Willem van de Ven
An avid bird watcher and crocodile catcher, Willem has been with Buhay-ilang since its conception. Starting out as a Master's student in the Philippines over 10 years ago, he basically just never left, and has been with several other groups and orgs before starting his own with Buhay-ilang
I've been working on biodiversity conservation in the Philippines since 2008. Initially as a student and volunteer at the Mabuwaya Foundation up in the Northern Sierra Madre in Isabela, protecting the Critically Endangered Philippine Crocodile, later in the West Visayas on Hornbills and threatened mammals.
I finally moved to Manila 5 years ago, and have been active on a different level ever since. I had already joined the Biodiversity Conservation Society of the Philippines as a member, same as with the Wild Bird Club of the Philippines, however now I became more directly involved in both organizations. I also started working with the national government on guidelines and in technical working groups, as well as contributing materials to publications.
Always believing that knowledge, both academic as well as popular, must be written down for future generations, I was involved with several publications.
I did some actual on the ground conservation projects, however time as well as monetary restrictions meant that these were necessarily few. However working all over the country and with so many people, I saw there were many issues still to tackle, many species still to save. So I decided I wanted to start an organization to fill these gaps.