Snow leopard-Human Conflict Resolution Program in Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal

The snow leopard has been recently categorized as vulnerable, it is top of the food chain in the Himalayas and is a species of global conservation concen. Recently, common leopard have also been recorded from the range of snow leopard and the range of the Himalayan grey wolf also overlaps that of snow leopard. All these species attack livestock. The habitats where these species occur is also the grazing land of the livestock of the local people. Livestock husbandary is the primary livelihood for these people who live in some of the world’s most remote villages. A serious conflict situation arises when livestock is attacked by one of these predators. The livestock owners tend to focus on the snow leopards as the cause of their loss and herders may resort to the retaliatory killing of snow leopards by poisoning the carcasses of snow leopard prey or setting foot traps. These actions have caused a decline in the numbers of snow leopard. This conflict situation could be resolved if local people were made aware of the importance of using improved corrals and using then when predators are most likely to be active. For example; if Yak calves were corraled before sunrise, predation would be reduced. The situation could be further improved if the herders were made aware of habitat selection by predators. Therefore, we have designed the program to initiate a herders network, to support them with portable corrals to enclose calves and to improve permanent corrals (predator proof) for adult livestock, to distribute predator repellent lights and to initiate an awareness program for the herders (provision of maps indicating zones vulnerable to higher levels of predation and information about predator activity cycle etc. ). These programs will be piloted in Gnwal and Ghyaru villages within Annapurna Conservation Area and then extended to other remote villages in Manang and Mustang .

Provide the best possible care to orphaned primates in DRC, while working to ensure their protection in the wild

Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is home to about 90% of eastern chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii). Since the mid-1990s, eastern DRC’s chimpanzees have experienced alarming population declines (up to 40%) due to illegal hunting and habitat loss, threats that have been exacerbated by years of war, insecurity, and humanitarian crises. Since its creation in 2002, CRPL has rescued 89 chimpanzees. Most of the chimpanzees have been confiscated in the hands of poachers in consequence of bush-meat hunting. In the last couple of years, CRPL has had an increase of chimpanzees’ rescues.
Together with chimpanzees, CRPL takes care of more than 100 monkeys from 11 different species, some of them are included in the UICN red list, as Cercopithecus hamlyni and Cercopithecus lhoesti.
In addition to give long-term care to the orphans of poaching, the CRPL plays and important role in chimpanzees’ conservation by (1) supporting law enforcement, (2) conservation education of national and international population, (3) provide alternative livelihoods for families around Kahuzi-Biega National Park and (4) Building capacity for congoles vets.
CRPL is an important agent in the eastern DRC’s Conservation Action Plan (CAP) and verified member of Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA).
The aim of this project is to continue to provide to all animals in the care of the CRPL with a high standard of care assuring the capacity of the center to accept all the primates intercepted by congolaise authorities. Helping to enforcing congolaise conservation laws.

Brown bear conservation and research program in a model area in Romania

In 2006, Milvus Group has started the “Brown bear conservation and research program in a model area in Romania”. This small-scale, long-term, in-situ initiative responds to the three main threats to brown bears. We work towards: 1) Improving the social acceptance of the species; 2) Improving scientific knowledge about the species – conservation oriented research; and 3) Securing a suitable habitat for the bears. Under Objective 1, we strive to improve the social acceptance of brown bears in the project areas (and not only), mainly through a systematic mass-media campaign. Under Objective 2, we gather telemetry data from bears we fit with GPS-GSM collars, conduct a study on bear parasites, cooperate on a study on bear poaching in Romania, respectively work on publishing some of our results through peer-reviewed papers. Under Objective 3, we gather scientific data to pave the way for mitigation measures (crossing structures) for large carnivores on one of Romania’s planned highways in the Eastern Carpathians, in order to increase the future highway’s permeability for these species (and not only). Additionally, each year we save a number of orphaned bear cubs and also rescue bears from snares set by poachers.
Some of our achievements so far include: 6 new protected areas (Natura 2000 sites) designated for brown bears (and other species & habitats of EU importance); 18 orphaned bear cubs saved; 11 bears saved from poachers’ snares; 115 bear dens and 8 open nests located and measured; 211 scats and 43 harvested bears examined for endoparasites; genetic samples collected from more, than 150 individuals; 3 habituated bears successfully relocated; 25 bears fitted with GPS-GSM collars; complex questionnaire survey among 865 rural residents, in 4 study areas, on the public perceptions of large carnivores; and more.

King Cobra conservation through conflict mitigation and community empowerment in the Eastern Ghats.

The Eastern Ghats are a stretch of discontinuous hill ranges extending along the east coast of South India. They abound in several species of snakes including the iconic King Cobra Ophiophagus hannah which is the longest venomous snake in the world. It is has been assessed as “Vulnerable” under the IUCN Red List. They are also legally protected in India under the Wildlife Act, 1972. However, several adult king cobras are indiscriminately killed on sight by local people every now and again each year throughout the North Eastern Ghats region. This indicates a deep intolerance among people and lack of measures to prevent such incidents. Many other snake species that form the very prey base for the King Cobra are also killed due to fear and ignorance.
Likewise, venomous snakes kill more than 50,000 people each year in India and the World Health Organization also categorized snake bite as a neglected tropical disease. Unfortunately, most of the bites happen in rural areas where people have no knowledge or necessary skills to deal with snake encounters and get bitten while trying to kill the snake or accidentally stepping on it at night.
The project will work towards conserving King Cobras as well other threatened ophiofauna by habitat protection, education and community engagement in the affected areas of the North Eastern Ghats. We will a) provide on-the-ground solutions to mitigate human-snake conflicts, and b) incorporate indigenous knowledge of wildlife by training chosen local tribes as “parabiologists” in basic survey techniques and snake rescue methods who can eventually go back to their communities and help them when issues arise as well as assist us in conservation efforts. We will also collect baseline data on the species population distribution and habitat suitability to develop a management strategy for king cobra conservation in the region.

Black Rhino Conservation

The Chyulu Hills rhino population is of critical value to rhino conservation at an international level. The population is one of the very few genetically independent populations of Eastern Black rhino (Diceros bicornis michaeli) left in East Africa today.
Of additional significance is the habitat itself, highly suitable to Black rhinos in terms of forage and space availability. The entire hill range represents an opportunity for the growth of the population and offers a significant step in rhino conservation on a national level.
The Chyulu Hills cover an area of over 400 km2, the 4th largest National Park in Kenya, with a huge potential for the future of rhino conservation. This National Park belongs to the Amboseli-Kilimanjaro ecosystem and offers next to rhinos also a large variety of other species feeding grounds during the dry season.
Approximately 80% of the rhinos’ range falls within the Chyulu Hills National Park, a heavily vegetated line of volcanic hills; the remaining 20% falls on the neighbouring Mbirikani Group Ranch, a Maasai collective comprising about 10,000 households and their livestock, which is part of the greater Amboseli- Kilimanjaro – Tsavo Conservation Area. The Chyulus’ rhinos are monitored and protected by rangers from the Big Life Foundation. BLF works in tandem with the Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) and has been operating successfully in this area for the past 20 years.
Given the above mentioned facts, the Chyulu Hills represent an exciting opportunity for progress in terms of rhino conservation and growing the Kenyan meta-population to targeted level. During the next year, the aim for the Chyulu Hills is to become an Intensive Protection Zone (IPZ). This step is necessary to facilitate the translocation of other rhino to this unique population and therefore the ongoing survival of the remaining population.

Bearded vulture reintroduction program

The bearded vulture is the only member of the genus Gypaetus and its world population trend is decreasing. It’s registered as “Vulnerable” (SPEC 3) on the IUCN European red list and as “endangered” on the IUCN France red list. Also registered on annex I of the European Parliament Birds Directive and on annex II to the Convention of Berne, Boon and Washington. The main causes of on-going declines appear to be poisoning, direct persecution, habitat degradation, disturbance of breeding birds, inadequate food availability, changes in livestock-rearing practices and collisions with powerlines and wind turbines .
This emblematic vulture, is the last link of the food chain being the only carrion feeder cleaner eating bones exclusively.
The french bearded vulture’s population includes the alpine population, the pyrenean population and an isolated tiny corsican population, with the total national number of breeding pairs remaining low. The bearded vulture reintroduction project in the Massif Central has been established since 2012, in order to connect the two existing continental populations and create a meta-population viable on the long term, by means of improving genetic flows. These conservation efforts are part of a european strategy, and this project currently benefits of european commission support and is known as LIFE GYPCONNECT. The various actions regarding this project and carried out by LPO Grands Causses (technical structure of LPO France) are: Juvenile release coming from european endangered species breeding program and by using the “hacking” release method , monitoring of individuals movement by GPS analyses and sightings, ensuring sufficient quantities of local and externally sourced food available (rendering plots on individual livestock farms to benefit vultures, special bearded vulture feeding sites, vigilance and threat management (hunting, poisoning, powerlines and wind turbines…), public awareness through various audiences.

Black (Cinereous) vulture conservation program

This species is registred as “Endangered” on the IUCN French Red List, on the Appendix II of CITES and Annex I of EU Birds Directive. The two main threats to the species are direct mortality caused by humans (either accidentally or deliberately) and decreasing availability of food. The main cause of unnatural death is the use of poisoned baits for carnivorous pest extermination.
This vulture belongs to the scavengers group, it feeds on carcasses, usually the hardest parts.
The Cinereous vulture conservation project in the Massif Central started by a reintroduction program between 1992 and 2004. The current population of Cinereous vulture in the Grands Causses seems to have reached a premature plateau, the team recorded 27 breeding pairs for 2017. The various actions regarding this project and carried out by LPO Grands Causses (technical structure of LPO France) are: home range monitoring (GPS analysis and visual observations), breeding monitoring (checking established breeding pairs and detecting new pairs , the laying date and the juvenile fledging date), demographic monitoring (reading rings and maintaining the species data base), diet study by collecting elements near the nests, ensuring sufficient quantities of local and externally sourced food are available (livestock farms using rendering plots, fallen livestock collection to aliment a vulture feedind station run by LPO Grands Causses team), habitat protection (influence political decisions in terms of protection: creation of SPA-special protection area and other protection status), vigilance and threat management (hunting, poisoning, powerlines and wind turbines…), public awareness through various audiences.

Tackling power line threats faced by raptor populations.

Electric powerlines represent a major mortality threat for large raptors. The majority of cause involve collisions and electrocutions. Many cases are recoreded annually by LPO Grands Causses in Aveyron and Lozère. One of the objectives of this project is to reduce the threat that powerlines qnd their associated structures represent by regularly checking them in the area concerned. Each line which has caused a raptors death is the focus of a report compolied by LPO Grands Causses and submitted to Enedis. An agreement between these two bodies oblige Enedis to react accordingly in such a case and that the structure or line involved is fitted with protective equipment to reduce the risk of collisions and electrocution (firefly, spirals, insulating sleeves, vertical pegging). Maps highlighting mortality cases and operations to protect powerlines in the area are frequently updated and made avaliale to both organisations. Bearded vultures and cinereous vultures equipped with GPS tracking tags provide a precise insight into the vultures movements and their territories can be mapped. Such information is vital for LPO Grands Causses to provide the necessary information to state and territorial bodies to take informed decisions on the emplacement of powerlines.

Vulture food resource management

Vulture populations in the Grands Causses are closely linked to the availability of food ressources which is reliant on the activity of pastoral livestock being upheld. But, the number of livestock farmers is decreasing significantly, intensive farming is becoming more widespread and the public rendering service has become industrialised. These factors have reduced food ressource availability for vultures . For many years in the Massif Central, LPO Grands Causses has been working to maintain the food ressource availabilty that is required to sustain the vulture populations present here. This is being carried out through various actions: 1)Historic establishment of a collective feeding station “Charnier de Cassagne” set up during the first griffon vulture reintroduction. LPO Grands Causses provide locally a rendering service to aliment this, and another, feeding station. 2) Creation support for authorised individual feeding platforms run by livestock farmers themselves. These platforms are extremely important for maintaining a strong relationship between farmers and vultures who recover their natural role as renderers. 3) Specific feeding platform implementation for bearded vulture and cinereous vulture. This approach relies on the interspecific competition hypothesis about food accessibility between Griffon vulture and the other scavengers. Meat and bone is placed at selected sites suitable for both species. LPO Grands Causses monitors the efficiency of these specific platforms by using camera traps which also allows identification of individuals of each species through leg ring readings.

Egyptian vulture conservation program

This species is registered as “Endangered” on the IUCN European Red List, on the Appendix II of CITES and Annex I of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals. The two main threats to the species are direct mortality caused by humans (either accidentally or deliberately) and decreasing availability of food. The main cause of unnatural death is the use of poisoned baits for carniverous pest extermination.
This vulture belongs to the scavengers group, it has a broad diet including carrion, tortoises, organic waste, insects, young vertebrate and eggs. The Egyptian vulture monitoring in the Massif Central began in 1981 conciding with the start of the first griffon vulture reintroduction project here . During this period no more than 7-8 indivuals are counted each year in the Grands Causses. In 2017 the population of Egyptian vulture in the Grands Causses is only represented by two breeding pairs. The Egyptian vulture’s uniqueness is that it is the only migratory species of the four european vultures.
The various actions regarding this project and carried out by LPO Grands Causses (technical structure of LPO France) are: home range monitoring (visual observations), breeding monitoring (fchecking established breeding pairs and detecting new pairs , the laying date and the juvenile fledging date), diet study by collecting elements near the nests, ensuring sufficient quantities of local and externally sourced food are available (livestock farms using rendering plots, fallen livestock collection to aliment a vulture feedind station run by LPO Grands Causses team), habitat protection (influence political decisions in terms of protection: creation of SPA-special protection area and other protection status), vigilance and threat management (hunting, poisoning, powerlines and wind turbines…), public awareness through various audiences.