Funded in part by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and supported by the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), this leadership programme dubbed CLiC is an opportunity for up-and-coming conservation professionals in the Wider Caribbean to gain invaluable skills and experience working with proven conservation leaders. The ZSTT is also contributing in this regard with its conservation adviser, Nadra Nathai-Gyan serving as one of the leaders and as coordinator for the programme alongside other renowned conservationists associated with the region.
In addition to three training sessions over a two-year period, fellows will work in teams to design, implement and evaluate selected projects in biodiversity conservation for sustainable development in the Caribbean. Already, the focus is on endemics, endangered, migratory and invasive species and critical habitats, several of which fall under the radar of the ZSTT. “Protecting the endangered leatherback turtles at Manzanilla and manatees and their habitats at Nariva is an integral part of what the ZSTT does and our rescue programme at the Zoo is well known and subscribed,” said Gupte Lutchmedial, President of the ZSTT as he explained being invested in the programme. As Lutchemedial further said, “We are a learning organisation and capacity development of staff members is beneficial to carrying out the work we do effectively.” Fellows will have access to qualified training experts who will help guide them on this journey and who will provide one-on-one mentoring, networking opportunities and career development.
Kelvin Alie, a CLiC leader and Wildlife Trade Programme Director at IFAW shared this view: “This programme directly addresses the critical need for a new generation of wildlife and conservation leaders throughout the Caribbean and Latin America who as today’s young leaders do not have adequate access to opportunities to experience and practice conservation in areas such as development, communications or grassroots activities.”