One of the things that makes PASA special is our dedication to building local capacity for conservation across Africa. This year, in addition to the skills training workshops and materials we provide for African national sanctuary staff, we will be dispersing more than $40,000 to member sanctuaries to work directly with local communities to protect primates and habitats. I’m thrilled to share with you some of our efforts over the past few months, and what’s next for PASA.
This year we are coordinating a new regional conservation education and community engagement training in Cameroon, which will be led by Cameroonian educator Jeta James Fawoh. Jeta has been participating in PASA’s education training program since 2005, and is now getting his Masters’ degree in conservation planning. We’re very proud of Jeta and excited to work with him on this project!
PASA will also be dispersing about $10,000 in grants to sanctuaries in Uganda, South Africa, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Gabon, Nigeria and the Congo for education and projects with local communities. Several of these sanctuaries are working to address local human conflicts with apes and monkeys. Last year PASA provided small grants for sanctuaries to hold meetings with local communities and government officials to find solutions to these conflicts. In Uganda, PASA member sanctuary Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT) hosted a meeting with local community members in areas where chimpanzees are killed because they raid human crops. Based on this meeting CSWCT and the local communities are implementing a range of strategies including hosting a local radio show to provide information and education to community members, forming village conservation committees, replanting deforested areas, promoting development of natural and artificial barriers to chimpanzee crop raids, and providing incentives to protect forests and reduce killing of chimpanzees. The community meeting was led by CSWCT’s Education Officer, Silver James Birungi, also a veteran of PASA's training program, and winner of a 2013 Disney Conservation Hero award.
Thanks to generous support from the Coypu Foundation and donors like you, we are dispersing approximately $30,000 in funding this month to help sanctuaries to hire local ecoguards and conservation coordinators to conduct anti-poaching patrols and to work with communities to protect gorillas, chimpanzees and bonobos in Haut Niger National Park in Guinea, Afi Mountain reserve in Nigeria, Conkuati-Douli National Park Republic of Congo, Mbargue Forest in Cameroon, and Ecola ya Bonobo reserve and Kahuzi-Biega National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
With your help and support, we can provide funding to additional PASA sanctuaries in ape and monkey ranges across Africa to carry out this crucial work of protecting key habitats and working with local communities to promote conservation. These funds create conservation jobs in local communities, providing alternative livelihood opportunities that protect Africa’s forests and wildlife.
Thank you for your help in protecting Africa’s wild primates and their habitats!
Please visit us on our website at www.pasaprimates.org to learn more.
PASA’s key strategies for protecting Africa’s last wild primates and their habitats focus on collaboration and outreach – with local communities, governments and diverse conservation partners. I am pleased to share some of our accomplishments in these areas from the past few months.
I’ve just returned from meetings in Democratic Republic of Congo where PASA brought together primate sanctuaries, conservation experts, global conservation funders and government representatives. We urged continued development of community conservation programs and ecotourism programs, improved enforcement of wildlife protection laws, and raising the standards for animal care and welfare at government-run facilities. With your support, we are planning to hold similar meetings elsewhere in Africa to develop alliances and strategic plans for local and national conservation action.
Our community conservation programs are working! PASA provides training, materials and funding for community outreach programs that encourage people to not eat primates or buy them as pets. As these programs take effect, the number of animals brought into sanctuaries is starting to decrease. For example, this year PASA sanctuaries rescued 20 great apes orphaned by the bushmeat and pet trades, down from 36 last year. And, we have implemented a new system to collect data on the origins of rescued animals in order to identify hotspots habitat destruction and illegal trade. In 2014, PASA will be offering grants of $2,500 -$7,000 to our member sanctuaries to hire local community members as ecoguards or as conservation ambassadors. Ecoguards will prevent poaching in natural areas and conservation ambassadors will work to expand community programs to protect wild areas and primates. Thanks to your donations, these programs really are making a difference. With your continued support we can fund ecoguards and expanded community conservation outreach across all 12 countries in Africa where we work.
PASA collaborators recently published a paper in the science journal Biodiversity and Conservation on the conservation and economic impacts of PASA sanctuaries (Ferrie et al., 2013). Highlights from the study done by PASA Advisor Kay Farmer, PhD, show that PASA sanctuaries employ more than 550 local people (an average of 26 per sanctuary), and contribute more than $3 million annually to local economies. Nearly three-quarters of PASA sanctuaries conduct anti-poaching patrols, and most undertake censuses of wild primates and other conservation monitoring.
Also this fall, PASA organized a Great Ape Reintroduction Workshop, bringing together for the first time 50 scientists, reintroduction practitioners and other experts for each of the four great apes – gorillas, bonobos, chimpanzees, and orangutans. During this workshop we developed an agreement and action steps to improve conservation and animal welfare outcomes of reintroduction projects for these imperiled species. We also held our annual meeting with the PASA sanctuary managers to update policies and strategize on how to protect Africa’s wild primates and their habitats.
Learn more about us and our work on our new website, www.pasaprimates.org!
Your support is making a difference for wild forests and primates! With help from generous donors like you and a grant from Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, PASA is providing funding for sanctuary educators to conduct meetings with local communities to share knowledge on the value of protecting local wildlife, and to resolve issues that threaten wild primates and their habitats.
We recently received a report back from Limbe Wildlife Center (LWC) in Southwest Cameroon that I want to share with you. PASA funding and training enabled LWC to hold two community meetings this summer, and to evaluate the community work done over the past several years with the Batoke Village in the buffer zone of Mount Cameroon National Park. The National Park was created in 2010 with agreement from surrounding village leaders, but its wildlife continues to suffer from widespread traditional hunting. LWC has been working with hunters to develop alternative livelihood opportunities that will protect Park wildlife. The most successful project is training 30 ex-hunters to sustainably harvest plants in the forest. These plants are sold to LWC to help feed the sanctuary animals rescued from bushmeat hunting, the illegal pet trade and habitat destruction. The project has just been expanded to provide 8 women and their families with an alternative to selling bushmeat. The women sustainably harvest green leafy vegetables, a free activity that has minimal environmental impact. These vegetables are then purchased by LWC as food for the rescued animals at the sanctuary.
PASA funding also gave LWC an opportunity to bring community project members to visit the animals at the LWC sanctuary. This was an extremely successful program. Most of the people had never seen these animals alive before (except the ex-hunters), and the opportunity to witness the animals’ beauty and remarkable behaviors fostered compassion and pride for local wildlife. Sanctuary Manager Ainare Idoiaga reports, “During their visit to LWC, one community member, Jacob, took his 3-year old son around the sanctuary multiple times in order to show him the special animals of Cameroon. He took the time to tell his son about every species, and explained to him that all of these animals belong in the forest. This passing of information to future generations makes it clear that Jacob truly understands the importance of the forest and its wildlife and is concerned about conserving Cameroon’s natural heritage for future generations.”
Thank you for your generous support, which will enable PASA to provide training, materials and funding for more community programs like these!
Your contributions along with support from Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund enabled PASA to provide grants of $350 for sanctuary educators to hold Human-Wildlife Conflict Resolution meetings in their local communities. Human-wildlife conflict results in wild primates being killed when they compete with human populations for habitat and food, or when they are perceived as a threat or as pests. PASA educators are leading community members and local government officials in identifying these conflicts, and assessing how to resolve them and provide lasting protection for both human and wild primate communities. Educators from Tchimpounga (Republic of Congo), Lola ya bonobo (DR Congo), CSWCT (Uganda), Vervet Monkey Foundation (South Africa), Limbe Wildlife Center (Cameroon), Ape Action Africa (Cameroon) and CERCOPAN (Nigeria) are currently using these funds to hold meetings with local communities.
Planning is underway for the second professional development workshop on human-wildlife conflict and primate conservation in 2014 in Hoima, Uganda. Hoima and other areas across Uganda have been experiencing an uptick in hunting of wild chimpanzees, due to conflicts between these apes and the local communities (see http://bit.ly/18IagAv). At the 2014 workshop PASA will bring together human-wildlife conflict experts and local sanctuary staff to develop Human-Wildlife Conflict Intervention Plans that address the specific issues within communities surrounding PASA sanctuaries.
Your support will enable PASA to provide funding for sanctuary staff’s supplies, materials and community trainings to implement these plans that will provide practical, real-world solutions to human-wildlife conflicts and reduce the killing of wild primates. Some successful pilot projects include training community farmers to plant hot chili peppers around crops being raided by chimpanzees (chimpanzees dislike the hot peppers and thus avoid the target crops), and working with community residents and businesses to develop "monkey-proof" solutions to prevent property damage by vervet monkeys and baboons.
This week 25 conservation educators from PASA member sanctuaries across Africa came together in Yaounde, Cameroon to develop programs that will help their local communities learn about the value of protecting native forests and wildlife, and stop the killing of apes, moneys and other wild animals. PASA provides this advanced training free of charge to its member sanctuaries annually to promote conservation education in local communities, empower local educators with professional skills, and enable all our member sanctuaries to share and benefit from each others’ experiences. It’s been very exciting to hear about the innovative solutions that are being developed with local communities – one sanctuary works with a group of local single mothers who collect and clean plastic trash and make it into purses to sell. They are working through village chiefs to build energy efficient cookstoves out of local materials that reduce firewood consumption by 2/3rds. 40 villagers now have these stoves, which also help local women improve the air quality and safety of their homes by venting the smoke outside the building. Member sanctuaries are reaching thousands of school children in 12 countries to build appreciation and care for local wildlife…And it’s working! One PASA sanctuary recently had a former bushmeat hunter arrive at their center to turn in his gun to them, because he said he now realizes it is a mistake to kill bonobos and other endangered animals. Another sanctuary educator was stopped by a mother in the grocery store who told her how much she appreciated their work to teach her children to care for local wildlife. These are just a few examples of how PASA sanctuaries and PASA conservation education and community collaboration training are really making a difference. In fact, by the end of the week-long workshop, the translator we hired shared with us that he himself had been a bushmeat hunter and had grown up setting snares in the forest, but after hearing the discussions at our workshop, he now realizes wildlife is worth protecting and he is inspired to change careers to become a conservation educator!
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