CEPF support to WWF from May 2010 to August 2012 aimed to secure core populations of Critically Endangered saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) by addressing immediate threats and developing economic alternatives to hunting, which poses the greatest threat to the species.
CEPF also provided funding for forest guard patrols to remove snares in protected areas, including the site where the saola was recently photographed by WWF. "Since 2011, forest guard patrols in the CarBi (Carbon Sinks and Biodiversity Conservation) area have removed more than 30,000 snares from this critical saola habitat and destroyed more than 600 illegal hunters' camps," said Van Ngoc Thinh, WWF-Vietnam's country director. "Confirmation of the presence of the saola in this area is a testament to the dedicated and tireless efforts of these forest guards."
The recent sighting of a saola confirms the species still exists in the wild, but scientists don't know enough yet to estimate the total population. According to the IUCN Red List, the number of saola in the wild is likely less than 750, and likely much less. "This is a historic moment in Vietnam's efforts to protect our extraordinary biodiversity, and provides powerful evidence of the effectiveness of conservation efforts in critical saola habitat," said Dang Dinh Nguyen, deputy head of Quang Nam Forest Protection Department and director of Quang Nam's Saola Nature Reserve.
Protecting the habitat that is home to the saola is essential to its survival, as well as to the survival of other rare species that are found in the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot. It will also ensure forest conservation and can empower the communities who depend on these forests for livelihoods, food, water and more.
Elephants (African and Asian)
According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the number of African elephants killed annually is in the range of 20,000 to 25,000 per year out of a population of 420,000 to 650,000. Community-led solutions can help tackle wildlife crime and conserve threatened populations.
With support from CEPF through our investment in the Eastern Afromontane biodiversity hotspot, Eduardo Mondlane University is training local natural resource management committees so they can participate more actively in the implementation of the management plan of the Chimanimani National Reserve in Mozambique. This involves establishing effective measures to mitigate human-elephant conflicts, including chili production around banana fields. The produced chili is expected to supply markets and contribute to income generation for local households.
In Southeast Asia, the Endangered Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) is threatened by extinction in the wild due to rapidly growing human populations. According to WWF, "Confrontations between elephants and people often lead to deaths on both sides, and poaching for ivory, meat and hides is still a widespread problem."
With support from CEPF through our investment in the Western Ghats Region of India, Dr. Prachi Mehta (executive director at Wildlife Research and Conservation Society, an NGO based in Maharashtra, India) coordinated a pilot study for mitigation of human-elephant conflict in affected areas of northern Karnataka and southern Maharashtra. This area is the northern-most limit for Asian elephants in the Western Ghats. Human-elephant conflict in this area is expected to rise due to an increase in irrigation for sugarcane cultivation and summer paddy cultivation.
Through the project, the concept of community-based conflict management (CBCM) was introduced to empower community members in effective guarding methods and in reducing crop loss while supporting actions to protect and conserve wild elephants in the area. Community members implemented mitigation measures including night guarding, early warning measures and low-cost elephant deterrents such as battery-operated torches.
The project also initiated a monitoring and advance warning protocol for elephant movement in the area; and produced a map of elephant movement based on information provided by field staff and farmers in the area. Based on the initial results of the project (outlined fully in the final report), the project was extended with the support of the Asian Elephant Conservation Fund and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.