There’s been an ongoing operation to help rare and endangered animals all over the world, and Maltese students are right in the middle of it.
Operation Wallacea is the brainchild of Nathan Adams, a Maltese biologist who lives in Canada and sends Maltese students around to world to learn about and wildlife conservation to a level that, he says, is not possible in Malta.
“I remotely manage a Wildlife Research Office in Canada that sends Maltese and Gozitan students to join wildlife conservation expeditions across the entire world,” Adams said. “This very second, I have 100 students (age 15-23) that have just returned from countries such as South Africa, Indonesia, Honduras, Croatia and Romania!”
Adams has dedicated himself to furthering animal research and conservation efforts, spending long periods of time among indigenous communities in jungles with no running water, WIFI, or indeed, a bed.
And he is sharing his passion for wildlife with hundreds of Maltese students
The students spend time working with professional wildlife conservation scientists and indigenous communities to learn how to become scientific research assistants in jungles, savannahs and even learning how to conduct underwater science as qualified SCUBA divers.
And Adams considers the students returning to Malta as: “the next generation of environmental elites, ready to help protect Malta’s environment, foster sustainable development and apply the techniques they learned abroad in Malta upon their return.”
One of the main goals of Operation Wallacea is to teach young students the skills they will need in the course of their work with wildlife
Adams pointed out how some of the younger volunteers even learn how to scuba dive as part of the operation, an opportunity they “simply do not get in Malta”.
“They return to Malta trained and ready to help local scientists and NGOs conduct research and become very competitive candidates for work and future studies,” he said.
Adams knows the personal benefits that come with this work
“Each and every student has an absolutely unique story to tell,” says Adams. “For example, I met my wife, who was a butterfly scientist in Indonesia whilst I was a bat scientist there! Other students worked with elephants, lions, buffalo, manta rays, turtles, giraffes, wolves, bears, birds, bats, snakes and so much more.”
Pictured: Nathan Adams
It’s not only him – his students are raving about their experiences in online testimonials
Gabrielle Grixti – Romania and Croatia
“I’ve attended not only one but two expeditions with Operation Wallacea, and I would recommend it to anyone! Not only is it an amazing travel experience full of fun, but you also get to learn a lot about biodiversity and conservation. I attended the Romania expedition in 2017 and I enjoyed it so much that I joined the Croatia expedition in 2018 where I even learnt how to scuba dive! I attended with St Martin’s College Sixth Form,” said Gabrielle Grixti.
Jamie Buttigieg – South Africa
“It is a life-changing experience,” said Jamie Buttigieg, “that taught us useful skills for working in the wild and we made new friends while doing it. Operation Wallacea is a wonderful organisation which puts conservation of wildlife as its top priority. I went to South Africa with Sir M.A. Refalo Sixth Form in 2018.”
Katryna Esposito – Croatia
“Operation Wallacea provides one with a truly genuine experience, through which one not only makes friends and contacts but also is provided with a deeper insight of the impact by man on the environment, and the various conservation projects aiming at minimising this impact,”said Katryna Esposito.
“I had the opportunity to attend Croatia with Saint Martin’s College and I got to see how a biodiverse hotspot was affected trough wildfires as well as human encroachment. I would highly recommend these expeditions to anyone with a passion for conservation.”
Operation Wallacea is always open to people with a serious interest in wildlife conservation and an adventurous spirit. If you’d like to get involved you can contact Nathan Adams by following this link and you can learn more about Operation Wallacea by following this link.