Our History

Eurasian Wildlife and Peoples launched in February 2024 as a U.S.-based non-profit to protect the interconnected web of life on our planet, reverse wildlife and habitat losses, and amplify the voices and concerns of Indigenous peoples and local communities across Eurasia.

Though February 2024 marked our official establishment, the seeds of Eurasian Wildlife and Peoples were planted in years prior, born largely from the coronavirus pandemic, Russia’s war in Ukraine, and the gradual closing of civil society in Russia. Eurasian Wildlife and Peoples arises from another Earth Island initiative whose ability to fund and support programs and partners in Russia’s Altai was increasingly complex and risky.

In 2023, that organization celebrated 25 years of supporting initiatives for nature conservation, wildlife research, and Indigenous peoples in Siberia. In July 2023, the Russian Prosecutor General’s office baselessly banned it, using the “undesirable organization” label.

Re-envisioning the mission, shifting geographic focus to Eurasia, and emerging anew as Eurasian Wildlife and Peoples, we can invest in partnerships in Kazakhstan and Ukraine and explore new partnerships. Like its predecessor, Eurasian Wildlife and Peoples is a project of Earth Island Institute, whose fiscal oversight and close collaboration allows our small team to focus on our mission.

In 2022 in Kazakhstan, we joined forces with ornithologists, conservationists, and other experts to study and address threats to raptors, both those present in their nesting grounds and during seasonal migrations. We were thrilled to participate in the “Eagles of the Palearctic: Study and Conservation” conference, held in Almaty, Kazakhstan in September 2023. Working as Eurasian Wildlife and Peoples, we will continue to engage in collaborative efforts and drive actions for protecting biological diversity, especially raptors, in Kazakhstan.

In February 2022, when Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began, we took action. Among its many horrific impacts, the war is causing profound environmental damage, aggravating effects of climate change, and inflicting severe ecological consequences that will extend for decades and generations. Shortly after the conflict began, environmental activists, experts, and journalists from Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus created Ukraine War Environmental Consequences Work Group (UWEC) to track the war’s environmental impacts, evaluate proposals for Ukraine’s post-war recovery particularly as they affect the natural environment, climate, species, and ecosystems (among other areas), both regionally and globally. EWandP’s director serves on the editorial team.