Headstarting is a collaborative effort between WWT, BirdsRussia and the RSPB, and occurs as part of the International Arctic Expedition mounted each year by BirdsRussia under the leadership of Dr. Evgeny Syroechkovskiy.

Ivan Shepelev

Ivan joined the project in 2014, taking over from Juriy Bragin as Birds Russia’s avicultural representative, forming part of the team responsible for all aspects of the husbandry of headstarted spoon-billed sandpipers.
Before becoming an aviculturist, Ivan studied at the Department of Animal Morphology and Ecology as a field zoologist. After graduation, he spent the major part of his career working in the Anti-Plague Institute “Microbe”. His main job at the time was the cultivation of plague bacteria and isolation of antigens. Several years later, he received PhD as microbiologist. In the year before Ivan joined the project, he worked in the Saratov Branch of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, where he studied the behaviour of Great bustard in captivity.