ABN AMRO Bank is celebrating its 40th year in Jersey through a corporate partnership with Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust.  

ABN AMRO Bank selected Durrell as its charity partner for 2014 as one of the bank’s core values is sustainability – one also held by the charitable trust.  Throughout the year, ABN AMRO Bank will be sponsoring a number of initiatives while teams of staff from the bank will also be undertaking important volunteer work at the park in Trinity.

  Bilal Majid, country executive, of ABN AMRO Bank in Jersey said of the partnership: ‘ we are incredibly proud of our commitment to creating sustainable, long-term value for all of our stakeholders. Trusted, professional and ambitious are the core values that underpin our philosophy and we feel our ethos of sustainability has many synergies with Durrell’s own approach to sustainability in the fields of species and biodiversity conservation.’  

To launch the initiative, ABN AMRO Bank has provided the funds required for two students, Ricko Laino Jaya, from Sumatra in Indonesia and Vidrige Kandza from the Republic of Congo, to take part in the highly sought after Durrell Endangered Species Management Graduate Certificate (DESMAN) programme. The course, which runs for 12 weeks and will end on 9th May, sees conservationists from around the globe undertake study at Durrell’s headquarters in Jersey. The sponsorship is part-funding the course costs, food and accommodation required by Ricko and Vidrige to complete the course.  11 conservationists from 10 different countries including some of the world’s poorest were chosen to participate in the course as recognition of their on-going passion and commitment to the conservation efforts in their own jurisdictions.  

Vidrige Kandza is a research assistant at Nouabalé Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo. There he monitors and identifies animals such as elephants, buffalos and sitatunga and records demographic events for large mammals, including gorillas, as well as the monitoring of tree phenology.  

Mr Kandza, commented: ‘The DESMAN programme will enhance my theoretical and practical knowledge of mammal and biodiversity conservation as well as enhancing my skills in the organisation and monitoring of rare and endangered species in the Republic of Congo.’  

Ricko Laino Jaya is a vet and programme co-ordinator for the Human and Orangutan Conflict Response Unit (HOCRU) programme in Sumatra. His role is to manage and lead a specialist unit working to address human-orang-utan conflict problems in northern Sumatra. This involves the monitoring of isolated orang-utan populations in palm oil plantation areas, reducing incidents of conflict with community education initiatives and rescuing and relocating isolated or captive orang-utans that are under serious threat or harm.  

‘I was chosen to take part in the DESMAN programme to increase my understanding of conservation medicine and wildlife disease, as well as small population biology for supporting veterinarian capacity. Thanks to the kind sponsorship from ABN AMRO Bank, these new techniques will help influence the development of effective policies with key conservation groups and government stakeholders that we interact with,’ added Mr Jaya.

  The 12-week DESMAN programme is designed to equip conservation professionals with a complete range of skills to maximise their effectiveness at managing or participating in conservation projects The sponsored students will return to their native countries with an enriched understanding of the complex issues surrounding species and biodiversity conservation. It will also equip them with the necessary leadership skills required to educate their peers in important areas such as planning, management, research and community conservation.  

ABN AMRO Bank will also be the first corporate sponsor of the annual Durrell Conservation Symposium in September.  The event provides the chance for key members of Durrell and its overseas team to come together and discuss significant developments and research projects from the previous year – the central theme for this year’s symposium being the Durrell Index, a new and forward-thinking tool used to measure and demonstrate conservation actions and impacts.

  Throughout 2014 staff from ABN AMRO Bank will also be taking part in a number of voluntary engagement programmes at Durrell, including: cleaning and removing bamboo from the gorilla enclosure to make space for a new climbing frame, painting the lemur sheds in the woods, clearing reeds from the flamingo pond and clearing the moat around the orang-utan enclosure.  

Andrew Terry, head of field programmes at Durrell, commented: “ This is the most important event in the year for us because it is the one opportunity to bring our field managers from around the world to work together as a team. They are the ones who are out there working in really tough conditions to save species and I know this is incredibly important to them. We are extremely grateful for the support being provided by ABN AMRO to this and other events at Durrell.”

  ‘Since establishing our presence in Jersey in 1974 we have supported many local causes through a variety of community initiatives,’ added Richard Romeril, head of credit and market risk, at ABN AMRO Bank Jersey. ‘We think it incredibly important to contribute to the communities in which we operate and believe that our support of Durrell in our 40th anniversary year will benefit both islanders and global wildlife conservation.’