It is with great pleasure that we announce the winners of the 2019 Conservation Leadership Programme Team Awards! This year’s award-winning projects will take place in Latin America with thanks to Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin and the Global Trees Campaign. Our 2019 projects, which focus on marine and tree species, include:
- Spatial ecology and conservation of hammerheads (Sphyrna zygaena) in Peru
- Enabling support for sharks in the Miskito Cays of Honduras
- Population dynamics of greenheart in Guyana
In Tumbes, northern Peru, a team of young leaders will use CLP project funding to identify key habitat that is important in the life cycle of smooth hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna zygaena) and gain knowledge on seasonal movement patterns through the use of acoustic tags and receivers. This region is thought to be a potential nursery site for hammerheads, with juveniles frequently captured for commercial sale. The team will work with fishing communities to encourage improved fisheries management to help shark conservation. The project will access support and information from Migramar, a network working across the Eastern Pacific, to build a clear picture of the distribution of sharks and other species in the region. News of the award came as a pleasant surprise to project leader Claudia Ampuero who shared, “I saw your message when I was on the bus. I did not know what to do with so much emotion, whether to stay still or hug the stranger who was by my side. This is a great opportunity to develop our skills in what we love the most: sharks. We are eager to start!”
Another species of hammerhead – the great hammerheads (Sphyrna mokarran) – is one of the focal shark species of the CLP-funded project taking place around the Miskito Cays off the Caribbean coast of Honduras. Here, despite the declaration of a shark sanctuary in 2011, illegal and unregulated shark fishing remains a significant threat. The team plans to collect much-needed data on abundance, distribution and density of sharks and generate information to improve shark management. The team will also work with indigenous groups to promote attitudinal changes towards sharks and increase understanding of marine conservation. “I literally jumped off my chair as I read the email and proceeded to contact all team members!” explains team leader Gabriela Ochoa. “We are so happy to start this project on an incredibly remote and poorly known area, and work alongside fishers to improve management of sharks in the country.”
In Guyana, a team will be supporting the conservation of greenheart (Chlorocardium rodiei), which is one of Guyana’s most economically important timber species. The tree is highly valued and has been harvested since the 1700s due to the wood’s durable properties. The team will set out to better understand the spatial distribution of greenheart and provide data to help determine whether the species, currently listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List, is threatened and to promote its sustainable use and conservation. Upon learning about their award, team leader Sherica Isaacs comments “We were dumbstruck! This raises new horizons for forest management and conservation in Guyana.”
Details of these award-winning projects can be found on the Latest Projects page of our website.