Today marks the start of the 2017 MantaWatch Internship Programme. This year we welcome five new interns to Komodo National Park and the MantaWatch team.
Axel, Ida, Syenit, Wedi and Willy have been selected from over 60 applicants to this year’s programme. Their personal commitment to and passion for conservation, as well as their ability to clearly communicate complex issues are just some of the characteristics that highlighted these five candidates as exceptional students and future leaders.
Over the next four weeks, this year’s interns will work alongside our team. They will learn about the threats facing Indonesia’s manta rays and other marine wildlife, and gain first-hand experience of scientific and conservation field techniques whilst exploring potential conservation solutions.
Axel, Ida, Syenit, Wedi and Willy arrived in Labuan Bajo yesterday, after an early start and long day travelling from their respective home towns. Over dinner yesterday evening, we all got to know a little more about each other.
This morning we began this year’s internship in the classroom with an introduction to MantaWatch and an overview of the programme over the coming weeks. Then it was time for each of us to define our own personal and professional goals that we hope to achieve by the end of the programme.
This afternoon we began meeting and introducing the new interns to the many partners and collaborators who are a critical component of any successful conservation. High amongst these is Komodo National Park Authority, the government agency responsible for conservation and tourism management within this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Finally, it was back into the programme for a primer seminar on conservation communications, where we all learned how to communicate complex conservation science in an accessible way.
A busy first day, but Axel, Ida, Syenit, Wedi and Willy have quickly adapted to these new experiences and locations. I am looking forward to working together with these young Indonesian marine conservationists over the next four weeks, and beyond.