Natasha Lloyd was selected to be Canada’s New Noah in 2006, so 2016 marks the 10th year ‘anniversary’ of her experience. Read on to hear more about her exciting work in wildlife conservation since then, and how she’s used her new skills and connections from Mauritius….
Ten years later… After my invaluable experience as the 2006 New Noah, I headed back to pursue my MSc, studying population dynamics of black-tailed prairie dogs and helping with the first reintroduction of black-footed ferrets to the Canadian prairies. After a few years spent in the grasslands alongside the prairie dogs, bison, badgers, burrowing owls and other remarkable species, I packed my bags for another year abroad. I volunteered in the Caribbean with Leatherback sea turtles, and in South Africa tracking cheetahs and populations of their prey. During my travels in Brazil, South Africa and New Zealand, I was able to re-connect with my friends and colleagues that I had met during my time as a New Noah, and was able to see first-hand some of the incredible conservation work they are doing in their home countries.
After my travels, I was fortunate to be hired at the Institute for Conservation Research at the San Diego Zoo helping with translocations of endangered kangaroo rats and captive breeding research for pocket mice. After some time in the warm California sun I returned to Canada and the Calgary Zoo’s Centre for Conservation Research, where I now work on our species reintroduction portfolio, helping to develop and implement reintroduction research for some of Canada’s most imperiled species. My year spent at Durrell and Mauritius was one of the best years of my life. I feel so grateful for all the experiences gained, the wonderful people I’ve met along the way as well as the fascinating at-risk species I’ve been able to work with. Throughout my career, I continue to use the skills and experience that I gained as a New Noah. However, beyond the skills taught on the course, one of the most valuable aspects of the New Noah program is the life-long connections to the conservation community. At a recent international conference, it amazed me to see how many people were connected to the Endangered Species Program* and it honored and humbled me to be one of the many conservationists in Durrell’s Army** worldwide.
** [“Gerald Durrell’s] most important contribution to zoology was in the field of animal conservation and what became known as Durrell’s Army – the people he trained from around the world to go back to their own countries and save animals for themselves.” Desmond Morris