The Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) recently announced this year’s award-winning projects. Through these awards, 30 teams of conservationists in 19 countries around the world will receive CLP funding for projects as diverse as wild yak conservation on the Tibetan Plateau and ecosystem threat assessments in Mexico’s tropical rainforests. In this guest blog from the staff of Peruvian NGO ProDelphinus, the authors discuss their work to educate local people about seabird conservation in Peru.
Our project is taking place in Piura in northern Peru, a region with the highest number of fishermen and fishing boats in the country. Local fishermen always encounter seabirds during their fishing trips, yet they have little knowledge about the current status of and threats to seabird populations and the importance of their conservation. Through this project, we will raise awareness about seabirds and will educate local community members on how to contribute to our conservation efforts. This work has been financed by the CLP and the Darwin Initiative.
It’s our first time coordinating a project like this, and we are very excited about it. We are conducting training courses, talks and workshops for local communities in Piura. Our audience includes children, teenagers and adults; we want them to be able to continue with sustainable actions in their towns, especially in environmental education, scientific research and the conservation of seabird populations and their habitat.
Recently we were joined by Phil Doherty, a British student getting his master’s in conservation and biodiversity at the University of Exeter. Phil came to complete his thesis on shark fisheries in Peru and to participate in the seabird project.
Here’s what he had to say about his experience with us in the field:
“Recently I had the chance to head north to Constante, a port a few hours from Piura, to participate in some survey work aboard a fishing trip. These surveys consist of disembarking from the port for several hours to the fishing grounds to lay the nets, waiting overnight and then hauling in the nets early in the morning. The surveys are conducted to review the catch taken by these gillnet fisheries in order to understand the make-up of the take and to investigate potential methods to mitigate against seabird bycatch.
“I am sure that with all the specific and vital information that observers aboard these trips have gathered to assess the fishing activity — identification of species caught, measurements, and photographs and samples of animals — ProDelphinus will be able to build an important catalogue of information about this and other fisheries.”
Nadia Balducci and Natalia Ortiz work for ProDelphinus in Lima, Peru. The Conservation Leadership Programme is a partnership of CI, BirdLife International, Fauna & Flora International and the Wildlife Conservation Society. All award-winning team members will become part of the CLP alumni network that supports approximately 3,500 conservation leaders. Read other guest blogs from CLP award winners.