Championing the ugly

Graduates from this year’s EDGE Conservation Tools training course are well on their way to becoming champions for some of the world’s ugliest, and most extraordinary, species… 

Each year, as part of the EDGE Fellowship programme, ZSL runs an EDGE Conservation Tools training course, bringing together early-career conservationists from around the globe working on mammal, amphibian and coral EDGE species. Based in the Coast Province of Kenya, eight international and five Kenyan participants joined experts from ZSL, Coastal Oceans Research and Development in the Indian Ocean (CORDIO) and Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) for four action packed weeks of intensive training in the tools required to design, implement and manage successful conservation projects.

Whilst learning about the fundamental principles underpinning marine and terrestrial conservation science, participants had the opportunity to develop their practical skills by undertaking locally relevant fieldwork such as surveying the waters of Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park for EDGE corals and deploying camera traps in Shimba Hills National Reserve. By sharing experiences, interacting with local communities, and visiting successful conservation initiatives, participants also gained an appreciation of some of the challenges and innovative solutions to conservation.

All of the participants successfully completed the course and eight of the participants are now eligible to become EDGE Fellows. With the continuing support of ZSL, EDGE Fellows spearhead conservation action for some of the most neglected EDGE species. Working across Africa, Asia and Latin America, the upcoming EDGE Fellows will champion bizarre species like the pygmy three-toed sloth, the Togo slippery frog, and Horastrea coral, proving that these animals are not too ugly to be saved.

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