Jamal’s journey into conservation began in his early teens, first when he joined the Green Iguana Conservation Club in his hometown of San Ignacio, Belize, then attending the Belize Zoo’s Conservation Camp every summer during high school. These experiences nurtured a growing interest and respect for the natural world, which he later pursued at the college level, obtaining a BSc in Biology from the University of Belize. For thirteen years, Jamal has primarily worked in the terrestrial field. He has worked at and volunteered with several dynamic non-governmental organizations in Belize to promote the species and habitat conservation. He was able to channel his work into achieving a Master’s in Zoology from Miami University, with a central focus on community engagement and stakeholder empowerment.
Despite his strong background in terrestrial conservation, Jamal has always had an affinity for the marine world. Noting the interconnectedness between land and sea ecosystems, his work in environmental education, citizen science, and advocacy has often encompassed both. As a result, Jamal was eager to join the MarAlliance team in late 2019, and to dive deeper into marine conservation. He now serves as the National Coordinator for Belize, working with Dr. Rachel Graham and the Belize team to implement MarAlliance’s research, capacity building, and advocacy work on behalf of marine megafauna and their dependent fisher communities.