The fourth class of twenty-two Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL) graduated successfully December 2012. EWCL IV’s class consisted of 22 emerging conservationists, including four international participants from Brazil, Ethiopia, Mongolia, and St. Vincent. The participants represented 18 different non-profit conservation organizations, one state wildlife agency, two federal wildlife divisions, and one university wildlife program.
EWCL Board members and participants chose numerous training topics as priority knowledge and skills to be addressed in the three sessions by specialists in the leadership and conservation fields. At the closing Washington D.C. session in December 2012, the EWCL Board of Directors and World Wildlife Fund hosted a luncheon for participants, Board Members, and current leaders and peers in the wildlife conservation community who represented a wide array of expertise from the NGO, private, and government sectors. Additional networking and mentoring over the course of the two-year class was made possible by one-on-one mentoring sessions with EWCL Board of Directors members and EWCL Alumni Group members.
In addition to the training workshops, participants’ designed, implemented, and evaluated an international wildlife conservation campaign. EWCL participants partnered directly with conservation organizations to work on the following issues: (1) Curbing the unsustainable trade in slow lorises coming from Southeast Asia to meet Western exotic pet demand; (2) Lessening conflict between pastoralists and African lions in Eastern Kenya through education and community-based citizen-science initiatives; (3) Addressing the over-exploitation of radiated tortoises in Madagascar through education and outreach; and (4) Developing guidelines to reform current bat guano mining practices that disturb roosting bat colonies. This EWCL class directly raised $33,811 for conservation, and nearly equal that in in-kind support for wildlife programs.