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Collaborative Conservation

Panama Wildlife Webinar

World Wildlife Day 2021 Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining people and Planet.

Manchester Museum is delighted to present the Collaborative Conservation webinar live.

Manchester Museum’s Curator of Herpetology Andrew Gray and Curatorial Assistant in Herpetology Matthew O’Donnell will be joined in conversation by Dr Luis Urena and Dr Eric Flores of Panama Wildlife Conservation (PWCC) as we explore the work of conservationists and researchers fighting to protect Panama’s unique biodiversity. Successful wildlife conservation requires collaboration and specialized knowledge. Manchester Museum and PWCC have come together to jointly develop new projects aimed at helping conserve some of Panama’s most endangered species and their associated ecosystems, providing opportunities to support and fully involve local communities.

This exclusive webinar will highlight and discuss several projects currently underway, including those for endangered Harlequin Frogs, sea turtles, and more. The event will finish with an interactive Q&A session where you can ask our panellists about their exciting and diverse work.


We are the only UK based charity dedicated to supporting & developing biodiversity conservation projects in Panama. We are proud to have fantastic combination of scientists, professional fund managers and lawyers working together to protect highly biodiverse areas of Panama. Our projects started in 2014 in response to the need for urgent scientific data on threatened species across Panama. PWCC has been supporting/developing high-priority biodiversity conservation activities by creating new opportunities for Panamanian early career biologists & conservationists who are passionate about the protection of Panama’s biodiversity in places where capacity and access to resources is limited such as the province of Veraguas. Our projects have been developed with top organisations form the US, UK and Europe and generated scientific information about the rich biodiversity of this country. Our initiatives have included: development of field research activities, publishing valuable scientific data, promoting citizen-science in communities near protected areas, and local outreach in schools and communities.



Molecular Biologist graduated at Imperial College London and Director at Panama Wildlife Conservation. Luis is also an enthusiastic scientist and photographer. He plays a key role in the development and implementation of research and conservation initiatives. He is responsible for co-ordinating project development, which includes fund-raising, liaising with partners, increasing the profile of Panama Wildlife Conservation and identifying research initiatives that could be applied to the protection of Panama’s biodiversity.


As Programmes manager, Eric develops, implements and monitors conservation research programs in Panama. Eric is an enthusiastic scientist and environmental educator, with ability to visualise opportunities and construct collaborative networks among researchers and local stakeholders, playing a key role in setting the ground for the success of PWCC projects. He has a broad experience serving in government agencies, private companies, research institutions and in international & national NGOs; conducting independent or collaborative research.


ANDREW R. GRAY – Curator of Herpetology at Manchester Museum

An expert in neotropical herpetology, Andrew has headed up the Vivarium at Manchester Museum for over 25 years. He has established and maintained several amphibian conservation projects including the long running Project Lemur Frog, and more recently Harlequin Frog Project. Through this he has worked closely with NGOs, Universities and government bodies both nationally and internationally. Andrew’s research focus has been on resolving taxonomic questions in the Neotropical region where he has discovered and described tadpoles and frogs new to science.



MATTHEW O’DONNELL – Curatorial Assistant in Herpetology at Manchester Museum and PhD student at the University of Salford.
Curatorial assistant in Herpetology for six years, where he is part of the team maintaining the live herpetological collection. Facilitating and conducting work towards the aims of the Vivarium, primarily teaching, research and conservation focused. Matt has a MSc in Wildlife Conservation and is now conducting a part-time PhD studying the application of environmental DNA (eDNA) as a conservation tool for endangered amphibians in Central America.


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