Wietse van der Werf is a conservationist on a mission to increase environmental protection by realising much needed enforcement in the world’s oceans and national parks. Having founded a number of civilian enforcement services, Wietse works to mobilise regular citizens and crowdsource their skills and resources to release unique monitoring capacity, from land, air and sea.
By making use of people’s private aircraft, yachts and holiday time, the approach helps to identify trends in wildlife crime quickly and enables those involved to collect the necessary evidence and support authorities in prosecuting wildlife criminals.
In addition to strengthening environmental enforcement in the field, Wietse’s approach to inspire and involve ordinary people in conservation is increasingly recognised as an innovative blueprint for how non-profits can fundraise and empower those around them differently, capitalising on people’s involvement over their cash donations. Wietse is currently involved in running six different organisations and initiatives that are active across 12 countries in Europe, Africa and North America.
In recognition of his work, Wietse was awarded the Future for Nature Award in 2016. He lives in London and divides most of his time between The Netherlands, UK and the US.