Alumni Accomplishments 2021

February 19, 2020

Many congratulations to all our alumni on their impressive achievements this year, which have been featured in our 2021 newsletter issues.

Issue: December 2021

Julie Razafimanahaka (2004 Future Conservationist Award-winner and 2020 Kate Stokes Memorial Award-winner, Madagascar) has won the Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa 2021. Julie was shortlisted for the award along with another CLP alum, Dr Caleb Ofori-Boateng. CLP attended the Tusk Awards ceremony in London on Monday 22nd November, where Julie and Caleb were presented with their accolades by Tusk patron, HRH Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge.

Paola Nogales Ascarrunz (2020 Future Conservationist Award-winner, Bolivia) has started an MSc in Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics at Queen Mary University of London, funded by a Chevening Scholarship awarded to her by the UK government.

Dr Iroro Tanshi (2020 Future Conservationist Award-winner, Nigeria) successfully defended her PhD dissertation: “Drivers of Diversity Patterns and Ensemble Structure of Forest Understory Insectivorous Bats Along Elevation Gradients in an Afrotropical Biodiversity Hotspot” in October 2021 and was awarded her doctorate in December 2021. Her PhD was based at Texas Tech University in the US, supervised by CLP alumna Professor Tigga Kingston.

Joanna Alfaro Shigueto has won 2021 Continuation Funding from the Whitley Fund for Nature.

Kulbhushansingh Suryawanshi (2020 Leadership Award-winner, India) has started a new six-month fellowship in Berlin with the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Institute for Advanced Studies. The current cohort includes people from the fine arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. “It is wonderful to interact with people from different disciplines, especially since the Pandemic,” says Kullu.

Vikram Aditya (2014 Future Conservationist Award-winner, India) received a $1000 grant from the Katie Adamson Conservation Fund as emergency support for his work on pangolin hunting during the pandemic.

Gabriela Ochoa (2019 Future Conservationist Award-winner, Honduras) reports that their Honduran NGO ILILI has been invited to join the Mesoamerican Reef Chondrichthyans Network (MAR-CHON), a group of marine researchers and conservationists who are working together regionally towards the conservation of Chondrichthyans (the sharks, skates, rays, and chimaeras). CLP team member Ely is the new Executive Director of the Utila Branch of the Bay Island Conservation Association, Honduras, and is now part of IUCN Shark Specialist Group.

Eter Maghradze (2020 Future Conservationist Award-winner, Georgia) reports that, since the beginning of the project, the CLP project team has found a total of seven new species (one species of beetle, diplura, isopoda and two species of harvestmen and centipedes) from which they already have described and published one article and plan to publish more.

Eter has also become a doctoral student in Romania. She will study at the Emil Racovita Institute of Speleology. The Institute is the first one in the world focused on cave research and was founded by the enterprising, well-known scientist Emil Racovita (1868-1947), biologist, polar explorer and pioneer of Biospeleology.

Eter and her team has also received an Institutional Grant from Ilia State University (Tbilisi, Georgia), which will fund a new project “Invertebrate Taxonomy, Fauna and Ecology of Potentially Endangered Khvamli Karst Massif Caves” involving CLP project team members and advisors.

Bayron Calle-Rendón (2017 Future Conservationist Award-winner, Brazil) received a grant (£5,998) from the Rufford Foundation to conduct a project aiming to assess the conservation status of primates in Urabá, Colombia. This area is important, as it is within the distribution area of two threatened primates: the cotton-top tamarin (Saguinus oedipus-CR), and the Colombian black spider monkey (Ateles fusciceps rufiventris-VU).

Issue: September 2021

Cynthia Layusa has been awarded the 2021 Marsh Award for Terrestrial Conservation Leadership and Rafid Shidqi has received the 2021 Marsh Award for Early Career Conservation.

Rodrigo Costa Araújo and his team at the Conservation of Amazon Marmosets Project in Brazil have discovered a species of Amazon marmoset completely new to science. Schneider’s marmoset (Mico schneideri), described in the latest issue of the journal Scientific Reports, is named after Professor Horacio Schneider, a pioneer and major contributor to the research of diversity and evolution of monkeys.

2021 Follow-Up award-winner Pedro Pereira and his team at the Reef Conservation Project in Brazil have helped steer the creation and publication of a new management plan to conserve threatened coral reefs in Brazil’s largest federal coastal marine conservation unit, the Costa dos Corais.

Kanisios Mukwashi has attained his PhD in Ecophysiology with the University of Bayreuth in Germany.

2020 Future Conservationist Award-winner, Sihar Aditia Silalahi, has recently started a new full-time role as one of only three Indonesia Campaign Assistants for the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF). He will be working at the second-largest fisheries port in Indonesia.

Blanca Huertas has published the Checklist of Colombian Butterflies, which, for the first time, presents the complete list of the 3,643 butterfly species that are found in Colombia. The 300 page-long book is published online in English and Spanish, and it is free to access and download here: With this publication of the complete list of its butterfly fauna, Colombia is now officially recognised as having the most butterfly species of any country in the world.

Igor Joventino has finished a postdoc at the Federal University of Ceará, northeast Brazil. The main focus of his research was to increase the knowledge about natural history and taxonomy of amphibians in the most threatened region of Atlantic Forest in Brazil, a sub-biogeographical region called Pernambuco Endemism Center.

Minh Nguyen has received a 2021 WWF Russell E. Train Fellowship and a 2021 WCS Clive Marsh Conservation Scholarship (provided by the WCS Graduate Scholarship Program) to support her PhD studies at Colorado State University on Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology.

On May 23, 2021, a Romanian-Serbian team working on the transboundary protection of horseshoe bats, including  Branka Pejić, presented the results of their winter monitoring season in Đerdap National Park at an informal conference called “Second Meeting of Bat Enthusiasts” organized by the Center for Karst and Speleology. Budinski et al. (2021) Djerdap CLP

2021 Future Conservationist Award-winner, Owino Raymond, has been selected for a 2021 Graduate Student Award by the Society for Conservation Biology.

2021 Future Conservationist Award-winner, Germán Tettamanti and his team have received an Idea Wild grant.

Issue: May 2021

Iroro Tanshi (2020 CLP award-winner) has won a 2021 Whitley Fund for Nature Award.

A team of 2020 Future Conservationist Award-winners led by Eter Maghradze has discovered and described two new species of Harvestmen and one new species of beetle, along with new information on the Kurnakov’s ground beetle, in the Sataplia-Tskaltubo karst caves in Georgia. Team member Lado Shavadze has started working at the Institute of Zoology, Ilia State University to study taxonomy, systematics and phylogeny of Isopods living in caves, and another project member, Giorgi Bakuradze, recently started working at the Caucasus Nature Fund (CNF).

Bayron Calle-Rendón and Saulo Silvestre have successfully completed their PhDs.

Anirban Duttagupta and his team have been awarded seed funding by UNESCO-WNICBR for a project looking at reimagined sustainable livelihoods along the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve in Southern India. This project was written and proposed in collaboration with Surabhi Foundation.

Charles Emogor (2020 CLP award-winner) has been awarded a National Geographic Early Career Grant worth $9,965 for the ecological component of his PhD, entitled ‘Filling critical knowledge gaps on the ecology of the Endangered white-bellied pangolin (Phataginus tricuspis)’. He has also recently been appointed a WCS Conservation Fellow. On World Pangolin Day (20 February, 2021), Charles completed an 8-hour charity run around Cambridge, UK, dressed as a pangolin. At the time of writing, the run had raised almost $9k in donations to Save Pangolins.

Charles, along with 2020 Conservation Management & Leadership workshop participants, Sharnay Adams, Leizl Maritz and Oscar Mohale, and Stephen Aina (BirdLife Young Conservation Leaders), have all been listed in the first-ever Top 100 Youth Conservation Leaders Award. The award recognizes young African leaders under the age of 35 who have been actively involved over the last three years in impactful conservation work at community, national, or international levels in Africa. Those  listed will receive a tailored leadership programme to improve their capacity to lead and amplify their efforts in their current conservation work.

Eliana Fierro-Calderón started a new job at the American Bird Conservancy in January 2021. As the International Conservation Project Officer, she will be supporting partners, developing and managing projects to protect endangered species, including neotropical migratory birds in the tropics (with a focus in Colombia).

Hedelvy Guada and team at Venezualan NGO CICTMAR has begun an awareness raising campaign on social media (Twitter and Instagram) about the sea turtles in the San Esteban National Park, a protected area in the central coast of Venezuela (Carabobo State), where there are feeding and nesting areas for sea turtles.

Federico Kacoliris has set up a new NGO, the Fundación Somuncura, with the goal of conserving the Biodiversity of the Somuncura Plateau, with special emphasis on endemic and endangered species. The Foundation was originally borne out of the El Rincon-stream Frog project after gaining CLP backing, and this is among the main projects within the Foundation. More information can be found on the Facebook and Instagram pages (soon to be re-named to Fundación Somuncura).

Ms. Himani Singh Khati team member of a 2016 CLP vulture conservation project in Uttarakhand, India, has been awarded a conservation grant of USD 2500 from Hawk Watch International to work on the conservation of a Critically Endangered red-headed vulture in Uttarakhand. Khima Balodi will be supervising her in the project. She has also joined the Wildlife Institute of India, as a Junior Project Fellow. Other members of this same CLP team, Mr. Sunny Joshi and Ms. Neha Negi have been registered for their PhDs in Environmental Science at Doon University.

Kumar Paudel/Greenhood Nepal has created this video to raise awareness about the overexploitation of cancer-treating Maire’s yew trees (Taxus mairei) in Nepal. It is based on a fable that was originally published and shared with schoolchildren around the tree’s key habitats in Kavrepalanchok, Nepal. Moreover, Greenhood Nepal recently successfully lobbied the Government of Nepal to establish a Conservation Action Plan for Taxus spp. in Central Nepal.

Kumar Paudel has been named as a Pangolin Champion and awarded $10,000 by Save Pangolins to support his work fulfilling the data gap on the pangolin trade in Nepal, enhance public engagement in pangolins and strengthen conservation awareness of the people to inspire them to save pangolins.

Nikki Dyanne Realubit, Joni Acay, Willem van de Ven– the ORIS project initially established through CLP funding in 2012 (Future Conservation Award Project ID: 0399912) has obtained funding (~£1500) from the March Conservation Fund of Tides Foundation through the Oriental Bird Club and will be used to implement the pandemic version of the project FLY High: Fostering a Leading Youth in High Schools for the Isabela Oriole Conservation.

Rafid Shidqi developed a recent documentary of Thresher Shark Project Indonesia telling stories about conservation programs in Alor, Indonesia. Rafid also talked about at the Ultramarine Ocean Action Summit (3-5 Feb) on an ‘Ocean Solutions for Impact’ panel of entrepreneurs awarded grants through the Sustainable Ocean Alliance’s ocean solutions programme. was also featured on the front page of Oceanographic Magazine in the UK (issue #18).

A short film about the work of conservationist and CLP alumna, Purnima Devi Barman, called “The Stork Saviors” (created by the Bedi brothers) won an international NATOURALE award in the category ‘Nature Best Short’. The film showcases the tireless and innovative efforts of Purnima’s Hargila Army in India to save the Endangered greater adjutant stork.

Tess Gatan-Balbas received a 2020 Whitley Continuation Funding Award

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