Program

We have identified eight conservationists with decades of expe­rience in coordinating wildlife reintroduction projects in different continents.

During two days these “rein­troduction maestros” will share their hard-won lessons with the other seven guest speakers plus a wide audience composed of senior and young conservationists.

Each speaker will have 80 minutes to present the main challenges and lessons identified during their work as managers of conser­vation translocations and rewilding projects. All presentations will reflect on how to plan reintroductions, the best ways to garner public support and manage conflicts, how to manage reintroduced animals and their habitats, monitoring and evaluation, and how to construct effective reintroduction teams and organizations.

During these presentations the other guest speakers will be able to present specific questions to the speaker, creating a feeling of “round table” and rapid exchange of ideas. After each presentation there will be room for more questions and exchanges from an audi­ence that will also include managers of reintroduction programs and young conservationists from different countries.

On the third day we’ll organize a field trip that will allow for further exchange of ideas and networking among guest speakers and participants.

Speakers

Ignacio Jiménez coordinated research and management projects with manatees in Costa Rica and Nicaragua and with golden-crowned sifakas in Madagascar, worked on wetlands and protected areas in El Salvador, and coordinated and published a national assessment of the Spanish experience in endangered species recovery. He worked for Conservation Land Trust in Argentina between 2005 and 2018, where he designed and coordinated the reintroduction of giant anteater, pampas deer, tapir, peccary, green-winged macaw, maned wolf, and jaguar. He spent 2016 in South Africa in order to learn about how public and private organizations in Africa manage and integrate nature reserves, rewilding and ecotourism. In 2018 Ignacio started collaborating with Brazilian organizations to establish two large conservation landscapes in the Atlantic Forest and Pantanal. He lives in Spain where he coordinates a project aimed to establish or expand protected areas in that country. His main theme of interest is institutional ecology: learning how to design institutions and organizations to improve social and biodiversity outcomes. This is the subject of his upcoming book “Effective Conservation: parks, rewilding and local development”. Ignacio is member of the IUCN Conservation Translocation Group, and a National Geographic Explorer.

Mike serves as the Director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund (TESF). From 1986–1994, he was the Field Coordinator for the Red Wolf Recovery Program. He also played a key role in the return of gray wolves to the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, serving as Project Leader for the wolf restoration effort from its inception in 1994 until 1997. In 2006 Mike entered the political arena through election to the Montana legislature as the representative for House District 66, Bozeman. Shortly thereafter, Mike founded the Montana Legislative Climate Change Caucus. In 2009, Mike was elected as the Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. As director of TEF he has coordinated conservation translocation projects for more than eight species in different regions of the United States, including bison, desert Bighorn Sheep, black-footed ferrets, aplomado falcons, red-cockaded woodpeckers and bolson tortoises. By design, Mike’s career in conservation biology and politics is an atypical amalgamation of timely innovations based on strategic thinking, risk taking, and decisive and effective action to redress the extinction crisis. In 2021 Mike became the 72nd recipient of the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award, the highest honor bestowed since 1950 by The Wildlife Society for a distinguished career of service to wildlife conservation.
Markus is a qualified wildlife veterinarian with a certificate in business leadership. He is one of the most experienced translocation conservationists in Africa. He played a leading role in Operation Phoenix in Madikwe Game Reserve, where more than 8000 animals were translocated to restore a group of abandoned farms and turn them into a wild reserve that hosts most of its original species, including large predators and megaherbivores. After this, Markus worked as Head of Veterinary Wildlife Services at South African National Parks for 18 years, which allowed him to plan, coordinate and implement dozens of conservation translocation operations. He later moved to Botswana to work for Great Plains Foundation and is presently acting as Program Officer of Wildlife Conservation & Trade Portfolio for the Oak Foundation. Markus also serves as Director of the Rhino Recovery Fund for Wildlife Conservation Network where he helps fund projects that will result in rhino recovery through landscape level interventions, community ownership and rhino guardianship support. Through all these years he has been personally responsible (and with the teams he has worked with) of the capture, transport and release of more than 5000 wild animals.
Originally from Catalonia, Deli Saavedra is Head of Landscapes of Rewilding Europe since 2012. He started his career as field biologist in charge of the reintroduction of Eurasian otters in North-eastern Spain. He has worked as a consultant in nature conservation during the last twenty-five years, coordinating the reintroduction of seven mammal and bird species in Europe, including Cinereous vulture, Eurasian otter, white stork, red deer, fallow deer and kulan, restoring as well herbivory as ecological process through the reintroduction of horses, bovines and water buffalos in wild or semi-wild conditions. He is the president of Sol Solidari (foundation for environmental cooperation in Africa) and member of the Conservation Translocation Specialist Group of IUCN.
Originally from Wales, Carl has played a leading role in one of the most successful global efforts to restore critically endangered species. As Durrell’s Chief Scientist and Scientific Director of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, he has used captive breeding and reintroductions to save from extinction the Mauritius Kestrel, Echo Parakeet, Pink Pigeon, Mauritius Olive White-eye and several others. Jones and colleagues at MWF have also led some of the most innovative experiences in the use of conservation translocations to introduce large island tortoises to play the ecological role of extinct species, in what is known as tortoise rewilding. They have also restored dozens of endemic plants to previously denuded islets. Carl was presented with the Ridder of the Golden Ark, by Prince Bernard of the Netherlands, and was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire for the conservation of endangered species on Mauritius. He also won the prestigious Indianapolis Prize in 2016.
John Kanowski is an applied ecologist with extensive experience in rainforest ecology and restoration. Since 2008, John has worked for Australian Wildlife Conservancy, first as Regional Ecologist, and – since 2014 – overseeing AWC’s science program. As Chief Science Officer, John works with a team of 60 ecologists to develop and implement AWC’s programs of ecological monitoring, research, conservation land management and threatened species reintroductions. As part of his role, John has planned and coordinated the reintroduction of 15 threatened mammal species to five rewilding projects in Australia, including quolls, numbats, bandicoots, betongs and wallabies. He regularly engages with AWC’s partners, supporters, government agencies and the public to communicate AWC’s conservation science program.
Sofía Heinonen and Sebastián Di Martino serve as CEO and conservation director for Rewilding Argentina, respectively. Both are biologists with three decades of experience managing wildlife and protected areas in that country. Sofía worked in several Argentinean conservations NGOs before joining the National Park Service, mostly in Iguaçu National Park. Sebastián spent several years coordinating the management of protected areas for the Province of Neuquén, in Argentina Patagonia. In 2005 Sofía joined Douglas and Kristine Tompkins to establish the Iberá Program for the Conservation Land Trust Argentina (presently known as Rewilding Argentina), and has acted as CEO since then. The Iberá Program established Argentina’s largest park and started the largest reintroduction program for a single landscape in the Americas. In 2015 Sebastián replaced Ignacio Jiménez (see above) as rewilding coordinator and today he manages a team of more than 40 people. Sofía, Sebastián and their team are presently managing the reintroduction of 14 wildlife species, including jaguars, giant otters, pampas deer, giant anteaters, collared peccaries, green-winged macaws, and bare-faced curassows. They will jointly present their experience managing reintroduction processes under different roles.
Yadvendradev V. Jhala is dean and senior professor for the Wildlife Institute of India, and one of the country’s top conservationists. He advises the National Tiger Conservation Authority on the strategy of reintroduction and supplementation of tigers across the country. Genetic analysis conducted by his research team has identified tiger source populations for supplementation and reintroductions across different landscapes of India. Jhala has been appointed by the Supreme Court as an expert on the governmental committee for the reintroduction of Asiatic lions to commence a second population. This includes developing the action plan for reintroducing Asiatic lions to Kuno National Park from Gir Protected Area. Jhala is the principal investigator on the reintroduction of the wild water buffalo into Kanha Tiger Reserve and the recovery program for the critically endangered Great Indian Bustard. This last program includes a conservation breeding facility with the aim to reintroduce these birds in suitable habitats. He is also the principal investigator on the Indian Government’s ambitious project to reintroduce the extinct cheetah in India. This would be the first intercontinental translocation of a big cat and the animals are scheduled to arrive in India from Africa by the end of 2021. He has received several national and international awards for his work in science and conservation

Schedule

Monday May 23rd

Official opening (8:30-8:50)

Introduction to the meeting by Ignacio Jiménez (8:50-9:10)

Reintroductions in North America by Mike Phillips (9:20-11:00)

Coffee break (11:00-11:20)

Reintroductions in Argentina by Sofía Heinonen and Sebastián Di Martino (11:20-13:00)

Lunch (13:00-15:00)

Reintroductions in Europe by Deli Saavedra (15:00-16:30)

Coffee break  (16:30-16:50)

Reintroductions in oceanic islands (the Mascarenes) by Carl Jones (16:50-18:30)

Tuesday May 24th

Reintroductions in India by Yadvendradev V. Jhala  (9:00-10:50)

Coffee break (10:50-11:10)

Reintroductions in Australia by John Kanowski (11:10-13:00)

Lunch (13:00-15:00)

Reintroductions in Africa by Markus Hofmeyr (15:00-16:40)

Coffee break (16:40-17:00)

Top issues to manage effective reintroduction programs by Ignacio Jiménez and the reintroduction maestros (session open to a wider audience) (16:00-18:30)

Gala dinner and party! (20:00)

Wednesday May 25th

Access to aquarium for visits or group meetings (9:00-12:00)

Paella lunch at the Albufera Natural Park (one of Spain’s main wetlands) and more networking (12:00-16:00)

Thursday May 26th

Full day field trip to Tinença Natural Park—wild mountain landscape sited two hours from Valencia City—and the bearded vulture reintroduction project. Only 20 seats.

Participants

Find out about other conservationists and reintroduction practitioners attending the meeting.

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Organizers

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