Dr Kira Mileham is the ecological cupid of species conservation. She connects the world’s leading conservationists and scientists from 163 countries with organisations, governments, donors and practitioners to collectively ensure species survival. Through partnerships she has created, more than 5,000 species have been assessed for their risk of extinction and included in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Other partnerships have united experts to develop plans to save species. As Global Director of Strategic Partnerships for the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission, Dr Mileham instigated an ambitious decade-long strategy, Reverse the Red, to support governments in reversing trends in species loss. She has galvanized a global community of Zoos, Aquariums, Botanic Gardens and conservation partners to work collaboratively and strategically to catalyse conservation impact.
The bravery of uniting these global communities requires a paradigm shift and elevated understanding of the role multi-stakeholder collaboration can and must play in saving species. Dr Mileham says we hear too often that approximately 1 million species are facing extinction. What we don’t hear enough are the messages of hope; about the species that have been brought back through the incredible passion, skill and commitment of conservationists working around the world; many of whom literally lay down their lives to ensure that we can continue to share this planet with wildlife and wild places. Dr Mileham believes we know how to save species, we know how to leave a better planet for future generations and we know how to ensure that the living systems of plants, animals and fungi continue not only to survive, but thrive. We simply need to do more and to do it together. Dr Mileham is dedicated to supporting this shift and shares her vision at key events for National Geographic Society, The United Nations World Wildlife Day and the World Wildlife Fund.
‘I am constantly motivated by a quote from Sally Jewell, former United States Secretary of the Interior, who said, “Conservation needs to move beyond random acts of kindness and instead mobilise strategic, coordinated action to save the planet” – achieving this shift is what gets me up each morning.’