The faces behind WildHub: a member interview

Member perspectives and experiences of conservation research and solutions – an interview with Monica Yap. By Ussi Abuu, WildHub Conservation Catalyst
The faces behind WildHub: a member interview
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INTRODUCTION

Every one of us can help to protect wildlife from poaching  and take care of our planet. We can be part of the solution and influence change by conserving wildlife, healthy ecosystems allow us to survive and also help us ensuring that future generations can enjoy our natural world and the incredible species that live within it.
It’s time to tell a new story that shapes a new reality. I recently asked Monica to share some of her insights and experiences.

Photograph: Monica is a brave woman who is passionate doing practical things to meet ecological sustainable development goals.

Ussi:👨‍💻

Tell us something interesting about yourself most people do not know?

 [Monica] Most people do not know I am passionate about animals and protecting wildlife, also we (human, animals, plants) are all connected in some level, doing harm to the animals or environment will hurt ourselves.

What inspired you to become an environmentalist?

[Monica] I spent 30 years dedicating myself in helping IT organizations to transform to more humanistic way of working, now I think I should focus on helping humans transforming to co-exist with the environment in harmony.

Why do you think preserving biodiversity is important?

[Monica] Our environment and eco system is relying on biodiversity, lack of that means we won't sustain in the current natural environment.

Can you tell us please which specific project are you working on at this moment?

[Monica] I am working on a project to implement a model to decrease the demand of ivory, therefore dissolving the need to poach African elephants.  See my post

 https://wildhub.community/posts/introduction-to-a-new-idea-to-terminate-ivory-trade

Monica, let's talk a little bit about your involvement with WildHub. How did you hear about WildHub and why did you join?

[Monica] I heard of Wildhub through Reddit, there is a cross post of one of the Wildhub articles in the wildlife channel.

Is there something that would make WildHub ever better for you or people you know?

[Monica] Leverage more social media platforms to expand the reach, and get more people to participate.  Idea - ask each member to post in their conservation network or social network about Wildhub and what is in it for them to join this community.

Monica, you are very respected and successful with 20 years of success with teams in business and IT. I would love to hear more about how you came to be a leader in your respective field of expertise. 

[Monica] I became a leader in IT when I realized I cannot do anything impactful by myself, and I had to get other people to be passionate and inspired by the same goal and vision,

Did you always see yourself as a leader and how have you developed your leadership skills?

[Monica] No, I did not see myself as a leader at first, I developed my leadership skills gradually through focusing on being a role model for others and motivating others to contribute to the same goals.

For someone who wants to be a leader in conservation, what are the top 5 tips you could share with us?

[Monica]

  • Define your own vision and goals first, i.e. define your WHY. Always starting with WHY and help others to see the WHY
  • Support those who will follow your vision and give them the path (provide training, coaching, mentorship) on how to reach it on their own
  • Lead with setting directions, not managing, and empower others to create/innovate their own solutions
  • Help remove their roadblocks to reach the goals
  • Celebrate success as well as failure together - failures are the stepping stones to succes

How could your work impact other people in conservation?

[Monica] it will be greatly impactful if we can implement the model, hopefully I have at least bring more awareness to my circle of friends and the conservation community

What's the biggest challenge in your area of conservation?

[Monica] I would say the biggest challenge is to think "outside of the box" and see the real problems. The real problem with African elephant poaching is we are not tackling the demand of ivory trade, and I believe the problem is not that we don't have enough armed anti-poaching rangers or enough conservation organizations.

[Monica] The real problem with general wildlife conservation is that we are not helping the masses (general public) to truly understand the significance of the issue and people don't really want to donate or participate because they cannot see any impact they are making.

Thank you Monica for sharing with us, we get something real unique, as we wraps up our conversation today, Monica, is there anything else you would like to share with our WildHub members?

[Monica] I am really glad and appreciate this community with all the support and content.

Wildlife Conservation Model

Problem Statement:

As of 2021, there were less than 500,000 elephants in the world, 400,000 are in Africa. In Africa, 
some 30,000 African elephants are killed by poachers each year, or one elephant killed per minute. Therefore the African elephants will be extinct in 13 years if we don't act right away. 
See references 1,2,3

Poaching caused a decline of African elephants from 1.3 million to 600,000 individuals between 1979-1987. See reference 4

References

  1. The Great Elephant Census - https://www.paulallen.com/Exploration/Great-Elephant-Census.aspx
  2. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/newsletters/animals/article/is-elephant-poaching-declining-june-25
  3. https://www.adoptananimalkits.com/advocate/wild-earth/params/post/1286260/an-elephant-killed-every-15-minutes
  4. Continent-wide survey reveals massive decline in African savannah elephants -
    https://peerj.com/articles/2354/

Hypothesis:

1.) If there are enough economical benefits for protecting wildlife by the local community, the local community will not choose to poach animals.

2.) If the donators/advocators can make a personal connection with the animal(s) they are protecting, there will be more advocation and donations to protect the animals.
a. This will cause a viral effect to raise awareness and social pressure across the world to promote wildlife protection against poaching
b. Current advocators/donators will self promote of to “cross sell” and increase number of donators for the platform
3.) Most of the donation funds are not received by the local community to protect/defend the animals, therefore there are not enough economical resources provided to the local community to preserve wildlife. On the contrary, the local communities are participating in poaching to sustain their livelihoods.
4.) Currently people donate to the non-profits, but their donation goes into a blackhole, so if there is no transparency of the money from the donator and the direct impact to the animals, there will be more people who care and want to donate.

Wildlife Conservation Model

Solutions:

Use technology like crypto currency to ensure the donation funding is received by local community (Care Takers), and the transparency build trust between the donators and 
the Foundation, where their donation is directly making a impact
● Deliver the resource (money/food/water etc.) to the Care Takers, so they have the financial means to work as protectors and not choose to work as poachers
● Hire the Care Takers to:
 - protect the animals
 - provide individual animal information to the donators
 - educate in their local community about conservation
 - recruit other Care Takers
● Build a trusted and personal network to enable the donators to develop a personal connection with the animal(s) they are protecting
● Minimize the operation cost and dedicate most of the donation to the CareTakers

Wildlife Conservation Model

Assumptions to be validated:

  •  For hypothesis - we need to verify the hypothesis
  • For operation - we assume we can setup local operations and make use of modern technologies such as bio tracking (as Animal Tracker), mobile devices (as Caretaker 
    equipment) to send live feeds and animal info
  • For funding the CareTakers - we need to solve for how to utilize crypto currency to convert to the resources they need
  • We need to solve for how to recruit the initial Caretakers
  • For business model - we assume we can find VC to fund the initial platform creation, then the on-going funding will come from advertising, donates, merchandizes, tourism, 
    etc.
Wildlife Conservation Model
Additional Ideas from V1:
By Monica Yap, Luk Lau November 26, 2021
Personal connection as Guardian Angel:
  •  Buy WGA (Wildlife Guardian Angel) share(s) as an Guardian Angel to protect an animal (elephant)
  • Each WGA share has a dedicated animal to protect
  • Each WGA share requires a on-going donation to sustain
  • Cryto / NFT currency used to buy WGA shares (behind the scene)
  • A % of each WGA share goes to the foundation to pay for operation and programs such as land purchase, documentaries, education
  • First WGA get to name his/her protected animal (Ken), and able to customize its online profile with minimum requirements (e.g. Ken's whereabouts, Ken's pictures or live videos)
  • Each WGA has permission and encouraged to promote Ken to their social media (FB, Instagrams, Youtube, etc.)
  •  The longer Ken is alive, its WGAs earn points (to be promoted in rank or earn a badge), when Ken perished by unnatural means such as poaching, its WGAs get deducted points
    Generate more Wildlife Guardian Angels:
  • Ken can have its own Youtube channel, mechanize, fan club, etc. - managed by the foundation initially 
  •  All proceeds from Ken will generate more WGA shares for its WGA(s), managed by the foundation
  •  WGA Shares cannot be converted into money
  •  WGA Shares can be gifted or inherited, or be used to buy WGAs for another protected animal Mass promotion to protect other animals in social medias:
  •  When Ken perished, its Caretaker(s) share the after pictures / videos - the imageries will generate more anger from followers
  • Ken’s WGAs will promote more awareness to their friends and families
  •  A formal online memorial held for Ken, broadcasted to Ken's channels
Wildlife Conservation Model

Recruit more and sustainable Caretakers:
  •  Each caretaker of Ken has to spend a fraction of their time to educate their local community
  •  Each caretaker has to spend a fraction of their time to recruit other caretakers
  • Caretaker job boards
  •  Caretaker equipment is leased to a Caretaker, a fraction of their regular pay is taken out to pay for the equipment 
  •  At some point the Caretaker owns their equipment, if a Caretaker cares for a new animal with their equipment, then they are not paying for the leasing cost (i.e. they get a higher pay)
  •  If a Caretaker cares for multiple protected animals, they can use the same equipment
  •  A Caretaker can transfer the Animal Tracker to another protected animal when animal is perished.
  •  For countries with requirement for each person to serve, setup program to serve to protect its animal instead.

By Monica Yap, Luk Lau November 26, 2021

RESOURCES

CONCLUSION

We have one planet and are part of one system, so here we need to reconnect with nature; sustainability for good decision-making and focus on economic, social and political inclusion to leave no one behind. Because every voice matter, we want to ensure people around the world have a say in decision-making and are able to help deliver the goals. Let’s treat everyone with respect also work as one for this beautiful planet and more sustainable world. I hope all is well, I hope you're enjoying my article, and I hope you will be a good environmental ambassador because the environment is in all of us and also I'd love to know what you think about poaching; for my side I believe poaching is a waste, therefore we must stand all together to build wasteless world by waste prevention happening.

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Go to the profile of Lara Reden
9 months ago

Thanks for sharing!

Go to the profile of Ussi Abuu Mnamengi
9 months ago

Thank you so much Lara for reading and comments

Go to the profile of Lize Gibson-Hall
about 2 months ago

Thank you for this contribution Ussi and Monica. I found the part about using crypto-currency especially interesting. How have you found the conservation model progressing?