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Hi there!

I’m Jaima, and I am an anthropologist & primatologist. I’m originally from Arizona (though I lived in a few other states: CA, OR, and NY before moving to the UK) but now happily call the lovely city of Edinburgh my home. I moved to Oxford in August 2014 to do my PhD at Oxford Brookes University, then two years later I moved up to Edinburgh to enjoy the misty forests and mountains of Scotland.

I am passionate about primate conservation, specifically gibbons, and focused both my MA and PhD research on the elusive & enchanting Javan gibbon. I have extensive experience working at conservation education and rescue and rehabilitation centres for primates, including both the Javan Gibbon Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre and Javan Primates Conservation Project on Java. For my PhD research, I conducted a population viability analysis for Javan gibbons, investigated the illegal trade of gibbons on social media, evaluated reintroduction programmes for gibbons across Asia, and I conducted ethnographic interviews with local people living on the border of Gunung Gede-Pangrango National Park to explore their perceptions of the natural world and more specifically, determine their extent of knowledge regarding Javan gibbons and the threats they face in the wild. I have a strong interest in social anthropology and after completing my research, I realised I was most interested in the human dimension of wildlife conservation. I would love to find a position where I can develop and support conservation efforts in this area of research.

I officially completed my PhD last year, however, I have yet to land my dream job in wildlife conservation. I have had the amazing opportunity to work in the education departments at both the Oregon Zoo and most recently, the Edinburgh Zoo as an education officer. However, I currently work for a Forest Kindergarten programme helping to inspire children to respect and connect to nature.

Aside from my academic & professional interests, I love wandering around lovely forests (some call it hiking😉) with my husband and our wolfy dog, reading, creative writing, and dancing! I’m also quite passionate about wolf conservation and am (slowly) working on a book about the long and complicated history wolves share with humans.

I look forward to meeting you all virtually and starting the PMWC course! 😊

Jaima Smith

Education Officer, RZSS Edinburgh Zoo

Hi there! I am an anthropologist & primatologist with a deep love and admiration for the natural world. I am passionate about primate conservation, specifically gibbons, and focused both my MA and PhD research on the elusive & enchanting Javan gibbon, and worked in collaboration with colleagues from the Javan Gibbon Center in West Java in order to achieve this. My research comprised elements of social anthropology (qualitative interviews with local people in West Java & social network research on the illegal wildlife trade) and conservation biology (population viability modelling & behavioural observations) and addressed a range of conservation issues relevant to the highly endangered Javan gibbon. I have participated in three releases of Javan gibbons back to the wild, including the very first one in 2009! I am a member of the IUCN Section on Small Apes and participate in two working groups with the Malaysian Primatological Society developing a national action plan for Malaysian gibbons. After my experience working in the education departments at both the Oregon Zoo and now currently Edinburgh Zoo, I have become quite passionate about conservation education and hope to inspire the younger generation to love the natural world as much as I do!

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Go to the profile of Beth Robinson
about 1 year ago

Welcome Jaima! Edinburgh is such a beautiful city. Wow, that book sounds very interesting, I'd love to read it when it is finished. Looking forward to chatting in the live sessions. 

Go to the profile of Jaima Smith
about 1 year ago

Thanks, Beth! I'm really excited to be doing this training - so great it's offered online! And hopefully I won't keep you waiting too long to read my book ;-) 

Go to the profile of Jane Reeve
about 1 year ago

Hi Jaima, I am so excited to read your introduction as I was involved in an expedition to Java in 1992 to study the Javan Silvery Gibbon in Gunung Halimun National Park.  We were collecting data on distribution, ecology and resilience to human encroachment into the forest.  Amazing to hear about your work and research - fantastic as these are such special primates.

Go to the profile of Jaima Smith
about 1 year ago

Hi Jane, that's amazing!! I can't wait to talk to you more about this! I wonder if you ever overlapped with my PhD advisor, Vincent Nijman, as he was also there in the early 90s doing survey work with Javan gibbons (and birds, too :-) ). I'd definitely love to hear more about your experience(s).