government fails to deliver, local communities must act

September 18, 2014

Danger is ever-present for elephants in Africa. Fortunately the desert elephants of Mali have been shepherded through the recent conflict, protected by fully-engaged communities as described in previous blog entries: Local communities are heroes in the fight against elephant poaching and Protecting the Mali elephants from war.

Mali: Loving ele calf

Our brave and committed brigades have also faced great danger, and now we learn the very sad and tragic news that Moussa Aly, the popular and greatly respected leader of our brigades at Banzena was shot while he slept. The assassination sent shock-waves throughout the Gourma. Investigations suggested that the murderers of Moussa Aly had been acting on the orders of a rival for election as Mayor of Bambara-Maoude, who had joined the jihadists while Mayor, and was currently in exile in Mauritania.

Moussa Aly

The problem of post-conflict insecurity seems intractable with small groups of bandits hiding in the thicket forests, launching attacks, robberies and hijackings, and moving on to avoid pursuit. These are individuals who joined the armed groups and who are reluctant to return to their communities for fear of retribution. Pursuit is difficult in these vast spaces of dunes and seasonal mires, peppered with impenetrable thickets and devoid of roads (although watch this space for how the project is working to facilitate their capture).

Nomba Ganame TV interview


There is, however, and immense desire among Malians to restore peace and harmonious social relations. The extensive media coverage of our national reconciliation workshop findings is indicative of this, but how can this desire be turned into action?

After the project’s Field Manager, Nomba Ganame’s television interview, his phone was buzzing for days with people congratulating the initiative, showing their support for the findings and asking what could be done next, what actions would ensue.

One striking observation was the breadth and diversity of the people who had bothered to call in. They came from every walk of life, all over Mali and internationally. They included local herders and farmers; refugees; business men and the professions; clan chiefs, mayors and council members; local, regional and national civil servants; the military; MPs, ministers and an ex-Prime Minister.

Mali local communities and soldiers

A common theme was frustration at the lack of progress, and a desire to contribute. Government workers in particular lamented the lack of resources available for them to be able to put the recommendations into practice. This lack of resources stem from what the New York Times called Mali’s oldest enemy: the corruption that laid the groundwork for the country’s recent implosion (1). The article reports that donors have tentatively promised about $4 billion in aid and loans but want assurances that this will not go the way of past aid money, and are waiting for concrete measures to this effect. In the meantime there is a risk that “the present window of opportunity to stabilize Mali and the region will be squandered”.

At the local level in the Gourma, however, things look somewhat brighter. Those who called had urged the project to take the messages to the local communities, to those people who don’t read newspapers or watch television.

During the following month the project did just that. It convened meetings throughout the elephant range to discuss the report findings and what it meant for local lives and livelihoods, in particular focusing on the three main conclusions and developing community solidarity in dealing with their common problems.

Women & Children at Mali Workshop

Following the assassination of Moussa Aly, the 92 year-old, highly respected Chief of Boni deeply lamented the ongoing situation – his own son had been shot and is still critically ill in hospital after 4 months. The murder of Moussa Aly made him realize that something had to be done to stop the violence. He requested that the project support him in convening a large general assembly for the communities and armed forces of over 12 communes including the border regions of Burkina Faso. This meeting would enable a debate with the aim of developing a concerted community response. People had been dissuaded from giving information by retribution killings of several informers, but by launching a request for information about the whereabouts of bandits at a general public meeting, anonymity could be assured because any of the assembled could have been the source of information that led to subsequent arrests.

Over 1,500 people attended. The project contributed a third of the cost, with the remainder raised by contributions from the communities themselves.

Two days after the meeting 4 were arrested with a large cache of arms in a forest just 10 km from Douentza, planning to launch an attack on the town. They disclosed several caches of arms and confirmed the identities of Moussa Aly’s murderers.

A further 32 names led to 12 additional arrests and the discovery of large arms caches, the remainder having fled to neighbouring countries immediately after the meeting as they knew investigations would follow.

Meanwhile the project’s work continues in its aim of empowering those wanting to make a difference, demonstrating that committed individuals and small groups can turn around apparently intractable situations, when they are acting from a genuine motive of wider interest. In this case repairing the social fabric required for the social and environmental resilience is the key to survival in these variable environments and uncertain times.

It is hoped that such courage and leadership will be matched at the national level in getting to grips with the culture of corruption, and unleash those committed individuals within government to take the lead in promoting peace and reconciliation throughout Mali.

> View media coverage (clippings in French, translations in English)

> Learn more about the Mali Elephant Project

(1) For Mali’s New President, Corruption Issue Lingers by Adam  Nossiter. New York Times, August 21, 2013

Over 1,500 people attended and some pictures of this remarkable event
can be found in the photo gallery below:

> Read More


September 9, 2014

Photos and blog by Geoff Dalglish

Wild … it is arguably my favourite word and it is both a delicious state of being and an enticing place.

I love the way it rolls off the tongue, almost like a caress … or reverberates when I shout it, echoing off the walls of canyons or competing with the roar of the surf. It is a word and concept I thought about a lot as I walked thousands of kilometres with messages about treading more lightly and lovingly upon the Earth.

According to my dictionary, wild can mean uncultivated, uninhabited, inhospitable; primitive or not civilised; lacking discipline or restraint; or it can imply a state of excitement and enthusiasm. It draws me, like a moth to a flame, and friends joke that I’m in danger of going completely feral and heading into the wild, perhaps never to return to so-called civilisation. What a happy thought!

mabua lion © Geoff Dalglish

The word also increasingly finds itself in the titles of books, movies and organisations that inspire me. Into the Wild is a book and film that haunts me as it retraces the steps of Christopher McCandless, an idealistic young man who went in search of himself, braving the Alaskan wilderness on his own and eventually dying an excruciatingly painful death. But not before living his dream and being gifted with many valuable insights.

“If you want something in life, reach out and grab it,” he recommended. And he certainly did that, displaying a curiosity and fearlessness I admire.

Oscar Wilde famously declared: “Any map without Utopia on it isn’t worth looking at.” I guess Christopher McCandless had found his Utopia, although he might have figured a way out of his predicament and survived had he not thrown his maps away.

Two years ago I had a similarly strong urge to walk into my own wild, something that I did on California’s Lost Coast when I defied repeated warnings about the danger of bears, mountain lions, rattlesnakes and even murderous cannabis farmers. Instead I enjoyed the loving embrace of wildness and wilderness, finding peace and solace away from humans. I celebrated aloneness without experiencing loneliness.

Lioness © Geoff Dalglish

Last year was another wild feast as I walked as an ambassador for WILD10, the 10th World Wilderness Congress, my 124-day, 2,500km pilgrimage serving as both a marketing tool and a spiritual quest. Sometimes I felt that I was a wolf – hunted, persecuted, demonised and revered by some, as I attempted to follow in their tracks, marvelling at their resilience and resourcefulness. Against all odds, they’re staging a remarkable comeback in parts of Europe. As farmers and rural villagers migrate to the cities, wildlife is returning to make the world a wilder place again.

While I’ve sometimes struggled to find a balance between nature connection and connecting to the virtual world, in my wanderings I’ve come to appreciate that there is space enough for both. I need technology to spread messages about the magnificence of Pachamama, our Earth Mother and source of all sustenance. After walking for a year without books, because of their punishing weight, I invested in a Kindle and now carry a library of treasured electronic books, among them Shadow Mountain, a Memoir of Wolves, a Woman and the Wild, by Renee Askins. She famously helped reintroduce wolves to Yellowstone National Park.

“Something mysterious happens when we look into the eyes of an animal, whether it be a panther or a poodle,” she writes. “We see something familiar looking back. Ourselves? Yes, but we also see an ‘other.‘ We see something that is in us and yet without us, something we recognise and yet is unfamiliar, something we fear but for which we long. We see the wild.”

At a time when our relationship with nature is sadly diminished, we still turn to animals as a conduit to healing, she says. “And through our animals – those of our childhood, those in our homes, and those in the wild – we can begin to find our way back to being whole.”

Lion & Cub © Geoff Dalglish

This week I escaped into the pages of Wild, an autobiographical story of courage and redemption, as 26-year-old Cheryl Strayed walks the gruelling Pacific Crest Trail along the mountain spine of California and Oregon, ultimately meeting herself along the way. I identified with every painful step and recognised the kinship we develop with our backpack – even a punishingly overweight one nicknamed Monster.

Wild is due for release at the end of the year as a movie starring Reese Witherspoon (refreshingly sans makeup) and promises to be a hit if it is half as entertaining as the book.

After months of being based in one place, much of it parked in front of a computer screen, my longing for wildness is again stirring strongly, even though I begin every morning with a generous helping of nature on my solo sunrise walks through the nearby woods to the beach. My bare footprints are invariably the first in the freshly washed sand; my soul washed clean by the walk.

We all need wilderness and wildness in our lives, especially as so many of us are suffering what author Richard Louv has termed Nature Deficit Disorder. He wrote Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle, another favourite on my Kindle that has deepened my understanding of the healing powers of nature.

Soon I’ll again be in the wild, camping with close friends among the legendary black-maned lions of the Kalahari within the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park that straddles a remote corner of South Africa and Botswana.

Mabua clouds © Geoff Dalglish

It promises be a pilgrimage into the wilderness of my own soul and a place where I can again look deep into the eyes of one of Africa’s most feared and admired predators, perhaps waking with a hammering heart to a roar outside my tent.

And to make the wild feast complete, I plan to follow on with an 11-day Vision Quest that will include solo wild time without food or formal shelter, where I can reconfirm my vows to the Earth and all its beings.

From a very young age I believed it was my role to serve the natural world, although I no longer arrogantly believe that it is my duty to save it, sharing the inspiring sentiments of South African author, poet, psychiatrist and wilderness guide Ian McCallum, who I finally met last year during the World Wilderness Congress in Spain.

He insists: “We have to stop speaking about the Earth being in need of healing. The Earth does not need healing. We do. Our task is to rediscover ourselves in nature. It is an individual choice. And how or where do we begin? We begin exactly where we are right now, when we look at the world as a mirror, when we discover that our sense of freedom and authenticity is linked to the well-being and authenticity of others – and that includes the animals, the trees and the land.”

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Conservation Photography: The Big Picture

August 14, 2014

We can be nature’s eyes.

Conservation photography has been a long-time medium for furthering environmental issues and success stories. Beginning in the 1860′s with photographers like Ansel Adams & William Henry Jackson, these images have served as a powerful advocacy tool to protect the world’s wild areas & animals. Modern day conservation photography has been more formally introduced through groups like the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Founded by photographer & WILD Foundation board member Cristina Mittermeier in 2005 at the 8th World Wilderness Congress, the iLCP is dedicated to furthering environmental and cultural conservation through communication initiatives that create vital content and disseminate conservation messages to a wide variety of audiences. Check out Cristina’s article on Conservation Photography in the International Journal of Wilderness.

Turtle © Jason Houston

The WILD Foundation relies on these photographers to aid in spreading our mission of protecting & connecting wilderness, wildlife & people internationally. To communicate an environmental issue through one single image or group of images is no easy feat, but serves a grand purpose of engaging the viewer. Highly-acclaimed photographer Joel Sartore says that “the typical nature photograph shows a butterfly on a pretty flower. The conservation photograph shows the same thing, but with a bulldozer coming at it in the background. This doesn’t mean there’s no room for beautiful pictures, in fact we need beautiful images just as much as the issues. It does mean that the images exist for a reason; to save the Earth while we still can.” Who doesn’t love a beautiful nature photo? But when a capturing photo tells a story at the same time…that’s when the action begins.

Arches at Night  © Ian Shive

We at WILD are incredibly grateful for the likes of these conservation photographers who are working tirelessly to inform the public of the effects of climate change on the world’s vanishing glaciers, bringing awareness to marine conservation in the developing tropics, showing the threats of the Indigenous Kayapo tribe in the Brazilian Amazon or to the rare desert-dwelling elephants of Mali, and so much more. This fall, many of these highly-respected photographers will come together at the Telluride Photo Festival in Colorado to share their work and to help foster the next generation of photographers. In addition, WILD’s Communications Manager, Melanie Hill, and Multimedia Journalist/WILD Trustee, Morgan Heim, will be participating as portfolio reviewers. The reviewers will be people you will come in contact with if you are currently a professional photographer or seeking a career in photography- this also presents an excellent networking opportunity as well as feedback on your work!

Telluride, CO © Eric Moore

Telluride, Colorado is a charming Victorian mining town surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the country, nestled in the heart of the of the San Juan Mountains. Against this backdrop, the Telluride Photo Festival brings some of the world’s most renowned photographers for a week of sharing their knowledge and passion for the photographic arts. The main festival held over the weekend is composed of seminars, speakers in the evening, panel discussions, networking events and portfolio reviews. Never a dull moment!

The festival also features a diverse set of workshops with a little something for everyone. This autumn for the first time ever, the Sierra Club’s 2011 Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography recipient, Ian Shive, and National Park Magazine Editor-in-Chief, Scott Kirkwood, join forces to take a select group of photographers into a National Park to go behind the lens to live the stories you see in print. Additionally, iLCP photographer Jason Houston is leading a conservation photography workshop with photo editor Melissa Ryan of The Nature Conservancy. Nationally recognized outdoor photographer, Mark Muench, puts on Composed By Light, a workshop for those interested in landscape photography with a focus on composition. Bill Ellzey is also leading Telluride’s Autumn Aspen Landscape workshop for those interested in fall foliage. Rounding things out, there will be a few other workshops which include wedding, location lighting, action sports and DSLR filmmaking. A unique aspect to the festival is that 3 workshops include photo editors from major magazines reviewing images taken during the workshop and their portfolios of the participants.

Wilderness Act Cover, Sierra

Guest Speakers include Pictures of the Year International, News Photographer of the Year 2014 as well as a 2011 Pulitzer Prize recipient, Barbara Davidson; National Geographic and Founding Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers, Joel Sartore; and National Geographic as well as Staff Contributor for Harper’s Magazine, Aaron Huey. Acclaimed Fashion Photographer and Sigma Pro, Lindsay Adler; Tandem Stills + Motion founder and Sierra Club’s 2011 Ansel Adams Award for Conservation Photography, Ian Shive; as well as Canon Explorer of Light, Jennifer Wu.

Photographers, do not miss this event! The Telluride Photo Festival will take place September 29-October 5, 2014 and tickets are on sale now. Will we see you there?

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