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.


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.