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Projects implemented by the Rangewide Programme
Illegal trade in live cheetahs an increasing threat to their survival.(funded by) (funded by) (with support from)
Cheetahs face a multitude of threats but one of the most recently recognised is a surprising addition to the list - an illegal trade that sees cheetahs taken from the wild and sold across international borders to feed the demand for exotic pets.
The countries of the Horn of Africa have been identified as being most commonly targeted for sourcing these animals and this coincides with the areas in which wild cheetahs are already amongst the most thinly distributed. It is therefore feared that the illegal trade could be putting some of these wild populations at even greater risk of extinction.
There are numerous examples of cheetahs being found by border officials having been hidden in cars, boats and aeroplanes. More often than not it is young cubs that are being smuggled since they can be more easily hidden and more easily tamed once they reach their destination. While it is extremely difficult to gather data on such an underground trade, the evidence available suggests that most of these cubs die during transit, often due to dehydration.
In response to this the Range Wide Programme has supported Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda in their proposal to CITES calling for a study of the trade that has cross-Party support (DOWNLOAD report - 52KB Pdf). The proposal was discussed and subsequently passed at the CITES Conference of the Parties in March 2013 with agreement to commission the study. It is hoped that this represents the start of a concerted effort to draw up practical measures to combat the trade.
The illegal use and trade in wild meat (bushmeat) in SADC - a looming crisis.(in partnership) (funded by)
Cheetahs and wild dogs, and other large carnivores, need wild prey to survive. A crisis is, therefore, looming given that many wildlife populations are being unsustainably utilised for wild meat both by surrounding communities but also by communities in many urban centres of range states. This looming crisis has been acknowledged by the Range Wide Programme as critical to address if we are to save these two species, and to this end the RWP has partnered with Panthera and with the FAO Subregional office (SADC) to begin to raise awareness of the scale of the problem, and what can be done to reduce this threat. A workshop was held in May 2012 to document the extent of the threat, drivers and potential mitigation measures (DOWNLOAD technical report - 1.4mb Pdf). This report was then presented to SADC wildlife authorities at a workshop held in Johannesburg in Oct 2012 funded by FAO. At this workshop it was agreed that the issue required attention at the highest level and there was an urgent need to obtain government commitment to implementing mitigation options. A set of guiding principles were drawn up by participants and a request made to the SADC Food, Agricultural and Natural Resources Directorate (FANR) to develop a full programme under SADC to help member states reduce this threat to their natural heritage and economies. The Range Wide Programme continues to partner with Panthera and FAO to take the process forward.
The regional strategies for the conservation of cheetah and African wild dog all include the need to create awareness of the two species and to foster commitment to their conservation. The Song of the Carnivores is a project that aims to do just that by combining conservation awareness with art, music and poetry. The project started with a poetry competition supported by the British Council (Zimbabwe), the words of which were then incorporated into the cantata commissioned by the Zimbabwe Academy of Music for the Bulawayo Music Festival - the SONG OF THE CARNIVORES. This cantata is a combination of choral and instrumental work evoking the five large species of carnivores and why we should care about looking after them. More than 500 school children and musicians from the UK, Australia and South Africa performed in the world premiere on the 24th of May at the Bulawayo City Hall in Zimbabwe.
The premiere was attended by the Mayor of Bulawayo, as well as the British and Australian ambassador, and two audiences of over 1000 people attended the two concerts, unprecedented in Bulawayo.
The Alliance Francaise de Bulawayo also supported a lecture series associated with the project, where experts studying the five large carnivores gave a public talk in Bulawayo, and visited schools to teach children about the species. A total of 60 schools were included in this project, with well over two thousand children attending sessions.
The next stage is to roll this project out into other range states, finding in country partners and donors to implement a similar series of events and competitions so that all school children can learn the arts while also learning about the large carnivores and why they need our help.
On the 22nd of November Usain Bolt, the Olympic Gold Medalist and fastest man on the planet listened to the Song of the Carnivores at London Zoo, performed by the Finchley Children's Music Group and 10 students from the Luton Music Group. The performance was followed by a fundraising dinner where substantial funds were raised to continue the work of the Range Wide Programme.
Thank you Usain!
Senior wildlife managers awareness and training course(funded by) (with support from)
The range wide programme realised that many wildlife managers were not aware of the unique conservation needs of cheetah and wild dog. With funding from the US FWS Wildlife Without Borders Funds the RWP developed a focussed training manual aimed at managers rather than researchers or policy makers, providing information about the conservation biology of the two species, threats to their survival, conflict mitigation options, compatible land uses, how to effectively use the policy and legislation environment, how to effectively use the media and how to collect relevant data and make decisions. The course was held in Lilongwe, Malawi and 21 managers attended the course from 11 range states in East and Southern Africa, from the government, private and community sector. The course was officially opened by the Malawi Minister of Wildlife, Tourism and Culture, the Honourable Mr Daniel Liwimbi. A web forum was also developed to allow the participants to continue sharing experience and ideas after the course. The training manual is now freely downloadable for use by any conservation practitioner.
The course modules are available for download below;
Page (Pdf - 1.7Mb)
Introduction (Pdf - 1.8Mb)
Citation Page (Pdf - 1.2Mb)
Module1 Conservation Biology (Pdf - 3.0Mb)
Module2 Threats (Pdf - 3.5Mb)
Module3 Mitigating Conflict (Pdf - 9.5Mb)
Module4 Land Management (Pdf - 4.3Mb)
Module5 Policy and Legislation (Pdf - 0.2Mb)
Module6 Use and Pifalls of the media (Pdf - 1.9Mb)
Module7 Decision Making (Pdf - 4.4Mb)
Increasing awareness of Cheetah and African wild dog conservation needs and the potential impacts of climate change in Africa(in partnership with)
This project is partnership with the British Council (Zimbabwe) where it was realised that both projects wanted to target the same audience (16 - 18 year olds) to increase awareness of their respective areas of concern. The British Council has been tasked with increasing awareness and understanding of the causes and possible consequences of climate change to countries in Africa, and the Range wide planning programme needs to create awareness about the conservation needs of Cheetah and African wild dog. It was felt that a partnership would allow for a sharing of resources as the two topics are interconnected.
The pilot phase of the project involved creating a simple DVD that included a "lesson" aimed at 16 - 18 years old, in a partnership between the Southern Africa coordinator and British Council (Zimbabwe). This use of a DVD was adopted to ensure that the lesson could be given without the presence of a trained teacher as many parts of Africa are lacking in trained teachers. The project assessed the availability of equipment in Africa and while still limiting, the DVD was considered the most effective media as many urban and rural areas have at least one person with a TV and DVD player.
The lesson provides information on climate change and conservation issues relevant to their particular country, using the cheetah and African wild dog as focus species. The DVD was shown to a combination of schools, including high income and low income urban schools in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Students were asked to fill in the same questionnaire before and after the lesson was shown to allow the project to assess how effective the DVD is at increasing knowledge. The pilot project also involved a follow up period in each school included where the project leader assessed whether the students altered their behaviour and attitude as a result of taking part in the lesson.
The pilot project has come to an end with a certificate ceremony held in Bulawayo on the 15th of February 2011 attended by the Provincial Education Director (PED) and the Director of the British Council. The questionnaire assessment showed that there was an immediate improvement in knowledge before and after watching the DVD (see report PHASE 1). Two participating schools had used the knowledge they had gained from the DVD presentation to implement projects in their schools and communities (see report PHASE 2).
50 DVDs have been given to the PED for all the high schools in Bulawayo province and the regional coordinator for Southern Africa and the BC project leader are hoping to source enough funding for all the high schools in Zimbabwe to receive a copy. The Range wide progamme is now exploring ways to adapt the DVD for other countries in the region and still hopes to engage with the Africa delegation to the UN FCCC.