The Thailand Environmental Education Center (EEC) organised the first “Fighting Extinction Day” on 2 April 2017 to present research findings from the Fighting Extinction Project. EEC Thailand uses The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™, one of IUCN’s main conservation tools, to guide student research work on the ground. All five species presented at this event – the Kitti's hog-nosed bat, goral, dugong, whale shark and leatherback sea turtle –are listed by the IUCN as Threatened with Extinction.
The project was launched in April 2016 with three main objectives:
1. To develop children and youth into environmentalists and conservation leaders, and to inspire the general public to participate in the preservation and protection of natural resources and environment,
2. To encourage biodiversity monitoring in Thailand and
3. To create public awareness of threats to the environment in Thailand and abroad.
Actor Alex Rendell, actress Jarinporn Junkiet, Bonita Rendell and Dr. Alongkot Chukaew, the founders and masterminds of EEC, hope to bring environmental education to public attention and advocate the concept: “let nature be our classroom.”
25 students spent a year collaborating with EEC environmental experts to determine the conservation status of the five aforementioned species. Students were divided into five groups, each of which conducted a number of in-depth interviews with locals, questionnaires and field surveys. The research results and a short documentary were reviewed by experts and presented at EmQuartier Bangkok’s Toyota Imax Theater during the event on 2 April.
The IUCN Thailand Programme team, led by Mr. Petch Manopawitr, Indo-Burma Group Deputy and IUCN Thailand Programme Coordinator, and Head of IUCN Asia’s Natural Resources Group, Dr. Scott Perkin, joined EEC Thailand at the “Fighting Extinction Day” event to empower young conservationists and share information and conservation tools, including The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ and the World Database on Protected Areas, a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and IUCN joint project.
Mr. Petch Manoprawitr gave a keynote speech and noted that EEC Thailand’s work to combat species extinction is a very important initiative. Led by the younger generation, it shines hope on conservation, as “Fighing Extinction” is not a one-man mission but needs to involve everyone.
Other keynote speakers included Mr. Brendan Rogers, Ambassador of Ireland to Thailand; Dr. Krisak Choonhawan, Politician and conservationist; Dr. Boripat Siriaroonrat, Director for Conservation and Research for the Zoological Park Organisation and Mr. Tara Buakamsri, Thailand Country Director for Greenpeace.
"I'm a strong believer that education can solve all manner of problems in the world today,” said Alexander Rendell at the Fighting Extinction Day event. “The EEC believes that Environmental Education is the most sustainable form of conservation.”