Empowering early-career professionals in wildlife conservation
Carrying out the Earth hour 2018 campaign under the theme “connect to earth”.

Carrying out the Earth hour 2018 campaign under the theme “connect to earth”.

Nancy Dione Amabo

Hello I am Nancy from Cameroon. I am a jurist specialized in wildlife law enforcement support. I cover issues on combatting wildlife crime from technical to operational aspects. I am currently working as a Law Enforcement Assistant at the World Wide Fund for Nature, (WWF) Cameroon. I am most passionate about wildlife protection. A healthy planet with thriving animal populations in the wild instead of increasingly being guarded in protected areas due to illegal wildlife trade and unsustainable human activities. Hailing from a community with strong regards to environmental values, I grew up cherishing animal welfare. The rapid decline in wildlife motivated me to join the Last Great Ape Organization (LAGA), Cameroon and since then I have been committed to fighting wildlife crime.

Joining the Youth for Wildlife Conservation Forum as a delegate is a remarkable opportunity for me to be empowered while working with passionate conservationists from all over the world in seeking lasting solutions to fighting wildlife crime and participating in the CITES CoP18.

 
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At the end of 2018 I travelled to far north tropical Queensland. Most of my time was spent at the Great Barrier Reef and in the Daintree Rainforest, two world heritage listed sites. Swimming with black tipped reef sharks and monitoring the pups was the highlight of the trip!

At the end of 2018 I travelled to far north tropical Queensland. Most of my time was spent at the Great Barrier Reef and in the Daintree Rainforest, two world heritage listed sites. Swimming with black tipped reef sharks and monitoring the pups was the highlight of the trip!

Annabel Rose Anderson

My name is Annabel Anderson and I am from Sydney, Australia. I am a second year student studying a Bachelor of Laws with a Bachelor of Security Studies. Complementing my studies, I am an intern for the Jane Goodall Institute Australia and a research assistant for the New South Wales Greens Party.

Wildlife conservation plays a critical role in my professional, academic and personal life. I am passionate about the conservation of Great Apes, particularly preventing the illegal trafficking of chimpanzees. I believe that adopting and enforcing stringent environmental legislation whilst also promoting alternative income generation schemes is vital to protect social livelihoods and prevent wildlife crime. I am also a strong proponent of marine conservation, in particular, campaigning to ban single-use plastics at my university and advocating against the installation of drumlines and shark nets on the Australian coastline.

I feel so privileged to be joining the Y4WC contingent at the CITES CoP. It will be an exciting time of innovation, cross-cultural communication and international networking that will immerse us in wildlife conservation, ultimately empowering future eco-leaders.

 
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This photo shows my typical research day in the university, but my area is often messier than it looks. In my current research, I look into the management of the LPPCHEA, the first Philippine critical habitat, which houses my favorite feathered species - the Anas Luzonica water bird.

This photo shows my typical research day in the university, but my area is often messier than it looks. In my current research, I look into the management of the LPPCHEA, the first Philippine critical habitat, which houses my favorite feathered species - the Anas Luzonica water bird.

Lourence Balatbat

Hi! My name is Lourence Balatbat, I am 21 years old, and I’m from Manila, Philippines. I am pursuing my Master of Arts degree in Political Economy at the University of Asia and the Pacific. Broadly, I am interested in environmental sustainability and development; specifically, I am passionate about biodiversity management and wildlife trade regulation. Coming from the Political Economy perspective, my approach to conservation is policy-oriented: I study how international agreements and national legislations are translated into effective and sustainable local action, particularly in developing countries. Currently, I am doing a research project about environmental governance in my country by dissecting the implementation of the Philippine Wildlife Act of 2001 and the management of Critical Habitats of Endangered Species.

In the Y4WC forum, I am most excited about the opportunity to explore local conservation initiatives in Sri Lanka and to engage in an elevated discourse with my co-delegates. Likewise, I am thrilled by the extraordinary privilege to witness the negotiations at the CITES CoP, and to see how global policies are crafted which ultimately shape the work we do on the ground.

 
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India is rich with biodiversity and natural heritage and I like to exploring interior untouched forests.

India is rich with biodiversity and natural heritage and I like to exploring interior untouched forests.

Gnaneswar Chandrasekharuni

I’m Gnaneswar and I’m from India, a country with rich-diversity and natural heritage. I have just graduated in wildlife biology and I am now working at the Centre For Herpetology/Madras Crocodile Bank Trust as an Assistant Coordinator. Since a kid, snakes fascinated me and my current work lets me work towards reducing snakebite conflict, a most pressing human-animal conflict issue that is claiming the lives of both humans and snakes.

For the past 8 years I have been engaged in various conservation activities, from participating in rallies to leading nature education tours. Like many other early career conservationists, I had to face a lot of challenges in this journey to conserve wildlife. But, being out in nature has always helped me find ways to overcome these challenges and become a better person altogether. With a keen interest on tackling illegal trade, I am aiming to work in the field of wildlife crime control in the future. Y4WC and CITES CoP will be the platform for me to network with like minded people and to learn and share experiences.

 
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Lecturing at IWT London 2018 to present the ICAWT campaign to tackle wildlife trafficking.

Lecturing at IWT London 2018 to present the ICAWT campaign to tackle wildlife trafficking.

Thiago Pinela Vargas Da Costa

Hello I am Thiago. I am a young Brazilian activist who promotes the fight against the wildlife trafficking with the non-governmental organization Renctas. My greatest motivation in combating this criminal activity is to conserve the most endangered species and to preserve the traditional livelihood and culture of indigenous communities. Nothing is more rewarding to me than helping protect our planet. I am currently studying anthropology and living in the Amazon region.

Being able to participate in the Y4WC forum and CITES CoP 18 as a delegate is a unique opportunity to increase knowledge and learning about environmental conservation. In addition to the possibility to enhance my network by meeting more people engaged in preservation around the world. It is inspiring and gratifying to have the opportunity to learn from so many brilliant people who will gather in this forum.

 
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Reza Dwi Kurniawan

My Name is Reza Dwi Kurniawan from East Borneo. I am an Anthropologist and am now working at the Centre for Orangutan Protection as a Manager at the release site. The best part of what I do is to give a second chance to the orangutans at the rehabilitation centre to live free in the forest. I also manage a ranger team across 13.566 hectares of Protected Forest, and we also travel around the forest providing education and awareness to the plight of the orangutan. The most important thing in conservation is people knowing about the problem and together helping to solve it. I am passionate to save the only one great ape in Asia. Deforestation is still a threat and we cannot talk about saving the species without saving the habitat.

I’m so excited to join the Y4WC forum and CITES CoP. Here I have a chance to meet a lot of great people who share the same passion as me, talk about our work and our problems so that we can find a best solution for all of us from across the world.

 
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To protect our oceans here I am presenting an action plan demanding authorities to initiate changes and strengthen regulatory functions.

To protect our oceans here I am presenting an action plan demanding authorities to initiate changes and strengthen regulatory functions.

Felimon Jr. Feliciano

Hello I am Felimon Jr. from Manila, Philippines. I am an environmentalist and a regulatory specialist. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, my professional career began through the country’s management authority for aquatic resources where my key responsibility is to arrange policies regulating the trade and use of aquatic wildlife. Beyond that, I also engage in various pursuits promoting wildlife conservation. I too use my own website and platform – ‘Strange Natures’ to discuss environmental issues and concerns.

The thing I am most passionate about in conservation is the sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources. This motivates me because the Philippines has one of the richest marine biodiversity in the world but heavily suffers from misuse and pollution. Thus, I want to develop strategic policy frameworks that would preserve the country’s marine ecosystems. The future of human society relies on a flourishing nature. I believe all of us should commit to keeping biodiversity functional and the ecosystem healthy. Hopefully, by joining the Y4WC forum and the CITES CoP, I will strengthen my skills that would make Earth prosperous again.

 
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This picture was taken in Patagonia, Argentina. I was here for an Ecology and Conservation course offered through Cornell University. Throughout the course we explored and studied Patagonia’s wildlife and immense natural beauty. As a student participant I did a small study on Magellanic penguins that lived on a small island. I wanted to find out if the location of nests within this island was indicative of the survival of penguin chicks.

This picture was taken in Patagonia, Argentina. I was here for an Ecology and Conservation course offered through Cornell University. Throughout the course we explored and studied Patagonia’s wildlife and immense natural beauty. As a student participant I did a small study on Magellanic penguins that lived on a small island. I wanted to find out if the location of nests within this island was indicative of the survival of penguin chicks.

Mariacamila Garcia Estrella

My name is Mariacamila Garcia Estrella, although I usually go by Camila. I am from Bogotá, Colombia but I grew up in Miami, FL. I am currently an MPH candidate and soon to be DVM candidate at Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine. I am hoping to become a wildlife veterinarian and contribute to wildlife conservation in a variety of ways (not just as a vet). I am a strong believer in the philosophy of One Health, the idea that the health of people, animals and the environment are inextricably linked. For this reason, I am most passionate about mitigating the human-wildlife conflict around the world because I believe it is just as important to meet the needs of local people that must coexist with wildlife. Conservation efforts will be futile if we don’t first support indigenous communities that share the land and sea with the animals we want to save. This has motivated me to pursue an MPH in addition to a DVM degree, in the hopes of one day establishing an NGO that can work to help communities and wildlife conservation efforts. I am extremely excited to be attending the Y4WC forum this year! I am most looking forward to meeting and learning from other conservationists from around the world and seeing all the amazing things they are doing to preserve our world’s most endangered species!

 
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Planting oaks to restore the forest.

Planting oaks to restore the forest.

Tatiana Ivannikova

My name is Tatiana Ivannikova. I am a wildlife trade project coordinator based in Russia. I lead research of wildlife trafficking in Russia, communicating with zoologists, lawyers, cybercrime experts, customs officers and authorities responsible for implementing CITES policy. The research will tell about the most vulnerable species affected by the trade and regulation loopholes, which fuel illegal trafficking . Since my work is carried out in an office, I spend my free time with wildlife in the field. I have taken part in an expedition following snow leopards, planting forests, and raising childrens awareness about conservation.

My passion in wildlife conservation is delivering a message to people about the crucial importance of wildlife. I am inspired to be the voice of nature and tool of wildlife conservation. This inspiration comes to me from Gerald Durrell’s statement about conservation as “one of the most necessary things in a world full of unnecessary activities”.

I’m excited to meet allies from around the world who speak for wildlife a thousand miles from me and have unique experience at Y4WC forum and CITES CoP. The teamwork will make conservationists united and powerful to save wildlife.

 
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Working as an intern in Tbilisi zoo .

Working as an intern in Tbilisi zoo.

Alexandra Kalandarishvili

My Name is Alexandra Kalandarishvili, I come from the small country of Georgia and I am a Wildlife management engineer. I have always carried a deep passion and love for wildlife and it always disturbed me to see some of the most unique species in such troubling conditions. It is easy to get discouraged after hearing about the problems related to the environment and wildlife, but the never-ending efforts to right our wrongs never ceases to inspire me. Standing up for wildlife and contributing to conservation efforts has become my career goal. The future where the balance is met and life is lead in a sustainable way is what motivates and encourages me.

Conservation is a team effort and so I feel inspired when young people like myself come together to play part in wildlife conservation. I am excited to join the Y4WC forum, to meet people around the world and hear about their experiences while sharing my own. I look forward to learning more about the wild world and become a more capable professional.

 
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Checking camera trap data in the Drakensburg Mountain range, South Africa. This was the first camera trap Leopard Survey of its kind carried out in the Drakensburg.

Checking camera trap data in the Drakensburg Mountain range, South Africa. This was the first camera trap Leopard Survey of its kind carried out in the Drakensburg.

Thandiwe Knutson

Hello. My name is Thandiwe Knutson and I live and work in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. I am the Operations Manager for an NGO conservation organisation called Wildlife ACT. We are a team of experienced conservationists working in the field 365 days of the year. Our focus is on endangered species such as African wild dog, black rhino and vultures as well as priority species including cheetah, elephant, lion, leopard and hyaena.

We as humans are only a small piece in the puzzle of the planet. Yet, our negative impact is not small. It is our responsibility, as young conservationists, to work together in rectifying and preventing further negative impacts to our wild places and threatened species. I have dedicated my studies, professional career, blood, sweat and tears to make sure I am a key figure in the fight to conserve our invaluable wildlife species.

I am most excited to join the Y4WC and CITES CoP to meet fellow young committed conservationists and explore together how we can contribute to the broader conservation field and highlight its importance in both wildlife and human preservation.

 
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Engaging with Indigenous people (aka Orang Asli) from Belum-Temenggor Forest Complex about importance of tiger conservation.

Engaging with Indigenous people (aka Orang Asli) from Belum-Temenggor Forest Complex about importance of tiger conservation.

Cze Jhin Kok

Hello. My name is Kok Cze Jhin but I am also known as CJ. I am from Malaysia and hold a bachelor’s degree in Zoology. Previously, I have worked with WWF-Malaysia as a community engagement and education assistant, mainly focusing on engaging and educating Orang Asli from Belum-Temenggor Forest Complex about tiger conservation. I was also involved in Orang Utan Nest surveys in Sarawak, Borneo during my internship. Currently, I work for TRAFFIC Southeast Asia as a Program Assistant to monitor wildlife trade in Southeast Asia.

I am passionate about protecting or conserving the vulnerable wildlife that does not have a voice to defend themselves. Whenever there is a report about hunting or trading of wildlife, I feel the urge to act. I feel the responsibility as a conservationist to educate the public. Hence, I am excited to meet other conservationist in Y4WC forum to discuss about methods or ways to improve the current situation. I am also very excited to join the CITES CoP to understand the procedure and listing of international trade of wild animals and plants.

 
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Photo on the Harricana River, Quebec, while leading 20-day canoe trip with Northwaters Wilderness Programs

Photo on the Harricana River, Quebec, while leading 20-day canoe trip with Northwaters Wilderness Programs

Emily Anne McIntosh

Hello, I am Emily, a Canadian environmentalist holding a BSc in Biology and Environment from McGill University.

I am passionate about community engagement in conservation as well as the intersection of human rights and conservation.  As an intern at the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity I helped to contribute to the advancement of effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities in the work of the Convention.

Currently, I am working as a Project Coordinator with the Quebec-Labrador Foundation, a not-for-profit working to engage and empower young people to advance conservation and stewardship efforts in the rural communities of Eastern Canada. Our recent projects emphasize wildlife monitoring, habitat conservation and raising awareness about the importance of conservation.

I am very excited for this opportunity to work with youth from around the world, to learn from their personal experiences and perspectives on wildlife conservation and its effective management, and I am honored to contribute to elevating youth voices at CITES CoP18.

 
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Volunteering at Wildtracks in Belize, here I am feeding two victims of the illegal pet trade (Orphaned spider monkeys) one was found with seven bullet wounds.

Volunteering at Wildtracks in Belize, here I am feeding two victims of the illegal pet trade (Orphaned spider monkeys) one was found with seven bullet wounds.

Jason Lewis Miller

My name is Jason Miller, from Tyne and Wear, UK. Now 25 I am working in Liberia as the on-sight sanctuary manager of the first and only rehabilitation centre for animals that have fallen victim to the illegal wildlife and bush meat trade. Although working with animals hands on is an amazing opportunity and it is an overwhelming experience when you get the unique chance to release wildlife back to the wild, education still remains a strong passion of mine. Education is one of the many keys to the success in conservation.

My motivation to keep going is the inspiration I get from people who want to help in the conservation field and of course, without trying to sound anthropomorphic, watching newly confiscated animals begin to behave and interact as natural as possible taking into consideration the conditions and mistreatment they often come from.

This is why I’m excited to attend the Y4WC forum and CITES CoP. To interact face to face with international conservationists who face similar issues all of whom want people and wildlife to co-exist sustainably. Together we can create solutions!

 
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Restoring ecosystems. A big challenge demands big actions with significant conservation efforts.

Restoring ecosystems. A big challenge demands big actions with significant conservation efforts.

Ana Gabriela Monroy Chaparro

My name is Gaby and I am an student and Internationalist passionate about wildlife conservation, ecosystems restauration and adaptation to climate change. I am from a small city near to the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico. Currently, I am completing my bachelor’s degree in International Relations with research that explores improvements to international conservation initiatives, focusing on challenges in transboundary biodiversity hotspots between Mexico and Central American Countries.

Coming from a biodiverse but vulnerable country, I find myself advocating for biodiversity and climate change negotiations with government, civil society, academy and communities, providing a multidisciplinary approach. I deeply believe that youth needs to be part of every single negotiation related to sustainable development, climate change and wildlife conservation.

Through my work at an national and international level, I have learnt, that we will lead the actions for a better future and our voice needs to be heard now. I am so excited because Y4WC forum aims to reduce the existing gap between social scientists and wildlife conservationists. Our work will contribute to a stronger wildlife conservation framework in CITES CoP18, Sri Lanka 2019.

 
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Taking part in the Ivory belongs to Elephants, East Africa walk.

Taking part in the Ivory belongs to Elephants, East Africa walk.

Abraham Njenga

My name is Abraham Chege Njenga, an ecologist and wildlife officer at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy and dedicated conservationist, founder and writer. I am a passionate wildlife advocate and strive to change people's perceptions of wildlife through my education work, especially school groups and fellow youths.

Joining the Y4WC forum and CITES CoP will give me an upper hand in learning new solutions that have worked in different regions and an understanding of the global perspective around the trade in endangered species. In networking with youths from around the world, I will have the opportunity to see how I can act to improve wildlife conservation policies in the future.

From the skills I shall acquire, I will empower fellow youths through my networks to become catalysts of change and encourage more to be actively engaged in nature conservation in their capacity to help improve the livelihoods of their local communities.

 
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Trekking in Northern Sumatra.

Trekking in Northern Sumatra.

Shannon Noelle Rivera

My name is Shannon Noelle Rivera. Based in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, I am focused on the importance of collaborative conservation including incorporating animal welfare considerations into conservation work and identifying gender-sensitive strategies within conservation practice. I am an elected board member for the Society for Conservation Biology Oceania; a project consultant working in urban forestry; and a committee member on the Hawaiʻi Conservation Alliance’s Nāhululeihiwakuipapa Next-Gen Committee.

I completed a Master of Science in Animal Welfare Science, Ethics, and Law from the University of Winchester. My research examined the disposal options for illegally traded and confiscated live animals in Southeast Asia. A goal of mine is to advance the development of holistic strategies to improve management of live animal confiscations with the hope that animals rescued from the illegal trade will be treated more ethically and humanely.

CITES’ CoP18 is being held only months after completing my MSc focused on the illegal wildlife trade. I honestly feel that this opportunity to participate as a Y4WC delegate will allow me to learn from my counterparts from around the world and become a stronger conservation leader. It will bring me one-hundred steps closer to advancing strategies to combat the illegal wildlife trade; my long-term goal.

 
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My favourite survey in the Manu Biosphere Reserve. Nothing compares to the nice smell of fermented fish bait, removing sweat bees of my eyes, avoiding bullet ants sting, and feeling sooo sweaty. All of that while trying to go through the butterfly ID field guide to come out with the morphospecies number as quick and careful as possible to don’t hurt the little butt. Sounds challenging? It was! But so much worth it!

My favourite survey in the Manu Biosphere Reserve. Nothing compares to the nice smell of fermented fish bait, removing sweat bees of my eyes, avoiding bullet ants sting, and feeling sooo sweaty. All of that while trying to go through the butterfly ID field guide to come out with the morphospecies number as quick and careful as possible to don’t hurt the little butt. Sounds challenging? It was! But so much worth it!

Giezi Juriko Rupay Valdivieso

I am Juriko, a Peruvian conservationist, hopelessly in love with the Amazon rainforest. I seek to understand, through research, the role of invertebrates in the regeneration of tropical forests. I also aim to raise the value of the Amazon wildlife by blogging on the online platform of the International Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation. This keeps me connected with my beloved jungle while tied to my desk and computer. But it was here I found about the opportunity to be part of the Y4WC forum and CITES CoP 18! An experience of a lifetime where I will be able to observe, first-hand, the CoP negotiations.

This meeting is especially important for my country and Latin America, as we are requesting that the jaguar, the biggest cat of this region, be recognised as a flagship species and to increase the regulations to stop illegal wildlife crime. Besides that, as the cherry on the cake, I’ll meet other young conservationists from all around the world in such a beautiful place: Sri Lanka!

 
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This picture was taken during my final degree year, working on my final year project in Sarawak using camera traps and scent lure as bait.

This picture was taken during my final degree year, working on my final year project in Sarawak using camera traps and scent lure as bait.

Kushaal Selvarajah

Hey everyone! Greetings all the way from Malaysia. I am Kushaal and I am currently pursuing my Master’s degree in Wildlife Ecology focusing on animal behaviour at the Universiti Putra Malaysia. I believe in fighting for species that are often overlooked or are not the centre of attention as all species matter. Conservation and community come hand in hand and we can’t move forward without one or the other. Engaging locals and trying to spread awareness is amazing especially when you see their faces and you know they understand the message and passion you are trying to share!

I wanted to take a step forward this year by putting myself out there as a young conservationist and I believe Y4WC is the platform I am looking for. In addition to meeting conservationist alike from all over the world and from various backgrounds, it will be an eye opening opportunity to attend the CITES CoP and witness negotiations first-hand and of course appreciating the culture that Sri Lanka has to offer!

 
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While doing field work, I had the opportunity to take some time aside and speak to local high school students in Menghai, Yunnan about my research and the importance of wildlife conservation.

While doing field work, I had the opportunity to take some time aside and speak to local high school students in Menghai, Yunnan about my research and the importance of wildlife conservation.

Charles Xu (徐聪)

My name is Charles Xu (徐聪) and I am a Ph.D. student at the Redpath Museum and Department of Biology at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. I was born in China and have lived in the U.S., Hong Kong, the Netherlands, France, Sweden, and now Canada. I consider myself a third-culture kid and global citizen. I have a background in molecular ecology and environmental DNA and I am interested in developing new genetic tools to assist conservation efforts such as forensic methods for species identification. There is great potential for science to benefit conservation by providing data for evidence-based policies. Yet, I think there is often a large disconnect between academic research and what kinds of information is actually needed by natural resource managers, wildlife trafficking enforcement, and conservation policy-makers.

I hope that my participation in the Y4WC forum and the CITES CoP will help to address this gap by sparking new collaborations and new avenues of research that will ultimately help wildlife conservation efforts around the world.



 
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