Number 22 – Florencia Pucheta
If you think millennials are too busy looking at their phones to care about conservation, you haven’t met Florencia Pucheta. In the pampas grasslands of Argentina, a team lead by biologist Florencia Pucheta has been developing a strategy to protect the Saffron-cowled Blackbird Xanthopsar flavus (Vulnerable). Threatened by poaching and habitat loss from agriculture and livestock grazing, the Argentinian population of this brightly-coloured bird has dwindled to only 500-600 individuals confined to two isolated sites. In order to enact a conservation strategy, it is important to understand everything about the species. That’s why Pucheta’s team will be researching the bird’s distribution, reproduction, and many more aspects of its life before designing a well-informed plan of action.
The foundation of this project was laid by three years of hard work and dedication with minimal funding or support. Now, Pucheta and the team can take it to the next level. “It took us three years to study the species and learn from scratch, without any textbook or course, how to fundraise, build this amazing team with the local communities, deal with advocacy and politics and also determine our scientific approach. We feel profoundly fortunate and proud to be able to receive the support that the Young Conservation Leaders offers to young professionals,” says Pucheta. Her youthful exuberance and unbridled passion for wildlife are self-evident.
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