Roehampton student attends World Youth Wildlife Summit as young conservation leader

  • Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Shiara Covenden, a second-year Zoology student, appeared alongside 150 young people at the summit in South Africa

Image - Roehampton student attends World Youth Wildlife Summit as young conservation leader

Shiara Covenden, a second-year BSc Zoology student from South Africa, was invited to contribute to this year's World Youth Wildlife Summit based on her previous work with Project Rhino, one of the conveners of the summit. Shiara previously attended the 2015 summit, which led her to establish a Project Rhino club at her school, raising 15,000 South African rand to help protect endangered rhinos.

This year's summit brought together 150 young people aged 15-24 with a passion for conservation. Hosted in Kruger National Park, South Africa, the summit sought to address the poaching crisis and develop the resolutions needed to stop wildlife crime. Youth representatives from 16 different countries around the world attended, making individual and group pledges, as well as signing the World Youth Wildlife Declaration calling for an end to the illegal wildlife trade.

Keynote speakers included veterinarians, park rangers, wildlife photographers, TV presenters, motivational speakers and campaigners.

As a result of her work, she was invited back this year to lead a group of around 10 young people to discuss how to implement conference aims, based on information and insights from the keynote speakers. The delegates are now working on fundraising, education and other activities to help achieve the aims of the summit both in their own countries and globally.

Shiara said, ‘Conservation has to focus not only on animals, but on people, too: working on education and awareness for communities, and for policy changes by governments, as well as conservation of endangered animals’.

The Department of Life Sciences offers BSc Zoology. Our research has contributed to global wildlife conservation efforts.