Helping Russia become an animal friendly civil society

IFAW was represented at the round table on “Participation of civil society actors in animal protection”I can say now, having worked at IFAW since 2002, that a lot of the knowledge I received during my time at University was not of use in my actual work so far. But sometimes I do remember that I graduated from a political science department.

In particular, I recall our studies of “civil society” and “non-profit organizations” - it was wonderful and inspiring to see people coming together around an idea for a mission, creating a group representing specific societal interest and collaborating with the authorities to make the world a better place.

With this knowledge, I started volunteering at IFAW with a desire to make my contribution to the development of civil society in Russia.

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Time passed, I graduated from University and became a staff member of IFAW, taking part in the civil society I had studied, now a participant in its development engaging in Russian charitable activities, petitions, public events; this became part of my normal life.

And so, I was very pleased to recently participate as an IFAW representative at the round table on “Participation of civil society actors in animal protection” held at the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.

It was gratifying to see proof of the changes that took place due to the work we have done in the society: as usual a brief on the topic was handed out and at some point I felt as if I was holding a list of IFAW's achievements in its work in Russia.

The brief contained multiple references to our programs and reports, which demonstrates recognition, respect and understanding of our work.

During the discussion at the roundtable the speakers talked about a humane approach to dog and cat population control, specific topics included; 

  • Obligatory vaccination, microchipping, unified database, assistance to shelters in rehoming, strict state oversight of breeders.
  • Talks about development for trapping rules and for keeping captured wildlife (oceanariums, zoos), about ban on private ownership of Red-listed and CITES-listed wildlife, as such ownership fosters black market activities occurred.
  • The need to expedite consideration of the Federal Law on the foundations of state policy on treatment of animals was also discussed.

During the last 20 years in Russia, IFAW has obtained stunning results in animal protection, including; 

  • a ban on hunting ringed seal pups
  • a ban on winter den hunting of bears
  • changes of the oil pipeline route around the whale feeding area off the coast of Sakhalin
  • participation in rehabilitation and release of 6 Amur tigers back into the wild
  • reintroduction of 200 orphan bear cubs, dozens of saker falcons and gyrfalcons into their native habitat
  • contribution to introduction of amendments into the environmental protection legislation, which increased liability for illegal hunting, trade and smuggling of animals.

Another important recognition of IFAW efforts by Russian society is that animal welfare is now more than ever one of its important values. IFAW also regularly participates in preparation of the Federal Law on responsible treatment of animals. 

Officials at the highest level highlight our work, and many Russian citizens can no longer remain uninvolved: they take action and strive to make our country a kinder and more responsible one in the treatment of the animals, wild and domestic, bears and tigers, whales and seals, turtles and birds and all other species.


Learn about IFAW efforts to help orphaned Russian bear cubs at our rehabilitation center outside Moscow.

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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
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
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
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation
Sonja Van Tichelen, Vice President of International Operations
Vice President of International Operations
Staci McLennan, Director, EU Office
Director, EU Office
Tania McCrea-Steele, Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime
Project Lead, Global Wildlife Cybercrime