|Myself (3rd from left) and my working group during the IUCN Red List Assessment Training (Aug'13)|
This year seems to be passing by in lightning speed to me. I started it as an independent researcher, determined to get back to being a cetologist after more than a year’s dabbling in another conservation field (which proved to be a good learning experience). I remember most of the details vividly, and I am grateful for most, if not all, of the experience I have had in 2013 as a cetologist and marine tourism analyst. Here, I’d like to share it all with you, but particularly with myself, as a reminder that dreams do come true when you mean it.
From a timid beginning (almost a month of void transition, not sure of the first step I should do as a full-time cetologist), I had a massive jump-start when I was invited to the 1st Southeast Asian Marine Mammal Stranding Network Symposium and the Marine Mammal Stranding Response Workshop in Subic Bay in the Philippines (4-9 February 2013). I was reunited with Yanti Purnomo, Sekar Mira, Danielle Kreb and Efin Muttaqin. I was also reunited with Lindsay Porter and met for the first time in my life Grant Abel and Nimal Fernando from Ocean Park Hong Kong (the three of them were to be very instrumental in my developing the Indonesian stranding network). Most importantly, I learned for the first time the proper ways of conducting stranding rescue and the importance of veterinary science and necropsy in stranding management.