By Ronit Walther - December 8, 2022

Sad Loss of Diane Skinner



Africa’s conservation community has lost one of its leading lights. Diane Skinner, the Executive Director of the Painted Wolf Foundation, succumbed to cancer on 10 August 2022.  Although only 41, Diane leaves behind a stellar legacy of global efforts to conserve not only African wild dogs but also chimpanzees, elephants, rhinos, pangolins and other charismatic fauna in Africa.

Through a long body of work addressing international policy, community conservation and NGO interventions, Diane continually navigated the delicate, ever-fraught balance of human/wildlife conflict. She always strove for those win-win solutions that safeguard endangered species but also benefit local community needs.

 A proud Zimbabwean, Diane graduated from Denison University to commence her career with the Jane Goodall Institute in 2003 in the United States. She then earned a Masters with Honours in society and development at the University of Sussex in the U.K.  From 2008 she worked tirelessly for IUCN’s Species Survival Commission’s African Elephant Specialist Group for six years. Among a host of other things, she coordinated the African Elephant Summit held from 2-4 December 2013 in Gaborone, Botswana and co-authored the last comprehensive African Elephant Status Report in 2016.

More recently she played a leading role in the FloD Project (Local communities: First Line of Defence against illegal wildlife trade) and was the lead author on the prominent document for wild dog conservation, Securing the Future of the Painted Wolf.

 Diane is survived by her husband, Nicholas Dyer, her mother, Margie Skinner and her sister, Debra Skinner, but her conservation inspiration and enthusiasm lives on in the multitude of people her passionate engagement has served to motivate and encourage over the years.

All of us at the Painted Wolf Foundation have pledged to honor her legacy by redoubling our efforts fulfill her vision of securing the future of the painted wolf.

Diane Skinner

8th December 1980 – 10th August 2022

R. I. P.