Monitoring wildlife snaring in Southeast Asia and a review of related legislation

Poaching wildlife with snares is considered a primary driver of declines in tropical forest vertebrates in Southeast Asia. There is no standard method for monitoring snaring patterns over space and time and assessments rely largely on expert opinion and anecdotal data. Legislation restricting the use of snares is generally regarded as insufficient in Southeast Asian countries, however there has been no formal review to summarize strengths and weaknesses. We will create a baseline measure of snaring prevalence in Southeast Asian IUCN protected areas. We will gather data from a representative sample of IUCN protected areas within 11 Southeast Asian countries using a standardized questionnaire sent to biologists with first-hand knowledge of each protected area. With this questionnaire, we will generate information on the status of wildlife snaring across core habitat in Southeast Asia and highlight at-risk areas where there are high levels of snaring and low levels of law enforcement. Our questionnaire will be a platform with which to monitor trends in wildlife snaring over time. A review of national legislation pertaining to wildlife snaring will identify gaps or weaknesses and lead to recommendations for improvement.

Restoring hornbill habitats in Arunachal Pradesh

Pakke Tiger Reserve and the adjoining Reserved Forests in Arunachal Pradesh, India are spread over an area of more than 2000 km2 and harbor a diverse array of plant and animal species. It is known as a haven for 4 hornbill species in India. Human activities like hunting, illegal logging, particularly outside Pakke, are negatively affecting hornbill populations and their habitat. Habitat loss due to logging is a major threat to hornbills that are dependent on large trees for nesting. This area has experienced amongst the highest rates of forest loss for India in the recent past.

With the restoration program, we hope to bring back some of the lost hornbill habitats (by bringing back hornbill food and nest trees) and secure the long-term future of these birds and other wildlife. To this end, rainforest nursery was set up in 2013 in a village near Pakke, with an aim of raising native rainforest tree species and using them to restore the degraded forest patches in and around the area. The tree species selected are important food and nest trees of hornbills and for other birds and mammals and also includes economically important species for planting by the local communities. In the past four years, we have raised around 17,000 saplings of 60 native tree species. Planting began in 2016 and a total area of 11 ha has been covered so far. Survival monitoring indicates 45-85% survival across the sites in a year’s time. Some sites show higher survival (84%) due to controlled conditions like fencing and deweeding. With such successful rate of establishment of the saplings, there is a hope for recovery of these habitats in the long-term. We hope to expand this program and cover more degraded patches in and around Pakke in the coming years.

Saving the Tonkin Snub Nosed Monkey in Vietnam

Endemic to Vietnam, the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey once occupied the forests across much of the north-east of the country. Loss of habitat and hunting – for both local consumption and the traditional medicine trade – have driven a precipitous decline in this species. Until their rediscovery in 1992, the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey was believed to be extinct; we now know that fewer than 200 individuals remain.
In 2002 FFI identified the largest known subpopulation, around 90 individuals at the time, at a site called Khau Ca and began work to conserve it. Thanks to the work of FFI the site has received formal legal protection and our concerted conservation efforts have enabled this population of Tonkin snub-nosed monkey to stabilise. Based on FFI field surveys, the population here has increased to around 121 individuals.
Recognising that working at a single site would always present inherent risks to the longterm survival of the species, we actively sought other sites where we hoped to find the species had survived. In 2008 FFI discovered a second site, Tung Vai, with around 30 monkeys which we have subsequently worked to protect.
Our Longterm vision: to increase the population in our two focal sites to over 500 individuals in approximately 25 years.
In the short term, ensuring the integrity of the habitat at our two local sites will be critical to the survival of the species. In the next three years we aim to maintain the growth of Khau Ca\’s Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys and at least stabilise the Tung Vai population. Our priority activities over the next three years are to: 1. Enhance habitat protection through improved law enforcement; 2. Increase habitat abailability through creating habitat corridors; 3. Balance the conflicting priorities of conservation and agriculture faced in Tonkin snub-nosed monkey habitats; 4. Address capacity gaps within the relevant agencies to tackle the illegal wildlife trade in primates and timber.

Helping Kalaweit to protect gibbons and their habitat in Indonesia.

Kalaweit is a long term and in situ program involved in Gibbons safeguarding on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra (Indonesia). Gibbons are listed under CITES Appendix I and belongs to Apes family (Lower Apes). They are highly endangered because of the destruction of their habitat. In Indonesia forests are destroyed to plant palm oil trees, making impossible for the wildlife to survive especially for tree species like Gibbons. It is an emergency situation as the deforestation is extremely fast. It has increased the illegal wildlife trade and many baby Gibbons are sold as pet on local markets. Kalaweit rescues Gibbons (and other species) from captivity where they are frequently neglected and provide the ones that cannot return to the wild a home, as close as possible to their natural environment, where they can stay. Most of them will never return to the wild for various reasons (disabled, sick, impregnated..). Over 340 Gibbons are sheltered in our 2 centers of Borneo and Sumatra, and to feed them we buy 5 tons of food every week from villagers. We also launched the radio Kalaweit FM, whose programs entertain and educate the population about the protection of nature. We also offer a secure habitat to wild Gibbons with the purchase of forests. We have created 3 reserves for a total of 600 acres (April 2018). We monitor them with equestrian and aerial patrols. Camera traps allows us to identify the species presents in our reserves. For the past years we have released several Siamang families in the wild with success. To ensure all these activities we hire 70 Indonesian employees that come from local communities. For 20 years Kalaweit has been working hard to help Gibbons, and has created close ties with the local people who support us.

West African Primate Conservation

he West African Primate Conservation Action (WAPCA) is an NGO working to safeguard four highly threatened primates in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. An initiative of Heidelberg Zoo, and supported by currently 18 Zoological Collections, WAPCA has been active since 2001 working closely with the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission of Ghana to establish long term sustainable conservation programmes, both insitu and exsitu.

WAPCA primarily concentrates on four key areas:

  1. A captive breeding programme originating from rescued and rehabilitated wild caught primates based at the Endangered Primate Breeding Centre (EPBC) at Accra Zoo and the Forested Enclosure at Kumasi Zoo.The primates, notably the white-naped mangabey and the Roloway monkey, held at these two zoos participate in the EEP and since joining have received and transferred seven animals significantly contributing to the genetic diversity of the species.
  2. Community-based field work in habitat range areas of the wild primate populations. Empowering communities to manage their natural resources, to patrol and protect the forests and the primates, create community tree nurseries for reforestation and sustainable use, facilitate transboundary activities with Cote d’Ivoire and develop sustainable livelihoods and promote green value chains.
  3. WAPCA Research Group is a collaboration between local and international Universities established to collect data in cohesive manner. Research focuses both on captive and in-situ projects allowing our conservation actions to be well informed for maximum impact and to evaluate our actions when carried out.
  4. Both the EPBC and the Forested Enclosure provide a crucial educational tool for both local and international visitors to the zoos.  This captive populations inspire,    engage and empower visitors to consider their daily actions and actively participate in the protection of the planet and the animals which we share it with.

Community-based Conservation in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh

The Chittagong Hill Tracts, located in south-eastern Bangladesh, falls within the Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot. Our organization’s work in this area for the last six years has documented the persistence of at least 30 globally-threatened species, including two ASAP species: Chinese pangolin and Arakan forest turtle. Years of subsistence hunting, commercial poaching, and habitat destruction through logging and traditional slash-and-burn agricultural practices has led to drastic species population reductions. Hunting is the most immediate threat, and without intervention, the extirpation of Chinese pangolin in the region and Arakan forest turtle from one of their two range countries is inevitable. To prevent this, our project will empower additional traditional indigenous hunters into parabiologists and employ them to conduct forest patrols and species monitoring surveys. These parabiologists will also act as local ambassadors for wildlife conservation in the area for years to come, continuing to sensitize local communities to the importance of species conservation. Our previous work has shown that by empowering local communities we can drastically reduce hunting pressure and ensure habitat protection in a short amount of time. The project will take a holistic landscape-based approach, helping the local communities to reduce dependency on forest resources through sustainable agroforestry and livelihood support. This would not only ensure the protection of these critically endangered ASAP species, but also help conserve both the habitat and over 28 other globally-threatened species occurring in same area.

This project operates synergistically with multiple distinct components and has been bringing conservation success to the region for over six years. Funding from other sources are used primarily to support primary education, livelihood programs, such as craft for conservation, indigo dye processing and marketing, promoting sustainable agroforestry, etc. These activities are necessary to establish trust and reduce community dependence on forest resources.

Proyecto Tití: Working to protect the critically endangered cotton-top tamarins (Saguinus oedipus) and their forest home in northern Colombia

Proyecto Tití is a non-profit organization working to guarantee a long-term future for the cotton-top tamarin, a small primate that only ives in the tropical forests of northern Colombia, and that is critically endangered due to extensive deforestation and by its capture for the illegal pet trade. Proyecto Tití develops its mission through the implementation of permanent field research, forest protection and restoration, environmental education and awareness and community development programs, to reduce the use and exploitation of forest resources for subistence by local communities.

Wildlife Conservation in the Rif Mountains, North Morocco

Our current initiatives are increasing public awareness regarding the protected status of the Barbary macaque to decrease the incidence of its capture for the pet trade or for use as photo props to attract tourists. We would like to expand our educational materials to include information about tortoises and vultures (the mountains where we are work are on the Europe-Africa bird migratory flyway. We are also facilitating visits of a health outreach team to seven villages (~2500 people) to provide health and educate village participants about basic health issues, while we conduct conservation awareness raising activities to reinforce the positive link between the conservation activities of BMAC and the local communities. We are currently repeating a Barbary macaque survey of the Rif Mountains assessing populations which have been the subject of our community conservation activities and those currently outside our area of activity.
BMAC uses an interdisciplinary perspective and an adaptive management approach to avoid negative impacts resulting from potential community misinterpretations of our activities. Our project is based around the principle of true inclusion of local people in conservation; of listening to and understanding their needs, and collaborating with them to create conservation strategies that work. Each of our initiatives encompasses carefully designed, socially and culturally appropriate projects that tackle issues in Barbary macaque conservation on a case-by-case basis depending on location and stakeholders.
Our community programs reassure local communities that we are concerned about their welfare. Access to healthcare is limited in the areas where we work and undiagnosed chronic diseases are common among vulnerable groups along with an unmet need for information about health. We would like to continue and expand our collaboration with the health outreach team to increase health outreach activities to vulnerable community members.