Ilaria Di Silvestre
Ilaria has been interested in animal welfare since she was a child, when she wanted to become a veterinarian to care and save animals. When she realized as a teenager that vets also often deal with sick animals and suffering, she decided to study animal behaviour with a conservation focus and the dream of studying wildlife in Africa. This is exactly what she did as soon as she graduated from her MA. She moved to Senegal, where she spent three years in a tent in a national park studying wild dogs, lions and hyenas.
With a background in wildlife eco-ethology, Ilaria has lived for over 15 years in different African countries working on wildlife management and conservation. However, that wasn’t enough for her and she realized real, long-term change also happens through meaningful decision-making at a policy level, which brought her back in Europe, and later Brussels.
Since 2021, as the Head of EU Policy and Campaigns at IFAW, she creates opportunities and the right policy environment so that concrete work can happen on the field. She believes this is the only way conservation work can last.
Today more than ever before, Ilaria knows this is a crucial moment to change the way people interact with nature and wildlife, and with an increasing political will to take action, she hopes to contribute to a world where people and wildlife coexist better together.
Head of EU Policy and Campaigns, IFAW Belgium
Senior Wildlife Programme Leader, Eurogroup for Animals Belgium
Evaluator of proposals for the EU LIFE+ Nature and Biodiversity Programme Belgium
Project Manager in transnational research projects on wildlife conservation and management in various African countries
Master in Wildlife Eco-Ethology, Padua University Italy
Bachelor in Biology, Padua University Italy