Wildlife Power List


In May’s edition of BBC Wildlife magazine they publish a list of the 50 people most likely to make a difference to the natural world in the next decade. It’s a list of those considered to have the most potential influence for good. As such, it’s rather nice to find myself at #14.

You’d expect to find David Attenborough and Chris Packham near or at the top of the list, wouldn’t you?  And they are.

How many politicians would you expect to find? The answer is two. Which two?

Which wildlife NGOs are represented here? And which of their staff?  I am pleased to be nestling in the list between two of my NGO friends and only a few places behind another.  But some NGO big-wigs are missing from the list – that will get the tongues of their staff wagging.

How many women? The answer is fourteen – is that too few?  Well, have a look and then see who you would have added.

The list contains scientists, farmers, writers, royalty and ‘personalities’ – and some young people (really young people).

Such lists are fun, and shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Having said that, they also stimulate debate about the state of wildlife conservation and what, and who, really makes a difference. Have a look at the list (available in all good newsagents very soon, and coming through your letterbox anytime now if you are a subscriber) and see what you think. I’ll probably do the same and come back to it next week.


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13 Replies to “Wildlife Power List”

  1. HRH Prince William is at number 5. Here is a man who thinks that the only wildlife that needs protecting is found in other countries. Somebody who shoots deer and boar before preaching to others about saving elephants lacks any kind of credibility in my eyes.

    I can't recall him speaking up for hen harriers, badgers or the reintroduction of extinct mammals in the UK. Maybe he's trying to get his own family's house in order first - his aunt's desire to gas badgers, his wife eating whale, his grandmother's significant donation to Songbird Survival or his brother out shooting "duck" when two hen harriers are killed nearby.

    1. Look what happened when the media tried predicting the election, this is BBC Wildlife and may have its own agenda. Might be interesting to have a people's nomination and then vote (variation on Britain's favourite bird)?

      NGOs like politicians could be a force for good, but time will tell.

      But as you say, a bit of fun. Have to say though think you deserved a higher rating though:)

    2. I have not seen the list yet but it does seem strange - and sad - that they can only think of four people more likely to make a difference to the natural world than Prince William. The Royal status does mean that when he says something about the protection of wildlife the message is widely heard but all the same...
      Having said that, do you really know that Prince William thinks UK wildlife is not worth protecting? Not speaking out about Hen Harriers or reintroduction of (locally) extinct mammals does not necessarily equate to thinking that and it seems unfair to blame him for the actions of his relatives. If he has used his position of influence to help the campaign to stop illegal trade in wildlife then that is to be welcomed.

  2. Whoops! Sorry, I was rushing out when I wrote my earlier comment and got my Middletons mixed up, it was not his wife, but his sister-in-law who recently eat whale meat in Iceland.

  3. Jonathan - it's interesting that some one of his position has not spoken up for British wildlife. After all, our own wildlife is hardly thriving with 60% of 3000 recorded species in decline over the last 50 years. Another criticism is that he participates in grouse shooting, which as we all know has a significant impact in killing huge amounts of fauna both legally and illegally, degrading land and causing pollution. Hardly "green" credentials. He may not be aware of the latter two points, but I'd be amazed if he did not know about the huge amounts of predator control that goes on and the general feelings towards bird of prey on estates since he is such a keen shooter himself.

  4. This is going to sound terribly egotistic but I think I should have a place on the list. I may not have done anything particularly grand but I have been bold enough to flout the Hunting Act for the last ten years on my little patch of ground.

  5. Haven't seen a bigger display of political correctness since the opening ceremony of the London Olympics. What a load of nonsense. It's worrying that the panel of judges spent some time coming up with this insulting drivel. Apart from the obvious Attenborough, Packham, Goodall et al., much of the rest fall into either 'just doing their appointed jobs', blatant self-promoters, semi-precocious children and a sprinkling of randomly picked academics. Can't see where their power or influence is over the populous. The days are pretty much over for the solitary firebrand powerhouses of nature conservation I'm afraid. The Durrels, Fosseys and Scotts of this world are of a bygone era. Conservation organisations are run by suits and accountants obsessed with public image and membership numbers. Reliance on social media has gone too far. Because your job remit requires you to share countless conservation articles on Facebook and Twitter, it does not make you either influential or powerful. The last few high-profile social media led, national conservation campaigns have all ultimately failed haven't they? I don't want a fresh faced graduate speaking on my behalf to anyone of importance thank you very much. As an aspiring naturalist I looked up to the well weathered men and women at my local nature reserves and nat-his societies who had a story to tell and really knew their stuff about the environment and its issues. People you've never heard of because they don't actively seek admiration and confirmation of their achievements or opinions. I recon a family member, neighbour, teacher etc. is just as likely to spur the next generation of conservationist/campaigns activist and not a TV/media personality. For every keen child that gives a conference talk or appears on a glossy magazine show, there are many more equally impressive kids that quietly go about learning and discovering the wonders of the natural world unnoticed . It's great to see youngsters pursue this admirable vocation from a tender age but lets not forget the shy, introverts amongst them who are not pushed to the forefront by their parents, or conservation groups who are ultimately seeking to broaden their image and appeal to a bigger audience. Some of the most prolific conservation posters and tweeters I know have never once contributed to the habitat management of their local nature reserves or carried out a volunteer biological survey but they think they're doing wonders by sharing the plight of a declining British bird of prey or some large African mammal on Facebook. Conservation is becoming all too cynical, misguided and ineffectual for my liking. I want a do-er not a Tweeter...


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