Conservation Lecture Series

Presented by

Media Sponsor


2020 Evening Lecture Dates

From the prairies of Big Cypress National Preserve to the rainforests of Madagascar, Naples Zoo and its staff engage in long-term efforts to conserve rare plants and animals. To better connect zoo members and visitors with these projects, the zoo welcomes researchers, directors, and biologists to present their work at the Conservation Lecture Series offered in the evenings during the winter months. Along with seeing a formal presentation in the Safari Canyon theater, guests mingle with these experts and ask questions to better understand the complexities of conservation and how each of us can contribute to making our world a better place for wildlife and people. 

Feb 13, 2020    African Lands: Planting Trees, Changing Lives
                            with John Leary, Executive Director, Trees for the Future 

Join John Leary as he shares how efforts planting trees create a better future for people and wildlife around the world. The Forest Garden Program orchestrated by Trees for the Future is a simple, replicable and scalable approach with proven success. By planting specific types of trees and crops in a systematic manner over a four year period, families can change their lives forever. Forest Gardens provide families with sustainable food sources, livestock feed, products to sell, fuel wood and can quadruple a family's annual income. Naples Zoo has funded the planting of more than half a million trees (619,024 to be exact) through this passionate organization. 

About John Leary
After 10 years of working and volunteering for Trees for the Future, John became Executive Director in 2013. John has deep knowledge of international agricultural development and extensive experience living with and among the rural poor in Sub-Saharan Africa. He speaks three languages well (and another three languages not so well) and has lived and worked in 12 developing countries and is the author of One Shot.

John has dedicated his life to creating innovative training approaches that empower farmers to rise out of poverty, and he has created award winning high-tech, low-tech, and no-tech training programs that are currently in use throughout the developing world. He is now focused at helping Trees for the Future end hunger and extreme poverty for a million people.

Cost: $10 CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS   | Naples Zoo Members Free, Tickets Required

Mar 5, 2020       Growing Tigers: Why the Future of the World’s Most Endangered Big Cat is More Optimistic than You Think
                             with Dr. Luke Hunter, Executive Director
                             Big Cats Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

Big cats fascinate humanity. We admire them. We fear them. We build statues of them. We name sports teams after them. We also benefit when they fulfill their role in nature. Sitting on top of the food chain, there are naturally fewer of these animals than prey species which can make them vulnerable to persecution and a variety of other threats. Come hear Dr. Hunter speak on the current challenges and successes when it comes to tigers and other cats.

About Dr. Luke Hunter
Big cat biologist Dr. Luke Hunter has worked for over 25 years in global wildlife conservation, and is considered one of the world’s leading experts on the conservation of endangered wild carnivores and their habitats. Luke helps to coordinate the strategies and activities of WCS’s conservation efforts on big cats in more than 25 countries. He is one of the founding members of the NGO Panthera and its former President & Chief Conservation Officer leading the planning and execution of the organization's field conservation programs. He formerly headed the Wildlife Conservation Society's Global Carnivore/Great Cats Program, and has held positions at universities in Australia and South Africa.

Luke Hunter is dedicated to communicating the message of conservation to professional and non-professional audiences. In addition to delivering many dozens of public lectures and media interviews, he has written extensively about carnivore biology and conservation. He has authored/co-authored over 180 articles in scientific journals and popular media including for BioScience, National Geographic, New Scientist and Slate. He has written eight books including Cats of Africa: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation (2006), Wild Cats of the World (2015) and Carnivores of the World (2018). He is deeply committed to mentoring the next generation of conservation leaders, and has supervised graduate students working on carnivores around the world, including in Borneo, Brazil, Gabon, Iran, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia.

Cost: $10 CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS   | Naples Zoo Members Free, Tickets Required

Apr 23, 2020      Rescuing Critically Endangered Giraffe from Poachers
                              with wildlife veterinarian Dr. Sara Ferguson
                              Uganda Conservation Coordinator for Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF)

Discover the surprising threats as well as the tremendous successes to protect the critically endangered Nubian giraffe of Uganda. The northern bank of Murchison Falls National Park is home to over half the world's population. While there are a number of threats facing giraffe in this park, including the recent discovery of oil and only separated from the Democratic Republic of Congo by the mighty River Nile, poaching (mainly snaring) is one of the major threats to all wildlife including giraffe. While giraffe are not a target species, they are incidentally entangled in wire traps. GCF has supported the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to monitor giraffe numbers and movements since 2013 and more recently providing direct mobile veterinary/de-snaring and anti-poaching support. 

Another important tool to secure a sustainable future for giraffe in Uganda is to increase their range within the country by re-establishing viable satellite populations through conservation translocations. To date UWA, with support from GCF, have successfully translocated five populations in recent years – increasing the giraffe’s range by over 1 million acres in the country. See what's involved in this difficult but important work.

About Dr. Sara Ferguson
Sara is a wildlife conservation veterinarian and a graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Sara has always had a passion for African wildlife and has taken every opportunity to travel around the continent and gain knowledge and experience in wildlife medicine. In 2016, she participated in the Chemical and Physical Restraint of African Wildlife Course in Malilangwe, Zimbabwe, graduating at the top of her class. In Uganda, Sara coordinates GCF’s giraffe conservation activities with a focus on Murchison Falls National Park where she monitors for and treats giraffe (and other wildlife) with snare injuries together with an incredible and dedicated team of rangers and wildlife veterinarians from the Uganda Wildlife Authority. Additionally, she works alongside local stakeholders to investigate avenues to reduce poaching incidents in the park. Sara is an associate researcher for Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, who sponsors her position.

Cost: $10 CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS   | Naples Zoo Members Free, Tickets Required

Apr 30, 2020       Lions and Living Walls: Protecting Communities and Predators
                              with Dr Laly Lichtenfeld,Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
                              African People and Wildlife

Northern Tanzania is one of the world’s greatest biodiversity hotspots. In this region, more than 92 percent of the rangelands represent areas where people and wildlife interact. Operating from its field-based headquarters, African People & Wildlife (APW) partners with 35 communities across six landscapes to create effective, sustainable solutions that improve the lives of rural Africans while protecting the natural world. A key part of the organization’s programmatic focus is the Northern Tanzania Big Cats Conservation Initiative, which implements a holistic and comprehensive approach to the long-term protection of highly threatened African lions, leopards, and cheetahs. APW’s co-founder and CEO, Dr. Laly Lichtenfeld, will share success stories from Tanzania and discuss the organization’s strategic, award-winning model for community-driven conservation. 

About Dr. Laly Lichtenfeld
Laly Lichtenfeld believes in finding the balance for communities and nature. A 20-year resident of Tanzania, Laly co-founded African People & Wildlife in 2005 to help rural communities conserve and benefit from their wildlife and natural resources. Laly first traveled to the continent with the National Outdoor Leadership School in 1992. Moved by the remarkable wildlife, cultures, and landscapes of East Africa, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to evaluate a community-based conservation project in southern Kenya. In 2005, Laly received her Ph.D. from Yale University for novel research combining wildlife ecology and social ecology in an interdisciplinary study of human-lion relationships, interactions, and conflicts on the Maasai Steppe of northern Tanzania.
Laly specializes in human-wildlife conflict prevention, species conservation focusing on lions and other big cats, community empowerment and engagement in natural resource management, and the development of conservation incentives for rural people. As a female CEO in East African conservation, Laly is often one of few women at the senior leadership table, a responsibility she does not take lightly. In 2018, Laly became an invited member of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority Research Advisory Committee. She is an accomplished speaker, a Distinguished Alumna of the Yale Tropical Resources Institute, a National Geographic Explorer, a recipient of the 2016 Lowell Thomas Award for Open Space Conservation, and a 2019 Women of Discovery Awardee. In 2019, Laly was honored to be named a “Woman of Impact” by the National Geographic Society and featured among some of the world’s leading female visionaries in Women of Impact: Changing the World, a one-hour documentary aired on the National Geographic Channel.

Cost: $10 CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS   | Naples Zoo Members Free, Tickets Required

Many thanks to SOME OF OUR RECENT inspirational speakers:
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