Advisors

Advisors are persons that are working on certain, specific products for Rewilding Europe, on a regular basis, in support of the central team and the local rewilding teams.

Staffan Widstrand
Staffan Widstrand
Advisor Marketing and Communication

Staffan Widstrand (1959) is an independent photographer and writer specialising in issues about man’s relation to nature and the environment. He is a strong advocate for nature conservation, ecotourism and indigenous people’s rights. He has also worked for many years in the nature travel industry, and has been a tour leader, a tour production manager and a tour sales person. He is a founding member of the Swedish Ecotourism Association and was one of the leading forces behind its quality label ”Nature’s Best”.

Widstrand is the winner of numerous international photography and book awards, the author of 16 books, a founder of the Swedish National Carnivore information centre ”The Big Five”, a founding member of the ”International League of Conservation Photographers” and one of the founders of the conservation communication initiative ”Wild Wonders of Europe”, for which he is the Managing director. Widstrand is recently appointed a Visiting Professor at the Beijing Ministry of Culture Old University.

Staffan Widstrand is one of the four founding members of Rewilding Europe.

Magnus Sylvén
Magnus Sylvén
Advisor Rewilding

Originating from Sweden, Magnus graduated with a PhD in Animal Ecology in 1982. Since then he spent most of his working life devoted to the conservation of nature, first as a Research Fellow at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and Conservation Director of WWF-Sweden, but from 1991 to 2007 as Director of the WWF International Europe/Middle East Programme based in Switzerland.

Since autumn 2007, Magnus works as independent consultant and advisor from his home outside Geneva. This provided extraordinary opportunities to learn about the situation of nature in different countries of the world – especially in Eurasia – and to meet people from all facets of society. The multi-functional character of the work included finding devoted local talents, setting up new institutions and programmes, bringing together experts and interested individuals to address issues of common passion (such as large carnivore and large herbivore conservation), and supporting campaigns to influence important policy developments in the European Union (for instance, Natura 2000, fisheries reform, and new chemicals legislation).

He has been long-time promoter of the “ecological footprint” concept. To meet the aspirations, fundraising always played a critical role. He is a bird watcher, loves the solitude of the sea, mountains, forests, rivers, savannas, steppes and tundra – especially with a lot of wildlife – and is a consumer of contemporary art and books.

Joep van de Vlasakker
Joep van de Vlasakker
Advisor Wildlife

Joep has worked and lived in many countries in the Northern Hemisphere. Born in the Netherlands, he was raised among falcons, hawks, hunting dogs, horses and other animals, as his father practises falconry. It was the enjoyment of being out in the field working together with hawks and dogs that started his interest in nature and in predators; especially the wolf, still heavily persecuted at that time. He studied Forestry and Nature management and already as a student showed great interest in wilderness and giving more freedom to nature. After graduation in 1984 he worked for different governmental and non-governmental organisations in the Netherlands, but they could not offer work in his field of interest the restoration of the role of large mammals, both large carnivores and large herbivores and protecting and restoring areas untouched by man.

He chose to take control and became an independent consultant in 1992. It gave him the freedom to go away from home to study wolves in the wild, in the Canadian Parks, in the tundra of the North West territories and in the famous primeval forest of Białowieża in Poland. He worked for major NGO’s like WWF, PAN Parks, Large herbivore Foundation, Birdlife, United Nations, etc. His assignments varied from community based nature conservation, anti-poaching, re-introductions, protected area management to eco-tourism. He also initiates projects himself and for example nearly singlehandedly re-introduced the bison in Latvia, where they are now living in the wild. His work as consultant brought him from the tundra to the taiga of Siberia, the steppes of Mongolia and China, the semi deserts of Azerbaijan and to nearly every European country.

Over the years he worked on many bison projects and is still involved in several bison reintroduction projects. For Rewilding Euriope he will write the Rewilding Bison Action Plan. In Rewilding Europe, both his interests and experience come perfectly together. Joep is very keen to help the Rewilding team with putting a fantastic concept into practise and sharing a dream together; creating true wilderness areas in Europe, not managed by the hands of man but by the mouths of thousands of large herbivores, to be enjoyed by people and benefiting many generations to come.

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Giles Davies
Advisor Enterprise

Giles was born and raised in Kenya, later educated in the United Kingdom. Following a first class degree in Modern History from the University of London, he qualified as a chartered accountant with Price Waterhouse in London before moving into management consultancy with the firm’s New York office. He is involved with several private equity driven ventures and has extensive experience as a non-executive director of both private and public companies both within and outside the conservation sector. However for the last 15 years he has focused primarily on conceiving and implementing conservation enterprise and related financing initiatives, founding Conservation Capital in 2004 which has become a leader in this field and has worked with Rewilding Europe since 2012. Now he leads Conservation Capital’s technical and strategic development with an emphasis on building its fast-growing investment financing and management activity, and its emerging work with larger corporations. He has lead more than 150 transactions within the conservation enterprise sector in more than 20 countries.