Big Cat Rescue’s In Situ Conservation Work
2019 Saving Wild Places for Wild Cats
Click the pins on the map, or the species on the left, to get all of the details!
Research and Articles by Lauren Buckingham
Greater Limpopo Carnivore Programme
The Greater Limpopo Carnivore Programme was founded in 2011, and is a conservation research programme dedicated to improving the conservation prospects for Lions, across the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, in Mozambique. The Area encopasses 38,000km², consisting of three National Parks; Limpopo, Banhine and Zinave, four private wildlife reserves, and wildlife corridors.
The Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area is listed by IUCN as one of Africa’s most important conservation areas and is one of only 10 remaining ‘lion strongholds’ on the continent.
Wild Lions ranging across Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area are under threat and are persisting below their potential carrying capacity, and within a small portion of their potential natural range. The landscape boasts incredible species biodiversity, including lions, leopard, cheetah, hyena, wild dog, many endemic bird species and more. Preserving these ecosystems and improving the connectivity for species dispersal, between Mozambique National Parks and those of Zimbabwe and South Africa, is crucial.
Through scientifically guided conservation activities, the programme aims to recover and restore the long-term viability of the Greater Limpopo Lion Conservation Unit meta-population. By ensuring the persistence of lions and their prey, ecosystem health and functioning can be improved, for the betterment of other wildlife species, and thus safeguard the incredibly biodiversity of this landscape.
The GLCP is working in collaboration with wildlife authorities, dedicated private stakeholders and international NGO’s to ensure the conservation needs of the GLTFCA are addressed holistically and effectively.
Read more about their work here: https://www.greaterlimpopocarnivores.org/
Conserving Bhutan’s Mountain Tigers
The tiger is an apex predator and an umbrella species: ensuring their survival allows many species they need and live with to flourish in its large shared habitat. Bhutan is unique, in that its tiger habitat is contiguous across the whole country and extends from lowland subtropical jungles all the way to subalpine forests. The highest altitude for tiger in the world was recorded in Wangchuck Centennial National Park at 4,400 masl (meters above sea level). Bhutan is also the only place on the planet, where snow leopards and tigers are found in the same landscape.
Today, fewer than 3,200 tigers exist in the wild, spread across 13 countries in Asia and the Russian Far East. However, killing for profit or in retaliation, destruction of habitat for industries or subsistence, and a thriving illicit global trade have drastically reduced tiger populations across its range.
A population baseline for Bhutan’s mountain tigers is an important metric to help measure conservation success. It also allows conservationists to understand the spatial layout of important tiger habitat in order to better guide their protection. In addition, understanding tiger biology is critical to implementing effective conservation interventions. This project is a long-term initiative to build a sound knowledge base to guide tiger conservation. Conservation policies and management using sound science is the only way we can ensure that resources are focused on the right interventions in the right areas. In other words, it enhances higher return on conservation investment.
Read more about their work here: https://bhutanfound.org/projects/conserving-bhutans-mountain-tigers/
Phoenix Fund – Amur Leopard Conservation
The Phoenix Fund was founded in March 1998 and is a registered russian non-profit and non-governmental organization, located in Vladivostok. Their efforts involve monitoring the wildlife of the region, developing, implementing and administering important projects aimed at conserving the biodiversity of the Russian Far East. They work closely with foreign environmental organizations and are working to develop links the local authorities, other environmental NGO’s, scientists, educational institutions and the public.
The Amur Leopard is the most endangered cat in the world. It is balancing on the brink of extinction with a wild population totaling an estimated 100 individuals. Poaching is the main threat to the survival of the Amur Leopard but they face other threats including destruction of habitat, loss of prey species and genetic impoverishment of the population as a result of inbreeding; and time is running out to save them.
The Phoenix Fund implemented an initiative, that will provide a highly skilled, mobile, law enforcement team with essential equipment and daily allowance for regular anti-poaching patrols to be conducted in Amur Leopard territories. The team works to not only protect the Amur Leopard but to protect the ecosystems of the forest in which they live. The aim is that the initiative will reduce poaching through strengthening law enforcement, habitat protection, improving data collection, nature protection legislation, educating the public, and engaging local communities in conservation efforts.
Read more about their work here: https://fundphoenix.org/en/
African Impact Foundation
Populations of large carnivores are threatened across the globe and a significant number are experiencing population decline, due to threats from habitat loss and poaching to sale through the illegal wildlife trade. Over a third of South Africa’s leopard habitat is found in the Limpopo province, yet 95% of leopards in the area, are found outside of formally protected areas. Despite this, the majority of population and conservation-based research has occurred inside of protected areas, which house a mere 5% of the total population. This has led to a lack of data, which in turn creates unreliable results to inform conservation practices and effective species management.
African Impact Foundation is working to collect data on private lands and study the area where these cats are primarily residing, to work towards evidence based conservation practices. Ultimately, it is only through focused research in these areas, that efficient conservation solutions, that will protect the species and individuals livelihoods can be protected, contributing to the health of the entire ecosystem.
The aims of the project are:
- To Photo Leopards on Camera Traps
- To monitor wildlife corridors used by Leopards
- Study Population Densities
- Create territorial/movement maps for various predators
- Track down and Remove Snares
To date African Impact Foundation has successfully raised enough money for 8 camera traps which, through 1250 pictures, were able to identify 8 different species within the ecosystem, conduct research on their behaviours and their movement patterns. A $350 donation buys 1 camera trap for the study.
Read more about their work here: https://africanimpactfoundation.org/conservation-project-kruger/
See InSitu work from 2018 here: https://bigcatrescue.org/insitu2018/
See InSitu work from 2017 here: https://bigcatrescue.org/insitu2017/
See InSitu work from 2016 and before here: https://bigcatrescue.org/insitu2016/
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