WildCRU conservation capacity building in action

August 1, 2023

WildCRU’s Postgraduate Diploma in International Wildlife Conservation Practice is designed to provide aspiring young conservationists with training in many aspects of practical conservation. Aiming to select the most talented and least privileged applicants, full scholarships are provided to eligible candidates. 120 students from 47 countries have completed the Diploma so far – almost all from the ‘Global South’ and nearly half from Africa. Graduates from the course have gone on to play significant roles in wildlife conservation, in academia, international organisations and national governments.

Each year WildCRU identifies a few outstanding Diploma alumni, and sometimes other young conservation professionals, for additional scholarships to assist in their career development. Four of the 2022 WildCRU Diploma students were supported – Karma Choki from Bhutan, Harifetra Andrianandrianina Laza from Madagascar, Rocio Bardales Zegarra from Peru and Tsyon Asfaw from Ethiopia.

Karma used the scholarship to continue her study on spatial interactions between threatened small felids in the mountains of Bhutan – a research project she began at WildCRU. Harifetra was able to complete his manuscript on the effects of African Swine Fever on bearded pig and Sunda clouded leopard occupancy in Sabah, Borneo. Rocio completed her paper about the effects of 2020 wildfires on mammals in part of Brazil’s Pantanal, while Tyson completed analysis and writing-up of her study on large carnivores in Ethiopia’s Omo National Park.

WildCRU is also piloting an ‘Inclusivity Accelerator’ fund to help support a few individuals from our network of collaborators and contributors. The Accelerator has a particular focus on recognizing and safeguarding local expertise and Indigenous knowledge. Funds can be allocated to cover a variety of activities and resources, including publication costs, travel to workshops, conference attendance, academic visits and equipment such as laptops – all of which contribute significantly to conservationists’ career development. Recent awards have included finance for WildCRU Diploma Alumna Leticia Benavalli to attend a crucial workshop in Brazil, and equipment for Mohammad Aliyuddin Bin Jaini in recognition of his invaluable indigenous knowledge and contribution to our field team in Sabah, Borneo. Travel and conference costs were also covered for Dr Girma Eshete from Ethiopia, Wiston Mtandamo from Tanzania, Liomba-Junior Mathe and Dr Lovemore Sibanda from Zimbabwe to attend WildCRU’s international conference on Human Wildlife Conflict and Coexistence in Oxford.

We are delighted to be able to support these outstanding individuals and look forward to seeing their conservation impact progress.