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Wildlife Without Borders:

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Presentation on theme: "Wildlife Without Borders:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Wildlife Without Borders:
Conserving the Sahelo-Saharan Antelopes of North Africa Smithsonian has been involved with Saharan antelopes work for more than 10 years, and works closely with the Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF). Dr. Steven Monfort, Associate Director for Conservation & Science at the Smithsonian National Zoo is the President of SCF. My name is Pierre Comizzoli and I work with Steve on that project. I an here to give the talk on his behalf.

2 The Sahara - World’s biggest desert 3 million square miles
Bigger than Australia 11 times the size of Texas - Bordered by the Sahel - Shared by 14 countries Less than 5” rainfall Not a barren wasteland! - Great habitat diversity - Many threatened species

3 A Barren Wilderness? 3

4 Habitat Diversity Acacia trees Grasslands Steppes Sand seas
From North to South, grassland, steppes, acacia trees, sand seas Steppes Sand seas

5 Water and Mountains Gueltas Oasis, gueltas Oasis

6 Threats to Wildlife Prolonged drought
Desertification and loss of pasture Habitat encroachment Over-hunting Chronic lack of resources for conservation Lack of awareness/interest in aridlands Threats to the wildlife of the Sahara are numerous – both natural and man-made. Tourism vs Ecotourism

7 Going… Large species in big trouble
Large species are in big trouble Large species in big trouble Addax: critically endangered <300 in the wild Dama gazelle: critically endangered <500 in the wild Dorcas gazelle: locally extinct in many places 7

8 going… Other species too Ostrich: desert race virtually extinct
Cheetah: desert race extremely rare Barbary Sheep: isolated and highly vulnerable 8

9 gone! Oryx is the largest mammal extinct in the past 30 years
Last photo of oryx in the wild taken in Niger in 1980 Last oryx late-80s or early 90s Zoos and private collections are the last hope Projects in Tunisia, Senegal, Morocco 9

10 First Action Plan by CMS
Conference of the Parties in 1998 (Djerba) First CMS initiative focused on terrestrial mammals -- six antelopes 14 Sahelo-Saharan range states At the Conference of the parties in 1998 (Djerba), first action plan on SS antelopes was developed at that time, partnerships with EU, FFEM, SCF

11 Sahara Conservation Fund
- 1998: Like-minded individuals who attended the Djerba Conference formed the Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group (SSIG) - 2004: SCF is the formal structure (not for profit organization) based in Switzerland (John Newby, CEO; Steve Monfort, President) SCF’s mission: To conserve wildlife and key habitats in partnership with stake-holders from all sectors of society SSIG was born in 1998 and formalized into SCF (CEO is John Newby, Switzerland) SSIG is a group of experts but SCF is the formal structure (not for profit organization).

12 First SCF-Sponsored Wildlife Surveys
Science-based approaches to conservation - Assess current status-threats (wildlife, habitat quality, land-use) Assist governments and agencies Mobilize support for the CMS Action Plan Identify solutions and actions Coordinate with local players First question was: what is going on in those areas, what is the status? Megatransect (wildlife survey, habitat quality, land-use pattern) in Chad (2001) and Niger (2002) 2002 2001

13 SCF Database Since 2001: Situation is Critical!
SPECIES IUCN RED DATA LIST (2006) SCF COMMENTS & OBSERVATIONS* Scimitar-horned Oryx Extinct in the wild Last known animals in the 1990s (Chad, Niger) Addax Critically Endangered Less than 300 in 1-2 populations (Niger, Chad) Dama Gazelle Less than 300 in 3-4 isolated populations (Niger, Chad, Mali) Slender-horned Gazelle Endangered Limited to the sand seas of North Africa. Status unknown. Cuvier’s Gazelle Vulnerable Limited to North African uplands. Status poorly known. Dorcas Gazelle Highly threatened throughout by uncontrolled hunting. Cheetah Saharan populations extremely rare and endangered. Striped Hyena Lower Risk Sahelo-Saharan populations highly endangered by persecution. Fennec Data Deficient Sahelo-Saharan populations appear satisfactory. Pale Fox Sahelian populations extremely vulnerable to poisoning. Rüppell’s Fox Research required to assess status. Ostrich Least Concern Sahelo-Saharan populations virtually extinct in the wild. Lappet-faced Vulture Naturally sparse. Threatened by persecution. Nubian Bustard Near Threatened Impact of intensive hunting unknown and needing research. Sudan Bustard Sahelian populations highly vulnerable from over-hunting. Spurred Tortoise Very few known healthy Sahelian populations. SCF data suggest that situation is even worse (reliable and accurate science-based information)

14 When Data Compiled: Priority Countries
When taking into account the number of highly endangered species, 4 countries with highest priority. Scale: 0 (least) to 3 (most)

15 Conference of the Parties in Agadir: What do stakeholders want?
2003 Conference of the Parties in Agadir: What do stakeholders want? Priorities: Training—Capacity Building (e.g., husbandry training EAZA/AZA, ranger training etc.) Ex situ captive breeding programs Reintroductions Sustainable hunting! Field surveys and monitoring Trans-boundary park formation When SSIG (as a scientific unit) went back to the second conference of the parties, they ask the question: Answers helped the SCF to shape his priorities

16 Obstacles to Cooperation
- Transboundary conflict - Civil unrest – tribal conflict Nationalism - Chronic lack of funding and international support Insufficient incentives for cooperation General lack of interest in aridlands - Insufficient management expertise Conflict Chad/Sudan, Algeria who wants to do everything by herself, Lybia is closed.

17 Before TB parks SCF Priority Conservation Sites
Even before thinking of TB approach, SCF defined priority conservation sites (needs to become official protected areas)

18 Chad/Niger: Last Sites for Key Species
More specifically, priority within each site. Niger and Chad are the ‘last hopes’

19 SCF Vision: Addax Without Borders
Obviously, TB is a long-term objective, but there is still a lot to do on a local standpoint

20 Evidence of Addax Crossing the Border
We now that animal are crossing the border, so it would make sense

21 Priority: Addax Project (Niger-Chad)
Saving the world’s last addax Creating vast new protected areas Applying science & research to management Community-based action, management and custodianship Therefore, the addax project is a priority

22 Termit – Tin Toumma Protected Area
Focal Area in Niger Termit – Tin Toumma Protected Area Best remaining refuge for Saharan wildlife Addax, dama gazelle, cheetah, Barbary sheep Establishment of protected area Wildlife inventory and ecological monitoring In Niger, the focal area is Termi – Tin Touma, SCF works with government to establish protected area. Maurice Ascani Francoise Claro Desert cheetah 25-50% of the animals left on earth!

23 Termit/Tin Toumma Project
Overall 2-yr Budget ~$500,000 59% 41% This is a good example of partnership. SCF really grateful to CMS (funds from FFEM) An SCF – CMS Partnership

24 Role of Zoos & Private Collections
- Captive-breeding & reintroduction - Science & research Husbandry & veterinary care Training & capacity building - Awareness & education Vital insurance policy Without zoos and private collectors some species would clearly go extinct. Gulf States have huge private collections that can be used for reinforce wild populations *huge opportunity for “win-win” partnerships with private collections in Gulf States

25 SCF Reintroduction Projects
Partnership with CMS, North-American and European Zoos Expensive & complex (meta-population management strategies) Pilot projects with addax & scimitar-horned oryx ongoing in Tunisia and Morocco SCF, working with many partners, including CMS and the North American and European Zoo communities, Taining and direction/strategy in how to link populations – through meta-population management strategies – and creating corridors that can eventually be linked when fences are taken down (i.e., all reintroduced animals to date reside in fenced reserves), but one day that will change.

26 Foreign Hunting Parties
- SCF is not anti-hunting Gazelles & bustards hardest hit Sustainability is key Legality and ethics Corruption is rife Lack of management - Quotas & control needed - Sustainable models possible By government or military forces

27 Recent Activities Algeria wildlife surveys 2006: cheetah (confirmed presence) and small gazelles Mission to Chad 2006: only 9 addax, but Ouadi Rimé-Ouadi Achim Game Reserve still holds what most abundant population of dorcas gazelles left in the wild Aerial Survey in Mali 2005: 6,552 km² of the South Tamesna. only 3 dama gazelles spotted, along with several dozens of dorcas gazelles Tunisia reintroduction In terms of recent activties

28 Recent survey: Algeria (March 2007)
Distribution of slender-horned gazelles far East to West Dorcas gazelles present everywhere (but number of individuals has decreased in 20 years) Training in survey/monitoring techniques ERG OCCIDENTAL ERG ERRAOUI

29 Annual SSIG Meeting Conservation and Science Forum Information Sharing
Hannover Zoo, Germany -- May 31 – Jun Conservation and science forum, and an opportunity for information sharing and collaboration.

30 Partnership is the Key! THANK YOU CMS …support for conservation is derived from stakeholders across all sectors of society

31 Getting Deserts on the Map!
Lots to do

32 Thanks for listening!

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