After one blissful week in my own bed, it was time for the third leg of my big world tour, which saw me in Perth for the 12th International Mammalogical Congress. Not quite as big as the Evolution conference, but still overwhelming in its size, but this time I had my entire lab group right there alongside me. And it was also great to reunite with friends I'd made at my last Australian Mammal Society conference in Hobart.
There were some wonderfully inspiring keynotes; Terri Williams, David MacDonald and Kristofer Helgen among them. We saw talks from speakers hailing from all over the world; Koalas in Australia, dolphins in Chile, lions and meerkats in Africa, and foxes in Norway.
Some interesting conservation concepts were put out there to be mulled over; like having 1 pence from every product using the lion in its advertising logo go towards lion conservation and research. Can you imagine how much more effective conservation initiatives would be if they didn't have to rely on personal donations and grant funding? Not to mention how much more willing people are to buy a product that the proceeds will go towards helping an animal, and more than they are willing to simply donate to those foundations.
To top it all off, we spent the midweek excursion day on Rottnest Island. We hired a few bicycles and rode around the island in search of quokkas. We had so much fun just watching them play in the bushes whenever we came across some. Little did we know that back in the village centre was where all the quokkas actually hang out! There were so many of them, and they weren't shy of humans at all. You could get right up next to them to take that iconic quokka selfie with what appears to be the happiest critter on earth.
A huge thank you to the Australian Mammal Society for awarding me a student travel grant to help get me to Perth and this amazing conference!