The Spanish veterinary surgeon Carmen Vidal has been the winner of the 2nd Edition of the Jane Goodall Award on Conservation Biology and Environmental Ethics
Alicante, 5th March 2012
The jury in the 2nd edition of the Jane Goodall Prize, awarded by the University of Alicante through its Jane Goodall Chair, has decided to award this prize to the Spanish veterinary surgeon Carmen Vidal Marsal.
Carmen Vidal is technical director of the community conservation programme and coordinator of the Lwiro Primate Rehabilitation Centre, as well as the Chief of Mission for Coopera in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
According to the Director of the Jane Goodall Chair and lecturer at the UA, Germain Lopez, "Carmen Vidal is an example of a life devoted to fighting for the survival of one of the most emblematic species of our world, chimpanzees, as well as her work -locally and internationally- to raise awareness about the importance of sustainable development of natural resources for both animal populations and for human communities with which they coexist".
In January 2007, Carmen Vidal began working as the technical director in one of the most dangerous areas of the planet, the Kivus, due to a conflict that has been active since 1996 which seems to have no end, affecting millions of people and as a side effect, affecting the populations of great apes that live there. In this area of the Kivus, an endemic mountain gorilla subspecies to this region is located (Gorilla gorilla graueri), which is in serious danger of extinction, as well as it the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthi), and numerous species of primates .
The population is also facing a situation of vulnerability due to limited access to education and health, population pressures and overcrowding, pressure on natural resources, the lack of shelter, of water, electricity and resources of both food (malnutrition) and non-food resources, as well as the high unemployment rate. Women, children and the indigenous 'Pygmy' community are high-risk groups.
Her work for the conservation of nature in this area of the planet is part of a Community Conservation Programme, which is the cornerstone around which several projects related to health and community education are involved. Among them, we can quote:
Education and awareness projects:
- Work with the Rural Health Committees
- Creation of a cyber in the town of Lwiro
- Establishment of the "Lwiro Integrated Education Centre" (CIEL)
- Creation of female and male children's soccer teams with the community in the area and the Athletic Lwiro