China's Reigning Ambassador: The Giant Panda

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Fromm Hall 125 - Maraschi Room
Event Type
Events and Lectures
Elbers, Krysten Cogswell
Center for Asia Pacific Studies

China’s Reigning Ambassador: The Giant Panda

Presented by the USF Center for Asia Pacific Studies.
Co-sponsored by the USF Environmental Studies Department. 

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World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has been committed to conservation around the world over the last 50 years, including in China, where the giant panda is a symbol of wildlife conservation. In 2001, WWF’s Colby Loucks found himself searching for traces of the giant panda in the bamboo forests of China’s Qinling Mountains. His findings resulted in an influential study that helped establish seven new protected areas and five new panda corridors in China’s rapidly changing landscape. Join us for an intimate conversation with Colby to get a closer look at how China’s dedication to save one of the world’s best-loved species has elevated it’s influence in conservation both domestically and overseas, as well the cross-cultural connections that have been created between the non-profit and business worlds through such efforts, and how an emerging class of new wealth in the country has brought a new battle, combatting a great appetite for luxury wildlife products.

Colby Loucks joined WWF in 1996 and is the current leader WWF’s Wildlife Crime Technology Project – which is focused on harnessing the latest technologies – such as UAVs – to support WWF field teams in reducing poaching of elephants, rhinos and tigers. He is also leading an effort to evaluate the environmental and social impacts of FSC certification in tropical forests – using cutting-edge statistical methods to elucidate causality.  Early in his WWF career, Colby led ecoregion conservation assessments for North America and the Indo-Pacific region, and led ecoregion planning analyses in the eastern Himalayas, Indochina, Mexico and China's southwest temperate forests.  He continued to combine his expertise in GIS, conservation biology and landscape ecology to identify remaining habitat for pandas in China's Shaanxi Province. This work was the foundation for the Chinese government’s decision to more than double the region's protected areas to conserve giant pandas.  He also contributed to several global teams that developed, created, and published the Global 200, Alliance for Zero Extinction, and estimating and mapping humanity’s global consumption patterns.  More recently, he led an analysis in Cambodia that created a 50 year timeline connecting the impacts of war and peace to species loss; published research on prioritizing global tiger conservation areas; analyzing the impacts of sea level rise on tiger populations in Bangladesh's Sundarbans ecosystem; and identification of critical migration corridors for pronghorn antelope in the USA’s Northern Great Plains.  He received a BS in biology from the College of William and Mary and a Master's of Environmental Management degree from Duke University. His graduate work took him to Paraguay, where he established a baseline forest inventory for sustainable forestry operations.

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