A key component of the work Dr. Mary Blair is leading in Vietnam is capacity development both in the U.S. and in Vietnam.
The CBC is providing important input and support to the Vietnam Department of Nature Conservation as it proposes to develop a national strategy to implement protected area staff competency standards, and also a national action plan for primate conservation. As part of our support for this process, we directly trained 50 protected area staff members in slow loris conservation and nocturnal survey techniques, and our nocturnal survey training protocol has been adopted into the Department of Nature Conservation’s official biodiversity survey training materials. To date, an additional 80 trainees, representing 80% of Vietnam’s 164 protected areas have sent representatives to complete these trainings.
Dr. Blair has hosted research internships for students from the City University of New York and Long Island University - Brooklyn, recruited as a part of CBC-AMNH’s Enhancing Diversity in Conservation Science Initiative. In addition, to develop long-term capacity for improved regional conservation management, this project supported the multidisciplinary training of Vietnamese graduate and undergraduate students in biology, anthropology, and economics through hands-on research. The training aimed at improving our understanding of the drivers, patterns, scale, and cultural values related to illegal trade in slow lorises, and culminated with the completion of two undergraduate theses at Vietnam National University.
She is also co-mentoring a Masters student in Environmental Policy from Bard College who accompanied Dr. Blair during her expedition in Vietnam this past summer, receiving mentorship in both ecological fieldwork and socioeconomic interviewing, and will assist in completion of the full econometric analysis as a part of her Masters thesis in Year 3 of the project.