| WOMEN IN THE WILD

Emily Ferlemann

| Areas of Expertise

Tiger Biologist and Conservationist

| Born

Topeka, Kansas

| Currently

Kansas City, Missouri

 

| Favorite Quote

“In the end we will conserve only what we
love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.”

– Baba Dioum

| Job Title

Director of Research for The Prusten Project.

| Degree

Bachelor’s of Science in Behavioral Psychology. Minor in Mass Communications 

| Otters… the small, squeaky, very distant cousins of tigers.

 

| Biography

My name is Emily Ferlemann, and I am the Director of Research for The Prusten Project. As the Director of Research, I establish in situ (native) and ex situ (non-native) research locations that contain a tiger population. This means I am talking to a lot of zoos and reaching out overseas to national parks and reserves that naturally have tigers. Within zoos, we are establishing an understanding of tiger vocalizations and how they vary between individuals and subspecies. In the wild, we are going to use the tiger’s vocalizations to census in a safer, more effective, and less costly way. From a very young age I have loved wildlife in every capacity. As soon as I was able to, I started volunteering at my hometown zoo, Topeka Zoo located in Topeka, Kansas. There, I learned the basics of being a keeper and really found my passion. Over the past 7 years I have worked as a keeper at two fantastic facilities, Topeka Zoo and Sunset Zoo. I loved being a keeper, and will probably return to it someday. Currently, my focus has been with The Prusten Project, and trying to help conserve the few tigers we have left in the wild. The great lessons I learned as a zookeeper and the passion of other keepers is what makes our project possible! In addition to zoo keeping and working at the project, I also have a love for wildlife photography. It has been said that an image is worth a thousand words, and I truly believe that. A great image can awaken a love and appreciation for an animal that simply cannot be matched by anything short of meeting an endangered species in person. Since that kind of interaction is often not possible, I will continue taking pictures!

| Tech for tigers!

 

| Challenges

When The Prusten Project was still a young group with only two active members, I was presenting at a wildlife conference in Kansas. Although it was a wildlife conference, and its purpose was to showcase the research that Kansas biologists and ecologists were conducting, there was one older male individual who made it known that he thought the tiger research did not have a place in the conference. He told me that he believed it didn’t belong for a few reasons. First, tigers are not a Kansas native species. Secondly, why was it my place to try and research tigers? I should leave that to researchers in their native areas. Lastly, he made it clear that the research was doomed to fail, implying that I would lose interest when the going gets tough. Although he did his best to try and discourage me, I’ll have you know my presentation won the first place prize that week; beating out his.

| Emotional Story

A favorite story from work was from when I was a zookeeper. There was one little girl who visited the zoo often. She was maybe 4 or 5, and her favorite animal to ask me questions about was the black- footed ferret. Every time she would see me, she would run up and have to ask about how the black- footed ferret population was doing, and loved to tell any other passing guests about the ferrets and little things they could do to help the wild ferret population. This little girl’s passion about ferrets was my favorite, because I am the one who first taught her about black-footed ferrets. This little girl became a wonderful ambassador for this species, and she was only 4 or 5!

| Conservation Tip

An easy thing that you can do in your everyday life to make a difference for wildlife is to pay attention to the source of the ingredients of your food! Palm Oil that has been harvested in an unsustainable manner causes irreparable damage and is destroying habitat at an alarming rate. By avoiding these products, you are helping to reduce demand in a very simple way!

| Advice

1. It can be a bit of a boys club. Don’t let that stop you. Some of the fiercest wildlife warriors I’ve ever met are women, and in my experience, most of my male colleagues have been very supportive. Don’t let one or two men set in their ways stop you from achieving your dreams.
2. Study whatever you want! If native plants call your name, study native plants! If an amphibian that can only be found on one small island in Indonesia is what catches your eye, you study that amphibian! If you want to take care of and study giant pandas, do so! Don’t let anyone tell you that a species is out of your reach.  
3. Believe you can, and you will! If you have the passion and the gumption, you can do about anything. It’s going to be hard work, but nothing worth having comes easy.

| If You Could Be Any Animal, What Would You Be?

If I could be any animal, I think I would probably be a red panda. Although I can be around people and be social, I much rather hang out alone most of the time. My favorite snacks are grapes and apples, just like a red panda who lives in a zoo! I also can be clumsy, which red pandas can also be.

| Contact

Website: Can a tiger’s roar help save a species? http://www.theprustenproject.org/
Social: Instagram: @RunsWithGiraffe    
Email: emily@theprustenproject.org