Olya from Uzbekistan is the Central Asia coordinator of community outreach for Saiga Conservation Alliance (SCA), a network of researchers and conservationists protecting critically endangered saiga antelope. She is a founding member of a global network of early-career conservationists, Youth For Wildlife Conservation (Y4WC) and is a passionate conservationist having been involved in wildlife protection since childhood. Raised in a family of dedicated biologists, she started volunteering on the ground as a teenager visiting wild sites and local communities.
Although her passion for wildlife has never stopped growing she discovered that in most cases, wildlife conservation success depends on people and their attitudes/behavior/actions which is why she decided to pursue degree in Psychology. She is currently leading a study to understand the role of local communities and other stakeholders in wildlife conservation/restoration.
In 2014 she was given a Young Conservation Leadership Award (SCA Initiative) and, in 2015, was selected to intern with 3 leading wildlife organizations in Kenya. In 2016 she became a delegate at the Youth Forum for People and Wildlife by International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) in Johannesburg, South Africa and shared her conservation experience at TEDx UNYP in Prague, Czech Republic, among other notable achievements.