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.

Schools’ Awareness Program

Human- elephant conflicts have been a growing problem in Sri Lanka. A 19-year average recorded by the Department of Wildlife shows that in a year 223 elephants and 65 humans are killed due to these conflicts. Due to the present reduction of elephant habitats, these conflicts are inevitable.
The present wild elephant population in the country is estimated at around 5,500. With such annual losses, this population is severely threatened. Long-term and short-term strategies, are urgently needed if these elephants are to be saved.
The creation of awareness is one of the conservation strategies that have been adopted, especially for those living in the areas of human-elephant conflict. Awareness creation is an integral part of the conservation plan for the wild elephant. The Biodiversity & Elephant Conservation Trust has launched an awareness program in schools in the areas that have been affected by these conflicts. Through our interactive program, we address the value of elephants, the causes of conflict, how to minimize the conflicts and stress the need for conservation. The sessions have been successful in changing children’s attitudes.
The Schools Awareness Program has covered, in the last 15 years, at 150 schools per year, over 2,250 schools. The year 2018 is our sixteenth year. The success of our efforts has spurred us to continue and expand this program which is having a very positive impact on the children we have our sessions 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.

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.

The Application of new and novel non-invasive techniques to monitor bears (Ursids)

Since 1998, a primary research aim of the fRI Grizzly Bear Program has been to advance and apply non-invasive sampling techniques for population and health monitoring of a Threatened population of grizzly bears in Alberta, Canada. To advance this process, we formed many valuable collaborations between industry, government, and academic institutions. Through combined efforts, our program has contributed to the development of field and laboratory techniques that identify species, sex, and individual animals from hair and scat samples, as well as the statistical techniques to reliably estimate population abundance from marked/detected individuals.
However, in conservation biology, there is a growing need for the development of novel approaches to rapidly and reliably predict adverse effects of human-caused environmental change on individual wild animal health before population performance and abundance is negatively impacted. In response to this need, our program has worked collaboratively to validate hair cortisol concentration as a bio-marker of long-term stress in grizzly bears. Our most recent work has developed new techniques using hair samples collected from non-invasive genetic sampling to reveal the reproductive state of individual grizzly bears (Cattet et al. 2017), another important indicator of the health of wildlife populations. Additionally these new techniques to monitor reproductive hormone profiles within hair allow the identification of age class (mature/immature). Overall, long-term and large-scale monitoring of the physiological state of individuals provides a more comprehensive approach to support management and conservation of threatened and endangered wildlife populations..
At this time we want to use these newly developed techniques to support provincial grizzly bear recovery efforts in Alberta, and to also utilize these same techniques with samples collected from brown bears in Mongolia (Gobi Desert) where there this species is critically endangered having fewer than 25 bears remaining.

Cambodia Vulture Conservation Project

The Cambodian populations of the now Critically Endangered White-rumped Vulture, Slender-billed Vulture, and Red-headed Vulture represent the last stronghold of the species outside the diclofenac affected range (South Asia). However, the Cambodian populations are threatened primarily by a paucity of food (owing first to a decline in wild ungulates and second to declines in numbers of free-ranging domestic cattle and buffalo arising from increasing agricultural mechanization, sale of stock into meat export trade, and increasing domestic consumption), low nesting success owing to opportunistic nest predation by people, natural predation, and felling of nesting trees for timber and incidental poisoning incidents. Poising is also a major threat, used for hunting and fishing, and to kill nuisance domestic animals (e.g. feral dogs). Vultures die from eating animals that have ingested poison. In response to these threats, the Cambodia Vulture Conservation Project (CVCP) was established in 2004, as a partnership of government agencies and NGOs, faciliated by BirdLife Internaitonal. The partnership has drafted and implements a vulture conservation action plan for Cambodia.

The overall goal of this project is to ensure the population of all three vulture species in Cambodia remains stable against 2016 baselines and to monitor the threats and status of the three vulture species in Cambodia. Key actions include raising community awareness about vultures, supporting enforcement of laws for misues of pesticides, lobbying for a national ban on Carbofuran, promoting community based livelihoods (cow bank, community based vulture tourism), and providing supplementary feeding of Vulture populations through vulture restaurants at key sites. The capacity of the CVCP’s local partners remains low and funding is limited, despite that several activities e.g., supplemental feeding, will need to continue for a significant period of time, at least at some sites, until long-term goals e.g. the recovery of wild ungulate populations, are realized.

The Cambodian Crocodile Conservation Programme (CCCP)

The project’s long-term goal is to re-establish a viable population of at least 5,000 wild Siamese crocodiles spread across multiple, sustainably-managed wetland sites in Cambodia. The project goal is to double the wild population by 2020 and to leverage the species as a flagship for conserving threatened rivers and wetlands in Cambodia. The project’s specific objectives are: (1) over 50% of Cambodia’s wild crocodiles in sites that are effectively protected and managed as crocodile sanctuaries; and (2) the recovery and viability of wild populations is enhanced through the release of healthy captive-bred, confiscated and headstarted crocodiles into protected sanctuaries.

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.