2nd International Wildlife Reintroduction Conference

Panel Discussion


“How can we best increase effective conservation translocations around the world?”



Axel Moehrenschlager is Director of Conservation & Science at the Calgary Zoological Society, Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Calgary, Research Associate at Oxford University where he received his PhD, and Chair of the IUCN SSC Reintroduction Specialist Group.  His work in Europe and North America is complemented by community conservation research in Africa to develop synergies of biodiversity and local livelihood benefits.  Research of his own group on various taxa, valued collaborators, and the RSG network advance the global relevance of conservation translocation science to yield pragmatic applications on a local level.  By amplifying translations, professional training, and policy integration of the 2013 IUCN Guidelines for Reintroductions and Other Conservation Translations, he aims to elevate global impacts for the restoration of species, their functions, and subsequent benefits to nature and humanity.




Sarah Converse is the newly appointed Unit Leader of the Washington Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit at the University of Washington, Seattle, USA. She holds dual roles as a federal scientist – a Research Ecologist with USGS – and as an Associate Professor in the School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences and the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. From 2007 to 2017, Sarah was a Research Ecologist in the Quantitative Methods Research Group at USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center. Her research is built around two themes: endangered species quantitative population ecology, and decision analysis in endangered species management. Sarah has published more than 50 research articles, book chapters, and peer-reviewed reports. Sarah collaborates with wildlife managers in federal and state agencies. She also advises graduate students and post-doctoral research associates.


Vivek Menon is a wildlife conservationist, environmental commentator, author and photographer with a passion for elephants. He has been part of the founding of five environmental & nature conservation organizations in India.  The winner of the 2001 Rufford Award for International Conservation for his work to save the Asian elephant, Menon is the Founder, Executive Director and CEO of the Wildlife Trust of India as well as Advisor to the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

In addition to many leading government and nongovernment roles in India, Menon is the Chairperson of the IUCN SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group since 2013, a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission Steering Committee, on the International Jury of the Future for Nature Awards (Netherlands) and an Advisor of the Marjan Centre of Kings College, London.In the past, he has served as a consultant to the Kenya Wildlife Services and helped establish the first elephant reserve of Myanmar.He has trained wildlife officers of over fifty countries in wildlife crime prevention and has attended CITES meetings for over twenty years as a Technical Advisor to the Indian delegation and as an observer.


Mike Phillips has served as the Executive Director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund and advisor to the Turner Biodiversity Divisions since he co-founded both with Ted Turner in June 1997.  TESF and TBD have advanced numerous reintroduction projects for imperiled plants, birds, fishes, mammals, reptiles, and an amphibian and invertebrate.  Prior to 1997 Mike worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service leading historic reintroduction projects on behalf of the red wolves in the southeastern US and gray wolves to the Yellowstone National Park.  Mike Phillips has also served as an elected Senator in the Montana State Government since 2007.

Jon Paul Rodríguez has been working for the conservation of Venezuelan species and ecosystems since he was a biology undergraduate at Universidad Central of Venezuela in the late eighties. With other students he co-founded Provita in 1987, an NGO that has championed numerous evidence-based projects, including several editions of the Red Book of the Venezuelan Fauna and of the Red Book of Terrestrial Ecosystems of Venezuela. After graduating from UCV in 1991, he went to Princeton University for a PhD. in ecology and evolutionary biology (1999), and a Certificate on science, technology and environmental policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (2000). He currently Chairs the IUCN Species Survival Commission, is Professor at the Center for Ecology of the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Investigations (Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas ― IVIC), and continues to be active in Provita as the organization’s President. He defines himself as a biologist that is interested in generating information useful for informing conservation policies, without being a politician. Jon Paul is author in more than 190 publications, including books, chapters, and peer-reviewed articles in major international scientific journals.