Conservation Influencers

International Fund For Animal Welfare

Washington, DC, USA

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) was founded in 1969 by Brian Davies, a Welshman who immigrated to Canada in 1995. Its original purpose was to stop the commercial hunt of seals on the east coast of Canada. Today, IFAW operates 40 countries, employing in excess of 300 people and is one of the world’s most influential and best funded animal welfare and, arguably, rights NGOs. 

The International Fund for Animal Welfare counts among its successes, in its words, ‘having spearheaded international efforts to establish the Southern Ocean marine sanctuary that protects 90% of the world’s whales’. It also claims the credit for persuading the International Court of Justice to find that Japan’s Southern Ocean whale hunt was illegal under international law. IFAW says that it played a leading role in securing the 1989 ban on the ivory trade. Much of its work on land is, in its words, ‘anchored around rescue and rehabilitation of animals’. Another major part of its work focuses on combating illegal wildlife trade and the enforcement of CITES’ regulations. It opposes militantly both trophy hunting and the ivory trade, as a matter of principle. 

In 2004, IFAW admitted to the Guardian newspaper that it paid for delegates from Togo, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo to attend CITES’ CoP-13, while claiming that they would have no influence on how the countries vote. In the late 1990s, in seeming coordination with the UK Labour Party’s declaration to oppose fox hunting, Brian Davies donated one million pounds sterling to the party, following a private dinner with Tony Blair (in the UK IFAW is a private company, not a charity). Source: The Independent.


The The International Fund for Animal Welfare CEO and President is Azzedine Downes, who headed for many years IFAW’s delegations to CITES. 


Board of directors chaired by Mark Beaudouin


Its annual report stated that IFAW’s total worldwide programmes and operating expenses were USD 111,626,000 in 2019. 

About the directory

Conservation Influencers is a searchable directory of the animal activist, environmental and ecological lobby. It examines the history, mission, methodology and reputation of NGOs to assess their impact on the global conservation cause.


Wildlife Conservation Society

In 1906, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) put an African man on display in Bronx Zoo’s Monkey House. In 1918, one of WCS’s founding fathers, Madison Grant, published Passing of the Great Race, which Adolf Hitler referred to as his ‘Bible’. Another leading creator and early leader of WCS, Henry Fairfield Osborn Sr, was also a founder of the American Eugenics Society. His son headed WCS from 1940 to 1968, overseeing a series of major initiatives in Africa. There, WCS became one of the architects of the prohibition movement, which put wildlife for consumptive use and vast regions of land out of bounds to humanity. In 2020, WCS distanced itself in public from the racist views of Grant and Henry Fairfield Osborn Sr. But it has yet to issue a critical account of the legacy of Fairfield Osborn Jr, even though he led WCS into the modern era while sharing similar politically-inspired ecological goals to his father and Grant. WCS devotes considerable financial resources to influencing outcomes at CITES. WCS’s CEO reportedly earns USD$1,320,978.