Paul Bamford

Field Programme Coordinator, Latin America

  • Qualifications BSc PGCE
  • Specialisms
    Biodiversity Surveys & Ecological Monitoring

I first began working in zoos in 2002, but my relationship with Latin America goes back much further than that: in 1986 when I was seven years old, my family moved to Chile, and I have divided my time between Latin America and the UK ever since. It was whilst growing up in Chile that I became fascinated by wildlife and concerned about the damage that we are inflicting upon the natural world.

After finishing my Bachelor’s Degree in Ecology and Conservation I worked in the Education Departments at Flamingo Land and Blackpool Zoo, before going on to work as a lecturer in Animal Management at Sparsholt College, where I completed my PGCE. In 2009, I decided to take a career break in order to spend some time travelling and experiencing the realities of conservation in the field in Latin America, a move which resulted in my spending two years living with an indigenous Amazonian community in Ecuador, managing a community development project and field research centre. Following on from this, I returned to Chile for 6 years, where I worked on a state-funded science communication and engagement programme in the Los Rios region.

I joined Chester Zoo’s Field Programmes team as Latin American Regional Coordinator in early 2019. In this role, I hope to be able to apply the lessons that I have learned working in education and community-based conservation within that region in order to incorporate local voices and expertise into our field activities so that we may work with our local partners to develop conservation initiatives that are genuinely participatory and sustainable in the long term.