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World Wildlife Fund Announces 2015 Russell E. Train Fellowship Winners

Recognizing 24 rising conservation leaders in Africa, Asia and Latin America

Assessing the impacts of rising sea levels on sea turtle habitats. Evaluating the effects of logging and land use changes on forests. Using big data to assess poaching trends. These are just a few of the topics the next generation of conservation leaders will be researching this year.

Today, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2015 Russell E. Train Fellowship. As part of the Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program (EFN), Train Fellowships provide funding to rising conservation leaders to pursue graduate degree studies in conservation-related fields anywhere in the world and conduct research in their home countries. This year’s 24 recipients were selected through a competitive, merit-based process from a pool of 200 applicants. An independent, interdisciplinary panel of external experts evaluated applicants on the potential impact of their proposed research, professional and academic qualifications, demonstrated leadership in their community, and commitment to contribute to conservation in their home countries.

This year, Train Fellowships focused on supporting research that:

  • Builds capacity across the Pacific and Indian Oceans, empowering individuals to advance marine conservation in their home countries
  • Enhances our understanding of the true value of forests and investigates mechanisms and strategies to communicate, facilitate, and implement standing forest conservation
  • Conserves habitats and species in Mozambique, a country rich in biodiversity and natural resources, increasing the number of trained men and women working on conservation in Mozambique

“Train Fellowships have a long history of supporting rising stars in conservation and empowering them to return to their home countries to share their skills and knowledge,” said Andrea Santy, Director of the Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program. “This year’s fellows are among our most competitive groups, focusing on topics that align specifically with WWF’s goals, such as forest preservation and ocean management.”

Over the past two decades, EFN has supported more than 650 individuals from Africa, Asia and Latin America to pursue graduate degrees in conservation. To date, nearly 90 percent of fellows are working to advance conservation efforts in their home countries.

The following are the 2015 Russell E. Train Fellows:

  • Valeria Biffi Isla (Peru): PhD in Environmental Policy, London School of Economics, UK
  • Roger Patrick Boundja (Republic of Congo): PhD in Conservation Biology, University of Massachusetts, USA
  • Celia da Conceicao Felisberto Macamo (Mozambique): PhD in Mangrove Conservation and Management, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa
  • Mirna Ines Fernandez Pradel (Bolivia): Master’s in Tropical Biodiversity and Ecosystems, Free University of Brussels, Belgium
  • Mireille Pascaline Feudijo Tsague (Cameroon): PhD in Climate Change, University of Yaounde, Cameroon
  • Clerica Lisangela Flavio dos Mucudos (Mozambique): Master’s in Tropical Forestry, Dresden University of Technology, Germany
  • Oscar Ernesto Gonzalez Medina (Peru): PhD in Interdisciplinary Ecology, University of Florida, USA
  • Nelly Kadagi (Kenya): PhD in Fisheries and Applied Aquatic Sciences, University of Florida, USA
  • Serge Alexis Kamgang (Cameroon): PhD in Conservation Biology, University of Abomey Calavi, Benin
  • Pamela Kamya (Papua New Guinea): PhD in Marine Sciences, Southern Cross University, Australia
  • Henry Kaniki (Solomon Islands): Master’s in Conservation Biology, University of the South Pacific, Solomon Islands
  • Daniela Lainez del Pozo (Peru): PhD in Geography, University College London, UK
  • Beckline Mukete Awah (Cameroon): PhD in Forest Management, Beijing Forestry University, China
  • Anildo Naftal Natanial (Mozambique): PhD in Marine and Coastal Fisheries Management, Alicante University, Spain
  • Sydney Thony Ndolo Ebika (Republic of Congo): PhD in Natural Resources and Agronomy, Marien Ngouabi University, Republic of Congo
  • Toai Nguyen (Vietnam): PhD in Environmental Management, La Trobe University, Australia
  • Margaret Owuor (Kenya): PhD in Marine Sciences, University of Cadiz, Spain
  • Pedro Pires (Mozambique): Master’s in Marine Biology, Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique
  • Alfan Rija (Tanzania): PhD in Biology, University of York, UK
  • Maria Constanza Rios-Marin (Colombia): PhD in Interdisciplinary Ecology, University of Florida, USA
  • Anjara Saloma (Madagascar): PhD in Conservation Biology, University of Antananarivo, Madagascar and University of Paris-Sud, France
  • Annae Maria Senkoro (Mozambique): PhD in Environmental Studies, Rhodes University, South Africa
  • Thakur Silwal (Nepal): PhD in Geography, Masaryk University, Czech Republic
  • Arthur Tuda (Kenya): PhD in Marine Coastal Management, University of Cadiz, Spain

Applications for the 2016 fellowship competition are now being accepted. For more information about EFN or to apply for a 2016 fellowship, visit:

About the Russell E. Train Education for Nature Program (EFN)
Started in 1994 to honor the late Russell E. Train, founder, president, and chairman of the board of WWF, EFN upholds Mr. Train’s vision of putting ownership of natural resources in local hands in the work it does every day. Each year, EFN supports committed conservationists from target countries to receive financial support for their studies and field research. Applicants may apply to attend any university around the world and must return to their home countries to work in conservation for at least two years after completing their degree.