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ResearchGate: Simon_Hedges2

Simon Hedges

CEO & CO-FOUNDER

After more than 30 years working on wildlife conservation projects, primarily in Asia, I decided that a new approach to conservation was needed in Asia and especially South-East Asia. While there are conservation success stories in the region, of course, the sad fact is that there are far too few. So, with my co-founder and other colleagues, I decided to form a new NGO, Asian Arks, that would replicate and extend models of directly managing protected areas under long-term agreements with governments and communities that had proven successful elsewhere and devote the rest of my career to making that new approach work in Asia.

My experience encompasses endangered species and protected area management, conservation-related research and survey work, and wildlife policy formulation, including the writing and implementation of wildlife action plans. Much of my time since 1988 has been spent in Asia and, from 2007, Asia and Africa. I spent the 1990s living and working in protected areas in Indonesia, advising on their management. From 1998, I focused on elephants, particularly on the development of reliable monitoring methods, human–elephant conflict assessment and mitigation, and, since 2004, the ivory trade and the resulting illegal killing of elephants. I worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) for 18 years, working to conserve elephants and ultimately coordinating WCS’s elephant conservation work in Asia and Africa. My work has also helped in the creation of new protected areas.

I was a member of the joint Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of the CITES Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants program and the Elephant Trade Information System for many years. I also chaired the IUCN/SSC Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group (AWCSG) from 1995 to 2005 and was the Co-Chair of the Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) from 2005 to 2015. I have published numerous papers, book chapters, manuals, and reports, most of which have focused on practical aspects of wildlife conservation including human–wildlife conflict mitigation and monitoring of wildlife populations.

Despite the challenges facing conservationists in Asia, I am confident that our new approach will work and help safeguard wildlife populations across the region, allowing them to recover and thrive.