Fernando Simal

fernando simal

Fernando is co-Director of Wild Conscience a newly established organisation dedicated to helping governments and nature organizations achieve their conservation goals by offering a highly diverse team of fully committed professionals with outstanding work ethics.

Born in Spain and living in the Caribbean region since late childhood, Fernando holds a BSc in Biology from the University of Lousiana at Monroe and a MSc in Nature Conservation and Management from the Universidad de Cádiz, Spain.

After 10 years working as manager of the Washington-Slagbaai National Park including 2 years as Interim Manager of the Bonaire National Marine Park, he created the Natural and Historic Resources Unit of STINAPA Bonaire, which he managed during 4 years. During his years as park manager he created a visitors centre for the park that includes a 7 exhibits indoor and outdoor museum, a small library, hiking trails with interpretation signs and a gift shop among others. He was granted money for several projects that he wrote and all of them were carried out successfully. Fernando also authored and successfully implemented the Management Plan 2006-2010 for the park.

On the science side, Fernando engaged in scientific research and monitoring that includes different habitats and populations of birds, bats, flora, invasive species, coral reefs, marine mammals and more. Fernando established the PPRABC (Bat Conservation Program for the ABC Islands) and acted as General Coordinator of this group for 3 years, successfully leading projects in scientific research, education and conservation. Additionally he is a board member of BirdsCaribbean, the Society for Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds, the largest bird conservation organization in the region. Totally in love with the nature of the Islands above and below sea level, Fernando is happy to go as many extra miles as needed for the conservation of these ecological treasures and strongly believes that a truly regional approach is the only way to achieve significant goals in nature conservation of this biodiversity hot spot known as the Caribbean region.

” I was hired as the first manager of the Washington Slagbaai National Park. My mission was to bring the park to the best possible level in the areas of infrastructure, facilities, human resources, finances and nature management. For the last ten years I’ve been running and organizing projects in all these areas. When STINAPA asked me if I wanted to apply for the job I was living in Venezuela working a few different jobs at the same time. I am a biologist with a Masters in Nature Management and Conservation but in order to properly support my family I created a company to do high-rise buildings maintenance using rock climbing equipment and techniques. At the same time I was in charge of the SCUBA diving department of the University of Isla Margarita and I was teaching sports in a high school and I owned an excursion center and also I used to do biology related volunteer work. The best part of my job for the past 10 years was to see the park improve, achieving our goals and to see the results of my work and both locals and foreigners enjoying them.After almost 10 years of service to the terrestrial park I was ready to undertake my real passion, which is Nature Management. In my judgment, STINAPA Bonaire was also in dire need of a department dedicated only to managing the nature of the island, since it is not realistic for the same person to do both the park administration and all the ecological work that needs to be done for the conservation of our natural and historic resources. Therefore, in 2009, I proposed to STINAPA the creation of this department and the hiring of a new park manager for the terrestrial park in a more administrative and operational role. It worked out!!

Since we manage and protect the main engine that drives the economy of this island –our natural resources-, the importance of STINAPA as a key player in the achievement of a sustainable development for Bonaire is easily ranked at the highest level possible. No question about it!

Island Conservationists, Participants.