“Most people used to say, the Amazon is like the lung of the planet. I say it is like the heart. If you see the Amazon, you can see a heart and all the rivers are like veins. When you clog all these veins, the body is going to collapse. This is happening now."
Let us welcome Dr Fernando Trujillo, a marine biologist who is the Scientific Director of Foundation Omacha, an NGO he established in 1993 to promote the conservation of river species and their ecosystems in South America.
Fernando guides us through his studying history, achieving an MSc in Environmental Sciences (University of Greenwich) and a Doctorate in Zoology (University of Aberdeen) with the ambition of working with marine vertebrates. He was encouraged to work with dolphins in the Amazon. Although nervous, this place became his paradise so built his career around it. Fernando’s PhD allowed him to research Amazon River Dolphin behaviour, and habitat use and develop a technique to count them. From here, he developed the South American River Dolphin Initiative.
“Each tree is an ecosystem, 50 m high, there are hundreds, if not thousands of animals; ants, insects, spiders, frogs, mammals and reptiles. So every time you burn an area, you are killing millions of animals and plants."
Fernando informs us about the importance of the Amazon to the world, and how damaging it will affect everyone. Fernando and Sabrina then discuss the development of Foundation Omacha and its impact. They then discuss the perception of the residents and indigenous people to conservation and how it changed over time.
Throughout Fernando’s career, connections are key in conservation. Connecting indigenous people to wildlife, and westernised people to indigenous to learn from each other and promote change to benefit everyone.
“We need to learn, we need to move forward, we need to be committed to something. It’s important. It’s not a fight of a few people. It’s a fight with everybody. We are all on this amazing blue planet that we all call Earth, and we need to do something”