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Fossey Fund staff shines at international conservation conference

More than 30 of our staff attended the world’s largest international conference on conservation science, held from July 23-27 in Kigali, Rwanda. The International Congress for Conservation Biology (ICCB) is the leading global meeting for those who work in conservation science, including academics, practitioners, managers, students and conservation stakeholders. The conference is held every two years and rotates across the world, so having it this year in Kigali was a true honor for our staff.  This year more than 1,200 delegates attended, representing almost 100 countries. 

Dr Tara Stoinski presents at the ICCB conference in Rwanda.

The Fossey Fund team gave 12 presentations and posters that covered the strategic priorities of the organization, from research on gorillas and biodiversity, to supporting livelihood and food security in communities, to strengthening the capacity of African conservationists. Fossey Fund President and CEO/Chief Scientific Officer, Tara Stoinski, Ph.D., gave one of the conference’s four plenary speeches, entitled: “Lessons learned from 55 years of gorilla conservation.”

The conference is unique in that it gathers people and ideas from a very broad and diverse community, says Fossey Fund biodiversity researcher Deo Tuyisingize, Ph.D., who presented his work to develop a conservation action plan for the endangered golden monkey.

Participants learn directly about various methods and techniques that might be useful and about successful projects from around the world, says Dr. Tuyisingize. They gain encouragement and inspiration, and strengthen or expand collaborative networks as well, among many other benefits, he adds.

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund Team attends the ICCB conference in Rwanda.

Rwandan women working in conservation featured

We were especially proud to organize a symposium that featured 10 Rwandan women working in conservation-related fields. Organized by Fossey Fund research assistant Nadia Niyonizeye, and supported through our Women in Science and Education Fund, the symposium highlighted the many ways that women are contributing to conservation in the country. The range of topics covered was amazing, from technology, ornithology, climate change science and parasitology to business development, food security, landscape architecture and more.

Female staff members of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

Niyonizeye, who has also been featured as a “Gorilla Game Changer” in a recent award-winning short documentary and previously in a Canadian Broadcasting documentary about women following in the footsteps of Dian Fossey, spoke about our newly established Girls in Conservation program, which aims to improve educational outcomes for girls living near gorilla habitat. Jeannette Manirafasha highlighted our mushroom cooperative initiative, which helps improve food security and economic resilience in the community.