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New York Learns About Wildlife Awareness & Hunting in Belize


In past months, we’ve shared the work being done in Belize towards understanding game hunting and human-wildlife conflict.

These research-efforts are significant to Belize because they feed important information into the development of suitable management strategies that would be assist in achieving conservation goals while considering social needs. But, why is the concrete jungle of New York interested in wildlife awareness and hunting in Belize?

In early October, the American Museum of Natural History’s Center for Biodiversity and Conservation and its partners hosted the fourth annual Student Conference on Conservation Science in New York (SCCS-NY). The conference invites students and professionals working in the field of conservation to present their work and encourages interaction among researchers.

Yahaira Urbina, ERI-Panthera Wildlife Biologist was invited to give a talk during the conference. Her talk entitled “Wildlife awareness and hunting in Belize” focused on the level of awareness of wildlife laws, and the hunting activities in the country. This is based on the results of a nationwide survey of jaguar conflict, hunting and knowledge of wildlife laws; 3000 interviews, representing 4% of all Belizean households were conducted through funding from the Darwin Initiative Project.

Yahaira recalls the experience: I believe that the SCCS-NY gives young conservation professionals, like myself, the opportunity to present our findings and learn about the new cutting edge technology being used in the field. I was intrigued by the different techniques used both in the terrestrial and marine sectors to study the animal behavior. The study I found the most interesting was entitled, “A historical and modern approach to population assessments of the deep sea Nautilus” by Gregory Barord. He estimated the populations of Nautilus in different countries and also, video their interactions at each site. Besides presenting, the conference also gave me the opportunity to attend a workshop “Scientific teaching-toolbox” led by Dr. Ana Luz Porzecanski. Hence, I consider the conference to be a platform for learning and sharing information among young and experienced conservationists.

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