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2016 Wildlife Warriors!

Our admissions’ team raises funds to help save animals in the wild through the sales of colorful wildlife bracelets guests can buy at the entrance to the Zoo.  In 2015, the Zoo established a conservation hero award program to use the bracelet funds to recognize and enhance the outstanding staff employed by the Zoo’s existing conservation partners. The program, named Wildlife Warriors, has just awarded four new 2016 Wildlife Warriors from our conservation projects in developing countries. All of the warriors honored were carefully chosen by the Zoo’s admissions’ team. The award is designed to increase the recipient’s conservation community network and inspire empowerment by providing opportunities to gain further education through training or experiences.

The 2016 Wildlife Warriors are from our partner projects all over the world saving lions, orangutans, and hirola antelope. Here are this year’s winners.

Eusebio Waiti: Niassa Carnivore Project

Eusebio calls the lions his family and over this period he has changed from a very experienced hunter to a conservationist.  He frequently speaks up at community meetings about his experiences and his belief that conservation holds the future for his community; a difficult thing to do when so few believe in conservation and there is so much resistance to stopping illegal resource use.  Recently at a monthly staff meeting he said to all our staff “We are from the villages here, we are the ones that have to speak to our families and our people about why it is important to conserve them not Mama and Papa Nculi.  It has to come from us and this is important for our future”.

Eusebio would like to take a computer course and visit more conservation programs where communities are involved in conservation, ecotourism, and human wildlife conflict to broaden his experience.

Eddie bin Ahmad: HUTAN Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Program

Initially Eddie was following wild habituated orang-utans at the intensive KOCP study site.  His enthusiasm, personal interest and curiosity were remarkable. Eddie then started to learn remote sensing techniques, such as GIS and other softwares.  After a few years, Eddie started to develop his own unit, the KOCP GIS Unit, which he still leads today.

Eddie would like to travel to Australia to learn some of the latest applications of camera trapping for biodiversity monitoring.

Luke Maamai: Lion Guardians

Luke has been working with Lion Guardians since 2008 and has dedicated his life to conserving lions and preserving cultures. Luke is the Program Manager for Lion Guardians and supervises over 50 staff on the ground, including training non-literate Guardians, all data collection and analysis, conflict-mitigation on the ground (e.g., stopping lion hunts), and all HR matters.

Luke would like to attend leadership seminars in Nairobi and would love to travel to other sites and learn from others working in conflict situations.

Ali Hassan: Hirola Conservation Project

aliHis story is unusual not because he is the only non-Somali member of the team, but because he hails from a bush meat dependent family. Surprisingly and without the mentorship of any individual, Ali innately became a passionate conservationist fighting many battles with poachers some of which are near death experiences across the hirola’s geographic range.

Ali would like further training in wildlife monitoring, anti-poaching skills and working with communities.