The primary obstacle identified by Mexico to managing protected areas is a lack of trained personnel. In response, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, together with Mexico’s Natural Protected Areas Agency (CONANP), has developed a program for conservation professionals in Mexico to gain training and expertise in critical protected area management issues. In 2012, Wildlife Without Borders – Mexico will be launching the signature initiative, Managing for Excellence, that will be training 500 CONANP field-based staff, with a focus on new employees, to manage Mexico’s protected areas that are vital for the survival of wildlife in Mexico.
The curriculum for the program has been developed by CONANP field-based staff as a result of a comprehensive survey to identify the most pressing needs and issues limiting CONANP’s ability to effectively manage protected areas. The training will account for differences in age, academic level, and working conditions. To reach the largest number of trainees, the program has an online component, as well as maintaining a strong presence in the field.The innovative training is university-certified so trainees can apply credits toward the completion of academic degrees. Once the program is launched, protected area personnel will be encouraged to replicate the successes of Managing for Excellence locally and maintain a strong network of trained personnel.