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Meet Our First-ever Mexico Program Intern

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José Miguel in Puebla, Mexico.

José Miguel Gabutti is Wildlands Network’s first Mexico Program intern. He lives in Mexico City where he is finishing his studies in Environmental Biology at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana. José Miguel is interested in the conservation of natural environments and the close relationship that exists between them and society. We asked him some questions about his experience with us so far.

  1. How did you first learn about Wildlands Network? 

I first learned about Wildlands Network through Instagram. I read a post about road ecology which caught my attention, so I looked for more information. I found some webinars taught by WN, and after listening to them I decided to contact Mirna Manteca to ask about the possibility of an internship.

To me, Wildlands Network is a great organization with very important objectives. Nowadays, human-caused impacts on the environment are pervasive and have led to imbalances in nature and other problems. That is why working with Wildlands Network and taking part in actions that mitigate these situations is exciting to me.

2. What inspired you to work in conservation?

What inspired me the most to work in conservation is the ability of organisms to be successfully reintroduced to their environment. It’s amazing to me how ecosystems can cope with constant anthropogenic pressures, and how the different components of a community adapt to these changes. I have been interested in animals, ecology and conservation since I was a child.

3. What project(s) are you most excited to work on while interning with Wildlands Network, and why?

I am really interested in all the projects Wildlands Network is working on, but my primary focus with Wildlands Network will be road ecology—the projects that involve roadkill mitigation, and the establishment of wildlife passages are the ones that interest me the most. I consider these projects important because, in just a short time, they have shown a positive impact in the connectivity of populations and ecosystems. Another topic that I would really like to work with is the impact of highways on mesofauna, or mid-size species. Although it is well known that roadkill affects these animals, there is not enough information about its impact on their populations.

4. What do you hope to do in your career after graduating?

José Miguel sampling echinoderms on Isla Isabel, Nayarit, Mexico.

I would love to get a job in conservation, and to get a Master’s degree in islands biogeography and species distribution, mostly focusing on conservation. If science is not applied to solve problems it does not fulfill its function, which is to teach and to help.

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