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Conservation Grant Awardees

Helping Conservation Worldwide

For a zoo our size it is unusual to have a wildlife conservation fund…but we do. We’ve had one since 1985 thanks to John Boyles and Dick Faber. Each year we look for projects where our small grants go a long way and make a big difference. We’d like to congratulate all the dedicated people who applied this year for the great work they do and thank our Footsteps sponsors and donors who make this Fund possible.

2013 Wildlife Conservation Fund Awards

Cave Bats in Crisis: Impact of Cave Disturbance on Bats in the Philippines
The Philippines harbor a vast diversity of bat species, many of which are unique to the
tropical archipelago. Nearly half of these bat species are dependent upon caves as roosting sites for rearing young and shelter from inclement weather. Tragically, cave-dependent bats in the Philippines are threatened by human activities; this is particularly so on Bohol Island. Human pressures on cave bats are occurring at multiple scales on Bohol Island, including widespread landscape disturbances from illegal logging which results in the loss of foraging sites. Localized disturbances from residents, including hunting, cave tourism, and guano mining, add additional pressures.

This study aims to compare cave-dependent bat communities among caves experiencing differing levels of human disturbance on Bohol Island to: i) assess the status of cave bats in an increasingly human dominated landscape in order to identify priority caves for protection; and ii) pinpoint threats that have the greatest impact on cave-dependent bats. Specifically, this study will quantify disturbance levels at 60 caves on Bohol Island using a modified karst disturbance index, and compare with species diversity and composition of cave bat communities.
Principal Investigator(s): Kendra L. Phelps

Community Mobilization for Wildlife Rescue India
Loss of habitat is one of the major reasons for increasing incidents of human –wildlife conflict resulting in loss of precious wildlife in Rajasthan. Villagers fear of loss of crop and livestock and attack the intruding Leopard resulting in Leopard mortality. Recently published data of Forest Department showcase that in 2013, 90 leopard death out of which 54 mortality are caused due to human leopard conflict, similarly in 2012 out of 331, 197 death due to leopard human conflict. Much of this conflict can be averted by sensitizing and educating the community about importance of wildlife conservation, conflict mitigation, and wildlife rescue. This project is a step towards developing collaboration among community, forest department, and administration for wildlife conservation with developing participatory sustainable model.

The initial creation of this project was supported by JBZS Wildlife Fund in 2011. This is a step moving further as the number of death of leopard and other threatened species is increasing at a faster pace. Every week two to three human wildlife conflict incidents are happening in Jaipur Forest ranges.
Principal Investigator(s): Manish Saxena

Critically endangered Chinchilla lanigera habitat enhancement -Chile
Small populations of critically endangered long tailed wild chinchilla persist in their native habitat despite years of trapping pressures and habitat degradation. Located near the town of Illapel in Chile are patches of habitat, which host wild chinchillas. However, vegetal fragmentation has resulted in isolation of habitat patches. Combined with vulnerability of small populations and limited opportunity for dispersal, the possibility of extinction of this species is greatly enhanced. Connecting core habitat areas to other key areas of habitat is expected to aid in the stabilization, and eventual increase of plant and animal populations. In fact, wild colonies have expanded into three restored areas. This project focuses on creating habitat by growing and restoring native plant species that serve as food, cover and shelter for chinchillas. The wild chinchillas are expected to start using newly restored areas within one year.
Principal Investigator(s): Amy Deane

Green Leaf Vegetable Scheme as an Alternative Livelihood for Ex-Hunters Wives in the Communities Surrounding Mount Cameroon National Park
Limbe Wildlife Centre, a collaborative effort between Pandrillus Foundation and the Government of Cameroon, is a rescue, rehabilitation, and release project in the Southwest Region of Cameroon. The project focuses largely on in-situ conservation efforts with the goal of creating a field site extension in order to ultimately reintroduce endemic species back into the forests of Mount Cameroon National Park.

In order to reduce hunting pressure in the area to conserve wild populations and also make this reintroduction feasible, the group has developed the Hunting Reduction at Mount Cameroon National Park Programme. This programme focuses on redirecting hunters towards alternative agricultural sources of livelihood such as livestock production and sustainable plant harvesting. This project is a third part to this programme that focuses on redirecting the women of a hunting village from preparing and selling bushmeat to sustainably harvesting green leaf vegetables. This program aims to make Mount Cameroon National Park safer for the wild animals currently living there as well as for a future field extension where the rescued primates currently housed at L.W.C. will be transferred. It will also provide essential nutrition for the rescued primates of L.W.C.
Principal Investigator(s): Ainare Idoiaga, Pandrillus Project Manager of Limbe Wildlife Centre/Wildlife Veterinarian