If your definition of an awesome vacation includes wildlife and wild places, then I’m sure you’ve daydreamed of traveling to the Amazon. Maybe you’re even one of the lucky few that have been there! Boat rides along the Amazon’s many rivers to observe a mighty jaguar prowling the riverbanks; hiking through the rainforest to see giant anteaters; binoculars pointed high in the canopy to spot countless birds hidden in the trees. While these experiences are highlights in anyone’s life, we must ask the question: how do we protect the keystone species whose presence in the Amazon ensures that this wildly important ecosystem stays functional?
In this episode, I’m chatting with Bridgette San Marco, Co-Founder of Save the Giants. Bridgette is a zookeeper and absolutely fell in love with giant otters early in her career. She wanted to do more for wild otters and went on a search to find an organization working diligently to conserve the species. When she didn’t find one, she connected with other otter lovers and co-founded Save the Giants with fellow conservationist, Christina Ward. Now, they’re working with indigenous communities in Guyana to conserve not only the giant otter but other South American icons as well, like jaguars and giant anteaters. Their approach to conservation is different than many wildlife nonprofits, and I hope more organizations adopt Save the Giants’ practices!
I barely knew anything about giant otters until this conversation and I had a blast learning from Bridgette. I hope that you will, too! Be sure to stick around until the end to hear this week’s question.
This week’s question:
How do you feel we can increase collaboration in conservation or the sciences in general?
I’d love to hear your answer. Comment below, send me an email or post your comment on the Rewildologists Community Facebook Group!
Alright, everyone. Here is my conversation with Bridgette.
Key Takeaways & Highlights
🦦 The path that Bridgette took that led her to zookeeping
🦦 Her desire to help wild giant otters but lack of organizations striving to conserve them
🦦 How she and fellow conservationist, Christina Ward, founded Save the Giants
🦦 The biology and behaviors of giant otters
🦦 How STG partnered with local communities in Guyana to protect giant otters
🦦 Why and how collaboration is one of the organization’s pillars
🦦 The mindset she’s maintained through the years to keep her going
🦦 How we all can help giant otters
Links & Resources
Save the Giants: https://savethegiants.org/
About Giant Otters: https://savethegiants.org/giant-otters-2/
You can reach Bridgette by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Check out other Rewildology Episodes.
Ep. 42 Show Notes | Conservation Meets Psychology: How to Foster Meaningful Engagement with Kayla Cranston, PhD
Ep. 41 Show Notes | Rewilding the Land Down Under with Michael McFadden
Ep. 40 Show Notes | Raptors, Education & Falconry: The Bird Conservation Trifecta with Devin Jaffe