Director, Wild & Free – Habitats Campaign
Anja Heister, Director of IDA’s Wild & Free – Habitats Campaign, works to protect wild fur-bearing animals, deer, geese and other wildlife who are in conflict with human enterprise.
Anja was born and raised in Germany and holds a Masters in Biology (Human Genetics and Anthropology) from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt, where she was actively involved in a fur-free campaign and was one of three leaders of a student activist group opposing the use of animal study methods in science. Anja is currently enrolled in an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program at the University of Montana in Missoula, where she is studying wildlife conservation, ethics and policy. She hopes to help bridge the chasm between the animal rights/protection/welfare and conservation/environmental movements.
Anja is also the co-founder and former Executive Director of Footloose Montana, a nonprofit organization working to end recreational and commercial trapping on Montana’s public lands. Some of Anja’s other previous activities include an internship at PETA in 2000 and involvement in multiple protests against the fur fashion industry, factory farms, circuses and vivisection. Her special passion for elephants has taken her to Sri Lanka, Kenya and Tanzania where she has helped with elephant conservation work.
Anja has been a vegetarian for 29 years, a vegan for six years, and she shares her life with three beloved dogs and an equally loved partner, Dave.