BSc (Hons) Zoo Management alumnus Charlotte Daniels has started an exciting new chapter in her career by beginning an internship with the United Nations Environment Programme Great Ape Survival Partnership (UNEP-GRASP).
The partnership is a unique alliance of governments, research institutions, United Nations agencies, conservation organisations and the private sector and was launched by the UNEP to help ensure the long-term survival of wild populations of gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees and bonobos across Africa and Asia.
Charlotte will be based in Nairobi, Kenya, as soon as Covid-19 restrictions allow and is hoping to contribute to the valuable progress already achieved by GRASP on addressing challenges such as habitat loss, human-wildlife conflict, wildlife trade and poaching through its international access and multidisciplinary resources.
A passionate primate conservationist with a specific interest in great apes, 27 year-old Charlotte has already achieved much since graduating from University Centre Reaseheath with a First Class (Hons) degree in 2015.
While an undergraduate she gained a placement at Yorkshire Wildlife Park and was offered a seasonal job there, followed by another seasonal post at Woburn Safari Park. She then volunteered at a chimpanzee rescue centre in Cameroon, West Africa, before becoming a member of the primate care team at Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre, Dorset, for four years.
While working at Monkey World she also completed a Masters in primate conservation at Oxford Brookes University and has just handed in her final thesis assessing potential predictor variables of the illegal live trade in chimpanzees in Cameroon. It was while exploring this theme that she made contacts within GRASP and discussed the possibility of an internship.
Says Charlotte: “I’ve always been fascinated by great apes and I feel incredibly lucky that I’ve been offered this opportunity.
“Eventually I’d love to work for a large global organisation working on the conservation of great apes or primates while also respecting the needs of the local communities. The dream would be to help implement government policies or go into academia but it’s a very competitive jobs market.
“My internship and career experience to date will be invaluable, as will the three years I spent at University Centre Reaseheath and particularly the support I received from my lecturers.”
Charlotte has also just had her first piece of research published in the Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research – Professional primate keepers and online primate imagery: an assessment of knowledge and attitudes