Jennifer Croes is an inspiration. Back in 2005 she left a successful high-flying job in the corporate world to fight the global wildlife trade.
Croes retrained as a conservation scientist and is working around the world raising awareness with consumers and poachers to bring a halt to this illegal but highly lucrative industry.
‘I was working as a management consultant at a global consulting firm and decided that it didn’t suit where I wanted to be and my real passion was to make a difference in the world.
‘So I sold up everything and went to the Amazon basin in Bolivia and started rescuing and being part of the rehabilitation of animals that were part of the wildlife trade market.’
It was her skills from the corporate world that gave her a point of difference as an environmental activist.
‘I used all those amazing skills I had as a consultant working with big NGOs trying to make a difference.
‘My particular skill set is around bridging that gap and I retrained as a conservation scientist in London. I felt that was important to have that clout. It’s not just a passion. I wanted to be taken seriously.
‘My thesis was on wildlife trade; that is what spurred this trajectory that I am on…’
‘Jungle Jen’ believes that the wildlife trade is an issue where we can all make a difference.
‘We have become so Asia centric’ she says when referring to our western approach to blaming the suppliers rather than the consumers.
‘Some of the biggest consumers of wildlife are us, whether as fashion or food or medicine – so much is made from wildlife-derived parts.’
Mindful of ethics
‘It goes back to our everyday living,’ she says. ‘We need to know where stuff comes from. To be mindful of the ethics and welfare in production of our food, or in our fashion.
‘My biggest passion and drive is to get people to reconnect with the natural world, to bring to light these massive conservation challenges and making it approachable and understandable, and for people to get back outside, look at trees, look at nature, make conscious purchasing decisions.’
Wildlife trade documentaries – November 15
A fundraising event to assist Sumatra’s anti-poaching/wildlife crime patrol unit will feature Jungle Jen in a Q&A with Mandy Nolan. Jen will present three short documentaries and explain some of the work she has been doing. The films are Kopi Luwak (Civet Cat Coffee), Reptile Skin Trade – From Slither to Style, and Exotic Pet Trade – Not another Dodo? The event will be held at the Brunswick Picture House on Tuesday November 15 from 7pm. Tickets are online at www.brunswickpicturehouse.com.