The Art of Survival: To Fight, Protect and Engage on behalf of endangered wildlife around the world.
To raise vital funds supporting front line conservation projects which help secure a future for wildlife in their natural habitat.
- We fight environmental and wildlife crime through ranger programmes and law enforcement.
- We engage with communities to educate and raise awareness to reduce threats to wildlife.
- We campaign for stronger wildlife laws and to reduce consumer demand for wildlife products.
Through dedication and hard work we have influenced policy, shifted attitudes and provided an unwavering voice for wildlife conservation from grass roots to the world stage for 35 years. We work hard to maximise the impact of every donation we receive and to date have invested over £9.5m in wildlife conservation projects.
DSWF fights for the greater legal protection of endangered species by lobbying on a global scale and in the international policy arena.
We fund international investigations into environmental crime and help to build the capacity of law enforcement networks across our portfolio. We also support and train rangers fighting on the front line of conservation.
DSWF protects vulnerable and endangered species by funding ground-based conservation projects across Africa and Asia.
Our partners find practical solutions to human-wildlife conflict, monitor key wildlife populations, ensure protected areas are safe and rescue and rehabilitate wildlife orphaned as a result of poaching to ensure their safe release back into the wild.
DSWF engages with communities through education, believing that participation is vital to ensure a sustainable future for both people and wildlife.
We support alternative income and livelihood initiatives and empower local communities and future generations to live in harmony with wildlife.
DSWF also supports public awareness campaigns to reduce the demand and eliminate consumptive use of wildlife products in consumer counties.
The Art of Survival
DSWF is dedicated to maintaining our rich art heritage, which was started by our late founder, David Shepherd, and which remains an essential part of the foundation's DNA.
We continue to use art as an effective and engaging platform to raise awareness and funds for our work. Our innovative ‘Art of Survival’ programme ensures our artistic heritage continues to reach, inspire and engage people around the world to join our fight to save wildlife.
CBE, FRSA, FGRA
1931 - 2017
As a small boy, David had only one ambition: to be a game warden. After leaving school in 1949, he went to Kenya to follow his dream, only to be politely told that he was not wanted! Returning home with his dream in tatters, he faced two choices: ‘to drive buses or starve as an artist’.
Rejected by the Slade School of Fine Art as having ‘no talent whatsoever’, it was by good fortune that he met Robin Goodwin, a professional artist who took him under his wing, teaching him for three years, and to whom he owed his success. After being commissioned by the RAF, David flew all over the world until he was asked to do his very first wildlife painting – he never looked back.
It was at this time that he became a conservationist overnight when he came across 255 dead zebra poisoned by battery acid at a waterhole. Throughout his career David tried to do all he could to repay the enormous debt he felt he owed to the elephants, tigers and other animals that gave him so much success as an artist. ‘Tiger Fire’ was one of his first major fundraising successes, raising £127,000 (equivalent to £1.4 million in today) in 1973.
Just as David began 35 years ago, DSWF continues to work tirelessly to fight wildlife crime, protect endangered species and engage with local communities. We are proud that his family continue to lead the foundation into the future.
Through international forums including the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), DSWF continues to lobby for a universal and permanent ban on the trade in ivory and other endangered wildlife products.
DSWF works on various wildlife trade issues, sending expert representatives to international meetings to lobby on topics such as the illegal trade in ivory and compliance and enforcement.
We fund and work with an expert team of environmental lawyers, biologists and economists, including the eminent Dr Roz Reeve, one of the most respected and experienced environmental lawyers in her field. Roz specialises in enforcement and compliance of international treaties and represents DSWF at the highest level of international engagement.
- Ensuring the international ivory ban remains in place and is enforced.
- The closure of of all domestic Ivory markets globally.
- An end to the trade in live wild-caught elephants.
- Removing ivory from commercial circulation and ensuring ivory stockpiles do not enter legal or illegal markets.
TigerTime is a DSWF campaign that aims to protect wild tigers and ban all trade in all tiger parts and derivatives. By exposing key threats facing wild tiger populations, calling for the closure of tiger breeding farms and reducing illegal poaching and trafficking of wild tigers, DSWF is fighting to end the illegal trade.
TigerTime is a multi-pronged campaign that uses social mobilisation and global awareness to ensure the trade in tiger parts remains high on the political agenda.
- Increasing public awareness for the plight of wild tigers.
- Calling for urgent action from individuals, organisations, governments and other key stakeholders to drive change.
- Building momentum toward legislative change through campaigning for stronger laws and protectionist policies.
- Funding investigations to expose the illegal trade in tiger parts and the impacts of captive breeding facilities on wild tiger populations.
Our Key Achievements
- DSWF was pivotal at CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) 2016, in bringing about decisions to end any future process for the trade in ivory. The same conference saw DSWF playing an instrumental role in bringing together countries to agreed text regarding the closure of domestic ivory markets.
- DSWF funding established the first ever Pangolin Protection Programme in Zambia to rescue and release pangolins as part of a targeted countrywide anti-trafficking and awareness campaign.
- Establishing Zambia’s first Elephant Orphanage to rescue, rehabilitate and release the innocent victims of ivory poaching.
- Helping secure Uganda’s Murchison Falls Conservation Area from poaching. By injecting vital funding we have been able help elephant populations recover from almost near extinction. Populations now exceed over 1,000 elephants, often seen in large healthy herds roaming wild.
- Helping to educate over 10,000 children in Zimbabwe through interactive, engaging and intuitive conservation programmes to provide a fuller understanding of the importance of conserving wildlife and its habitat.
- Providing over 25 years of vital funding and support to ensure the survival of one of the last truly wild black rhino populations in Namibia, enabling populations to emerge from the brink of extinction.
Our Key Achievements
- Working to fund undercover investigations exposing the cross-border trafficking routes and criminal syndicates behind some of the largest and most prolific wildlife crime families in the world.
- Saving the Amur Tiger from certain extinction in the 1980s. As part of an international coalition DSWF successfully cracked down on uncontrolled poaching and raised awareness among the international community. Today there is a healthy and sustainable population of more than c.450 wild tigers in the Russian Far East.
- Helping to establish a hugely successful community defence force in Assam, India. By inspiring and engaging local communities they have volunteered themselves as the first line of defence at the UNESCO world heritage site to protect their native wildlife.
- Building capacity in Tost Nature Reserve, Mongolia, through use of scientific data on snow leopards, empowering local communities to successfully apply for protected area status creating one of the largest continuous Snow Leopard habitats in the world.
- Engaging with the Kyrgyzstan Government and a local NGO to re-wild a former hunting concession allowing for the safe development of the 4th most significant snow leopard habitat in the world as a protected natural area.
- Establishing the two leading art events in the conservation calendar. Global Canvas, a youth and schools art competition and Wildlife Artist of the Year, the UK’s premier wildlife art competition. Both combine art and conservation with stunning results, helping raise awareness and vital funds for species protection through the beautiful and creative medium of art.