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Scientist scoops conservation prize

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Professor Carl Jones: Conservationist (Image (C) Durrell)

Professor Carl Jones: Conservationist (Image (C) Durrell)

INDIANAPOLIS PRIZE officials have announced Professor Carl Jones as the Winner of the world’s leading award for animal conservation.

In recognition of his major victories in saving animal species from extinction, Jones joins the ranks of Indianapolis Prize Winners, some of the most accomplished conservationists on Earth. Professor Jones was announced as the winner of the Prize at a celebratory ceremony with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust at the London Natural History Museum on Wednesday (May 4).

Born in Carmarthen, Carl Jones received his masters and doctorate from Swansea University. He currently splits his time between his home in Llanwrda and Mauritius for his work.

As the 2016 Indianapolis Prize Winner, Jones, Chief Scientist of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Scientific Director of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation, will receive an unrestricted $250,000 cash award and the Lilly Medal.

“The Indianapolis Prize has two primary functions,” said Michael I. Crowther, President & CEO of the Indianapolis Zoological Society, which administers the award. “First, it rewards and honors animal conservationists who are actually achieving notable successes. Secondly, it provides them with a more effective platform from which they can tell the stories of their work to a wide range of audiences, especially the public.”

Spanning almost 40 years of work in Mauritius, Jones has brought back at least nine species from the brink of extinction – including the Mauritius kestrel, pink pigeon, echo parakeet, Rodrigues warbler and Rodrigues fody, and has worked to restore the populations of many more species.

Through programs that implement hands-on animal husbandry techniques developed in contemporary zoological institutions, Jones has delivered results that are truly awe-inspiring: of the 63 bird, mammal and amphibian species worldwide that have been downlisted on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as a result of conservation initiatives, he has led the recovery efforts for six of them.

“I know of no other conservationist who has directly saved so many species from extinction,” said Dr. Simon N. Stuart, Chair of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, who nominated Jones for the award.

“Winning the 2016 Indianapolis Prize is undoubtedly one of the highlights of my career,” said Jones. “It’s a great accolade not just for me, but for Gerry Durrell and the people who have made this work possible over the years.

“I’m particularly proud of this award because it validates the conservation of animals – like Telfair’s skinks and pink pigeons – that are not megavertebrates, but provide critically important ecosystem services nonetheless.”

A Legacy Lives On

Jones is a declared disciple of the iconic British animal conservationist, Gerald Durrell, and like his mentor, he has a talent for bold missions.

In the late 1970s, Jones travelled to the Republic of Mauritius – the island home of the famously-extinct dodo bird – to save another species that conservationists before him considered a lost cause: the Mauritius kestrel.

At the time, just four kestrels remained in the wild, making it the rarest bird in the world.

Jones not only prevented the Mauritius kestrels’ extinction, but also expanded their number substantially by releasing more than 300 captive-bred birds over one decade.

“Carl is living proof that by having the courage, talent and vision to take small steps, we can win victories for species large and small,” said Lee Durrell, MBE, Ph.D, and Honorary Director for Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust. “Not only has Carl built upon the legacy left by Gerry, but he’s created his own – one that will endure for generations to come. We at Durrell are thrilled to have his remarkable work recognized by the Indianapolis Prize.”

A Commitment to Species and Ecosystems

Professor Jones recognizes the need to restore entire ecosystems, rather than just simply focusing on a species. When he approached the various politicians and decision makers in Mauritius with evidence of his success breeding kestrels, they responded, “We now need to have somewhere to look after them.” This spurred the expansion of Jones’ work from restoring individual species to restoring habitats.

In 1994, he served as a key advisor to the Mauritian government to establish Black River Gorges National Park, the country’s first. As a result of Jones’ vision, work to restore nine highly-degraded Mascarene offshore islands, including Round Island, one of the world’s most important and longstanding island restoration projects, is currently underway.

Jones is credited with championing the idea of “ecological replacement,” a conservation tactic in which species outside of their historic range act as analogues to fulfill important ecological roles once held by extinct species. His projects include Aldabra tortoises, first brought to the island at the request of Charles Darwin in the late 1800s.

Hope for the Future of Conservation

“Professor Jones’ achievements on the islands of Mauritius bear wideranging global significance,” said Crowther. “His conservation approach includes techniques that can be adapted and scaled for ecosystems in other areas of the world where species are at risk of extinction. His captive breeding and reintroduction programs now serve as models for what can be achieved elsewhere.”

Jones is committed to training and inspiring young Mauritians to build on his legacy and the island’s conservation capacity.

As a charismatic leader, Jones grew his program team in Mauritius into a conservation organization in its own right – now the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation (MWF). Today, MWF is one of the region’s foremost conservation NGOs.

Over the last 30 years, more than 800 people have trained alongside Jones, and many now are working professionally in conservation or biology.

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Police launch public appeal following Carmarthenshire burglary

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DYFED-POWYS POLICE is investigating a burglary at a property in Ponthenry.

People broke into a shed at a home in Victoria Road at around 8.30pm on Monday, 31 October, before leaving after spotting a CCTV camera.

They returned at around 10.15pm and again at around 10.55pm.

During their raids they tooka green Wolf motocross helmet with a full face with a peak and line green motocross goggles.

Officers are appealing for help to identify two people they would like to speak to over the incident.

Anyone with information that could help officers with their investigation is asked to report it to Dyfed-Powys Police, either online at: https://bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908. Quote reference: DPP/0756/01/11/2022/02/C. Alternatively, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555111, or visiting crimestoppers-uk.org.

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Morrisons Foundation supports children’s charity with grant for vital equipment

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The Morrisons Foundation supports registered charities that make a positive difference. They recently awarded national children’s disability charity, Cerebra, based in Carmarthen, a grant of £11,109.

This will fund the creation of writing slopes through the Cerebra Innovation Centre, which is partnered with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David and designs wonderful toys and equipment to help children living with a brain condition to learn and play.

The writing slopes are designed to help children who struggle with posture and fine motor skills. They also aid children with writing, drawing and hand control. Ross Head, Product Design Manager at the Cerebra Innovation Centre explains;

‘The slopes include a lovely wipe-clean surface for children to experiment with mark making, their own set of pens and a clever lid-free pen store to remove the challenge of removing lids for some children. We are so lucky to be able to do what we do and funding like this is so important to allow us to push boundaries and provide vital equipment that looks beautiful.’

At the start of 2022, the Cerebra Innovation Centre highlighted that they anticipated the need for an additional 20 writing slopes for children. Cerebra Fundraising Manager, James Hay then worked with the grants team at the Morrisons Foundation, who were delighted to support this project. David Scott, Morrisons Foundation Trustee said:

‘Cerebra is dedicated to helping families who have a child with a brain condition to discover a better life together, that’s why I’m delighted that we’ve been able to provide this support. The specialised writing slopes will make a huge positive impact on children with sensory and mobility issues, providing a great opportunity to develop their skills, which will last a lifetime.’

Grants like this are a vital source of funding for Cerebra so that they are able to continue to support children living with a brain condition and their families who face challenges every day. The Cerebra Innovation Centre is one of the many support services provided by the charity that so many families have come to rely on. James Hay adds;

‘Thank you so much to the Morrisons Foundation for this generous grant! We are over the moon as we know how much this project will change young lives. These are particularly challenging times for charities and so this funding from Morrisons for the creation of 20 writing slopes is warmly welcomed.’

You can find out more about Cerebra and how they help children and families by visiting www.cerebra.org.uk 

Writing Slope
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White Ribbon campaign supported by Carmarthenshire County Council

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CARMARTHENSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL says it is again showing its support for the White Ribbon campaign, which takes place on Friday, November 25 and is followed by 16 Days of Action.

White Ribbon is the UK’s leading charity engaging men and boys to end violence against women and girls.

While domestic abuse affects both sexes, the largest number of violent incidents involve men against women. But ultimately male violence against women is everyone’s issue, not just women’s.

The council was awarded White Ribbon UK accredited status for the first time in 2018 and is continuing to work to tackle such violence.

White Ribbon flags will be flying at County Hall in Carmarthen and town halls in Llanelli and Ammanford on White Ribbon Day (Friday, November 25). County Hall will also be lit up on the evening to show support.

The council is working alongside partners to raise awareness of the campaign across the county – from sports clubs, joint visits with the Police to licensed premises, our leisure centres and libraries to bus stations.

With this year’s White Ribbon Day falling on the same week as the start of the FIFA men’s World Cup, there has never been a better time to come together and start playing as a team to end violence against women and girls.

The council will be raising awareness of the campaign at special events including a Walking Football session at Amman Valley Leisure Centre on November 30 and at “An Evening with Sam Warburton” at the Lyric Theatre in Carmarthen on White Ribbon Day (November 25).

Cabinet Member responsible for Community Safety, Cllr Philip Hughes, said: “It’s vital that we raise more awareness about domestic abuse so that anyone affected can get help and support from one of our local services.”

Support locally can be found at: Threshold (Llanelli) on 01554 752 422 or www.threshold-das.org.uk; Calan DVS (Ammanford) on 01269 597 474 or www.calandvs.org.uk; Carmarthen Domestic Abuse Service on 01267 238 410 or www.carmdas.org and Goleudy on 0300 123 2996 or www.goleudyvictimandwitnessservice.org.uk or call the Live Fear Free Helpline on 0808 80 10 800 or visit https://gov.wales/live-fear-free for free advice and support 24/7

For more information on the White Ribbon campaign visit www.whiteribbon.org.uk

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