B.A. in Arts, Maharishi International University, 1993
M.S. in Animals and Public Policy, Tufts University, 1998
Valerie worked in Nepal with Patabhar community members helping build Predator Proof Pens to keep goats and sheep safe from tigers and leopards that come wondering out of the Bardia National Park.
Baltic Ecoregion Programme Manager, World Wide Fund for Nature
What were you doing before entering the Masters in Animals and Public Policy (MAPP) program?
Studying for the MSc in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development at the University of Maryland, College Park, in addition to working at the Scientists Centre for Animal Welfare.
What aspects of MAPP led to your decision to join the program?
It was a comprehensive multidisciplinary approach encompassing law, policy, welfare, and social anthropology. Dr Andrew Rowan, whom I have a great deal of respect for, was also crucial in my decision making process.
In what ways do you use your Masters in Animals and Public Policy degree in your current position?
I use the knowledge and skills gained from my MSc to reduce human pressures such as over-fishing, pollution, human-wildlife conflict and increasingly the effects of climate change that are altering the ecological balance and depleting renewable resources beyond safe biological limits. These pressures jeopardize the future use of the Baltic’s vast array of ‘ecosystem goods and services’, provided by nature for free. By combining the scientific knowledge and expertise gained from my MSc and career along with creative innovation, political determination, and social marketing, I work towards conserving the unique biodiversity and beauty of the Baltic Sea.
Tell us about your MAPP project or preceptorship. In what ways did it help you form your career goals?
My MAPP project research was on the African Elephant Ivory trade and whether it was possible to have a legal ivory trade. This called for extensive historical research in mankind’s use of elephants and elephant products, as well as what were the drivers of ivory sales (corruption, wars, politics, prestige, etc), and the political regimes involvement in the trade. My studies and work experience have enabled me to understand that practically all problems originate from a human-human conflict.
What did you like most about the MAPP program?
What I enjoyed the most was having access to several prestigious universities, working across different specialisms/sectors and being based at the vet school in the beautiful New England countryside.
Is there anything else you would like to share with prospective MAPP students?
The field of wildlife conservation needs social scientists to tackle the ever increasing social issues driving biodiversity loss. Research understanding tolerance levels, values, beliefs and perceptions people have towards nature is critical in order for scientists to help policy makers curb intolerance towards animals, deforestation, environmental degradation and species extinction. Only in conducting both social and ecological research can we holistically address the drivers and threats to nature, as relying on setting aside no-go zones will ultimately fail in their purpose to conserve and preserve nature (both fauna and flora).
MAPP Capstone Research Project: African Elephant (Loxodant africana) Management Policy
Full list of MAPP capstone research projects >>
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