Durrell exists to save species from extinction. We work with some of the most threatened species in the most threatened places – species that were once reduced to just a handful of individuals with populations so small that most thought it impossible to save them. But when others said it can’t be done, we had the belief to say it can. This belief has led to some of the most striking species recoveries in the world.
Our programmes are intensively monitored and evaluated, enabling us to understand which actions are successful in order to manage them most effectively and to build capacity elsewhere by disseminating this information through our training programmes and to others in our sector. This is where the Durrell Index comes in. Our conservation scientists have developed a set of organisational and species programme-level indicators which track the threats facing our target species, the actions we take and ultimately the difference we make – our impact. Put simply, the Durrell Index communicates a message of hope in a sector that is too often focused on doom and gloom. It demonstrates that, given time, conservation works and that Durrell, working alongside partners, can and does reverse the fortunes of the most critically endangered species on the very brink of extinction.
Whilst we must be open and honest about the pressures facing conservationists, we also need to celebrate the success stories in order to learn from them, to share effective practices, and to provide people with the belief that ours is a cause worth fighting for. This is why we want to join the Conservation Optimism Network. It is a movement that will empower and motivate people working in the conservation sector, and provide us with those ‘yes we can’ moments. Together we can all change a culture of despair to one of belief and positivity. It is with this optimistic outlook that conservationists stand the best chance of convincing people that it is vital, but also possible, to save and rewild our world.