The WildLife: Ocellated Turkeys, Jon McRoberts

Jon McRoberts from Texas Tech University talks about ocellated turkeys. He tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme about the special characteristics of this game bird and the challenges of doing field research in the jungles of Mexico. Ocellated turkeys are one of only two species of turkeys in the world (the other is the North American wild turkey) and live in a relatively small (50,000 square mile) area in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, northern Belize and northern Guatemala. They can live in diverse habitat types, from arid brushlands to mature rain forests, but little is known about their ecology and life history. Jon McRoberts will help fill that gap with his four-year research project in Campeche, Mexico.

Jon McRoberts is a doctoral candidate in wildlife science at Texas Tech University. He was the sixth generation to grow up on the family farm in Lewis County, Missouri and moved to Columbia, Missouri in 2001 where he did his undergraduate research at the University of Missouri’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources where he helped care for two captive river otters and spent 8 months studying wildlife management in South Africa. He graduated in 2005 with a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife and was named The Outstanding Graduating Senior in the department. After college he spent time working in China with the Smithsonian Institution researching giant panda reproduction and conservation. Currently, in addition to his dissertation research, McRoberts is a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow at Texas Tech and is involved with a variety of additional research projects ranging from wind-energy conservation efforts to developing aerial survey methodology to detect wildlife. In his free time Jon enjoys hunting, fishing, live music, wild game cooking, following Missouri Tiger sports, and spending time on the family farm. Jon’s principle research project and the focus of his dissertation is the ecology and management of the ocellated turkey on the Yucatan Peninsula. He spends half the year in the jungles and agricultural fields of Campeche, Mexico and hopes to help conserve this unique species. This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on October 25, 2010.


The WildLife: Illegal Parrot Trade in Mexico & CITES, Juan Carlos Cantu

Juan Carlos Cantu, director of Defenders of Wildlife’s Mexico Office, discusses the illegal parrot trade and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). He reveals to “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme how his innovative research into the illegal parrot trade was used by the Mexican Congress to reform that country’s Wildlife Law to ban all trade in parrots. He also discusses how CITES works and what controversies to expect for the March 2010 Conference of Parties in Doha, Qatar. Mr. Cantu directs he coordinated the oceans and forestry campaigns for Greenpeace Mexico where he conceived and led the campaign to create the world’s largest national whale sanctuary in all Mexican waters. He also co-founded a Mexican non governmental organization, called Teyeliz, where he wrote many reports on the illegal wildlife trade. He’s also worked for the Sea Turtle Restoration Project to get Mexico to use sea turtle excluder devices, and held several other positions. Since 2002, he’s worked for Defenders of Wildlife on the illegal parrot trade, and his efforts helped the Mexican Congress reform the Wildlife Law to ban all trade of parrots and also helped get many endangered species of parrots, including the yellow-crested cockatoo and the blue-headed macaw, uplisted to Appendix I of CITES.  He has also created 5 comic books on the illegal trade of sea turtles and started a radio show called “Supervivencia”, which creates public awareness about wildlife issues and is the highest rated show on the station with over 400,000 listeners. This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on March 8, 2010. Article and edited transcript available on Mongabay.com.

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