Global participants enjoy TWS Annual Conference

By Dana Kobilinsky

A one-horned rhinoceros mother sleeps with her calf in Kaziranga National Park in India. ©Mainak Das

From Europe to Asia to Africa, attendees from around the globe made their way to Albuquerque, New Mexico to share their knowledge and learn more about wildlife at the last annual TWS conference.

Some of the attendees traveled from Germany, South Africa, Hong Kong, India and other countries. One attendee who traveled all the way from Assam, India, Juri Goswami was especially excited to present her poster and research on the one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis).

“I was pursuing research and protection for the one-horned rhinoceros, and this was in the poster that I presented,” said Goswami, who is a currently working on her PhD in wildlife protection laws at the National Law University and Judicial Academy in Assam, India. “It’s basically on people’s engagement in management of rhino poaching at Kaziranga National Park.”

As part of her presentation, she discussed how human-caused problems such as poaching, flooding and illegal encroachment affect the rhinoceros, which is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list. “But laws alone cannot solve the problem,” she said. “The general public should be engaged and educated in the protection of wildlife, as they hold the key for the proper balancing of the ecosystem.”

Goswami has been working with NGOs to educate villagers that while poachers may make a lot of money for the villages, there are other means of livelihood for them. “We can divert their mind from helping their poachers to other work,” she said.

Goswami learned about the TWS conference on her own when searching for international conferences where she could get the word out about her research on one horned rhino. She sent in her abstract and was accepted to present. “I was really impressed by the activities in Albuquerque, and I had the greatest experience of my life,” she said.

Goswami said she learned many things at the conference, but she was also happy to see people with law backgrounds joining the conference. She hopes to continue to be involved with TWS and gain international support for her mission to save the rhino.

Dana KobilinskyDana Kobilinsky is a science writer at The Wildlife Society. Contact her at dkobilinsky@wildlife.org with any questions or comments about her article. You can follow her on Twitter at @DanaKobi.

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