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Sunday, June 19, 2011

WildlifeDirect: Blogging for conservation


Since Paula Kuhumbu is being presented a National Geographic/Buffett Conservation Leadership Award due to her work as WildlifeDirect and the Kenya Land Conservation Trust's Executive Director (and also being named a 2011 National Geographic Emerging Explorer), this seems like an excellent time to write a post concerning WildlifeDirect and the excellent work it does.

Richard Leakey describes his initial concept far better than I can

WildlifeDirect is not a conservation organization set up to aid a particular animal, habitat, or region.  It is Richard Leakey's ingenious brainchild and it works like an umbrella organization.  WildlifeDirect finds good local conservation organizations and individuals and gives them a home within their website, where they can blog regarding their experiences.  The service is free and individuals can raise funds for their cause through the site and also provides them an information dissemination outlet concerning their work/situation.  This marriage between the internet and conservation is brilliant: typically conservation organizations rely upon major donors providing large monetary sums which ensure continued operation but through WildlifeDirect these small conservation operations can collect small monetary sums from larger numbers of people, which helps them survive and prosper through times when philanthropy is reduced (like it has been during the recent economic downturn) and gives people who are not millionaires a way they can feel like they make a tangible difference with their donation, since they can see exactly how their money helped make a difference through the blogs.  Since each conservation organization/group writes their own blogs, WildlifeDirect needs (and has) few employees, so it requires very little money and raises funds covering its own costs through its own fundraising efforts instead of extracting some funds which each promoted organization raises.  All money donated through WildlifeDirect's website goes directly towards conservation, which is how it should be.
Paula Kuhumbu explains the concept really well at a Pop!Tech talk

The conservation organizations featured through WildlifeDirect span the globe (no longer just Africa, like originally conceived) and cover all types of animals and environments.  Since WildlifeDirect represents many, many conservation organizations, I can't possibly cover them all, so will keep this post relatively short and instead suggest you visit their site and explore the diversity there yourself.  WildlifeDirect's menus are set up well to search blogs through either geographic region or animal species, so do check it out and help ones which strike a chord!  WildlifeDirect's individual organizations (listed within each site's blog) need donations, donations towards keeping WildlifeDirect running are needed, help with running individual blogs (note this all you blog-savvy folk who would like to make a difference but don't have that much money) is needed, help spreading news concerning the organizations through social networking (with which I imagine you are all familiar, since you are reading this) is needed, and people who can organize various causes' fundraisers are needed.  I will close this blog while noting the amazing people behind WildlifeDirect: besides being founded by Richard Leakey, paleoanthropologist and conservation giant, influential folks fill the Board of Directors, so this is an extremely reputable, if new, organization, and it's a new organization because the technology required is new- this concept is cutting edge conservation.  Concerning their employee quality, Paula Kuhumbu and I attended school together and I can personally vouch for her impressive knowledge, passion, and drive regarding wildlife, but you need not just take my word, since the National Geographic Society has also recognized her impressive abilities several times already this year.



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3 comments:

  1. Long live wildlifedirect and all it stands for!

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  2. I LOVE CONSERVATION INITIATIVES,IT'S AGREAT HONOUR TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH WILDLIFEDIRECT.

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  3. It certainly is a great organization and a great idea!

    ReplyDelete