Alex Roux on the value of technology and innovation in conservation

Fly fishing on a mountain river
Alex Roux

Alex Roux learned to love nature while spending time outdoors with his father during a California childhood. Today, Alex and his wife, Julia Novaes Roux, live in New York City, where Alex works as an independent app developer. The couple’s first gift to WWF was in response to the Australia bushfires in 2019. Now they generously support WWF’s wildlife technology work in the Amazon and southern Africa.

What are some of your earliest memories of being out in nature?

As a kid, I learned to cast a fly-fishing rod with my dad, and I’ve been a fisher my whole life. Fishing led me outdoors. Lake Tahoe, the Sierra Nevada, and Yosemite National Park were all a short drive from where I grew up, and I felt myself drawn to those outdoor spaces. Exploring nature as a teenager was where my interest in conservation began.

Why did you make a gift in support of the Australia Bushfire Emergency Response Fund?

Given how fast the world has changed throughout our lives, Julia and I felt a generational duty as millennials to budget for these global crises on an annual basis—so we can respond quickly to emergencies like those bushfires. It was devastating to see the injured wildlife and burnt landscapes on the news. We saw an immediate need for our emergency funds and wanted to help.

Why do you think innovation and technology are important to the future of conservation?

My interest in wildlife technology was piqued by the Android app SMART. It’s incredible that an app initially developed as a tool for conservation officers evolved into a wildlife incident reporting app that anyone can use. Not too long ago, people in the field had to record incidents by hand, then wait days or weeks to share them. Now, even people in difficult-to-reach places have access to smartphone technology, and that means many local communities can report what they see—rare species, deforestation, wildlife poaching, and more—digitally, in real time. That’s a game changer for conservation.

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