EDGE fellows arrive in London

by ZSL on

From footless amphibians to monkey-eating eagles, the Zoological Society of London welcomes the EDGE conservationists, who protect some of the world’s weirdest and wonderful species.

The EDGE of Existence programme spotlights Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered animals and prioritises their protection by helping aspiring conservationists in developing countries take the lead at a grass-roots level. 

Seven EDGE fellows working for one-of-a-kind animal species across seven different countries have come together as part of a two week conservation leadership course at ZSL. The course will provide them with the skills necessary to scale up their projects following the end of their fellowship.  

The fellows, from the 2015-2017 cohort, are learning conflict resolution, communication, fundraising and project leadership skills, as well as having the opportunity to collaborate with ZSL conservation experts.

Meet the Fellows!

EDGE fellow Carlos Ignacio Roesler
Carlos 'Kini' Ignacio Roesler, Hooded Grebe, Argentina
Since its discovery in 1974, the Hooded Grebe has suffered population declines of over 80% with fewer than 1000 left in the wild. Carlos (‘Kini’) is using solar-powered tags, citizen science, and traditional field surveys to determine the threats that affect these birds during their annual migration across Argentina, to resolve how these might be mitigated.

 



Basil Mashanga is working with Sagalla caecilian in Kenya
Basil Mashanga, Sagalla caecilians, Kenya
The Taita Hills in Kenya contain many threatened endemic species including the Sagalla caecilian, a limbless burrowing amphibian, endangered by loss of indigenous forest. Basil is leading widespread native tree replanting schemes to reconnect disparate forest fragments, whilst training farmers in sustainable water and soil management to prevent further degradation.

 


Robin Ramdeen working with Mountainous star coral in Monserrat
Robin Ramdeen, Mountainous star coral, Monserrat
The mountainous star coral provides critical habitat for important fishery species, but population declines of 50% over the last 30 years look set to continue. Robin is assessing the health of colonies and engaging local communities in the importance of coral for marine livelihoods.

 


José Alfredo Hernández Díaz collecting Taylor's Salamander in Mexico
José Alfredo Hernández Díaz, Taylor’s salamander, Mexico
Taylor’s salamander is endemic to the highly saline and alkaline waters of Lake Alchichica in central Mexico but is threatened by water extraction and pollution from human waste and agrochemicals. Alfredo is identifying negative effects associated with these threats and evaluating the presence of infectious diseases.

 


Micaela Camino, EDGE fellow
Micaela Camino, Chacoan peccary, Argentina
The Chacoan peccary is a pig-like mammal that inhabits hot, semi-arid forest and steppe environments. It is severely threatened by habitat loss, hunting, disease and predation. Micaela is working closely with local communities to build a local framework for its conservation.

 


Esteban Brenes-Mora is currently working on Tapir Research in Costa Rica
Esteban Brenes-Mora, Baird's Tapir, Costa Rica
Baird’s tapir is a primitive mammal that has changed very little in the last 35 million years, but there are now thought to be fewer than 5,000 left in the wild. Esteban aims to establish the population status and ecology of Baird’s tapir in the highlands of Costa Rica, to determine road mitigations and inform national conservation policies.

 


Kahlil Panopio, EDGE fellow
Kahlil Panopio, Philippine Eagle, Philippines
The majestic Philippine eagle is one of the world’s largest, most powerful birds of prey, yet each pair requires an area of forest bigger than the city of Oxford to rear a single chick, so deforestation is a huge threat. Kahlil is collecting distribution, range, habitat, breeding and prey data, vital for declaring the Mingan Mountains a ‘Critical Habitat’. 


EDGE fellows Alfredo Hernandez Basil Mashanga Diaz Kini Roesler Kahlil Panopio Robin Ramdeen Esteban Mora  Micaela Camino
EDGE fellows Alfredo Hernandez Basil Mashanga Diaz Kini Roesler Kahlil Panopio Robin Ramdeen Esteban Mora Micaela Camino

Since it began in 2007, the EDGE of Existence programme has supported 58 EDGE Fellows, across 33 countries, to protect and conserve 54 lesser-known species. 

The programme ensures that conservation resources are focused on species where limited research has been done or that currently received little or no conservation attention, so that the future of our most weird, wonderful and evolutionarily distinct species can be secured.

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