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When starting a project, we always conduct thorough scientific background research by reviewing the latest academic and environmental literature on the topic, and liaising with experts, local communities, decision makers, and/or other non-profit organizations. Our aim is to understand as many aspects of the project contexts as possible.
COMMUNICATIVE CONSERVATION APPROACH
To transmit the messages of local conservation issues, we use modern filming techniques to deliver great video quality, while also advocate videos taken by local people. There are times when local footage obtained from a cell phone camera fits our goals better than arriving with a film crew. Our aim is to record, but not to disturb. We evaluate the best methods and use the best equipment possible to get the job done.
George OLAH, PhD
George is a scientist and conservation geneticist, mainly working on parrots and other birds. He acquired his Master of Science degree in Zoology, at the University of Veterinary Medicine in 2006 in Hungary. After his degree he participated in many field based research projects on parrots in Central and South America including Argentina, Mexico, Peru, and Bolivia. He worked for the Tambopata Macaw Project in the Peruvian Amazon for several years, first as the leader of the research center and later as the project coordinator. He also worked in the eco-tourism industry in Peru as lodge manager for one of the largest Peruvian eco-tourist companies. When he realized that the human impacts on the habitat of parrot and macaw species were accelerating, he decided to undertake a PhD in conservation biology to enable a scientifically based evaluation of conservation management in the area. He finished that degree at the Australian National University in 2015, where subsequently he is engaged in research as a Postdoctoral Fellow.
Cintia GARAI, PhD
Cintia is a scientist, mainly focusing on great apes in Africa, and wildlife filmmaker. She completed her Masters of Science in Zoology in 2006 at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Hungary; her thesis was about the environmental enrichment of captive great apes. She then worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo with bonobos, where she began her research on that species. Later she worked for a Hungarian wildlife filmmaking group, Filmjungle.eu Productions for 5 years, during which time decided that she wanted to make films for conservation purposes, especially in remote areas. That is how she got to Tambopata, Peru, where she filmed The Macaw Project, a half-an-hour documentary, her first as a director. She realized that she wanted additional scientific background in order to combine three elements, filmmaking – research – conservation, and so in 2015, she gained a PhD degree in Primatology, at the Kyoto University in Japan, writing her fieldwork focused dissertation on the personality traits of wild-living bonobos. Since graduation she has worked in DR Congo as a conservationist, and she continues filming and exploring the possibilities of using films in different ways to promote nature conservation.
Robert Carrubba, MA
Robert earned a BA in English Literature and an MA in Korean Linguistics in Seoul, South Korea, from Sogang University, and subsequently taught Korean language and culture at a university in the United States. He worked as an academic and literary translator and Korean language education materials development specialist for universities and institutions in the South Korea and the United States. During his BA, he rekindled his interest in photography and in 2011 began to transition to working as a photographer, photographing intensively in Seoul, Munich, and Johannesburg. At present he is based in Kinshasa, DR Congo and engages in country-wide photographic reportage and projects on culture, environment, politics, socio-economics, and sports. Mainly centred on the ways people live and express themselves in the DRC, his photography often is contiguous to the topics of conservation photography.
Wildlife Messengers is a nonprofit organization with the purpose of making scientific and educational films, photographs, and audio recordings to promote nature conservation, mainly in countries with lower industrial bases, and to distribute them to national and international audiences. The targeted audiences include government authorities, elementary and middle schools, local indigenous communities, and non-governmental organizations. We will evaluate and publish the impact of such conservation films. We also will establish an online archive of amateur, semi-professional, and professional nature conservation films, photographs, and audio recordings to make them available for the public.
Before the establishment of Wildlife Messengers, all three cofounders had experiences with connecting media and conservation. They realized that there is a bridge between the scientific work and active conservation activities. Knowledge from scientific research should be conveyed not only to other scientists but also to general audiences and to decision makers in an understandable way. The first common project by Cintia and George was The Macaw Project documentary. This film was translated into many languages (including Spanish, Portuguese, German, Polish, Hungarian), screened in many different countries, and gained much public attention.
Through recognizing the power of scientific documentaries and photography, and the effect each has on the broader public, and grounded on their common interest in wildlife conservation using scientific tools and the power of media, Cintia, George, and Robert established the non-profit corporation Wildlife Messengers in 2017.
The Macaw Project documentary – www.macawmovie.com
George and Cintia produced various short videos about the work of scientists in the Peruvian Amazon from a science communication grant by the Peruvian Government.
During her PhD studies at the Kyoto University, Japan, Cintia gained a Japanese grant to make a short film in the bonobo sanctuary of Kinshasa, DR Congo, for Congolese children about the plight of bonobos. Since 2014, the film is shown every Monday in different elementary schools in Kinshasa accompanied by a lecture about bonobos by the lecturer of the sanctuary. The 5-minute long film can be seen here in French:
During her conservation activities in the Congo, Cintia had the opportunity to film the illegal trade of African grey parrots. Some of her footage was used for the CITES meeting in 2016 in Johannesburg, South Africa, to upgrade the protection status of the species from Appendix II to Appendix I, with success. The short film can be seen here:
Cintia made another film about parrots recently, which introduces the research and conservation activities for the elusive palm cockatoos in Cape York, Australia.