Waterloo Student Selected to Help Save Endangered Species

WATERLOO, Ont. (Wednesday, March 26, 2014) — Wildlife Preservation Canada has selected Martin Kastner, a student from the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, for “Canada’s New Noah,” a program providing practical training and field experience in managing and conserving endangered species.

Each year, more than 100 candidates—including undergraduate, master’s, and PhD students, practicing wildlife biologists, and veterinarians—apply for the one coveted position.

“We were impressed not only with Martin’s passion and commitment to conservation, but also with his maturity in recognizing the importance of involving communities in conservation work,” said Elaine Williams, executive director of Wildlife Preservation Canada. “We are confident that with this unique training and field experience, and as former New Noahs before him, Martin Kastner will become one of Canada’s conservation leaders in the fight to save species from extinction.”

Later this month, Kastner will begin fieldwork in Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean and the former home of the extinct dodo bird. Approximately seven per cent of species that are recovered globally through conservation intervention are from Mauritius.

“As one of the graduates of my conservation and restoration ecology group, Martin has been a driver in local efforts for conservation,” said Professor Stephen Murphy, chair of the Department of Environment and Resource Studies. “Now the world stage is his, and given the unprecedented pace of extinctions and habitat loss caused by humans, his efforts will be needed to restore the biodiversity that underpins the fabric of ecological functions worldwide.”

While on Mauritius, Kastner will receive four weeks of intensive theoretical training and more than 16 weeks of practical experience in field placements working to save some of the world’s rarest species in Mauritius and its offshore islands.

“I feel that being selected as Canada’s New Noah is an acknowledgement of my research and past work, but especially an investment in my potential to become a leader in ecosystem restoration in Canada and around the world,” said Kastner. “I can’t wait to work hard, make lots of connections and learn as much as possible about the projects in Mauritius. I have no doubt it’ll be an experience of a lifetime.

The Canada’s New Noah program aims to train young Canadian biologists in the techniques required to breed endangered species in captivity, reintroduce them into the wild, and manage wild populations.

Previous recipients have helped to save three species from almost certain extinction, including the Mauritius kestrel, a tiny falcon that was once reduced to only four individuals in the wild, and is no longer classified as endangered.

As part of the program, Kastner will work towards a Durrell Post-Graduate Diploma in Endangered Species Recovery, designed to provide students with the field experience and species and human resource management skills they need to run wildlife conservation project.

About the University of Waterloo

In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada’s technology hub, has become one of Canada’s leading comprehensive universities with 35,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world’s largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. For more information about Waterloo, please visit www.uwaterloo.ca

About Wildlife Preservation Canada

Established in 1985, Wildlife Preservation Canada (WPC) is a charitable organization devoted to saving highly endangered animal species facing imminent extinction in Canada — species whose numbers in the wild are so low that a great deal more than habitat protection is required to recover them. We are the only non-governmental organization in Canada running captive breeding and release programs, translocation and other direct interventions to save multiple species across the country. We work in collaboration with other organizations and expert Recovery Teams, and all of our hands-on interventions are guided by scientific research and field data.   In 2013 WPC worked with 21 at risk species (mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds and insects) in 17 projects across the country from Nova Scotia to Vancouver Island.  For more information about WPC please visit www.wildlifepreservation.ca.

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 Media Contacts:

Pamela Smyth

psmyth@uwaterloo.ca
University of Waterloo
519-888-4777

www.uwaterloo.ca/news
@uWaterlooNews

Elaine Williams
Wildlife Preservation Canada
519-836-9314

elaine@wildlifepreservation.ca