Top award for tapir expert (IUCN/SSC)

27 May 2008 | News story

Brazilian biologist Dr Patricia Medici has been recognized for her work on tapir-led conservation by scooping a prestigious environmental award.

Dr Medici is chair of the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group and founding member of the Brazilian conservation group IPÊ.

Her work includes the promotion of lowland tapirs as conservation ambassadors, getting local communities interested in habitat conservation that benefits many other species of wildlife. One of the project’s successes is an agri-forestry scheme that works with landless communities. By planting forest corridors they can link up fragmented wildlife habitats, whilst also giving local people an income from selling excess saplings.

At a ceremony presented by HRH Princess Royal at the Royal Geographical Society in London, Dr Medici was one of 11 people to be honored, receiving a grant of £30,000 towards her tapir project.

The Whitley Awards are granted by the Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN), a UK-based registered charity that aims to identify the world’s most dynamic conservation leaders and support their achievements.

The award may help Dr Medici and her project team to roll-out their successful agri-forestry scheme to other parts of Brazil, starting with the world’s largest freshwater wetland, the Pantanal.