Professor Carl Jones dedicated his life to saving animal species which close to extinction. So far his hard work helped to save nine species for our future generations. Recently, this truly inspirational and selfless gentleman was awarded the Indianapolis Prize, sometimes called the ‘Nobel Prize’ for conservationism, which he accepted as “one of the highlights of his career”.
Born in St Clears, Wales started his career in the 70’s and faced criticism and opposition to his unconventional methods towards species preservation immediately. However, this did not put him off his dedication to save not only particular species but to restore the whole ecosystem. Acknowledgment of the importance of the whole system rather than individual species was a pioneering thought brought into conversation science by Prof Jones, says Prof Ken Norris, Director of Science at the Institute of Zoology of the Zoological Society of London.
Prof Jones decided to focus his attention to Mauritius, where he established first and only national park of this island in 1994. Soon he started additional project, restoration of the Round Island. This project helped to save three reptile species which were close to distinction due to deteriorating conditions of their natural habitat. Apart from those reptiles, Professor Jones also helped to save numerous bird species native to Mauritius. “If Carl hadn’t come to Mauritius in the 1970s, we most probably would have lost up to five bird species, a number of reptiles, a number of plants, and a number of islands would be reduced to rock or invasive plants and animals“, says Vikans Tatayah, the Conversation Director of the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation.
In his own words, Professor Jones decided to dedicate his life to this discipline because ‘he wanted to live in a diverse and interesting world’. He wants to know there are wild animals such as the polar bears in the Arctic, even if he never gets to see them.
Professor Jones now has worked with the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation for 40 years. All this time, he employed risky and pioneering techniques, such as double-clutching which helped to save the local kestrel. In total, the achievements Professor Jones gained at Mauritius, with the help of MWF and Durell, represent 19% of avoided bird extinctions worldwide. Overall this is nearly 10% of all bird, mammal and amphibian species down-listed on the IUCN Red List. “
Prof Jones is truly an inspirational individual who pursued a career in a scientific discipline which helps to enhance not only human lives but also lives of animals and the environment. He pioneered techniques and approaches which inspired many of his colleagues for further research and developments in the preservation field. Furthermore, his optimist and innovative mind can be inspiration for all of us.