Why I joined IFAW to help protect Russian wildlife

I’m very happy to join the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) at the Kremlin and other events in Moscow this week to help promote the preservation of Russian wildlife.


I’ve worked for protection of animals all over the world, but I feel a deep connection to Russia. 

It might be that my mom is of Russian descent.

Making me proudly so. 

Also my love of Russian people.

Russian men might be my weakness ...


I initially joined forces with IFAW Russia when I learned of the seal campaign that Masha Vorontsova started in 1995 in Russia and led to the ban on the hunting of white coat and baby seals up to one year old at the White Sea in 2009.

It inspired my role to help ban the import of seal products to Russia in 2011.


Russia is such a diverse and beautiful country with many different kinds of landscapes and marine habitats.

The last of the Amur tigers, beluga whales, grey whales, saiga antelopes— dear animals that need a safe home in Russia to survive.

I feel honored to be able to use my voice and my cultural descent to bring Russian government officials, scientists and animal advocates together with each other to protect these unique and endangered animals.

When I was in the United Kingdom speaking on behalf of IFAW,

I posted -

"these are critical times for animals everywhere.

We all know that their homelands are disappearing as human populations expand,

the oceans are polluted -and noise pollution is part of it.

Wild animals are vanishing at unimaginable rates.

At the same time, human attitudes are changing and we are beginning to miss what we are destroying,

just a moment before it has gone.

What is left must be preserved.

Elephants in Africa are being poached and shipped overseas to tawdry zoos, orcas and whales are being captured for display in hideous amusement parks in shopping malls thousands of miles from their homes.

These are all individuals like us, with thoughts and feelings and desires, for freedom, for independence, for a reasonable, natural life.

We cannot pretend it is otherwise.

Human beings,

with all our ingenuity to change the environment and economies, must each be leaders in changing the destructive path we are on into a constructive and positive one.

It isn’t as hard as it seems.

In fact, 

when we show the way,

others follow. 

We must show the way and let future generations utter our names in awe, saying

'They saw what was wrong and fixed it. 

They saved the great orchestra of life and reversed human destruction of the animal kingdom'…

I pray this is the case.


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Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Beth Allgood, Country Director, United States
Country Director, United States
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Jason Bell, Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Vice President for Conservation and Animal Welfare
Jimmiel Mandima at IFAW
Deputy Vice President of Conservation
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation
Rikkert Reijnen, Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Program Director, Wildlife Crime