True North Living » Wildlife & Conservation » What’s It Going to Take to Make the Planet Wilder?
Steve Ross hs

Steven Ross

Chief Development Officer, Wilder Institute

Conservation leaders at the Wilder Institute believe that to protect biodiversity and wildlife, conservation science must be inclusive — and irresistible.”— Steven Ross

As relationships between wildlife and human life become increasingly frayed, the need to restore biodiversity and protect wildlife has never been more urgent — but a rethink is needed.

At Canada’s Wilder Institute, we believe that to take the action necessary to sustainably restore biodiversity, we need to interrupt the widely-held perception among the public, governments, and philanthropists that conservation’s purpose is to only protect wildlife and wild places. The true purpose of conservation is to create lasting change and impact. To do that, conservationists must consider the needs of all living things, including the only species able to laugh and cry: us.

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This work is making a difference. We must remember that we’re not powerless — far from it.

A new kind of conservationist

What do we need to do differently? That’s what we asked ourselves. The answer was right there in front of us, in the outcomes of our collaborative work in conservation translocation and community conservation. Simply put, we’ve learned over 30 years that restoring balance between wildlife, wild places, and human life, and sticking the landing, means embracing the reality that home is where wildlife belongs, but that home is where people belong, too. We must co-exist — not build fences. As conservationists, we’re applying our science to develop common-ground solutions that recognize what wildlife and wild places need to thrive naturally, and what humans need to feel at home on the planet we share. Out of this rethink, a new kind of conservationist was born — a wilder one.

Working to serve nature and people

Communities neighbouring wildlife habitats have development aspirations but also face economic pressures. Our work strives to empower local communities with the tools, resources, and expertise to steward their own natural resources to benefit both nature and their communities. This work is making a difference. We must remember that we’re not powerless — far from it. The world isn’t falling apart in front of our eyes so much as it’s falling into our hands. Right now, Wilder Institute teams are on the move, reintroducing 15 endangered species to the wild in Canada and abroad and partnering on many more projects. We’re balancing our wildlife conservation with community conservation. But we cannot do this work alone. And we cannot do it without you.

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