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TWS president, president-elect increase international presence
As members of the International Union of Game Biologists gathered for its congress in Budapest last month, they heard a message from TWS President Carol Chambers on the importance of increasing diversity in the wildlife field. And as the International Union for Conservation of Nature met in Marseilles, France, TWS President-elect Gordon Batcheller, who will begin his term as president in November, joined the group virtually.
The two activities by TWS leaders highlight the organization’s growing international presence, a priority Batcheller says he wants to focus on as president.
The Wildlife Society’s international profile has already been growing. A new Norway Section has formed, and members took part in the IUGB congress. Work is underway to create a Mexico Section. And TWS’ recently launched webinar program has attracted participants from around the world.
“We definitely have a commitment to do more internationally,” Chambers said.
In her talk, Chambers shared TWS’ efforts to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in its ranks. It’s a message she has shared in about a dozen speeches, Chambers said, but it’s the first time she’s brought her diversity message overseas.
“In the wildlife profession, we value biodiversity, so we should value diversity in the wildlife profession,” she said. “How do we encourage people from minority groups or underrepresented groups to join TWS? What can we do to be more diverse, more inclusive, more equitable?””
Chambers pointed to efforts like Wildlife Vocalizations, which has provided a platform for diverse voices on TWS’ website, articles promoting diversity in The Wildlife Professional, and TWS networks like Women in Wildlife and Out in the Field.
“I know there are people who object to spending so much time talking about these things. I think we have to talk about them,” she said, until they are no longer issues.
They are issues the U.S. is facing as the country becomes more racially and ethnically diverse, Chambers said, but other countries are facing similar issues. She hopes her message resonates with international wildlifers as well.
“We are looking at generations who are becoming more diverse,” she said. “They expect diversity in the workforce.”
Other opening speakers addressed ungulate management, the sustainable use of wildlife after COVID-19 and the intensification of land use in rural areas.
At the IUCN congress that Batcheller attended, members elected Razan Al Mubarak, managing director of the Environmental Agency Abu Dhabi and the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, as its new president. The organization also adopted 148 resolutions and recommendations, 39 through a vote at the IUCN Congress in Marseille, and 109 through online voting prior to the event. Among the decisions taken in Marseille was a resolution for IUCN to create a Climate Crisis Commission.
The IUCN Congress also urged governments to implement a nature-based pandemic recovery, investing at least 10% of global recovery funds in nature. Other resolutions included a call to protect 80% of the Amazon by 2025, to halt deep-sea mining and for the global community to adopt a One Health approach.