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.


Franz Weber Foundation

From 1990 until 2015, Franz Weber Foundation (FFW) managed the Fazao-Malfakassa National Park in Togo, which was, according to an in-depth investigation by Duke University, ‘established by forcing the local communities off their land and without taking into consideration their point of view’. That same study cited convincing evidence from reports published in 1990, confirming that competition for land use was already ‘creating conflict between the local communities and park managers’. In 2015 Togo refused to renew FFW’s contract because, the report says, ‘local communities were still excluded from the management of the natural resources of their land’ and FFW had ‘failed to fulfil its contract’. Franz Weber Foundation plays a major role within CITES because it funds and manages from Switzerland the African Elephant Coalition (AEC), which represents 32 African range states, some of which have barely any elephants and others none at all. Contrary to the wishes of the range states in Southern Africa, which manage most of the world’s wild elephant populations, the AEC at CITES’ CoPs repeatedly tables proposals to put all of the world’s elephants in appendix I. And the AEC uses its voting power to keep in place prohibitions on ivory sales and all other trade in elephant-related derivatives, including skins and hair, which Southern African nations wish to legalise.