Welcome, friend!

We are very excited to tell you about our new initiative: Eurasian Wildlife and Peoples.

Our name points to our major focus – ecosystems, wildlife, and the wonderfully diverse peoples living across Eurasia. Our mission at Eurasian Wildlife and Peoples is to protect the interconnected web of life on our planet, reverse losses of wildlife and habitats, and amplify the voices and concerns of Indigenous peoples and local communities across Eurasia. We envision a world with resilient ecosystems, where all peoples live sustainably and rooted in interwoven cultures.

What’s the backstory?

Though February 2024 marks our official establishment, the seeds of Eurasian Wildlife and Peoples were planted in years prior, growing out of the gradual closing of civil society in Russia, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and the Covid-19 pandemic. Eurasian Wildlife and Peoples arises from an Earth Island Institute (Earth Island) initiative whose ability to fund and support programs and partners in Russia’s Altai had become increasingly difficult.

In 2023, that organization celebrated 25 years of success stories in nature conservation, wildlife research, allying with Indigenous peoples in Siberia, and raising international awareness of issues affecting the area’s environment and peoples. We were forced to adjust, however, after the Russian Prosecutor General’s office slapped the organization with the “undesirable” label in July 2023, baselessly banning it from operating under threat of criminal prosecution.

With a new mission and geographic focus, our team at Eurasian Wildlife and Peoples is deepening partnerships in Kazakhstan and Ukraine and also seeking new partnerships. Earth Island’s fiscal management and close collaboration allows our small team to focus on achieving our mission.

What will we do?

Building on programs launched under the earlier organization, Eurasian Wildlife and Peoples’ initial projects focus on raptor conservation in Kazakhstan and tracking and assessing the environmental impacts of the war in Ukraine.Brown with white wing markings Steppe Eagle soaring against the light blue sky

In Kazakhstan, we join forces with ornithologists, conservationists, and experts to study and advance solutions to the growing threats facing raptors, both for birds nesting in the country and for birds passing through during seasonal migrations. We were thrilled to co-sponsor in the “Eagles of the Palearctic: Study and Conservation” conference, held in Almaty, Kazakhstan in September 2023. We plan to gradually grow meaningful partnerships to protect biological diversity, especially raptors, in Kazakhstan.

In February 2022, Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Among its many horrific impacts, the war is aggravating the already enormous effects of climate change and inflicting severe ecological damage that will require decades and generations to heal. Shortly after the conflict began, a handful of environmental activists, experts, and journalists from Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and the United States (that’s where we come in) created the Ukraine War Environmental Consequences Work Group (UWEC). The group tracks the war’s environmental impacts, verifies information about those consequences, and evaluates proposals for a just, sustainable, and “green” recovery, and shares its analysis of events in the region. Ukraine’s communities, landscapes, and biodiversity are critical to its role in feeding the world and the country’s ecosystems, home to 35% of the continent’s biological diversity, are critical biodiversity strongholds for Europe.

What comes next? 

Group picture of ~75 conference participants against a green treelineThis is just the beginning! While we continue investing in the raptor conservation program in Kazakhstan and UWEC Work Group, we will also explore new opportunities across Eurasia. As a small organization with veteran staff, we are thoughtful and nimble.

Today, international funders often seek to directly fund place-based conservation initiatives and human rights advocacy. Many of those same beneficiary organizations, community leaders, and activists lack the international experience, capacity, or language skills to access funding, or they value a close partner to work alongside them to build capacity, find solutions, and center community voices on the global stage. That is Eurasian Wildlife and Peoples’ sweet spot.

This is a great time to become a founding supporter – we welcome gifts of any size! We count on people like you to support and get involved in this important work. All the options can be found on our Get Involved and Donate pages.

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We want to know what you are thinking! Reach out and ask a question later, arrange a call, tell us about anything you think might be up our alley.