Meet WildAid Canada Society’s Board of Directors
When Charles Fipke discovered diamonds in the Northwest Territories of Canada in 1991, he started the largest claim-stake rush in North America since gold was discovered in the Klondike a hundred years earlier. His discovery was a boon to the economy of Canada, now one of the top five diamond producing nations in the world. Professing to be an exploration geologist and not a miner, he sold his shares in the mine and continued to search the world for other minerals and gems.
Recently, Fipke and his team discovered in the Yukon, Canada the highest grade silver-lead-zinc deposit ever found in North America. The deposit is presently undergoing a fifteen-million-dollar drill project to confirm its large size.
His prospecting success allowed him to indulge his passion for horse racing. Applying the same drive and talent that made him a legend in the world of mineral exploration, Charles personally analyses the pedigree of his horses, combining all the genetic qualities that make a champion and has produced a long list of winners including a Queen’s plate winner and nine Group 1 (highest caliber) winners. Last year Fipke received the award for being the top horse breeder in Kentucky.
To share with others his love of science and technology, Mr. Fipke donated over six-million-dollars to build the Charles Fipke Center for Innovative Research in BC and he contributed over nine-million-dollars to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. His generosity to humanitarian causes is matched by a lifelong concern for wildlife conservation. He helped WildAid curb the demand for shark fin soup, rhinoceros horn and other illegal wildlife products sold on the global black-market. Charles and other members of the Board of Directors founded WildAid Canada Society to focus on conservation issues here in Canada, such as the Polar bear and Whooping crane. Mr. Fipke is an extremely successful, self-made businessman, a legend in the world of mineral exploration, and a philanthropist of the highest order.
Peter Knights is the co-founder and CEO of WildAid and Serves on the Board of Directors of WildAid Canada Society.
After graduating from the London School of Economics, Peter Knights first worked on wildlife trafficking as an investigator and campaigner for the Environmental Investigation Agency. His work has been featured in the TV series “Animal Detectives.” His efforts led to over 150 airlines stopping the carriage of wild birds and to the Wild Bird Conservation Act, which cut imports of wild birds into the U.S. from 800,000 to 40,000.
As a director of the Global Survival Network, in 1996, he introduced the conservation community to the concept of demand reduction that is now widely accepted as an important tool in solving trafficking problems. WildAid’s demand reduction program uses sophisticated advertising techniques, donated airtime, and celebrity spokespeople with the message “When the buying stops, the killing can too.”
WildAid ambassadors include Yao Ming, Prince William, David Beckham, Leonardo DiCaprio and over a hundred globally recognized actors, athletes, musicians and business leaders have appeared in WildAid campaigns. The organization has been active in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Canada, and the U.S. It now attracts more than US $289 million of donated media space annually, primarily in China.
As well as contributing to the protection of manta rays and whale sharks, WildAid’s shark campaign, led by Yao Ming, has contributed to a 50-70% decline in consumption of shark fin in China, and an 81% decline in shark fin imports over three years. It has also helped to secure fin bans in a number of U.S. states. Peter has been awarded a regional Jefferson Award for public service in honor of his role in achieving California’s ban on shark fin.
Peter has led campaigns that have resulted in the banning of ivory sales in China, a more than 60% decline in the price of ivory, and a more than 50% decline in the price of rhino horn in China and Vietnam. He created, produced and featured in the Emmy-nominated documentary “Saving Africa’s Giants with Yao Ming,” and is currently producing and co-directing five documentaries for Chinese TV and two for Vietnam. He has also created and produced dozens of public service announcements. In 2000, Peter co-founded WildAid and has served as Executive Director and now CEO. In 2017, the organization works in 12 countries, has over 45 full time staff, a US $10 million budget leveraging over $289 million in donated media, and was recently given 100 out of 100 by Charity Navigator for transparency and efficiency.
Actor Bo Derek is a long-time advocate for animal welfare. In 2006, she was appointed U.S. Special Envoy of the Secretary of State for wildlife trafficking issues.
She was also appointed Commissioner of the California Horse Racing Board by the Governor of California, and is a spokesperson for the Animal Welfare Institute’s national campaign to end horse slaughter through passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.
Bo chairs the Department of Veterans Affairs National Rehabilitation Special Events, whose games are designed to help veterans overcome their disabilities through sports and competition. She is founder and president of her pet care business, Bless the Beasts.
Bo has served as a Board member of WildAid since 2006, and joined the WildAid Canada Society Board of Directors in 2010.
Mr. Sean Roosen is the Chair of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Osisko Gold Royalties. Mr. Roosen has over 30 years of progressive experience in the mining industry. As founder, President, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Osisko Mining Corporation, he was responsible for developing the strategic plan for the discovery, financing and development of the Canadian Malartic Mine.
Mr. Roosen is an active participant in the resource sector and in the formation of new companies to explore for mineral deposits both in Canada and internationally. In the resource sector, he serves on the board of directors of Osisko Mining Inc. and Victoria Gold Corp.
Mr. Roosen has been recognized by several organizations for his entrepreneurial successes and his leadership in innovative sustainability practices. Mr. Roosen cares very much for our natural world and is generous with his time, serving on our board of directors since 2014, and with contributions to carry out the work of WildAid Canada Society.
We are honored and pleased that he serves on the Board of WildAid Canada Society.
Robert Douglas Cudney is the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Northfield Capital Corp. and the Co-Chairman for Gold Eagle Mines Ltd.
Since attaining his undergraduate degree at Toronto’s York University, Mr. Cudney has become a savvy and respected investor and a leader in the Canadian mining industry. He has served as a director, an advisor, and has managed many of Canada’s most successful mining operations.
A long time conservationist and advocate of the environment, Mr. Cudney serves on the Board of WildAid Canada Society.
Joseph Duff joined WildAid Canada Society as their Executive Director in 2019 following a career spanning over 25 years as the CEO of Operation Migration Inc.
After earning his pilot license in the Yukon Territories and a 20 year career as a commercial photographer in Toronto, Joe Duff joined Bill Lishman and together they conducted the first ever human-led bird migration. The two “artists-turned-naturalists” used two ultralight aircraft to lead a flock of Canada geese from Ontario to Virginia. The success of that initial study led to the founding of Operation Migration and the making of the Columbia movie “Fly Away Home” in 1995. Thereafter, they began a series of experiments with common Sandhill cranes to see if the technique could be applied to an endangered species.
Joe headed the team of pilots and handlers that annually led a new generation of Whooping cranes on their 1200+ mile first migration from Wisconsin to Florida. Between 2001 and 2016, Operation Migration worked with the nine federal, state and private agencies that made up the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership. Their participation ended in 2016 when there were over one hundred Whooping cranes migrating in the eastern flyway, the first in over a century. His aircraft is on permanent display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.
Duff has a deep-seated appreciation for our natural world and a tenacious drive ready to tackle any issue. WildAid Canada Society is proud to have him as our Executive Director.