Cumulative conservation impact – WildCRU Diploma alumni news  

January 25, 2024

WildCRU’s Diploma in International Conservation Practice gives conservation biologists and practitioners, often from less developed countries, invaluable skills to increase the impact of their work. Since the course’s establishment in 2009, alumni from nearly 50 different countries have furthered their studies, authored publications, won awards, gained prestigious positions and contributed significantly to global conservation efforts.

Yuri Petrunenko joined the Diploma in 2013 having gained research and conservation experience with the Siberian Tiger Project, the Amur Tiger Monitoring Program and several Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) initiatives. During his Oxford studies he used GPS collar data to explore Amur tiger prey use and habitat selection. This work led on to his PhD on the trophic ecology of tigers which he completed in 2021. One of its pivotal chapters took shape with WildCRU, under the supervision of David Macdonald and Robert Montgomery, and formed the basis of an impactful paper.

We are delighted that his training at WildCRU has launched Yuri on a successful career in conservation. En route, in 2021, Yuri joined the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s SILVIS lab (following in the footsteps of 2016 Diploma alumna from Azerbaijan, Afag Rizayeva) to research the effects on wildlife of the Soviet Union’s collapse, and of climate change on species distribution across the same region.

Now highly qualified, and still determined to use his knowledge to conserve the wildlife of his home country, we congratulate Yuri on securing a research position in the Department of Zoology and Genetics at Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia. He will be teaching zoology and ecology classes and says, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to impart the knowledge I gained at WildCRU during the Diploma to benefit the younger generation.”

  • Yuri and Afag
  • Yuri during fieldwork