Wilderness’ non-profit partner, the Wilderness Wildlife Trust (WWT), is thrilled to reinvigorate its efforts and reposition the Trust for a post-pandemic future, appreciating that the need for impact initiatives is even more urgent than before, in a world context that is perhaps more receptive. The WWT also welcomes Charles Douglas as its new Chairman, as well as Derek de la Harpe, Wilderness’ Commercial Director and Head of Risk Management, as a trustee.
“Charles and Derek, together with long-standing trustees, Malcolm McCulloch and Dr John Ledger, will form the board of trustees of the WWT. Having recognised multiple vulnerabilities over the last couple of years caused by COVID-19, we are delighted to be able to focus on the WWT again, which aims to bring renewed impetus to fundraising and related efforts to support projects that can drive and increase conservation on the African continent”, noted Wilderness CEO, Keith Vincent.
Charles is a partner at Bowmans, an African law firm with offices in Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, and affiliate offices in Ethiopia and Nigeria. He is Co-Head of Bowmans’ Mergers & Acquisitions, a long-standing member of the firm’s main board, and a central co-ordinator of its ESG and impact sector group. Charles has worked with Wilderness Safaris for many years, assisting it to reposition and strengthen for the future through the introduction of its cornerstone investors, including FS Investors and TPG’s The Rise Fund. He advises on group arrangements and new conservation projects, which will help the business to grow and ultimately achieve its impact mission though empowerment, education and protection.
“I strongly believe in ethical leadership and best governance, and hold the conservation and impact imperatives of Wilderness Safaris close to my heart. As we all know, the last few years have been extremely challenging for people around the world, with the pandemic’s impact on tourism and conservation having been particularly profound. I am therefore proud to take on the role of Chairman of the Trust, and to work with the team to play a crucial role in helping Wilderness drive the funding for various conservation and research projects across the continent”, said Charles.
The Wilderness Wildlife Trust is an independent, non-profit entity that facilitates fundraising and dispensing of monies to deserving conservation projects, mainly concentrating on funding three key areas: wildlife research, anti-poaching and management, and community empowerment and education. In partnership with Wilderness Safaris, the Trust enables researchers and individuals to make a difference beyond the geographic spread of Wilderness Safaris’ concessions, ultimately making a long-term and sustainable contribution to the biodiversity protection of numerous wilderness areas throughout the continent.
To date, the Trust has funded more than 100 different projects in eight African countries, producing 13 Doctorates, 10 Masters theses and more than 50 peer-reviewed published papers that have contributed directly to conservation. On average, the Trust funds 25 different projects annually, many of them long-running (pre-COVID). During the pandemic, the Trust played a crucial role in assisting Wilderness Safaris deliver food parcels to over 80 000 of its most vulnerable community partners across all areas of operation, greatly assisting those most severely affected by the pandemic and subsequent loss of tourism revenue, as well as reducing the risk of increased bush-meat poaching.
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