Haidar El Ali

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Haidar El Ali, the former president of Oceanium for several years, now honorary member, is known as "one of the hundred most influential ecologists on the planet" (Le Monde).

Born in 1953 in the Senegalese town of Louga, he has devoted most of his time to environmental protection for many years. Starting as a diving instructor, he later became a pioneer in Senegalese marine biology and a film maker. His documentaries, focused on raising awareness of environmental protection, have won many awards at international festivals.

A man of action, Haidar has participated in numerous struggles :

  • ban on fishing of Cymbium (sea snail) during its reproduction period (1998) ;
  • the struggle against the waste ship "Orient Flowers" (2000) ;
  • intervention after the sinking of the "Joola" ferry, one of the worst non-military maritime disasters (2002) ;
  • creation of the first Marine Protected Area in Senegal (2004) ;
  • the first rescue operations for manatees in the Senegal river (2006) ;
  • the first large scale reforestation campaigns of mangrove forest (more than 150 million trees planted since 2007) ;
  • lofficial launch of the first eco-microcredit bank (2009) ;
  • the first cleaning campaigns of sea beds and lobbying against the use of nylon fish nets (2011).

Through his engagement, Haidar became knight of the "Ordre National du Mérite par la France", for his struggle against the fishing of sea snails (1998), and officer of the "Ordre National du Mérite et de l’ordre national du Lion par le Sénégal", after risking his life rescuing survivors from the sunken "Joola" ferry (2003).
Finally in September 2013, he was elevated to the rank of Officer of the National Order of Merit and the Order of the French Legion of Honor for the importance of its commitment to protecting the environment and sustainable development.

In 2010, a biography about him was published by journalist and author Bernadette Gilbertas: Bernadette, Gilbertas, "Haidar El Ali. Itinéraire d’un écologiste au Sénégal", Editions Terre Vivante, 2010.

In 2012 he has become Minister of Environment of Senegal and Minister of Fisheries in 2013.

Link Vimeo video :

Learn more :
Download the biography of Haidar.
Visit the website of his book at Editions Terre Vivante :
His Wikipedia site:ïdar_El_Ali
Report by Yann Arthus Bertrand for the TV programme "Vu du ciel" on France 3 :

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