Our 2017 conservation event was held on Thursday 30th November 2017 at the Royal Geographical Society, London and was hosted by WFN Ambassador, Kate Humble. Over 250 people came to hear about the work of 2007 Whitley Gold Award winner, Fernando Trujillo and to see extracts from A River Below, the documentary film featuring Fernando’s work with river dolphins in the Amazon basin.
Fernando brought home the complexities of conservation and described the combination of threats that face not only the pink river dolphin, but the entire Amazon ecosystem. Mercury pollution from illegal gold-mining, the development of hydro-electric dams, over-fishing and hunting are all issues that play a part in the decline of this charismatic creature, and which Fernando is tackling head on and succeeding.
The recent successful ban of the ‘mota’ fish trade in Colombia will not only halt the killing of dolphins for bait to catch these scavenger fish, but benefit people who have been found to have ingested dangerously high levels of mercury from eating ‘mota’. As Fernando said last night, overcoming these challenges requires political will and the creation of economic solutions to support communities; starting with sustainable local fisheries management and alternative livelihood programmes.
Many of you have got in touch to say how moved you were by Fernando’s story. We hope you left feeling inspired by Fernando’s work and determination to shape the future. His incredible achievements – and those of our other winners around the world – are only possible thanks to the generosity of our supporters. A big thank you to you all! Conservation doesn’t happen overnight, and your donations have enabled us to support Fernando over 10 years to work across six countries and bring together 19 NGOs to protect this amazing ecosystem.
You can view photos of the event here.