Conservation Influencers

Whale And Dolphin Conservation

Wiltshire, UK

Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) was founded in 1987 as the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society. However in 2012, it dropped the word society from its title to reflect the fact that it had transformed itself into a campaigning body. 

In the UK, USA, Germany and Australia, WDC has teams on the ground that it employs. And in Argentina it works closely with Fundación Cethus (with whom it developed an acoustic tool) on the conservation and welfare of whales, dolphins and porpoises (cetaceans). 

Whale and Dolphin Conservation is a proud and self-declared animal rights group, which campaigns at IWC’s and CITES’ CoPs, and within the EU and other institutions, ‘to have legal rights granted to whales and dolphins’. It is equally committed, it says, to making the seas healthy, which, in its view, ‘necessitates curtailing commercial fishing, oil and gas drilling, as well as shipping’. And it wants to put an end to bycatch, which, IWMC believes, is a totally unrealistic aspiration, unless, that is, capture fisheries are abolished. This suggests that WDC’s unarticulated, de facto, goal is to end capture fisheries. Furthermore, WDC wants to outlaw the ‘holding of whales and dolphins in captivity’ and put a stop to all whaling on the high seas.

According to its report and financial statements for 2019 – 2018, WDC created the world’s first sanctuary for captive whales in association with the SEA LIFE Trust

Under our achievements, WDC highlights how in 2017 it persuaded the EU Parliament to urge the EU Commission to ‘stop whale meat being moved through EU ports’ (See here). WDC further boasts about how in 2018 it ‘forced Radisson hotels to stop selling whale meat at the Park Inn Radisson in Iceland’. Also in 2018, it took partial credit for the call by CITES’ Standing Committee 70, in Sochi, Russia, for ‘Japan to halt hunting sei whales in international waters’ (See here). 


Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s 80-strong staff is led by Chris Butler-Stroud.


The organization is overseen by trustees, led by its chairperson, Dr. Lisa Drewe, author of Islandeering: Adventures Around the Edge of Britain’s Hidden Islands, who joined the organisation in 2016. 


According to the Trustees, WDC’s income in 2019 was £3,914,549 and its expenditure was £3,378,364, including the cost of raising funds, which amounted to £969,947. 

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.