5 Things You Can Learn From Anjali Watson - Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka
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5 Things You Can Learn From Anjali Watson

Anjali Watson, co-founder of the Wilderness & Wildlife Conservation Trust in Sri Lanka spills all

Credit: Diloshan Leon

Anjali Watson has pushed forward despite the obstacles that stood in her way and followed a passion that was resoundingly different – a path perusing research and preservation of one of our beloved species, the leopard. Here are the top 5 lessons to learn from this veteran.

Anjali Watson
Credits: Diloshan Leon

1. If you know you want to do something, find a way around any hurdles that stand in your way.

Ecology was what Anjali always wanted to pursue at university, but since an undergraduate in this area did not exist at the time in the early 90s, she did environmental studies with a focus on ecology. “I always loved animals and knew I wanted to eventually do something related to them,” said Anjali.

2. Having a partner who has your back in the same field is a huge boon.

Anjali realized that not much work had been done on leopards, and knew it was very necessary. So, together with her husband, Andrew Kittel, she started The Leopard Project in 2000 and conducted the first of many undertakings in Yala.

3. Our wildlife is important and being a millennial or even a Gen Z doesn’t change this.

In terms of actual conservation of the leopards and the landscapes they live on, the type of awareness required is very different. “It’s not just about watching videos and going to see them in a national park,” said Anjali. “It’s about the communities who live on the landscape and their ability to co-exist. The older generations knew how to live with wildlife, and were willing to do so, but today, the younger age group less so.” 

4. Things don’t always work out the way you want them to, but that’s okay. 

From changing weather patterns to leeches to literal obstacles (like an elephant blocking your path!), Anjali has to remain adaptable to the constant hurdles thrown at her. “Things don’t always work out how you want it to,” she said. “Timelines are ever fluctuating. You can’t just say ‘We’re going to start today, and finish in exactly 18 months’, it doesn’t work that way. So you have to build that into what you do.

5. When you’re stumped, take a step back and reevaluate.

“I take a minute and really think about why we’re doing this, and I realize that it’s just another day, it’ll be fine tomorrow. In any job, you just learn how to balance the ups and downs, and hope you can keep going.”

 

This article was originally published as ‘A Wild Stance’ in the September 2018 issue of Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka. For more career advice, grab a copy of our latest magazine.

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