AZA and the Living Desert in Palm Springs, Calif., welcome noted conservationist David “Jonah” Western as the keynote speaker at AZA’s Mid-Year Meeting on 27 March.
Western will speak on the role of zoos and aquariums in conservation. In an increasingly urban world, zoos and aquariums are well placed to educate the public on biodiversity. Western believes with all the challenges that wildlife and wild places face today, zoos and aquariums can be critical partners in helping developing countries conserve their natural heritage.
Western began research into savannas ecosystems at Amboseli in Kenya in 1967, looking at the interactions of humans and wildlife. His work, unbroken since then, has served as a barometer of changes in the savannas and test of conservation solutions based on the continued coexistence of people and wildlife.
Jonah is currently chairman of the African Conservation Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. He directed Wildlife Conservation Society programs internationally, established Kenya’s Wildlife Planning Unit, chaired the World Conservation Union’s African Elephant and Rhino Specialist Group, and was founding president of The International Ecotourism Society, chairman of the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya, director of Kenya Wildlife Service, and founder of the African Conservation Centre in Nairobi. He is an adjunct professor in Biology at the University of California in San Diego, Calif.
Western’s publications include Conservation for the Twenty-first Century (OUP, 1989), Natural Connections: Perspectives in Community-based Conservation (Island Press, 1994) and In the Dust of Kilimanjaro(Shearwater, 2001). He is presently conducting a study on climate change in the Kenya-Tanzania borderlands in collaboration with University of California San Diego, University of York, Missouri Botanical Gardens, and African Conservation Centre.
The 2012 AZA Mid-Year Meeting brings together more than 550 zoo and aquarium professionals from across the country to participate in meetings, roundtables, workshops and AZA Committee meetings.