The Saint Louis Zoo Conservation Award goes to conservationist Amy Dickman, Ph.D., Director of the Ruaha Carnivore Project. Also honoured on the evening were Patricia G. Hecker, the Eaton Corporation and the Bellwether Foundation.
The 2016 Saint Louis Zoo Conservation Award was presented to Amy Dickman, Ph.D., Director of the Ruaha Carnivore Project (RCP). Part of Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU), the project develops effective conservation strategies for large carnivores in Tanzania’s remote Ruaha landscape.
The Zoo presented this and three other Saint Louis Zoo Awards to outstanding community leaders at its Nov. 17 Silver Anniversary Marlin Perkins Society Celebration. The Marlin Perkins Society has grown from 48 to 1,117 members over the past 25 years and has generated nearly $23 million in revenue over its 25-year history—all to help fund Zoo operations.
In citing the accomplishments of this year’s Conservation Award recipient, Jeffrey P. Bonner, Ph.D., Dana Brown President and CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo, said, “Amy Dickman has made remarkable progress through her tireless commitment to saving wild things and wild places. She established this conservation project in 2009 and in the past several years has used a multi-faceted approach to reduce human-animal conflict and build strong community benefit initiatives and support. Amy and her team have converted lion killers into lion conservationists and in doing so, saved countless animals.”
A finalist for the prestigious Tusk Award in 2014 and winner of the 2011 Rabinowitz-Kaplan Prize honoring the best of the next generation of wild cat conservationists, Dr. Dickman has spent 18 years working to save carnivores in Africa—first in Namibia with the Cheetah Conservation Fund and for the past 12 years in Tanzania. The author of more than 50 scientific publications, she holds a Ph.D. from University College London and a master’s degree from Oxford University.
The Ruaha Carnivore Project has a permanent staff of 18 based at a camp a few miles outside the border of Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park and employs nearly 70 Tanzanians through the project. The first challenge for RCP was to address livestock security by creating protective barriers, bringing in Anatolian shepherd dogs and designating local youth and expert trackers as “lion defenders” who monitor movement of predators, warn communities of carnivore presence, chase lions away from households and stop lion hunts. RCP has also provided books and equipment to schools and medicine and equipment to local clinics. In addition, herders receive veterinary care for their livestock. This work has been very successful at reducing carnivore attacks on livestock and carnivore killings by local people.
Individual Award -The Saint Louis Zoo Individual Award went to Patricia G. Hecker, longtime Zoo supporter and friend. Mrs. Hecker and her husband, the late Harvard Hecker, are longstanding conservationists. They were founding members of the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center, now the Endangered Wolf Center, established in 1971 by Marlin Perkins and his wife Carol.
Corporate Award – Eaton Corporation received the Saint Louis Zoo Corporate Award. A global technology leader in power management and in developing and manufacturing electrical hydraulic and mechanical power solutions, Eaton provided two gifts totalling $20,000 to the recently completed The Living Promise Campaign.
Foundation Award – The Bellwether Foundation received the Saint Louis Zoo Foundation Award. This Foundation supports the St. Louis community by providing funds to organizations that anticipate the future in the arts, computer science, education, finance, health care, medicine and social sciences.
Photo: This year’s winners (from left) The Bellwether Foundation, Dr Amy Dickman from the Ruaha Carnivore Project, the Eaton Corporation and Patricia G. Hecker (not in picture).
We are thrilled to announce that RCP’s Director, Amy Dickman, has been named as one of three international finalists for the prestigious Tusk Conservation Award! This awardrecognises individuals who have undertaken outstanding, inspirational conservation work throughout Africa, and will be presented by Prince William at an Awards Ceremony in London on November 25th. The finalists have also been invited to have afternoon tea with Prince William the day before the event, which will be a great opportunity to talk about the importance of large carnivore conservation in Ruaha.
Even if Amy isn’t the eventual winner, being a finalist generates invaluable attention for the Ruaha Carnivore Project – RCP’s work has already been highlighted in the Telegraph newspaper, and a short film about the project will be shown at the ceremony. We are all extremely excited about this, and have our fingers crossed for the 25th!
Mongabay.com, the popular website that focuses on environmental and conservation issues, has published an in-depth interview with Dr. Amy Dickman about the Ruaha Carnivore Project’s work in the Ruaha landscape of southern Tanzania. Read the interview at http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0910-hance-dickman-ruaha.html.