Monday, February 28, 2011

DURRELL WILDLIFE TRUST NEWS (UK)

Image courtesy of the Durrell Wildlife Trust

Durrell welcomes students from across the globe to participate in annual DESMAN course

Durrell’s International Training Centre has recently welcomed eleven students representing a number of worldwide projects to participate in the internationally acclaimed DESMAN course.

The Durrell Endangered Species Management Graduate Certificate (DESMAN) is Durrell’s flagship conservation training course. Run annually, this twelve week course is aimed at equipping conservationists with a full suite of skills which will enable them to run conservation projects in their own countries.

Successful conservation projects require management by individuals who can display excellent leadership and management skills. DESMAN participants receive training in the latest theory and practice of conservation biology along with vital field research techniques. Equally importantly, they receive project management and leadership training to enable them to successfully run conservation projects when they return to their own countries.

The students also receive specialist training in facilitation skills, the objective of which is to help them work together in teams as well as learning how to interact effectively and to avoid conflict when dealing with a wide range of different stakeholders.

Ramesh Chand was a DESMAN course participant in 2010, and following this he successfully applied for a small grant from Durrell to help with a breeding programme for the Monoriki Crested Iguana. In addition to the invaluable training Ramesh received, Durrell also helped fund specialist equipment for the project which has recently announced a 100% success rate in the captive breeding of this critically endangered species.

Speaking about the experience Ramesh said “Being selected to further my studies in the Endangered Species Management (DESMAN 2010) was of tremendous benefit not only to me but to the endangered and very rare wildlife of Fiji. A 100% captive breeding success has been achieved in this first breeding attempt and the knowledge gained during my studies at Durrell ITC has helped me greatly in this breeding programme and also in the work I do at Kula Eco Park.”

As with everyone who passes through Durrell’s training programmes, the DESMAN participants will join the Durrell Conservation Learning Network. Commenting on the achievements of the International Training Centre Durrell’s Jamie Copsey said “We have now trained over 2700 people from 128 countries. Through the network, our graduates are able to receive support from both Durrell and also from each other. We support our graduates with the opportunity to apply for a range of small grants, which enable them to start up conservation projects or further build their own capacity.

Durrell are now using the DESMAN course as a tool to select exceptionally promising candidates for further training, in order that they may help them to develop into the conservation leaders of the future.

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