I was born and grew up in Congo from parents who strongly valued a traditional food culture including wildmeat consumption. Although that position gave me a chance to learn about the importance of wildmeat as perceived by many people in Congolese society, it did not offer the opportunity to know about the problems associated with urban wildmeat trade or consumption in relation to biodiversity loss. It was only in 2017, as I started my career in conservation that I realised the unsustainability of the urban wildmeat consumption and its link with declining forest biodiversity. I was impressed to understand how consumption habits in urban areas increased hunting pressure on wildlife; and I became aware of the urgent need to do something in order to solve this problem. This raised in me an eagerness to contribute to our understanding of wildmeat consumption in urban areas and potential solutions.
Since 2017, I have been working on the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Urban Bushmeat Project, which aims to reduce threats to wildlife from urban bushmeat demand in the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. My work has involved supporting the development and implementation of research, including coordinating field work, collecting data, and supporting data analysis. I have also been supporting the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the project’s behavior change campaigns to reduce urban bushmeat consumption. In addition, I have contributed to identifying and liaising with key project stakeholders. I am also a (2020) Biodiversity Fellow of the University of Oxford.
I am particularly interested in studying wildmeat supply chain sectors and how they impact wildlife, and this through both conservation biology and social sciences. I wish to increase our understanding of stakeholders, practices and motivations around these sectors in a manner that allows the findings to inform the development of new solutions and/or improvement of existing solutions to reduce wildmeat demand mainly in urban and peri-urban areas. The WildCRU Postgraduate Diploma in International Wildlife Conservation Practice is a unique opportunity that will help equip me with the ability to understand and apply the principles of widely used field-based conservation techniques; and it will add to my current competencies in a manner that allows me to work more efficiently across disciplinary boundaries in my future roles as a conservation professional.
After completing the Diploma course, I am willing to pursue my career in Congo, by continuing to support efforts to save wildlife through reducing threats from wildmeat demand. My next prospects are to pursue a master in conservation leadership and prepare to focus my career in designing, leading and managing wildlife conservation projects or programmes involving both ecological and social approaches. And finally, I would like to explore possibilities of new and efficient locally driven conservation approaches throughout my career.
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