Conservation Influencers

Species Survival Network


Established in 1992, the Species Survival Network (SSN) is a global coalition of 80 NGOs dedicated to enforcing CITES’ regulations and to adding new listings in its appendices. The creation of this umbrella group was largely the initiative of Earth Trust’s creator Donald White, former Executive Director of Greenpeace Hawaii (1978-1987), and a founding senior board member of Greenpeace USA (1980-1985). There, according to White’s biography, he directed all of Greenpeace’s dolphin strategy for two years, besides being one of the driving forces behind its global anti-whaling campaigns’.

According to Earth Trust’s website, the SSN Fish Working Group, led by Earth Trust’s Linda Paul, lobbied successfully for ‘the listing of the great white shark, whale shark, basking shark, Napoleon wrasse and seahorses in CITES Appendices’. All of these listings were controversial and remain contested, either at the level of efficacy and/or as to whether the scientific evidence ever justified them in the first place.

The SSN believes that trade in wildlife should only occur on very restrictive terms. That is, in its words, when ‘evidence positively demonstrates that survival of the species, subspecies or populations and their role in the ecosystems in which they occur will not be detrimentally affected by trade and when trade in live animals minimizes the risk of injury, damage to health or cruel treatment’. Contrariwise: CITES is premised on trade in wildlife being allowable until proven, based on strict scientific criteria laid out in the Convention, that it needs controlling.

SSN is represented on CITES’ Standing Committee, Animals Committee, Plants Committee, and at CoPs.


Will Travers, Executive President and Co-Founder of Born Free, chair’s SSN’s Board.


According to form 990, in 2018 SSN’s revenue was USD243, 185.

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.