Following approval of my Fellowship report, I’ve officially become a Churchill Fellow!
My Fellowship focused on the conservation translocation of threatened Australian freshwater species, namely, ‘To develop world leading reintroduction strategies for threatened South Australian aquatic species’. My Fellowship report summarises the main activities of my overseas travels to Costa Rica, US, UK, Ireland and Sweden from June to September 2019. My key findings relating to the conservation translocation, and conservation in general, of freshwater species were:
- Process – effective planning is critical and must consider a range of factors and all stakeholders;
- Production – large-scale production (with time and resources) is possible for most freshwater species;
- Implementation – translocations can be successful and recovery is possible, but long-term commitment and resources are required;
- Promotion – we need to find ongoing, opportunistic and novel ways to raise the profile of neglected freshwater species; and
- Lastly, snot otters are cool!
In preparing my report, the deficiency of funding directed toward Australian threatened species was illustrated; it is estimated that only 15% of the funding required to be spent is being spent – this equates to $1.69 billion annually, or only 0.34% of the total 2019-20 Australian budget! Additionally, more funding and resources are required habitat restoration and addressing the impacts of large-scale disturbances (such as the recent bushfires).
Applications to become a 2020 Churchill Fellow close on the 30th April. In 2020, there will again be the South Australian specific Richard Rischbieth Churchill Fellowship (sponsored by Henry Rischbieth) to study the natural environment. It is well worth applying and more information can be found on the Winston Churchill Trust website.