Interview with Anne-Camille Souris
My name is Anne-Camille SOURIS, I am a wildlife biologist and conservationist (working now mostly on conservation of the Mongolian wild ass/Mongolian khulan) in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia since 2008. I am also the president of the French conservation NGO named "GOVIIN KHULAN' which acts to enhance the protection of the threatened Mongolian khulan and the Gobi Desert ecosystem. Besides this, I have been teaching Biology and Ecology to Middle and high school students of different private secondary schools of Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia).
What is your job?
I am a wildlife biologist (specialized in studying the Mongolian wild ass/Mongolian khulan) and I am also a Biology and Ecology teacher for middle and high school students.
When did you first realize you wanted to do STEM? What are your driving passions?
When I was in high school. I first wanted to become a veterinarian but for wild animals only but since there were few opportunities at this time to work as a wildlife vet I decided to become a wildlife biologist instead. When I studied at university I first became specialized in animal behavior and then later extended this skill to apply ethology to species conservation (which means that I did study behavior of some endangered species in order to enhance their conservation in the wild. E.g: I studied the black-crested gibbon's song and later Przewalski's horses' behavior).
Why did you come to Mongolia? What are your favorite experiences here?
I first came to Mongolia in 2003 to conduct behavioral monitoring of a newly reintroduced harem of Przewalski's horses in the Great Gobi B National Park. This has been an amazing experience that had a great impact on my life and career as well. Later in 2008, I started my own project for conservation of the Mongolian khulan, which is still ongoing. Working in the field of wildlife conservation and very often with protected areas’ rangers and the local community has offered me many great and unforgettable life and work experiences.
Did you ever want to do anything else?
Only wildlife veterinarian when I was younger.
What’s one thing you’d like to change about the STEM community?
Support more women already involved in the STEM community and employ girls in STEM from all around the world!
Is there a problem with sexism in the STEM community?
Yes, there is. Women working in this field are not always supported the way they should be and some people don't take them seriously and think that they are not able to achieve their goals. This can be observed also in the species conservation field where women carry out a lot of fieldwork to study wild animals but their work is often devalued.
What’s your message for young teens wanting to do STEM?
They need to follow their passion and fight for it! When we have a strong passion for something and they wish to succeed there is always a way to achieve our dreams and goals!
What can be done to make STEM more diverse?
To make STEM more diverse we need to have people with different backgrounds, expertise, experiences, and perspectives.
Has being a woman impacted your career in STEM?
I think that being a woman made it more challenging for me to work in this field, but with time and persistence, it is getting better.
You can check out her website surrounding the interesting conservation of Mongolian wild ass/Mongolian Khulan here: https://www.goviinkhulan.com/english/