Conservation Influencers

American Cetacean Society

USA

The American Cetacean Society (ACS) is a confederation of local chapters founded in 1967, which claims to be the first whale, dolphin, and porpoise conservation group in the world. Its co-founders, who originally wanted to farm whales to conquer world hunger, were Elizabeth ‘Bemi’ DeBus and, most notably, Dr. Clark Cameron (1922-2004). According to ACS’s website, it was Dr. Cameron who, in 1972, brought the need for a moratorium on whaling to the United Nations Environmental Conference, which subsequently voted 52-0 to support it.

The American Cetacean Society claims to represent Civil Society at the annual meetings of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). It also claims to have been instrumental in persuading the IWC to impose a moratorium on the commercial exploitation of whales in 1986. Describing how it works at IWC meetings, it says:

‘If a contracting government’s position is ‘on the fence’ with regard to an issue on which a vote may be called on the Commission floor, the [ACS] representative makes every attempt to contact the delegate/commissioner of that nation in an attempt to present facts and discuss issues leading to a vote in favor of conservation of whale stocks.’

The American Cetacean Society is a founding member of the coalition body Whales Need Us. This coalition supports, in its words, ‘maintaining the moratorium on commercial hunting established in 1986; strengthening and enforcing IWC policies upon which whaling regulations and decisions are made; and persuading the U.S Government to assume a lead role in ending commercial and scientific whaling worldwide’.

Leaders

Each chapter of ACS has its own leader.

Governance

Uko Gorter is National ACS President and President of the ACS Puget Sound Chapter.

Finances

Less than USD50,000 per year.

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.

Featured

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.

Read More...