Pledge About

Peter Knights

Executive Director

After graduating from the London School of Economics, Peter Knights first worked on wildlife trafficking as an investigator and campaigner for the Environmental Investigation Agency. He specialized in global on-site investigations and campaigning against the trade in wild birds for pets, as well as consumption of endangered species in traditional Chinese medicine, such as bear gallbladder, rhino horn, and tiger bone.

Peter’s investigations have been featured in the TV series “Animal Detectives.” On birds, this work led to over 150 airlines stopping the carriage of wild birds and to the Wild Bird Conservation Act, which cut imports of wild birds into the US from 800,000 to 40,000.

As a director of the Global Survival Network, in 1996, he introduced conservation to the concept of demand reduction, that is now widely accepted as an important tool in solving trafficking problems. While working across Asia, Peter created the first international program aimed at reducing demand for endangered species products. He received an Associate Laureate of the Rolex Award for Enterprise for this work.

WildAid’s demand reduction program uses sophisticated advertising techniques, donated airtime, and celebrity spokespeople with the message "When the buying stops, the killing can too." More than 100 globally-recognized actors, athletes, musicians and business leaders have appeared in WildAid campaigns.

Peter is still working with his first ambassador, Jackie Chan. Since then, WildAid ambassadors have included Yao Ming, Prince William, David Beckham, Leonardo DiCaprio and many other famous names. The organization has been active in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Canada, and the US. It now attracts more than US$280 million of donated media space annually, primarily in China.

As well as contributing to the protection of manta rays and whale sharks, WildAid’s shark campaign led by Yao Ming has contributed to a 50-70% decline in consumption of shark fin in China, and an 81% decline in shark fin imports over three years. It has also helped to secure fin bans in a number of US states. Peter has been awarded a regional Jefferson Award for public service in honor of his role in achieving California's ban on shark fin.  

Further, Peter has led campaigns that have resulted in the banning of ivory sales in China, a more than 60% decline in the price of ivory, and a more than 50% decline in the price of rhino horn in China and Vietnam.

He created, produced and featured in the Emmy-nominated documentary “Saving Africa’s Giants with Yao Ming,” and is currently producing and co-directing five documentaries for Chinese TV and two for Vietnam. He has also created and produced dozens of public service announcements.

In 2000, Peter co-founded WildAid as has served as Executive Director and now CEO. In 2017, the organization works in 12 countries, has over 45 full time staff, a US$10 million budget leveraging over $280 million in donated media, and was recently given 100 out of 100 by Charity Navigator for transparency and efficiency.

Executive Director