The purpose of OTF is to promote wildlife conservation and engage with projects that protect endangered and threatened species, whilst also focusing on supporting local communities. This purpose engages a holistic approach to wildlife conservation that includes provision of many elements of conservation practice, so as to address local wildlife management issues. This holistic approach needs to focus on the root cause of such issues, for example human conflict and habitation loss, to focus on how OTF can act as a catalyst to change human behaviours; thus avoiding and reducing conflict with wildlife. To change human behaviours and make wildlife conservation more resilient.
OTF’s vision is to advance the understanding and engagement of wildlife conservation by working collaboratively with local communities.
1) Protect endangered or vulnerable wildlife species for the public benefit by providing grants, advice and advocacy for projects which support this aim;
2) Enable a sustainable relationship between local communities and endangered or vulnerable wildlife species through education, outreach and capacity building
The OTF has three main actions required to fulfil our principle objects:
1) Research - assimilate credible information
2) Community Education - including but not limited to schools and farmers groups
3) To win hearts and minds
Who are we?
The current chairman, Mr. Will Fox, founded the On Track Foundation in 2014. Over the last ten years, Will has worked in support of wildlife conservation projects in several countries, primarily in South Africa, where he founded the INGWE Leopard Research program in 2004. This has lead to an in-depth understanding of the specific needs for charitable support to back small-scale conservation projects that are too small to appear on the radar of large conservation charities and aid organisations. Nevertheless it is these small projects that are addressing local conservation efforts and are in need of support.
The board of trustees is made up from a diversity of professionals whose collective skills and experience provide a balanced managerial team. The board of trustees has been selected to include individuals who have the experience and qualifications to both provide:
• Specific professional advice and support
• Network with other professionals, who can be recruited to offer ad-hoc volunteer assistance.
• Fundraising and financial skills
Mr. Will Fox (Chairman) - Originally an Engineer with over 25 years in large project management within the oil and gas sector and UK Ministry of Defence. For the last ten years Will has dedicated his time to supporting African wildlife conservation through tourism. He is also the CEO of On Track Safaris, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a visiting Research Fellow with Reading University UK.
Dr. Christopher Cowgill – an independent financial advisor operating in the City of London providing financial and tax advice to the board.
Dr. Jennifer Joiner – a medical doctor working within the UK health service, specialising in A&E and Public health.
Mr. Roy Domoney - a retired dentist who has a passion for wildlife and Africa.
Professor Mark Fellowes - Reading University, Head of School of Biological Sciences
Mrs Sarah Rose - University consultant, recently senior lecturer Exeter University Business School
Historically, OTF has funded wildlife conservation, a long-term leopard research program in South Africa and associated community education programs. It’s important to recognise that OTF’s involvement with leopards is secondary to the greater need of wildlife conservation for localised eco-systems, i.e. it is not the particular species, but rather the iconic and representative nature of the leopards as a key indicator species, which was the reason it was selected, following two principles:
1) A recognised gap in understanding, both in terms of data on (in this case) leopard numbers and the resultant educating of local peoples (from farmers to school children) about the wildlife conservation.
2) OTF operate outside of formally protected areas, where wildlife is under threat from human conflict and (as has been the case to date), where the leopard is at the top of the food chain and a key indicator of the health of a eco-system. While OTF use the leopard as an iconic species that is indeed under threat, OTF can make a real difference by investing in (and connecting) relatively small research and education programs, to achieve effective results for a local area, while also contributing to the bigger picture.