VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
It is amazing that we still know so little about one of the world’s great cats. However, our knowledge and efforts on behalf of what was once a near mountain phantom are growing, even as the snow leopard helps to bring communities, government, and the international community together. On this International Snow Leopard Day, there is a growing sense that we may be able to save one of the last great wildernesses in Asia, and the great cat that defines it.
The Great Elephant Census showed that important elephant populations persist in several key range areas that historically supported large numbers of elephants – so there is still much to fight for in the battle to save Africa’s elephants. Fortunately, there are some signs of hope – both in sites covered by the GEC and other elephant sites.
Notes Susan Lieberman, Wildlife Conservation Society VP for International Policy and head of the WCS CITES delegation, “Science and wildlife conservation prevailed at CITES CoP17. The decisions made by the gathering countries were based on the best available scientific information. Further, we were encouraged that governments fully embraced the precautionary principle by making decisions in the best interest of the species in the wild. After attending 11 CoPs, I strongly believe this was among the most successful CoP ever for wildlife.”
In a statement in response to action taken today to transfer the African grey parrot to CITES Appendix I, WCS VP for International Policy Susan Lieberman said, “We congratulate the Parties to CITES for agreeing to transfer the African grey parrot from Appendix II to Appendix I, thereby prohibiting all international commercial trade. If this bird could talk – and it certainly can – the African grey parrot would say thank you. With the protection of Appendix I, and the enhanced enforcement that is needed, the voice of the African grey parrot will not be silenced across the great forests of Africa.
Governments at CITES CoP17 took action today calling for stricter enforcement from all nations to prevent the extinction of the helemted hornbill. The CITES Parties agreed to adopt a strong Resolution and Decisions calling for urgent and integrated conservation and law enforcement measures, as well as coordinated efforts on the part of both consumer and range States as necessary to prevent the species from going extinct.
The global community today further chipped away at the elephant ivory market. The countries gathered at CITES CoP17 adopted a resolution recommending the closure of domestic elephant ivory markets around the world. Traffickers and criminal networks are losing their markets and losing their financial incentives to illegally kill Africa’s elephants for their ivory.
The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) today saw passage of the resolution: Prohibiting, Preventing and Countering Corruption-Facilitating Activities Conducted in Violation of the Convention. This historic resolution marks the first time CITES Parties have addressed this issue. To mark the resolution’s adoption, this statement was released by the Wildlife Conservation Society on behalf of Dr. Susan Lieberman, WCS VP of International Policy and head of the WCS CITES Cop17 delegation.
The ploughshare tortoise, which has hung on for millennia, is now on the very verge of extinction in the wild—possibly within the next two years. As the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) convenes its 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) in Johannesburg, we urge the government of Madagascar and the other Parties to CITES to prioritize putting a swift end to the illegal international trade of this critically endangered species.
At the U.S. State Department’s Our Ocean 2016 Conference, in Washington, D.C., the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) — together with the Waitt Foundation, the blue moon fund (bmf), and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) — announced a $48 million commitment to expand the world’s marine protected areas (MPAs). The conference, organized by Sec. of State John Kerry, brings heads of state, scientists, business leaders, NGOs, and others together to tackle key issues impacting our oceans globally.
Today’s vote at the IUCN World Conservation Congress calling for closure of domestic elephant ivory markets across the globe is vital — as the news about Africa’s elephants is as bad as bad news gets. As thousands of conservationists gathered in Honolulu for the World Conservation Congress, it was more than clear that IUCN members needed to take a strong stand if Africa’s elephants were to have a chance at survival.
Grauer’s gorilla (Gorilla beringei graueri), a subspecies of eastern gorilla, the world’s largest ape, and confined to eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, has been listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The announcement was made at the IUCN World Conservation Congress currently underway in Hawaii.
WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) applauded President Obama’s remarks to leaders from the Pacific Island Conference of Leaders and attendees of the IUCN World Conservation Congress.
In the Malaysian State of Sarawak on the island of Borneo, the current Chief Minister, Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem, has declared that all forests containing orang-utan populations must be protected. If this can be achieved, and then replicated across Borneo, it would provide a beacon of hope for the island’s iconic orang-utans so that generations to come can still have the thrill of seeing a gentle hairy red giant peering down at them from the forest canopy above.
For the first time in Ontario’s Far North, efforts to encourage a regional approach as well as a fundamental transformation in Canadian environmental assessment law may converge. Such a process could unite First Nations, government staff, scientists, and other groups in the shared goal of protecting the ecological and cultural web of life that will sustain the Far North for future generations.
The practice of solving conservation problems for wildlife has presented more and varied challenges for researchers and practitioners in Asia, especially over the last quarter century. While human populations have grown, lands available for wildlife have steadily decreased and habitats have been degraded. Yet as conservation practice has matured, researchers are striving to make their science relevant to the issues at hand and practitioners have better tools and information available to implement solutions.