Dr Chris Gleed-Owen, Director of CGO Ecology, has been Research Committee Chair of The British Herpetological Society (BHS) for almost 20 years. In 2004, Chris set up the Student Grant Scheme to help early-career herpetologists, and he has been managing the scheme ever since.

Chris explains: “Twice a year, students from around the world can apply for project funding. We prioritise projects in developing countries, and particularly ones working with endangered species. We’ve funded projects in Nepal, India, Thailand, Uganda, South Africa, Madagascar, as well as the UK, Portugal, Malta, and other European countries Unfortunately, we are only able to help about five students a year, so have to turn away a lot of worthy applicants.”

He adds: “There was a particularly good intake of applications in 2021, so my company, CGO Ecology Ltd, sponsored the scheme in order to make up the shortfall in funding, and help more students.”

The December 2021 recipients, each of whom received £300, were:

  • Aabha Pokharel who is studying frog assemblages in Madi Valley, Nepal.
  • Ellie Dobbs who is studying the conservation status of Maltese snakes.
  • Pawan Pareek who is studying nesting habitat of the red-crowned roofed turtle in the Chambal Sanctuary, India.
  • Srijana Timilsina who is studying gharial habitats and human conflict in Chitwan National Park, Nepal.

Pawan Pareek said of the funding: “I am truly grateful to the British Herpetological Society for this support. The grant helped me fund my PhD research work to document information about nest site selection of critically-endangered red-crowned roofed turtles (Batagur kachuga).”

In order for the scheme to help more students, The British Herpetological Society is looking for new corporate sponsors. If you can offer any help with funding, or have any useful suggestions, please contact Research Committee Chair Chris Gleed-Owen.

[Words by Rebecca Perl. Photos supplied by the students].