While volunteering at the Charles Darwin Research Station on the Galápagos Islands, Barbara Slee encountered a baby marine iguana as it climbed onto her shoulder. Although a residing biologist later explained that the iguana probably thought she was just a big rock, she remembers the iguana sitting on her shoulder the entire afternoon as a life-changing experience to help animals. This was only solidified when she completed her third PADI diving certificate among sea cucumbers and hammerhead sharks. Afterwards, Barbara finished her two degrees and dedicated her life to the protection of nature and wildlife.
Barbara received her two master’s degrees at Leiden University where she researched among the Shuar indigenous people in the Ecuadorian Amazon to learn about the management of tropical forests. She still values the contribution of indigenous peoples and the importance of uniting the interests of both animals and people. Barbara then moved to Brussels where she became familiar with how the European Union institutions operate. She started working at IFAW as a Political Officer, playing a pivotal role in the historic vote to ban seal products from commercial seal hunts in 2009 and campaigning against commercial whaling by promoting responsible whale watching. Barbara then left IFAW for a few years to work with various NGOs, specializing in the fight against wildlife trade through undercover investigations and supporting law enforcement.
She has re-joined IFAW as the EU’s CITES Manager, honing in her skills to make an international impact by enhancing trade regulations and supporting implementation for marine species such as sharks and rays.
Campaign Manager – Wildlife trade, Four Paws International
Campaign and Policy Manager - Wildlife, BVD The Netherlands
EU Lead - Marine programmes, IFAW EU Brussels
Political Officer – Wildlife, IFAW EU Brussels
Researchers/advisor – Indigenous peoples and biodiversity, Leiden University The Netherlands
Master’s Degree Dutch Law with specialisation in International Law
Master’s Degree Sociology and Anthropology with specialisation in Environmental Studies