Talk on Resurrection? A Saiga Saga
Eleanor Milner-Gulland is Tasso Leventis Professor of Biodiversity at the University of Oxford. Her PhD was on the wildlife trade, with a focus on ivory, rhino horn and saiga antelopes. Her research group (the Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science) works on a wide range of projects understanding, predicting and influencing human behaviour, and designing, monitoring and evaluating conservation interventions in order to improve their effectiveness.
She also runs a large programme tackling the illegal trade in wildlife. She aims to ensure that all the research in her group is addressing issues identified by practitioners, is carried out collaboratively with end-users, and builds the capacity of young conservationists, particularly in developing countries. She is the founder and chair of the Saiga Conservation Alliance and has launched a number of initiatives which aim to change the real-world conversation around conservation, including the Conservation Optimism movement. She is the Chair of the UK Government’s Darwin Expert Committee and a Trustee of WWF-UK.
Eleanor will talk about the past, present and potential future of the Aral Sea region, its wildlife and people, and how ecological and social disaster might be transformed into a hopeful and prosperous future. She will show how the saiga antelope, a highly endangered and weird species of antelope, can act as a flagship and rallying point for this transformation.
Talk on Mud, Oil, Tea: Infrastructure Development and Wildlife Conservation in the Ustyurt Plateau
Dr Joseph William Bull is an ecologist, conservation scientist and practitioner: currently Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) at the University of Kent, Visiting Researcher at the University of Oxford, and co-founder of Wild Business Ltd.
He has a BSc in Physics, an MSc in Environmental Technology, and a PhD in Ecology from Imperial College London. During Joe’s PhD he worked closely with the Academy of Sciences (Uzbekistan) and RMIT (Australia); afterwards, he went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Copenhagen (Denmark).
Additional personal highlights of his work to date include tropical field ecology expeditions (Peru, Malaysia), and leading a team for Engineers without Borders (Nepal). Connecting all of the above is an interest in finding practical yet technically robust approaches towards better understanding and conserving nature.
Joe will explore how nature and industry are increasingly crossing paths on the shores of the Aral. He will argue that both are necessary if we are to safeguard the wellbeing of people who live in the region, and go on to discuss whether and how it might be possible to expand infrastructure whilst also protecting Uzbekistan’s spectacular wildlife.