National Geographic Explorer celebration unfolds this week in Washington DC

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is pleased to welcome two extraordinary FFI colleagues to Washington, DC this week, Tuy Sereivathana and José Urteaga, who are participating in National Geographic’s 2011 Explorers Symposium. The Emerging Explorers program acknowledges and supports uniquely gifted and inspiring young adventurers, scientists, photographers, and storytellers—explorers from around the world who are already making a difference early in their careers.

FFI’s Tuy Sereivathana (Vathana) was named a 2011 National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his elephant conservation work in Cambodia. Vathana, also a recipient of the 2010 Goldman Environmental Prize, is Project Manager for the Cambodian Elephant Conservation Group and is well known among local communities as “Uncle Elephant” for his efforts to conserve this important species, working closely with local people. At the 2011 symposium, Vathana presented on his innovative work in Cambodia on mitigating conflicts between elephants and people, and he participated on a speakers’ panel entitled ‘Living with Nature’.

National Geographic Emerging Explorer

We were also pleased that National Geographic welcomed back José Urteaga, FFI’s Nicaragua Program Manager, who was a 2010 National Geographic Emerging Explorer for his work on marine turtle conservation in Nicaragua, where five of the world’s seven marine turtles threatened with extinction come to nest.

José Urteaga, Katie Frohardt (FFI-US Executive Director), and Tuy Sereivathana

We are grateful to our colleagues at National Geographic for recognizing FFI’s special talent for the second year in a row, which highlights our efforts to build meaningful local capacity as we conserve threatened species and habitats globally. Leaders like Vathana and José, who are taking conservation forward in locally appropriate and sustainable ways, are strong examples of the progress we are making with our many local and international partners.

Vathana, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer