SCB Offers Free Access to Publications

The Society for Conservation Biology is now offering access to publications for SCB 
members in developing countries to offset the high cost of subscribing to academic journals. 
Although access is free to those members, the membership fee is only 10 USD for those in 
developing countries, thus ensuring affordable access for those who would otherwise have to
 stand outrageous expenses to carry out research.
 
For more information, see the press release below.
 
 
1. Press Release: FREE Online Access to Publications for Developing 
Country SCB Members
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - http://www.conbio.org/media/benefits/
Contact: Alan Thornhill
(703) 276-2384
 
SOCIETY FOR CONSERVATION BIOLOGY TO PROVIDE FREE ACCESS TO 
PUBLICATIONS FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRY MEMBERS
 
The Society for Conservation Biology, in collaboration with 
Blackwell Publishing and Elsevier Publishing, announces that online 
access to Conservation Biology, Conservation In Practice, and 
Biological Conservation is now free to SCB members in developing 
countries. Elsevier has also added Ecological Indicators, Ecological 
Complexity, and Ecological Informatics to the free publications. SCB 
is also negotiating to acquire similar access to a suite of other 
conservation-related journals from a variety of publishers, 
including additional titles from Blackwell and Elsevier.
 
Providing free access to conservation publications will greatly 
benefit our conservation colleagues in developing countries 
worldwide. Conservationists in developing countries want to do 
effective conservation work, but many cannot afford scientific 
publications and do not have access via their institutions. "The 
destruction of biodiversity worldwide is so rapid that there is no 
time to waste. Information must get out to conservationists who 
otherwise would not have access. SCB is leading the way in making 
scientific information available to conservation professionals and 
students in developing countries," said SCB Executive Director, Dr. 
Alan Thornhill.
 
Thanks to a grant from The Nature Conservancy (TNC), SCB is able to 
offer free memberships to a large number of conservationists in 
developing countries and therefore provide access to the growing 
list of free conservation publications. Jonathan Adams, Program 
Director for Conservation Knowledge and Communities at TNC said, 
"It's extremely important that conservation professionals have 
access to current scientific information. Much of the Earth's 
biodiversity can be found in developing countries, and scientists 
there often cannot get the most current information either about the 
species themselves or about the tools that are available to conserve 
them."
 
For updates and more information on these great new benefits, check 
the upcoming SCB newsletter and the SCB website: http://conbio.org. 
For further information, contact Dr. Alan Thornhill, Society for 
Conservation Biology at athornhill@conbio.org or (703) 276-2384 or 
Jonathan Adams, The Nature Conservancy at jadams@tnc.org or (301) 
897-8570.

Asian Big Cats and Humans

Human/big cat conflict is increasing at an alarming rate in much of Asia as a result of the growing human population and the resulting stress on the habitat areas of snow leopards, leopards, tigers, and other species of Asian wild cats. This article by Wendy Elliot and published in Pugmark Magazine explores several case studies regarding different methods of providing conservation incentives for residents of big cat areas. The article addresses livestock compensation schemes, livestock insurance schemes, improving the protection of livestock from predation, improving livestock husbandry, relocation, and alternative income generation schemes with specific links to Asian big cat human conflict mitigation.

A link to the full text of the article (PDF) is available on the WWF website.

Twenty-four Conservationists Lost in Tragic Helicopter Accident

We at the Snow Leopard Network offer our sincerest condolences as we mourn the loss of 24 conservationists who lost their lives in a helicopter accident in Nepal on 23 September, 2006. Each of the victims offered outstanding contributions to the field of snow leopard conservation, and they will undoubtedly inspire us to further their efforts for decades to come. On a personal level, this is a shocking and grievous loss to those who had the privilege of knowing and working with them. On a professional level, this is a terrible loss for snow leopard conservation, as most of Nepal’s top conservationists were aboard. They will be missed, and let us honor their legacy by always continuing to work toward implementing greater conservation efforts in Nepal and elsewhere.

For more information, see the WWF Nepal Website.

 

Ev-K²-Cnr and WWF-Nepal, together for the snow leopard

August 2006- “Nature is talking to us and we should listen and act now”. This was the warning made a few days ago by the “Earth greats”, united in Curtiba, Brasil. The Ev-K²-Cnr Committee seems to have taken them literally. The Italian association led by Agostino Da Polenza has just signed an important agreement with WWF Nepal to protect the endangered species of the Sagarmatha National Park.


The agreement was signed on March, 24th 2006 by the president of the Ev-K²-CNR Committee and Dr. Chandra Gurung, Country Representative of WWF Nepal at WWF’s Baluwatar office in Kathmandu. The two associations are going to undertake research, monitoring and protection initiatives for the conservation of snow leopards living in the area and their prey. The snow leopard is the most charming feline in the world.

“This is an excellent result – commented Agostino Da Polenza – the fruit of many years’ research done by Professor Sandro Lovari. This collaboration focuses on snow leopards, but does strengthen our classical stream of biological research on Himalayan ungulates, too. Once again the Ev-K²-Cnr research programs have demonstrated not only their high scientific value, but also their capacity to give rise to concrete projects for environment valorization, ecosystem conservation and sustainable development of the fragile mountain areas, like the Sagarmatha National Park.”

Professor Lovari will be in charge of the “Snow Leopard: Vanishing Tracks on the Roof of the World” project, within the next three years. The plan foresees scientific research aimed at indentifying the number, features, and the habits of the snow leopards and prey living in the area. It also includes several initiatives for protecting and promoting all these endangered species.

Sandro Lovari has been dealing with mountain wildlife for over thirty years. Since 1989, he has been working in the Himalayas with the Ev-K²-Cnr Committee, studying tahrs in particular. The Snow Leopard project begun to take shape in 2003, as Lovari extraordinarily met a specimen of the snow leopard during a research mission in Nepal. The feline was the first one seen in the area since the species disappeared from the Sagarmatha National Park in the sixties.

WCS to Open Five Wildlife Reserves in Afghanistan

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has recently announced a plan to establish five wildlife reserves in Afghanistan. WCS is working in cooperation with the government of Afghanistan and receiving funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The project is being headed by George Schaller, a member of the Snow Leopard Network, and will include International Snow Leopard Trust (ISLT) staff.

In addition to creating the reserves, this three-year project will include monitoring the populations of snow leopards and several prey species, as well as working with communities toward establishing eco-friendly and sustainable practices. The team carrying out the surveys will include several International Snow Leopard Trust staff. WCS recognizes the need to include local residents in any conservation effort, because they have the most potential to impact wildlife populations.

The Snow Leopard Network applauds this project. We look forward to the increased conservation in snow leopard inhabited areas that will come about as a result of these efforts.

For more information, see the press release at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060628234217.htm or http://www.wcs.org/international/Asia/afghanistan for more information on this and other WCS projects in Afghanistan.

The Launch of India’s Project Snow Leopard

The Launch of India’s Project Snow Leopard

 

Snow Leopard Network

 

10-11 July 2006

Leh, Ladakh, India

 

The fragile high-altitude mountain ecosystems of northern India are of enormous ecological and cultural importance. In addition to maintaining snow leopards and their prey, these ecosystems support pastoral communities, watersheds that sustain vital agriculture, and several other endangered species. However, the over-grazing of livestock strains the resources available to wild ungulates, therefore decreasing the amount of prey available to snow leopards and causing attacks on domestic herd animals. In turn, snow leopards are often the target of retribution killings as pastoral communities struggle to maintain their herds. If local communities are to continue their traditional way of life, the conservation of these magnificent cats and fragile ecosystems must become a priority.  It is this need that prompted the Nature Conservation Foundation and ISLT to pursue the establishment of a national action plan to be known as Project Snow Leopard.

 

A very successful national conference took place on 10-11 July with the purpose of launching Project Snow Leopard (PSL), a conservation initiative modeled after Project Tiger and Project Elephant with the purpose of preserving the ecosystem to which snow leopards belong through cooperating with local residents, governments, scientists, and NGOs. The conference was organized by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India (MoEF) and the Department of Wildlife Protection, Jammu and Kashmir. Also involved were the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) and International Snow Leopard Trust (ISTL). It was well attended; guests included several prominent MoEF dignitaries, officials from the forest departments of the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, and many prominent scientists from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), NCF, and ISLT, several of whom are members of the Snow Leopard Network.

 

The workshop came as a culmination to a two-year series of state-level conferences organized by NCF and ISLT in cooperation with the governments of Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Uttaranchal, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir with the purpose of identifying regions that need to be included in PSL. This series of conferences resulted in a concept paper calling for a scientifically sound and socially responsible high altitude wildlife conservation strategy involving the State and Central Governments, representatives of the local communities, and conservation and development NGOs. 

 

The workshop facilitated the exchange of information between the forest departments of the five states with high-altitude ecosystems and the MoEF, and a set of thirteen recommendations decided upon so as to guide the drafting and implementation of a PSL document.

 

Recommendations of the National Workshop on Project Snow Leopard:

 

1.          The high altitudes of India (> 3000 m, c. 250,000 km2, including the Himalaya and Trans-Himalaya biogeographic zones) support a unique wildlife assemblage of global importance, which needs to be conserved through a focused strategy and action plan under the Project Snow Leopard (PSL).

2.          PSL will promote wildlife conservation through a participatory process by fully involving the local communities in conservation efforts, and seeking their active participation in conservation through appropriate incentives.

3.          As a significant proportion of Himalayan high altitude wildlife occurs outside Protected Areas, PSL will follow a landscape level approach that gives due importance to conservation both within and outside Protected Areas.

4.          PSL will strengthen and enhance the capacity of state forest and wildlife departments in effectively managing high altitude wildlife through provisioning of manpower, resources, incentives, and capacity building.

5.          PSL will be formulated in line with the National Wildlife Action Plan (2001-2016), and will incorporate the salient features articulated in the state-level PSL workshops and the Snow Leopard Survival Strategy, and in addition, draw lessons from the experiences of other flagship species programmes such as the Project Tiger and Project Elephant.

6.          PSL will support research on wildlife and human dimensions throughout the high altitude areas of the snow leopard range states of India.

7.          PSL will encourage an adaptive management framework which will provide for constant monitoring of wildlife populations and human socio-economy, and for periodic course-corrections in management actions.

8.          As the high altitudes also represent a vast rangeland system, PSL will assist the states in the development of grazing policies and management practices that will aim to harmonize the objectives of pastoral interests with those of wildlife conservation.

9.          PSL will promote research-based species recovery programmes.

10.      PSL will promote community-based management programmes for resolving human-wildlife conflicts.

11.      PSL will promote conservation education and awareness initiatives.

12.      Given that most of India’s high altitude wildlife habitats are along international boundaries, PSL recognizes the importance of co-opting the armed and para-military forces in conservation efforts, and exploring possibilities for trans-boundary conservation efforts.

13.     The MoEF will constitute a committee comprising of the participating states and other key stakeholders for the drafting of the PSL strategy and action plan.

CITES CELEBRATES ITS 30th BIRTHDAY

NABU: The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), was put into force in the United States on June 20, 1976. CITES maintains a list of endangered animals and plants, and prohibits the international trade of these species. These restrictions often lead to the recovery of certain organisms and has been particularly active in the preservation of rhinos and tigers. Snow leopards have also benefited from these regulations, although the illegal trafficking of their beautiful fur and body parts used in traditional Asian medicines remains a problem.

CITES is an essential international treaty in the fight against endangered species extinction. We applaud the progress that it has facilitated, and we look forward to increased international compliance and enforcement in the future.

For more information, see the NABU website at http://nabu.de/ (German Language).

Scientist Uses Snow Leopard Feces for Genetic Analysis

CNN, May 2006- Dr. Lisette Waits of the University of Idaho is using wild snow leopard feces to gather data for DNA analysis, in cooperation with the Snow Leopard Trust. The technology to use hair and feces for DNA sampling was developed only recently and will be very helpful with conservation efforts in the future. When the analysis is complete, her findings will provide useful information on the population dynamics of snow leopards in the wild.

Congratulations to Jiang for Being Selected as a Finalist for the Whitney Fund for Nature (WFN) Award

The Whitney Fund for Nature, a UK-based charity that gives monetary rewards for outstanding conservation efforts, presented its most recent award on 10 May, 2006. Snow Leopard Network member Zhigang Jiang was one of the finalists. We applaud his commitment to conservation. For more information on Jiang’s work, see the WFN summary below:

Dr. Zhigang Jiang – China

Ecosystem approach to conservation of the Przewalski’s Gazelle in pastoral areas around Qinghai Lake.

 
 

The grasslands of Qinghai Lake on the Tibetan Plateau are the only place in the world where Przewalski’s gazelle can be found. Less than 300 adult gazelle remain, but they must compete with more than three million domestic livestock.

The people who live here are completely dependent on herding. Over-grazing is causing desertification and barbed-wire fences now criss-cross the plateau, creating unexpected barriers. Dr. Jiang Zhigang is working with indigenous people and the government to formulate a conservation strategy for the region.

In 1997 he successfully established the lake as a National Nature Reserve free from illegal hunting. He is now working to map key corridors between the four remaining gazelle populations to protect this, the most threatened hoofed mammal in the world.

http://www.whitleyaward.org/

China Requires News Reporters to Wear Fur

New Delhi
2 May 2006

There was a small but alarming news item on the Tibetan service of Radio Free Asia today.

Recently presenters at the Amdo Tso-ngo TV channel in Qinghai, China, were instructed by the head of the Chinese government’s Information Centre and United Front Department that they must wear animal skin costumes, chubas, while presenting the news. When they said that they did not have any, the presenters were told that this was a political issue and that if they did not have a skin chuba then they must buy one. They were then immediately given money by the authorities for this.

The Chinese head of the Qinghai TV channel was interviewed by Radio Free Asia on 27 April 2006. He confirmed the story and that funds had been provided by the Chinese government’s United Front Department to purchase the animal skin chubas.

The link to the Radio Free Asia programme (which is in the Amdo language) is www.rfa.org/tibetan/dazoed.

We are trying to find out more, and in particular how widespread this instruction by the authorities is regarding the purchase and wearing of skin chubas, and whether it includes endangered species such as tiger and leopard skins that are protected by Chinese law and CITES.

=======================================================
Belinda Wright, Executive Director
WILDLIFE PROTECTION SOCIETY OF INDIA (WPSI)
S-25 Panchsheel Park, New Delhi 110017, India
Tel:    (Int+ 91.11) 4163.5920 & 4163.5921
Fax:   (Int+ 91.11) 4163.5924
E-mail: wpsi@vsnl.com
Website: www.wpsi-india.org
=======================================================