Director, Great Ape Conservation & Director Rapid RESCUE Fund, Re:wild
Vice Chair & SGA Coordinator
Dirck focuses on the conservation of great ape species world wide through his position as Vice Chair and SGA Coordinator for the Section on Great Apes of the IUCN’s Primate Specialist Group. Dirck’s time is spent on developing collaborations and capacity within the great ape community to counter threats from habitat destruction, illegal bushmeat hunting, wildlife diseases such as ebola, and the illegal trade in live apes and their parts. This includes working with partners to achieve consensus on priority sites, actions, and best practices for the conservation of gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans. Dirck works with multilateral lending banks, governments, and industry to protect great apes, particularly in regards to avoiding and mitigating the impacts of energy and extractive industries on great ape habitat. Dirck is also the Director of the Rapid RESCUE Facility, a funding mechanism developed in partnership with the European Commission and Re:wild to provide support to conservation programs addressing emergency situations impacting biodiversity globally.
Dirck previously led the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Africa branch for four years, overseeing a grants and technical assistance program supporting great ape, elephant, rhinoceros, and marine turtle conservation. Prior to that Dirck was the program officer for the Great Ape Conservation Fund (Africa species) for eight years and provided oversight and technical support for great ape projects throughout Africa. Dirck has also held positions with the USFWS National Wildlife Refuge System, Conservation International, the U.S. Embassy in Liberia, the Nature Conservancy, and the World Food Program in Lesotho as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
DR. SERGE WICH
Professor, Liverpool John Moores University
Serge Wich started his biology study at the University of Amsterdam, but obtained his PhD in 2002 at Utrecht University. He worked as a post-doc at Utrecht University until 2005 when he joined Great Ape Trust of Iowa where he worked as a scientist until 2009 when he joined the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program and the University of Zurich. He joined Liverpool John Moores University (Liverpool, UK) as a professor in primate biology in 2012. In 2014 he joined the UvA as a honorary professor for the conservation of the great apes. Serge is also a Founding Director of the non-profit, ConservationDrones.org
His research focuses on on primate behavioral ecology, tropical rain forest ecology and conservation of primates and their habitats. Research is strongly focused on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and Borneo and uses a mixture of observational and experimental fieldwork. At present the key species Serge studies is the Sumatran orangutan where he is involved in research at various fieldsites of wild and reintroduced orangutans. Serge is also involved in island-wide surveys and analyses of orangutan distribution and density and the impact of land use changes on their populations. Together with Dr. Lian Pin Koh he founded ConservationDrones.org and uses drones for conservation applications.
DR. REBECCA KORMOS
Senior Associate, Re:wild
Vice Chair and Founder of the ARRC Task Force
Dr. Rebecca Kormos is a wildlife biologist, primatologist and conservationist, with a focus on great apes. She serves on the IUCN/SSC Primate Specialist Group, Section on Great Apes, which she helped to found. Rebecca started her fieldwork in Gabon in the Lopé Reserve in 1990 where she lived for several years doing her PhD research and then for another year working for ECOFAC training Eco guards as part of an ecotourism project. Rebecca then conducted an 18-month nationwide survey of chimpanzees and large mammals in the Republic of Guinea, discovering that Guinea has the largest population of chimpanzees in West Africa and that the majority of them were living in the Fouta Djallon highlands where chimpanzees were not hunted due to cultural and religious taboos.
DR. EKWOGE ABWE
Manager, Wildlife Conservation Society - Ebo Forest Project, Cameroon
Dr. Ekwoge Abwe serves San Diego Zoo Global as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Population Sustainability and Manager of the Central Africa Program’s Ebo Forest Research Project. His postdoctoral research focuses on niche separation in primate species in the Ebo forest (rainforest) and Mbam & Djerem National Park (forest-woodland-savanna mosaic), Cameroon. In addition, Ekwoge fosters national and regional conservation efforts for endangered primates, as well as pangolins. His major role as Program Manager is to coordinate research activities in the Ebo forest, and to guide conservation education and outreach in surrounding communities.
Ekwoge earned his bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of Yaoundé 1 in Cameroon. He then taught at secondary school before starting a conservation career with WWF Cameroon as a GIS specialist. He subsequently joined the Central Africa Program, working in the Ebo forest on a number of tropical forest primates, including chimpanzees, gorillas, and drills. He went on to earn his master’s degree in Primate Conservation at Oxford Brookes University, UK, winning a habitat country scholarship in the process, and his doctoral degree at Drexel University, Philadelphia, with a focus on how genetic and ecological variation are linked with the behavioral ecology of the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee.
Ekwoge is passionate about primates, particularly great apes, and was the first to witness chimpanzees smashing nuts in Cameroon – a new behavioral discovery for the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee. In 2013, Ekwoge was honored with the prestigious Whitley Fund for Nature Award for his grassroots efforts to engage local communities in gorilla conservation in the Ebo forest.
DR. JATNA SUPRIATNA
Department of Biology and Chairman of Research Center for Climate Change, University of Indonesia
Chairman of Research Center for Climate Change University of Indonesia. After finished his Master of Science (1986) and Doctorate degree (1991) from the University of New Mexico, USA, plus pre and postdoctoral at Columbia University in New York, he serves Senior lecturer at the Biology Dept., Director of Biodiversity and Conservation Studies, Coordinator of Graduate Program on Conservation Biology of the University of Indonesia. He also became a chief editor of Tropical Biodiversity since 1992, Editor of Asia Primate Journal (2008), Board of editor of the International Journal of Wildlife Policy and Law, board of editor of Tropical Ecology, Consulting editor of Biosphere Conservation and board of Advisor of Earthwatch Institute (2002). He also served a member of the board of supervision of Bornean Orangutan Survival Foundation and board of the member of Biodiversity and Development Foundation. In 1999, he served as Chairman of Indonesia Biologist Association, Jakarta Chapter. In 2006, elected President of South East Asia Primatologist Association, and in 2007 assigned as Chairman of IUCN-SSC PSG South East Asia. He has also been an active member of several international organizations: IUCN-World Conservation of Protected Area, IUCN-Specialist Survival Commision-Primate Specialist Group, International Primatological Society, Society for Conservation Biologist and many others.
He served several assignments by the Government of Indonesia, member of National Research Council (Dewan Riset Nasional) from 1999-2004, member of Steering Committee on Biodiversity Action Plan at the Min. of Planning (BAPPENAS), Chairman of Biodiversity Taskforce at Min. of Research and Technology (2001-2003), member of Min of Forestry Task force to review logging concession in Indonesia 2003-2005. He has been assigned by Government of Indonesia to be a member of Indonesia delegation to many conferences such as Convention of Biological Diversity, IUCN meeting, World Park Congress, UNFCCC and its SUBSTTA (Bali, Cairns, Bonn, Bangkok) and UN Forest Forum in New York. He is recently active in climate change negotiation for REDD+.
For his dedication at the conservation and environment works, he received a distinguished award from his Royal highness Prince of Berhard of the Netherland in 1999 as an Officer of the most Excellence Order of Golden Ark Award. In 2009, he also received the most privileges Award from President B.J. Habibie, or Habibie Award for outstanding achievements on Natural Science research in 2008. In 2011 He also received Achmad Bakrie Award for his contribution in the field of science in Indonesia.