WFN & IPÊ: A Shared History

WFN & Brazilian NGO IPÊ celebrate 26 years of partnership

When Gabriela Rezende won her 2020 Whitley Award and Patrícia Medici won the 2020 Gold Award in April, we launched into the latest chapter of a 26-year partnership between WFN and Brazilian NGO, IPÊ.

Co-founded by Patrícia and past Award winner Claudio Padua, IPÊ’s flagship project aimed to conserve the black lion tamarin, and WFN was an early supporter. 26 years later the species is in recovery and IPÊ has become one of the country’s largest environmental NGOs overseeing 40 projects in five states.

Both WFN and IPÊ have grown together, and below we highlight some of the proudest moments in our shared history. Beginning with this photo of a visit by our patron, HRH The Princess Royal, to IPÊ’s Headquarters to see their work first-hand.

2002 Whitley Award winner Laury Cullen set out to create Brazil’s largest wildlife corridor, connecting Atlantic Forest habitat for tamarins. With WFN funding, 1.4 million trees have been planted by local communities and as a result, these primates were down-listed from Critically Endangered to Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

In 2014, WFN’s Director Danni Parks visited three separate IPÊ projects in person. Apart from visiting Claudio and Laury, Danni also travelled to the Pantanal – the largest continuous wetland in the world – to meet 2008 Whitley Award winner and 2020 Gold Award winner Patrícia Medici. Patrícia and her team were gathering scientific data to further understand lowland tapir ecology and advocate for the development and implementation of biome-based Action Plans for tapirs and their habitat in Brazil. Now, with her 2020 Gold Award funding, she is expanding her initiative to the Amazon rainforest.

Danni also spent time with giant armadillo conservationist Arnaud Desbiez, who went on to win a Whitley Award in 2015 for his work to preserve this enigmatic, rare species. Read more about Danni’s visit here.

IPÊ conservationists have also collaborated with fellow members of WFN’s winner network such as 2015 winner Rosamira Guillen (pictured below). Rosamira is working with Colombia’s cotton-top tamarins using similar approaches to restore and connect habitat as those proven by IPÊ. Staff from both projects have visited each other on the ground as part of a two-way exchange funded by WFN, to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and best practice between NGOs in order to safeguard these South American primates.

And as one of the latest cohort to join our winner network, 2020 Whitley Award winner Gabriela Rezende is continuing work on IPÊ’s very first flagship project to conserve the black lion tamarin. Gabriela was trained by Whitley Award winner Laury Cullen as part of IPÊ’s mission to build important in-country conservation capacity. As Project Coordinator Gabriela is now spearheading efforts manage and reconnect isolated populations of black lion tamarins by partnering with communities to restore forest corridors and increase landscape connectivity

As our two organisations continue to grow, we look forward to a future of continued collaboration, and increased knowledge sharing amongst an ever-growing network of Whitley Alumni in the region.