Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance

by Worldwide Indigenous Science Network
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Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Big Cat Conservation: A Global Alliance
Zhaparkul in front of the the snow leopard paintin
Zhaparkul in front of the the snow leopard paintin

Snow Leopards in the Caves of Southern France!

Global Big Cat Alliance

Fall 2017 Report

 

 

"Science and Indigenous knowledge must work together. We have entered the Altyn Dor (golden age, the time to heal the planet)." - Kyrgyz Elder and Healer Zhaparkul Ata

 

Dear Donors,

We give thanks to the ancestors and to each of you for your generous support for our Global Alliance for Big Cat Conservation work. This work in support of these sacred and disappearing apex predators continues only becuase of your generosity and through your spreading the word about our work with your friends, family, and colleagues. Thank you.

 

This quarter was an exciting one for the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network’s (WISN) Big Cat Alliance, specifically for our work with the Snow Leopards.

 

WISN has worked with snow leopard shamans and healers throughout Kyrgyzstan and other parts of Central Asia for more than a decade. One of the stories and part of the Kyrgyz oral tradition states that the snow leopard clan people migrated West (towards Europe) tens of thousands of years ago forming the European tribes, for example, the Celts. The Kyrgyz say this migration is one of the reasons there are so few snow leopards remaining in Kyrgyzstan, which of course has been exacerbated in more recent times by poaching, territory encroachment in the name of “development,” and more. However, until recently there was nothing to substantiate this oral history.   

 

In addition to our big cat work, we also do research on the painted caves of Southern France—archeaoacoustics and more. On a trip there in 2016, by chance, we made an incredible discovery—that not only had an image of a snow leopard been painted in Chauvet Cave (in Southeastern France), but also actual bones had been discovered there. Hikers stumbled upon the cave (much as we stumbled upon the discovery of the snow leopard image and bones last year) in 1994. Researchers and scientists later determined these caves had been sealed for at least 26,000 years, so these bones and paintings are known to be at least that old if not older, probably closer to 30-35,000 years old. It was the first linkage that we are aware of linking the migration stories outlining the westward movement of the snow leopards and snow leopard clan people of Kyrgyzstan! 

 

In October of this year, we returned, bringing with us one of our Big Cat alliance members Zhaparkul Ata to these caves to make an offering and to pray at this sacred site, at the foot of the snow leopard image. We also introduced him to one of the most world-renowned cave experts Jean Clottes, one of the first prehistorians to conclude that there is a strong argument to believe that much of the cave paintings and prehistoric art were in fact produced as a result of shamanic practice. The meeting was covered by local media and was an important step in bringing indigenous and Western science together for the purposes of conserving these magnificent beings so critical to the survival of our planet’s fragile eco systems, and for our very own survival.

 

Thank you again, dear Donors, for your ongoing support to make this work possible. 

Coverage in the local papers
Coverage in the local papers
Jean Clottes and Zhaparkul sharing their wisdom
Jean Clottes and Zhaparkul sharing their wisdom
Snow leopard image in Chauvet
Snow leopard image in Chauvet
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Global Big Cat Alliance

Jaguars Continue Guiding Our Work

Summer 2017 Report

 

 

Dear Donors,


Thank you so much to each of you who have so generously supported our work with the Global Alliance for Big Cat Conservation, work which is guided by the ancestors and the spirit of these big cats. We are so close to reaching our goal to support the Big Cats thanks to you! 


This quarter, we continued our work in supporting the Jaguar through our work the Yawanawans, one of the last remaining intact indigenous communities in Brazil. After WISN sent an international anti-poaching and security expert down to the Brazilian rainforest last Spring (reported on in our Spring 2017 report), we worked side by side with the Yawanwans to develop a grant proposal/ plan that will be submitted to large scale international donors (attached).


Poaching and land encroachment remains the biggest threat to Jaguars in the region. Based on the recommendations of this international security expert, WISN was able to assist the Yawanawan community with funds to construct a command post for their anti-poaching efforts. The Yawanawans will also purchase anti-poaching supplies such as boats and radios, and will undergo anti-poaching training that will be led by the same international security expert. This is anticipated to take place in January or February of 2018.

Strength in Numbers

We also conducted meetings with a conservation organization based in Mexico City, which has purchased a large swath of land in the North of Mexico for Jaguar conservation. They are expanding their lands to include lands West of Mexico City. What they lack in cultural understanding of the indigenous communities that share their traditional lands with the Jaguars, they make up for in their scientific and conservation expertise. We will be linking up this organization with the Yawanawans at a meeting in January to strengthen the Big Cat Alliance network for Jaguar conservation. Their aim is to ultimately create a corridor of protection that extends from the rainforests of Brazil through Central America and up to North America. We believe that together, they can achieve this goal.
 

And together, with you, we can do all that we can to help them in these efforts.


Thank you again, Donors, for your continued support with this project.


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Int'l Security expert welcomed by community
Int'l Security expert welcomed by community

Dear Donor,

As always we are immensely grateful to each of you who have supported our work, which is guided by the ancestors and the spirit of the Big Cats.  

 

The Yawanawans of Brazil is an intact indigenous community that still practices sacred ancestral jaguar ceremonies. Though the land and climate where their communities are located are not an ideal terrain for jaguars, they have among the highest populations of jaguars in Brazil. They have lived in balance with the rainforest and jaguars for thousands of years, but because of modernization, poaching, and land grabs in recent years, jaguars, the immense biodiversity around them, and even the Yawanawans themselves--all intrinsically connected--are under severe threat.

 

Last month, WISN sent an international security and anti-poaching expert to Yawanawan territories to work with the community, learn from them, and develop a strategy for best practices to help create a corridor of protection for Jaguars that would ultimately extend up through the rest of South and Central America. The meetings went well and the security expert has been able to prepare a plan for anti-poaching measures that would include patrol boats, a central anti-poaching station, and the training of community members for anti-poaching procedures.

 

The plan will require additional funding, so every bit helps. The security expert will be traveling back to Brazil in June to continue Phase I of the plan and will continue to meet with the Yawanawan tribal leaders to discuss more ways in which Western and Indigenous science can work together to preserve the sacred jaguar as well as the sacred lands on which they live.

 

This past quarter, WISN has also been working with Yawanawan Chief and Indigenous Cultural Practitioner Tashka Yawanawa and his wife Laura to network during a recent trip to Washington, D.C. We have been networking with conservation contacts at the Smithsonian Institute as well as with potential funders, including an organization that has a large conservation area for desert jaguars in the Sonoran Desert region of Mexico, and an organization with a conservation facility in Costa Rica. If the momentum continues, the Yawanawan dream to create a corridor of jaguar protection that extends from the rainforests of Brazil through Mexico and the SW United States may, in fact, become a reality.

 

We will continue to raise funds for this effort as well as our work with the other big cats, and report back to you on some of our other developments in our next report.

 

As always, we are immensely grateful to you, our donors, for all you have done to make this possible. Thank you! 

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Yawanawan Elder who passed last month at age 103
Yawanawan Elder who passed last month at age 103

Global Alliance for Big Cat Conservation

Winter 2017 Project Update

 Jaguars—rulers of the underworld and the beings associated with helping humanity to face our fears according to mythology central to cultures of Central and South America—were at the forefront of our work this quarter. 

A Yawanawan Indian and Indigenous Cultural Practitioner met with the Worldwide Indigenous Science Network (WISN) this quarter to discuss his community’s plans to create a corridor of protection for jaguars from Brazil to Mexico. We worked side by side to develop a presentation for donors about these plans, which include networking elders from the Yawanawan community with Elders and scientists working in Oaxaca, Mexico. Through this network, these communities can share plans and conservation strategies to facilitate the creation of this corridor of protection. 

We also discussed the development of an app that can be used by community members in the Amazon to track not only Western conservation data (sightings, coordinates, incidents of poaching), but also more indigenous data such as tracking dreams, visions, and other data related to Yawanawan jaguar cosmovision. Through blending Western and Indigenous protocols, a new understanding and methodology will be created for jaguar conservation.

We have attached a link to the video we produced with two jaguar medicine men—a Mixteca/Olmeca from Oaxaca, and a Yawanawan—discussing their respective jaguar cosmovisions.

We will continue our work on the app in the months ahead, which we hope will serve as a prototype that can be applied and used by other indigenous populations connected to big cats in Central Asia, China, and Southern Africa. 

As always, we give great than to you, our donors and the ancestors. It is through your generosity that these programs are possible. We will continue to keep you apprised of our work moving forward.  Thank you!

Yawanawan children during jaguar festival
Yawanawan children during jaguar festival

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Snow leopard
Snow leopard

Global Alliance for Big Cat Conservation

Fall 2016 Project Update

 

“We don’t have to invent anything. We just have to revive things as they were. Remember we are one with Nature and with all living beings, and that all things are creations of love and spirit. Humans as well.”

-Zhaparkul Raimbekov, Kyrgyz Indigenous Cultural Practitioner (ICP)


We want to thank you again for your continued support of our work with the Global Alliance of Big Cat Conservation (BCA). Though we haven’t yet reached our financial goal, every bit helps us achieve what we are trying hard to achieve—bringing Western and Indigenous sciences together for the purpose of new forms of conservation for the sacred big cats, apex predators on which so much of our ecosystem relies.

 

Much of our focus this quarter was on the Snow Leopard, and we have some exciting news to share on this front. Three years ago, one of our Kyrgyz Indigenous Cultural Practitioners (ICP) was scheduled to deliver a statement to the United Nations Snow Leopard Conservation gathering in Kyrgyzstan, a statement that had been prepared with input from ICPs throughout the Snow Leopard range. When he arrived at this UN meeting in October of 2013, he was told that there was “no room at the table” for him and he was turned away. We called on our BCA for collective prayers, and the Big Cat ICPs around the world sprung into action, praying for an opening. Surprisingly, at the last minute, the President of Kyrgyzstan permitted this Elder to enter (not stay) in order to read the statement.

Three years later, this same Elder was actually invited as a guest of the United Nations at a Snow Leopard meeting in New York City. He not only had a place at the table, but he was asked to give an opening prayer and was asked to speak on behalf of the indigenous community and the Snow Leopard. It was a historic and momentous occasion.

  

Afterwards, WISN was able to bring him down to Baltimore, MD and Washington, D.C., where we held additional meetings with the head of the international conservation division of the Smithsonian Institute. The meeting went very well and we do feel that future collaborations may ensue with the Smithsonian and local communities in Kyrgyzstan, which would be supportive to both.

 

Relationships are everything in indigenous work, so having this face time was integral to our work moving forward. We also managed to travel around the world in 48-hours J, having productive Skype meetings with big cat partners in all corners of the globe—South America, Mexico, California, Siberia, Kyrgyzstan, and more.

 

We again express our sincerest thanks to all of you who have helped make this work possible! 

Kyrgyz ICP at the United Nations!
Kyrgyz ICP at the United Nations!
Kyrgyz ICP at the United Nations!
Kyrgyz ICP at the United Nations!
Kyrgyz ICP meeting at Smithsonian Institute
Kyrgyz ICP meeting at Smithsonian Institute
Kyrgyz ICP in front of the White House
Kyrgyz ICP in front of the White House
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Organization Information

Worldwide Indigenous Science Network

Location: Lahaina, Hawaii - USA
Website:
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Project Leader:
Beth Duncan
Lahaina, Hawaii United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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