Anna Feistner is a conservation biologist at the Center for Conservation and Sustainability's Gabon Biodiversity Program, based in southwestern Gabon. The Gamba Complex of Protected Areas in Gabon is high in biodiversity, including threatened and protected species (forest elephants, great apes, marine turtles) coexisting with oil and forestry concessions, as well as local communities. Feistner works with a local staff team and a range of government, NGO and private sector partners to support conservation, reduce human-wildlife interactions and promote ecological integrity across the landscape.
Feistner's projects include:
- Minimizing the risk of biodiversity exploitation, understanding protein consumption preferences, and monitoring protected species
- Using best practices to mitigate site-specific wildlife risk (especially from forest elephants)
- Avoiding and minimizing habitat loss by changing agricultural practices to reduce deforestation and understanding the socioeconomics of slash-and-burn farming
- Supporting sustainable development goals through a programme of environmental education in primary schools, training, outreach and partnerships
- Promoting the value of the Rabi Forest Monitoring Plot (ForestGEO) and contributing to protecting ecosystem services
Feistner has extensive experience working in biodiversity-rich yet economically poor countries and played an important role in the inscription of the Sangha Tri-National (TNS) transboundary conservation complex (Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Cameroun) in the northwestern Congo Basin as a Natural World Heritage Site. In Madagascar, she led the institutional strengthening of a Research and Conservation Training Centre in the eastern montane forests, working to support the survival of endangered fauna, especially lemurs, and supporting local communities.
Feistner completed her bachelor's degree in zoology before working on captive cotton-top tamarins for her Master of Science. She worked with wild great apes in central Gabon before undertaking a doctorate on the social behavior of semi-free ranging mandrills in southwest Gabon. Feistner was the head of research and then the head of species conservation at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (Jersey Zoo) for 14 years, working on both in-and ex-situ conservation of endangered fauna, including on Indian Ocean islands, Madagascar, Sulawesi and in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. She then moved to Madagascar for five years to work in conservation, before acting as principal technical advisor to the government in a large protected-area complex in the Central African Republic.