– Opening ceremonies where the Governor of the Central Province came in support of crocodile conservation in Sri Lanka
– Speaking with governor of daughter as she is a parasite-croc lover as well. Hell yeah!
– Sit through talks of croc conservation and updates on status
-Eat some hella good spicy Sri Lankan food!
– more croc conservation talks
– Swim, and head over to Welcome Banquet. And this is where things got crazy…
– Food galore, including and ice sculpture of a crocodile! Bad ass
– Free booze (All of us were praying that the hotel knew who we are- CSG meetings = absurd amounts of alcohol consumption
– Cultural show that included dance and fire dancing!!!! Absolutely gorgeous and beautiful
– Dance… First, I love the fact that Sri Lankan men get on the dance floor and just go all out. I danced with all: Sri Lankans, the amazing Rom Whitaker, and steering committee members of the CSG like Alvaro and Peran, CSG members like Ashley Pearcy (who was getting down as she has knee surgery next week!!! Party like a rock star!) and my fav dance partner, an 8 year old daughter of one of the CSG members. Dancing with an 8 year old for 45 minutes, trying to keep up/entertained wiped me out! After dancing for more than 2 hours straight, the night got lively. As the alcohol increased (as well as the intoxication of some people) there was singing and stories, laughs and smiles. A good time was had by all!
Now, it would seem that a group like this would be unproductive in conservation, but that is not nearly so! The Crocodile Specialist Group of the IUCN is the largest specialist sub committee, and one of the most financially stable in producing funding and research for crocodile conservation. There are 7,000-8,000 members of the IUCN, and CSG members consist of about 438. Us members are made up of 62 different countries. And what I love about this group of scientists and conservationists is the collaboration- we are all out for the same thing, and instead of having ego, we share and collaborate. And I think that is one of the reasons why we are so progressive and successful, and I love it!!!!