Masha has dedicated her life to protecting animals and the places they call home by promoting scientific research, building public awareness, and advocating for change at national, regional and international levels.
Recognized globally for her policy expertise, Masha is actively engaged with international environmental bodies including the UN, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), CBD, the International Whaling Commission (IWC). Masha also focuses on Marine Conservation on the High Seas, in the Arctic and in Antarctica. She represents IFAW at the NGO coalition High Sea Alliance, working at the UN and at the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition (ASOC), helping to establish marine protected areas around Antarctica.
Masha joined IFAW in 1994 and established IFAW’s office in the Russian Federation, where she successfully ran the campaign to stop the hunting of white coat Harp Seals at the White Sea. The hunt was banned in 2009, which saved more than a million baby seals, thanks to Masha and her team’s engagement of marine mammal scientists, environmental journalists, ecotourism operators, politicians and activists. She then initiated a campaign which led to a ban on the winter den hunt of hibernating bears. She helped expand the Orphan Bear Cub Rehabilitation Center, which has rescued, rehabilitated and released hundreds of orphan bear cubs back to the wild.
Masha also helped to achieve the ban on the beluga whale hunt in the Sea of Okhotsk, an increase in penalties for poaching of tigers and other endangered species, and the treatment of illegal wildlife trade on the internet as a serious crime.
As part of IFAW’s efforts to save the critically endangered Western Gray Whale, Masha and her team helped ensure that off shore oil and gas pipelines were constructed around, rather than through, crucial feeding grounds near Sakhalin Island. Monitoring of the Western Gray Whale population and the activities of the oil development in the area continue today.
Masha has advised Russian MPs and Ministers of Natural Resources working to promote animal welfare on a political level. She has advocated for and helped shape Russia’s first Animal welfare legislation for 20 years, culminating in its passage in 2019.
A seasoned spokesperson, Masha has worked extensively with journalists and media outlets to highlight conservation challenges and solutions.
Winner, Bruno Shubert Prize - 2004 for achievements in whale protection Russia
Representative, IFAW - 1994-2018 Russia
Post-doctoral research on nervous system of Tunicate larvae, Dalhousie University Canada
Protochordata research, Kristineberg Marine Biological Station of the Royal Academy of Science - 1992, 1994 Sweden
Visiting Scholar, Department of Echinoderms, Smithsonian Institution - 1992 United States
Research Biologist, Tunicates, Soviet-Vietnamese Tropical Center - 1989-1991 Nha-Trang, Vietnam
M.S. Invertebrate Zoology, Moscow State University Russia
P.G. N.K.Koltsov Institute of Development Biology, USSE Academy of Science Russia
Researcher, A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution
PhD. Embryology and Histology, USSR Academt of Science Russia
P.D. Dalhousie University Canada
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