In recognition of his significant contribution to the conservation of giant armadillos in the Brazilian Pantanal Dr Arnaud Desbiez has been presented with a Whitley Award for Conservation by HRH the Princess Royal during a ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London.
Arnaud graduated from Kent/DICE with a PhD in Biodiversity Management in 2007 having worked in the Brazilian Pantanal since 2002. In 2010 he set up the Giant Armadillo Conservation Project in the Pantanal – the largest wetland in the world. This was the first long-term study of giant armadillos. At the time, little was known about this enigmatic species and few landowners even knew of its existence.
His initial research uncovered some surprising results. Radio-tracking giant armadillos enabled him to map habitat use, whilst camera traps have revealed crucial information about parental care, and show armadillo burrows providing refuge for over 25 species, demonstrating their role as an ‘ecosystem engineer’. Subsequently, a national outreach campaign was launched reaching 65,000 people directly, and the giant armadillo was selected by State authorities as an indicator species for the creation of protected areas in the State of Mato Grosso do Sul. You can read more about Arnaud’s work and contribution by visiting the Whitley Award website.
Launched in 1994, the Whitley Awards are now amongst the most high profile of conservation prizes. Whitley Awards have also been won by DICE alumni Susy Paisley (1997), Claudio Ciofi (1999), Laury Cullen (2002), Erika Cuellar (2007) Patricia Medici (2008) and, Daniel Letoiye (2013).
Images have been sourced from Whitley Awards