The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has received first place honors in the Profiles in Diversity Journal’s 10th Annual International Innovations in Diversity Awards competition for its creative work with communities in Africa and Latin America to conserve species and their ecosystems, while also supporting local economies. The awards recognize organizations and institutions that develop innovative solutions in the area of workforce diversity and inclusion. The winning organizations are highlighted in the July/August 2013 issue of the Diversity Journal.
For example, the Service’s Great Apes Conservation Fund has helped build the capacity of governments and private organizations to address threats to great apes such as poaching and illegal trafficking. As part of the program, Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo provides an ecotourism destination to view gorillas in their natural habitat.
Another initiative, Managing for Excellence, has trained 500 conservation personnel in Mexico to manage critical protected areas. The university-certified program encourages trainees to replicate the training locally and maintain a network of trained personnel. Species benefiting from the program include jaguars, monarch butterflies, migratory birds and Mexican wolves.
In northern Colombia, 15 women from the Los Límites community came up with an innovative entrepreneurial project that generates income and protects the critically endangered cotton top tamarin monkey and its forest habitat. These women joined forces with Proyecto Tití, a local conservation group, to launch the eco-mochila project and the plush toy project. With the help of the Service’s Wildlife Without Borders program, the women transform discarded plastic bags into colorfully designed, hand-crocheted mochilas (tote-bags) and hand-made cotton-top tamarin plush toys for sale in national and international markets.
For more information on the Service’s International activities, visit http://www.fws.gov/international/