Meet WildLife Canada Society’s Board of Directors

Charles Fipke

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 WildLife 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.

Bo Derek

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 WildLife Canada Society Board of Directors in 2010.

Joseph Duff

Joseph Duff joined WildLife 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. WildLife Canada Society is proud to have him as our Executive Director.