Jessica Leaper has managed the Alameda Wildlife Conservation Park (AWCP) in Gibraltar for over 12 years. Having completed her MSc dissertation in Evolutionary Psychology on the Barbary macaques of Gibraltar, she later returned to help develop the primate section at the Wildlife Conservation Park. She became the Park Manager one year later. Since then she has planned, overseen further development of the park and helped gain funding for a full renovation and re-branding. The AWCP is now well into into its second Strategic and Master Plan.
With an early career background in Social Anthropology, she also has a keen interest in the ever increasing issue of human and non-human primate interaction. Gibraltar is an ideal case study on the potential issues related to the close proximity of non-human primates to human habitation.
Jessica is also active in local sustainability groups and runs various awareness campaigns from the AWCP and through the charity, Friends of the Alameda Wildlife Park (FOAWP), set up to support the park and it’s conservation efforts. Conservation education of habitats and species is at the core of what the AWCP strives to achieve under Jessica’s management. She believes that the way forward for zoos is a further merging of captive animal research with species conservation and habitat restoration. Zoos and sanctuaries are ideally placed to inspire change and to incite positive action from the general public, but this must be carried out in collaboration with conservation project in-situ. The idea of the #SelfieAware Campaign came about in an effort to merge the interests of both zoos and primate conservation projects, with the creation of an awareness campaign that can be used by both zoos and conservation entities.