|orphaned chimps at AAA|
Bristol also works with the Living Earth Foundation at the Dja Biosphere Reserve, helping local people to alleviate the pressure from bushmeat hunters on the local wildlife. This is a good illustration of the problems involved in combating the problem – many of the hunters are outsiders rather than members of local communities, and corruption and lack of good law enforcement, which is just as much a matter for concern to the locals as anywhere. Future problems may include increased timber extraction and mineral prospecting in the area around the reserve, which may increase human pressure on the environment
Ape Action Africa: http://www.apeactionafrica.org/index
Dja Forest Reserve: http://www.africannaturalheritage.org/Dja-Faunal-Reserve-Cameroon.html
Bristol Zoo and its partners are currently working on trying to alleviate this situation, employing local conservationists to educate local people, and in particular improving agricultural practices so that there is less need to clear forest for new farmland. We are also looking into whether more efficient ylang-ylang oil stills can be produced, possibly using solar power. However, these would be quite expensive and hard to distribute to the small-scale producers of the raw oil. So this needs further work as well.
|Blue-Eyed Black Lemur (male)|
The problem for the local wildlife is both hunting and deforestation. Malagasy culture places a very high status value on cattle, and deforestation for cattle ranching is a major threat. Combined with slash-and-burn cultivation methods, which probably go back to the original human settlement of the island around 2000 years ago, the result is forest fragmentation and progressive declines in all forest wildlife. Bristol Zoo, along with 30 other European zoos, has formed the Association Européenne pour l’Etude et la Conservation des Lémuriens (AEECL) which finally managed to get Sahamalaza declared a National Park in 2007. AEECL currently maintains a permanent research station in Ankarafa Forest, which is the largest remaining area of continuous forest in the region.
|Negros Bleeding Heart Dove|
Bristol Zoo has been working with local organisations to protect the remaining wildlife, focusing on the birds, and in particular the Negros Bleeding Heart Dove. Bristol has been successful in breeding two other species of Bleeding Heart Dove at the zoo, and we have helped set up a local captive breeding program for the Negros species, which is finally showing some success. Our next target is local research on the wild populations to determine the best areas for intervention. In order to maintain or if possible increase forest cover, we also need to work with local people to develop sustainable means of providing them with an income from intact forest, such as honey production or other forest products.
Negros Forests and Ecological Foundation: http://www.negrosforests.org/in-search-negros-bleeding-heart-pigeon?q=home
|South African Penguins|
Coming up in 2013
There is still a lot of Bristol Zoo animals to cover, so starting next week I will begin a series on our lemurs. Later in the year lizards, snakes, passerines, and more British wildlife to come.
(images from wikipedia)