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Stephen Mufutau Awoyemi

of the Religion and Conservation Biology Working Group

Stephen Mufutau Awoyemi is Founding Chair of the Religion and Conservation Research Collaborative (RCRC) of the Religion and Conservation Biology Working Group (RCBWG), Society for Conservation Biology (SCB). The RCRC is a committee of the RCBWG tasked with the goal of investigating, through empirical research, the role of religion in the quest for environmental conservation globally and translating results into policy action. The RCRC also proactively identifies societal problems as pertains to conservation that need policy action and through scientific research findings informs decision making and social change within the purview of religion and conservation.

A Tropical Biology Association Alumnus and Earthwatch Fellow, Stephen has served as volunteer for the SCB for a decade, collaboratively leading the crafting of several policy statements on behalf of the society with recent statements in the field of religion and conservation (SCB Position on the Religious Practice of Releasing Captive Wildlife for Merit and SCB Position on the use of Ivory for Religious Objects). In 2007, he co-founded the RCBWG of the SCB along with Tom Baugh (then founding President) and others. He published an editorial in Conservation Biology in 2008 titled ‘The Role of Religion in the HIV/AIDS Intervention in Africa: A Possible Model for Conservation Biology’ and was lead author of a book chapter [Global Efforts to Bridge Religion and Conservation: Are they Really Working?] in Topics in Conservation Biology edited by Tony Povilitis and published by InTech in 2012.

Saving the African Elephant: A Call to Spiritual Responsibility

The Society for Conservation Biology’s Religion and Conservation Research Collaborative released a statement last week calling upon the world’s religious leaders to stop using elephant ivory. As the statement notes, “In addition to the ethical concerns raised by the possible extinction of elephant populations or species, the ivory trade is associated with considerable bloodshed for humans as well as elephants.” The Collaborative concludes that “the requirements of religion and conservation should be and, indeed, can be complementary in reaching the best possible outcome whereby religious faith is respected and the future of elephants safeguarded.”