Durrell’s flagship course helps next generation of conservationists hit the ground running
What do you get when you combine a bio-monitoring officer from Cameroon, a wildlife response unit manager from Indonesia, a veterinary officer from Nepal and a field biologist from Haiti?
The answer? An exciting mix of experience, knowledge and passion for wildlife from a group of people who will be part of the next generation of conservationists responsible for saving endangered species from extinction.
Pius Khumbah from Cameroon, Kholis Munawar from Indonesia, Jeewan Thapa from Nepal and Enold Louis-Jean from Haiti are just four of the 14 people from all over the world who have embarked on a 12-week course to gain the Durrell Endangered Species Management Graduate Certificate (DESMAN).
The course is run annually at Durrell’s International Training Centre in Jersey and is the centre’s flagship conservation training course. The 2012 intake have just arrived and will leave in three months’ time equipped to run projects in their own countries and make a tangible difference to conservation.
As well as the latest theory and practice of conservation biology and vital field research techniques, the students will receive training in project management, leadership training and specialist facilitation skills, all of which are a key part of dealing with project teams and stakeholders.
The other students on this year’s DESMAN course represent the Dominican Republic, Mauritius, Philippines, Montserrat, Columbia, China and Finland, Madagascar, Seychelles and Sri Lanka.
Two of the students are already involved in ongoing Durrell projects and demonstrate how the course can make a real difference on the ground. One is Lloydie Martin, a Department of Environment research officer in Montserrat, who collects vital data for the critically endangered Mountain Chicken project. He said: “The motivation for participating in this course is to enhance my knowledge and share my experiences with colleagues. I hope to gain more practical and theoretical knowledge that can be filtered into our annual working activities.”
The other is Pedro Martinez Calcano, from Dominican Republic, the field project manager for the “Last Survivor Project”, which is working to save the last two endemic species of Hispaniolan land mammals, the solenodon and hutia. Pedro said: “I feel that as a Dominican, it is my duty to try my best to prevent their extinction. I feel honoured to have the opportunity to attend the Durrell International Training Centre and get the management and critical thinking skills required to help protect these two animals.”
As with everyone who passes through Durrell’s training programmes, the DESMAN participants will join the Durrell Conservation Learning Network. Durrell are also now using the DESMAN course as a tool to select exceptionally promising candidates for further training, in order that they may help them to develop into the conservation leaders of the future.
Posted 14 March 2012