Dr Ximena Velez-Liendo, the Bolivian powerhouse embodiment of the Chester Zoo/WildCRU partnership, and this year’s winner of the Whitley Award, is yet again breaking down barriers, as David Macdonald reports on her remarkable achievements at the highest levels of government in Bolivia
Dr Ximena Velez-Liendo has just presented the case for a new law to a MPs commission, which was approved (9 in favour, 1 against). Ximena’s law, as we might call it, will formally be called Ajayu’s law: the Andean bear is now part of Bolivian National Natural Heritage. It is named “Ajayu” (Spirit in Quechua), in honour of an Andean bear brutally beaten by people last year, and which is currently living in an animal sanctuary, completely blind. The new law will declare the Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) part of Bolivia’s National Natural Heritage, and seeks to protect the species to the maximum level possible. The next step will see Ximena’s law passed to the House of Senate, and then President Evo Morales will formally present it to all Bolivians. WildCRU strives to have impact, and Ximena’s work is amongst our proudest flagships.