The SCB Asia Section held its biennial conference in Kyrgyzstan during 6 - 9 August 2018. Conservation Asia 2018 attracted 250 participants including academics, conservation agencies and NGOs from 44 countries with more than 200 talks and posters presented in 15 symposia. SCB facilitated 10 students getting to Bishkek with $6000 in travel grants.
Stimulating workshops were run before and after the conference, including conservation storytelling, population assessment and distribution of elusive species, conservation in Central Asia, project management for wildlife conservation and adaptive management using the Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART). SCB Asia board members also ran workshops on policy, diversity and inclusion, journals, and Chapters.
There were 6 excellent plenary talks from David Borchers, Vidya Athreya, Lu Zhi, Olga Medoeva, Koustubh Sharma, and Simon Hedges. Simon was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for his 30 year contribution to saving Asian elephants and their habitats .
Conservation Asia was hosted by the American University of Central Asia (AUCA), Snow Leopard Trust and UNDP and was supported by various regional donors and organizations.
The conference aimed to engage conservation scientists and practitioners from Russian speaking countries, and all sessions had interpretation into Russian from English. As a result of the engagement, participants at the conference are forming two new Chapters, one for Central Asia, another for Pakistan. New members joined the SCB including members from new countries where SCB had no members before (Tajikistan).
After the conference, participants enjoyed field trips to appreciate the spectacular Kyrgyz countryside.
Conservation Asia was a social media storm with the hashtag #conservationasia2018 accumulating nearly 1.5 million impressions, reaching 600,000 people and was used in 701 posts by 301 users.