Marsh Award for Terrestrial Conservation Leadership

This Award, run in partnership with Fauna and Flora International FFI, recognises and rewards an individual or organisation that is making a significant contribution to sustainable biodiversity at a local level.

Pictured: An Indonesian elephant that was in captivity, but thanks to a local group of communtity rangers, working with FFI, the elephant is now part of the ranger team, who dissuade wild elephants from coming into community areas to destroy crops - helping conservation and livelihoods simultaneously.

The 2016 winner is Yufang Gao

Yufang Gao’s efforts in unravelling China-bound ivory trade, which was the focus of his Master’s project at Yale, has received international acclaim in the past couple of years. Through extensive fieldwork in Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and China, Gao has found that one of the leading obstacles in addressing the mounting crisis with ivory trafficking is that each party has a different view about the perspectives, motives and constraints of the others. He has actively presented his findings to decision makers and the general public, while advising non-governmental organisations of conservation strategies.
While an undergraduate at Peking University, Gao was selected by the Conservation Leadership Programme for an internship in 2008 and went to work for the Wildlife Conservation Society in China. During his internship, Gao conducted social science research to understand the conflict between people and endangered species in different areas.
In 2011, Gao was offered a fellowship by the Beijing Shansui Conservation Center to spend a year with the Nyanpo Yuzee Environmental Protection Association, a group of Tibetan monks dedicated to protect the fauna and flora in Nyanpo Yuzee. Here he observed how this renowned Tibetan grassroots NGO practices conservation and helped the Association set up community-based monitoring and conservation projects. He is now the Executive Director of the Everest Snow Leopard Conservation Centre, an innovative public-private partnership to save the iconic snow leopard in Tibet.


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