Conferences are a wonderful way for like-minded individuals and organizations to communicate, collaborate, and inspire. In October, BCI had the privilege of participating in two exciting conferences in the San Francisco Bay area: Wildlife Conservation Expo and Bioneers 2017.
BCI president Sally Jewell Coxe with volunteers
Alicia Khuon (left) and Annie Acosta (right)
at the 2017 Wildlife Conservation Expo
On October 14, the Wildlife Conservation Expo gathered hundreds of people dedicated to species survival. The great apes were well represented. Our good friend Ashley Stone of the Bonobo Project attended, and Dr. Jane Goodall gave an associated stand-alone lecture a few days prior to the main event. Another notable attendee of the conference was John Lukas, founder of the Okapi Conservation Project and current member of the Jacksonville Zoo conservation team. Okapis and bonobos have overlapping ranges in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. BCI and Congolese scientists from Centre de Recherche en Ecologie et Foresterie (CREF) were the first to discover the presence of okapis in the bonobo range, in the Sankuru region. Work that protects one of these species has inherent benefits for the other. Conferences like this one serve as powerful reminder that cooperation is key in achieving conservation goals. Conservationists face challenging circumstances and troubling reports; seeing this gathering of devoted individuals and organizations gives hope that, despite the difficulties, there will be a brighter future for wildlife around the world.
The idea of a brighter future for all is what brings people together for the annual Bioneers conference. Bioneers is an organization that serves as a “hub of social and scientific innovators with practical and visionary solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges.” Participants from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines, including scientists, environmentalists, and social activists, gather to explore possibilities for creating a “healthy, diverse, equitable and beautiful world.” This diversity of experience is a fundamental aspect of the conference. Organizers intend for the exciting cross-pollination of ideas to stimulate new, holistic approaches to a sustainable society. From October 22-24, participants in Bioneers 2017 enjoyed exhibits and talks on everything from indigenous rights to clean energy. In addition to attending the many insightful presentations, BCI staff had the opportunity to meet with many of the conference attendees who stopped by our booth. Outreach and Development Coordinator Jessie Jory and Treasurer Gary Smith joined BCI President Sally Coxe in spreading the word about bonobos. The peaceful, cooperative society of bonobos is a wonderful template for the kind of society the Bioneers are seeking to create. We were excited to be able to share the bonobo story with people who are actively envisioning humanity’s next steps.
Raising awareness about bonobos is a crucial step in protecting them. Many thanks to our conference volunteers Alicia Khuon, Annie Acosta, and Tiy Chen, and to supporters like you who make our attendance at these events possible.