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.

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.

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.

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.

Community-based Patrols and Nest Guardians to Combat Poaching of the Critically Endangered Helmeted Hornbill in Indonesia

The Helmeted Hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil) inhabits lowland and upland rainforests in Southeast Asia. Recent data has shown that the Helmeted Hornbill red ivory in China is nearly five times that of elephant ivory. From 2012 to 2014 over 1,000 casks were confiscated by the Indonesian government, and in 2013 one study estimated nearly 500 adult Helmeted Hornbills were killed per month (6,000 per year) in the West Kalimantan province alone. The evolutionary circumstances of this species cause it to be at high risk for extinction as this species breeds slowly and exists at extremely low carrying capacities. In West Kalimantan, Indonesia the Helmeted Hornbill is the provincial symbol and can be found at tourist attractions throughout the province. Despite the appearance of “local pride” in this species, this province has been the target of the trade in Indonesia with an estimated 80% of casks exported from Indonesia originating from Western Borneo. The purpose of this project is to counter wildlife trafficking in West Kalimantan, Indonesia by increasing protection of habitat and increasing law enforcement to conserve the symbol of West Kalimantan. This project is intended to conserve the Helmeted Hornbill by addressing the impacts of the yellow and red ivory trade that is decimating populations throughout the species range. Specific activities focus engaging communities in the Gunung Nuit Nature Reserve in community-based SMART patrol units and a Nest Guardians program.

Borneo Nature Foundation: Protecting Borneo’s Biodiversity

Borneo Nature Foundation (BNF, previously the Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop)) works to protect some of the most important areas of tropical rainforest in Borneo, including the peat swamps of Sabangau, home to the world’s largest orangutan population. We monitor the behavioural ecology of the forest’s flagship ape and cat species, carry out biodiversity and forestry research, and work with our local partners to develop conservation solutions and improve capacity for conservation in the region. BNF’s biodiversity monitoring research is leading the field in tropical forest biodiversity studies in Kalimantan. Our records stretch back from 1995 and cover almost all major animal groups (from mammals, birds and reptiles, to butterflies and ants), representing the most extensive dataset available for Kalimantan’s peat-swamp forest. Following the devastating forest fires which engulfed Borneo and Sumatra in 2015, combined with ongoing habitat degradation and hunting has resulted in the Bornean orangutan has been up listed to Critically Endangered. BNF is working to understand Asian ape population dynamics, to protect and restore critical habitat and work to raise awareness in Indonesia and around the world.

Pangolins, in general, face threats due to illegal hunting and wildlife trade as their meat is sought after, and their scales are valued for medicinal purposes. Pangolins confiscated within Indonesia are often already dead but any live animals are often inappropriately released into the wild, or are sold back into the trade. While the current population status of the pangolin is unknown, the scale of pangolin trade represents a major conservation risk for the animal.

BNF works to raise awareness in Indonesian Borneo as well as contributing data to understand the trade routes and population status of this elusive species.BNF has a focus on communities, conservation and appplied research on flagship species inclding orangutans, gibbons, red langurs, clouded leopards, bay cats, sun bears, pangolins and other biodiversity.