Belinda

Ashoka Fellow
India,
Fellow Since 2009

Citation

This profile was prepared when Belinda Wright was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2009.
The New Idea
Belinda approaches the criminal trade in wildlife by addressing not just the poaching industry (preventing the supply) but also on reducing the demand for animal parts (especially those of tigers). Prior to Belinda’s work in the late 1990s, knowledge of wildlife crime was limited. Consequently, she had to use covert and often dangerous methods to collect and disseminate information in her efforts to shift the system in favor of wildlife and against poachers. Her organization, the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) has enabled software-aided decision support systems and innovative technological applications to create a sophisticated database which can track levels of poaching, trade, and other wildlife crimes.

Building on this success in exposing wildlife crime in India, Belinda has worked to systematically reduce the demand for tiger pelts and other animal parts by involving community and law enforcement personnel, education and awareness campaigns, and political advocacy. She has created awareness and education programs that foster positive relationships between humans and animals in rural Indian villages, particularly in the Sunderbans of West Bengal. In Tibet, a crucial hub for wildlife trafficking in South Asia, the Dalai Lama has helped to spread awareness through local communities. Belinda’s dialogues with state forest departments, policymakers, and communities, have vastly increased the awareness of wildlife crime throughout India and other parts of the world and developed a shared sense of responsibility in preventing it. Today, Belinda is renowned for her ability to creatively pursue and achieve previously unattainable goals within the conservation movement
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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