James Sawyer has always been fascinated with animals from an early age. His childhood estate backed onto the countryside and to escape the concrete he immersed himself in wild adventures. Although his affinity for animals initially came from a wonder in the natural world, his work at WAP in disasters led him to come to love all animals. James has always had an interest in the small and strange, but despite never owning a pet he would now love a dog! He believes a closer involvement with animals leads to a deeper affinity with them.
James comes to IFAW from CDP where he worked as Director of Programmes leveraging the power of financial services and supply chains to drive environmental disclosure on Climate, Deforestation and Water Security. He also led on organisational development, specifically related to the development of a new operating model and development of strategies and operational planning. James has 14 years of senior management experience at executive and non-executive level working within the fields of Animal Welfare and Conservation. In total James has over 25 years of experience of managing projects and programmes in over 40 countries and often in very remote or challenging conditions.
James spent 9 years at WAP (formerly WSPA) where he developed and led a global programme and team on disaster management for animals, achieving successes including aid to 4 million animals in more than 100 disasters. He gained policy success within the UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, a global partnership with the International Federation of the Red Cross, and national level policy change in the countries of India, Costa Rica, Colombia and New Zealand. Lastly, he developed the concept of Veterinary Emergency Response Units embedded in University Veterinary Departments across the globe. James also managed WAPs partnership work on Bear Sanctuaries and Rescue, Rehabilitation and Release of Orangutans in Kalimantan, Indonesia.
Prior to his time at WAP, James worked as Director of Operations for CCC overseeing marine and tropical forest conservation work in Fiji, Philippines, Malaysia, Honduras, Tobago and Mexico. During this time, CCC was successful in a range of status changes to national reserves and parks, marine protected areas and World Heritage Site designations.
James' main animal welfare expertise comes through his experience in disaster management and animal rescue. He has great expertise in delivering network in remote and challenging environments, as well as the rehabilitation and release of species.
As the UK regional regional director, James manages the regional delivery against strategy, its operations, and its profile.
Animal Management and Welfare in Natural Disasters book, written by James Sawyer and Gerardo Huertas
BSC in Geography, University College London
MSc in Emergency Planning and Disaster Management, University College London
Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society