Lauren Augustine

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Lauren Augustine

Lauren Augustine is one of Conservation Nation’s 2021 established conservationist grant winners. A life-long herpetology lover, Lauren received her undergraduate degree in Ecology and Environmental Biology from the University of North Carolina Asheville and her Master’s degree in Conservation Science and Policy from George Mason University. Having worked at four different zoos, Lauren has extensive knowledge about a wide variety of herpetological species and husbandry practices. She is the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan coordinator for three different species of box turtle and the studbook keeper for Cuban crocodiles. Lauren manages conservation programs in Missouri, Ecuador, Cuba, and Vietnam through the St. Louis Zoo’s WildCare Institute. Her work led to the development of the WildCare Institute’s Crocodile Research and Conservation in Cuba Program, which takes a one-health approach to the conservation of the critically endangered Cuban crocodile. Lauren is also the founder of a non-profit organization focusing on salamander research and conservation.

Project Overview

South Vietnamese and Bourret's Box Turtle Conservation

Bach Ma National Park, Central Vietnam
As a chelonian hotspot, Vietnam is home to 26 species of tortoise and freshwater turtles. The South Vietnamese box turtle and the Bourret’s box turtle are both critically endangered, with limited geographic distribution and continued illegal harvest due to their high-economic value for food, medicinal and pet trades. Lauren’s project aims to conduct assessments, develop a proposal, and assist in the design and construction of new conservation-breeding centers for both species in their natural ranges. Centers are a critical step in the effective management and conservation of these turtles, facilitating animal care and providing direct access to reintroduction sites. Centers also provide important focal points for awareness and community engagement for the species. This project is a partnership between the St. Louis Zoo’s WildCare Institute, the Asian Turtle Program of Indo Myanmar Conservation, and the Turtle Conservation Centre in Cuc Phuong National Park, Vietnam.