We’d like to extend a huge congratulations to former WEM conference speaker Sacha Dench, who has recently been appointed as a UN Ambassador for Migratory Species.
Sacha is a pioneering conservationist, champion sportswoman and record-breaking adventurer, famously named the “Human Swan” for her paramotor journey following the Bewicks swan migration from the Russian Arctic to the UK – has been applauded for her creative and daring approach to highlighting the issues surrounding the plight, and tragic decline of many migratory species.
Sacha joined two other appointees – conservationist Ian Redmond OBE and award-winning Bollywood actor and expert equestrian Randeep Hooda – all three in recognition of their achievements in raising awareness of threatened migratory species and their habitats.
With a 20-year track record as a conservationist and motivational speaker, Sacha is the co-founder and CEO of “Conservation without Borders”, a charity that supports leading conservationists and scientists by creating media, public and political support for their work.
Sacha’s flagship project was a courageous three-month expedition called the “Flight of the Swans” that brought international attention to the conservation status of the Bewick’s Swan. She flew a paramotor solo over 7,000 km across eleven countries from the arctic region in Russia to the United Kingdom. The Bewick’s Swan is a European endangered migratory bird that is subject of an International Single Species Action Plan developed under the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement.The expedition engaged millions of people along the flyway, gaining public interest and significant media attention.
Sacha plans to replicate the success of the “Flight of the Swans” with a new expedition called the “Flight of the Osprey” that aims to highlight the threats faced by migrating Osprey and other wildlife. This paramotor expedition will follow the Osprey’s western flyway from the UK, across the Mediterranean Sea and finishing in Ghana. This mission will provide a unique bird’s-eye-view of the Osprey’s migratory route whilst collecting vital data on the challenges faced along the way. As a champion freediver Sacha will also investigate the underwater world so important to the fish-eating ospreys, including sampling for pollutants and plastics at critical sites.
“Many vulture species will actively fly with a paraglider, sharing thermals. It is amazing to be so close to these magnificent creatures and get a glimpse into their world of moving air and thermals that is invisible to us from the ground. Flying with them in key areas could also give us unique and engaging insights into our world below from their point of view – from why powerlines and turbines are a problem in certain areas and what we could do about it, to understanding their preferred routes and roosting sites, and what senses they might be using to identify food, and why they are subject to poisoning. And on their long journeys, what other threats might they face that scientists might not yet have seen from the ground”.