Cristián Samper: Protecting Wildlife and Wild Places

20 OCT 2014 New York

Dr. Cristián Samper, president and chief executive officer of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), discusses the importance of public-private partnerships in preserving ecologically diverse lands around the world.

On setting priorities for environmental responsibility: “A decade ago, we set aside a human footprint map and asked, ‘Where do we still have large pieces of land or ocean where the footprint is smaller? Where do we still have the most species we want to conserve? We [look to those areas] to focus on preserving big places and charismatic species that will be resilient to climate change and support local livelihoods.”

On education as a tool for conservation: “Since Karukinka Natural Park was established in 2004, we’ve continued to develop the park’s infrastructure and impact, [specifically through education]. One of the most successful initiatives has been working with local schools in the area to bring Karukinka to the next generation.”

On broadening the conservation dialogue: “We need to engage with people who are not [exposed to] conservation to ensure that we raise awareness, provide tools to make better choices and educate them that the right actions can promote long-term sustainable development.”

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