Conserving Sloth bear in Gujarat through community outreach: A long term solution to alleviate the human sloth bear conflict

Sloth bears are found across the Indian sub-continent and 85% of its population lies in fragmented patches in India. Habitat desctruction and increasing anthropogenic pressure are two of the reasons of increasing human-sloth bear interactions.
Our goal is to reduce conflicts in the region by generating positive attitude towards the species and enhancing tolerance amongst people living in the sloth bear habitat.
We started our work by studying the distribution and status of sloth bear and understanding the reasons for conflicts in Gujarat, the western most limit of sloth bear distribution. To study the human dimension, we have scientifically assessed the perception of locals towards sloth bear in comparison to other wild animals and found that the local people are highly hostile for sloth bear. Our awareness campaigns among the tribal villages gave some encouraging results; this shows that there is a need to inculcate positivity and enhance the tolerance of locals towards the species. This can be achieved through providing true and scientific information about the species by involving the locals in the conservation work. We would like to initiate the community outreach programme in areas of high human-sloth bear conflcits in Gujarat. These programmes are aimed for initial two years at the conservation outreach center and train the locals, EDC members and Eco-Guides so that the outreach will sustain in future. Following are the activites we would like to do in this programme;
1.A state of the art Conservation Outreach Center to display all information about sloth bear.
2.To publish and circulate small pocket booklets on sloth bear among the local people.
3.Science based conservation education to children in the tribal schools.
4.Organizing Training of Trainers (volunteers and teachers) to disseminate scientific information about sloth bear.
5.Spreading conservation messages with the help of audio-visuals, signages, posters and fliers.

Sustaining Biodiversity Conservation through Alternative Livelihood Empowerment: Kyabobo National Park-Ghana

The proposed project “Sustain Biodiversity Conservation through Alternative Livelihood Empowerment” the case of Kyabobo National Park Reserve is a 12 months project with the aim to ensure that the Kyabobo National Park Reserve, one of Ghana’s new Parks is effectively protected and sustained to promote biodiversity conservation as well as serve as hub for Carbon Sink. The main objective of the project is to strengthen community involvement in Sustaining and Promoting Biodiversity by reducing over dependency and exploitation of the Kyabobo National Park through alternative livelihood empowerment activities. Other activities include reserve management workshops, capacity building workshops on biodiversity conservation, community and schools educational and awareness, advocacy and consultation meetings  

The Kukang Rescue Program

Illegal wildlife trade poses a serious threat to species’ survival worldwide. Although it is widespread in Indonesia, its reduction is being obstructed by weak law enforcement. Among the most commonly trafficked mammal species in Indonesia is the greater slow loris (Nycticebus coucang). Despite being protected both nationally and internationally, it is being sold mainly as a “pet”. Indonesian foundation called “Yayasan Peduli Kelestarian Satwa Liar (Wildlife Preservation Foundation)” leads “The Kukang Rescue Program” which was established near Medan, the Sumatra’s capital city and a frequent transit point for wildlife trafficking, as a response to the alarming situation of the illegal trade in slow lorises. The main aim of The Kukang Rescue Program is to reduce illegal wildlife trade, particularly in this protected prosimian species. To enable it, the program cooperates with local government agencies on wildlife protection and operates a rescue and rehabilitation center for confiscated animals. The absence of such a facility usually represents a great obstacle for competent authorities in confiscating illegally kept animals. Furthermore, the program focuses on education, awareness-raising, community engagement activities, and capacity building. The Kukang Rescue Program is supported by several EAZA zoos and is managed by a group of Czechs in Indonesia together with Indonesians. The program has also gained the support of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) as well as the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).

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.

Amur Tiger Conservation in Russia

Primorsky Krai in the Russian Far East is home to the Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica), included as Endangered in the IUCN Red List and Russia’s Red Book. Since 1998, the Phoenix Fund has been involved in Amur tiger conservation projects, and assisted the Russian Government fulfill its pledges made at the International Tiger Forum to double wild tiger numbers by 2022. In Russia, the wild population of Amur tigers is currently estimated at 480-540 animals according to a range-wide tiger survey in 2015.
The proposed project will be implemented in Primorsky Krai (or ‘province’), in the southern Russian Far East. The goal of this project is to strengthen Amur tiger conservation in the Russian Far East through combination of anti-poaching and environmental education and outreach activities. The project objectives are: 1) to improve anti-poaching efforts aimed at Amur tiger conservation by supporting seven federal-level protected areas; 2) to increase environmental public awareness and foster positive attitude towards the Amur tiger through implementing specially designed education and outreach program.
Specific project activities:
– Organizing workshops/training for law enforcement staff of protected areas;
– Purchasing field uniforms, equipment, motorized vehicles, etc. for anti-poaching teams;
– Implementation of SMART law enforcment monitoring program;
– Organizing annual workshops for educators;
– Organizing annual Tiger Day Festivals in the cities of Primorye;
– Carrying out eco-classes and other nature-oriented events devoted to the Amur tiger and other endangered species at local schools, kindergartens and eco-centre all over Primorye;
– Designing and publishing educational materials for children, educators and other target groups;
Within the limits of the project, anti-poaching activities will be carried out in seven tiger protected areas. Educational activities are held in six administrative districts of Primorsky krai and Vladivostok city.

Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Programme

HUTAN is a French grassroots non-profit organisation created in 1996, to develop and implement innovative solutions to conserve orangutan and other wildlife species in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.
HUTAN and the Sabah Wildlife Department (SWD) initiated the Kinabatangan Orang-utan Conservation Programme (KOCP) in 1998 to study orang-utan adaptation to forest disturbance and to design and implement sound conservation strategies for this species and its habitat.
Today our team is composed of more than 60 highly skilled staff hailing from the Orang Sungai community. To achieve our vision, we have developed a holistic strategy combining long-term scientific research, wildlife and habitat protection and management, policy work, capacity building, education and awareness, as well as community outreach and development. The “Orangutan Research Team” has been running the longest non-interrupted field study of wild orangutans in Borneo. The “Wildlife Survey and Protection” Unit is in charge of alleviating Human-Elephant conflicts, conducting biodiversity surveys and law enforcement activities, and is in charge of our succesfull artificial nest boxes project. The HUTAN “Environmental Awareness Program” reaches out school children and villagers throughout Sabah. The “Reforestation Team” is active in bare lands or encroached areas where forest regeneration cannot occur naturally. The “Pangi Swiflet Recovery Unit” is in charge of guarding colonies of edible-nest swiflets against any poacher. HUTAN has developed a capcity building platform to train various partners ranging from villagers to industry players (timber, oil palm plantation) and civil servants about biodiversiy monitoring and protection. Last but not least, we are using our community-based ground approach to inform policies and management startegies at the local, national and international levels.

Marking behavior, population density estimates, and terrain use of Andean bears Tremarctos ornatus – generating knowledge for conservation of a threatened umbrella species

The Andean bear is endemic to South America, and has the status of an umbrella species. Andean bears are classified as ‘Vulnerable to extinction, decreasing’ according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened species and locally as ‘Endangered’. The general ecology and status of local populations of Andean bear remains poorly understood. Two important reasons explain this knowledge gap. First, the Andean bear is a challenging species to study, because it has an elusive nature and inhabits inaccessible habitat. Secondly, resources for wildlife research are very scarce in South America. During a pilot project in 2012-2015, we used remote video cameras to study marking behavior of Andean bears near the Sumaco Biosphere reserve in Ecuador. Besides interesting preliminary results, we identified several key-research needs for the management and conservation of Andean bears. I) The functional significance of marking behavior of Andean bears remains unclear. II) Local population status is typically unknown. III) Virtually nothing is known about the spatial features of Andean bear marking and habitat selection. IV) An open biological sample database for Andean bears is currently lacking. Additionally, V) we intend to enroll Filipczykova into a PhD program at the Central Queensland University (CQUniversity).
Since 2016, we work on the above-mentioned key research-needs and objectives using camera trapping and GPS mapping of bear sign data in two study populations in Ecuador. In addition, we established collaborations with other research groups, local communities, and governmental and non-governmental organizations in order to reduce human-bear conflict. Currently we are searching for funding that would support our field work for the season 2018/2019, especially extensive habitat measurements; i.e. camera traps, camping equipment, guide salaries, other technical equipment. Also, Filipczyková got accepted as a PhD student at CQUniversity focusing on conservation of Andean bears through their marking behavior and data obtained from this project. CQUniversity approved a fee waiver, which means that we are still looking for funding to support Filipczyková\’s salary.

Fur For Life – saving leopards in the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area

Thousands of leopards are killed each year in southern Africa to fuel local demand for their skins. To address this threat without impinging on cultural values, Panthera created a high-quality, affordable faux leopard skin for use in ceremonies. These faux skins were first tested in South Africa among members of the Shembe Church; 15,000 faux skins have been donated between 2014 and 2017 with encouraging results. Initially, 90% of leopard skins seen at Shembe gatherings were authentic, more than 50% are now fakes. Our aim is now to expand the project to other groups using leopard skins, beginning with the Lozi in southwest Zambia. The Lozi, like the Shembe, wear leopard skins as symbols of prestige. However, what was once the privilege of a select few is now commonplace among the Lozi; hundreds of leopard skins can be seen at a single gathering. Each faux skin donated represents a leopard saved, while the production of faux skins provides employment and business opportunities to an impoverished people. To assess the effectiveness of the project, inform broader conservation policies and demonstrate the negative impact trophee hunting, a regional surveillance network will be established to track leopard population trends across the Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area.

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.