African Conservation Centre’s Re-building the Pride Program – Increasing Lion Populations & Reducing Human-Wildlife Conflict:
The Living Desert has been a supporter of ACC”s Re-building the Pride program since 2011 providing financial support and introducing ACC to a donor base and the AZA community.
Rebuilding the Pride, run by the South Rift Association of Landowners (SORALO), a Maasai landowner group, aims to increase lion and other carnivore numbers across the South Rift area of Kenya. The program, established in 2010, focuses on reducing human-wildlife conflict, preventing range fragmentation and maintaining healthy prey numbers. Rebuilding the Pride explores the basis of traditional practices among pastoralists that allow herders to coexist with wildlife and minimize conflict with predators. The lion serves as a signature species for conserving other large carnivores, including wild dogs, cheetah, leopards and striped and spotted hyenas. Rebuilding the Pride also refers to the pride communities themselves take in conserving wildlife!
Cheetah Conservation Fund’s and Cheetah Outreach’s Livestock Guarding Dog Programs:
The Living Desert is a financial supporter of CCF’s livestock guarding dog program in Namibia and Cheetah Outreach’s program in South Africa.
CCF and CO have renowned Livestock Guarding Dog Program has been highly effective at reducing predation rates and thereby reducing the inclination by farmers to trap or shoot cheetahs. CCF and CO breed Anatolian shepherd and Kangal dogs, breeds that for millennia have guarded small livestock against wolves and bears in Turkey. The dogs are placed with Namibian farmers as puppies. They bond with the herd and use their imposing presence and loud bark to scare away potential predators.
CCF has been placing dogs since 1994 and their research shows the dogs are highly effective, reducing livestock loss from all predators by over 80 and up to 100 percent. Farmers adopt CCF dogs and participate in education on how to train the dog. CCF does on site follow up visits to ensure the dogs have proper training and medical care, and are settling into their guardian role. Farmers have enthusiastically embraced the program, and there is now a two year waiting list for puppies. CCF had placed nearly 500 dogs by the end of 2013. CCF research shows that the people’s attitudes towards predators are changing as a result of this and other CCF programs.
Mexican Wolf Proactive Conservation Measures:
With barely 113 Mexican wolves living in the wild in the U.S., they need our help. The most challenging problem facing the wolf is the real conflict with livestock. Through the efforts of the Mexican Wolf Fund, in 2012 and 2014 The Living Desert financially supported efforts to reduce these conflicts between wolves and human activities and keep wild wolf packs alive. The Mexican Wolf Fund’s purpose is to fund and expand the use of non-lethal and proactive activities that help prevent wolves from being killed in the field as a result of conflicts with humans and livestock. Example of tools include range riders to keep cattle from wondering too close to active wolf dens and fladry fencing designed to scare wolves and keep wolves and livestock at a distance.
Kenyan Game Scouts Program:
Game Scouts are the front line in the battle against poaching. This program provides training for community members so that they can protect wildlife, tourists and livestock; engage in community conflict resolution; collect ecological data; and generate and distribute environmental information to enhance community awareness. In 2013, The Living Desert financially supported the activities of the African Conservation Center in organizing these community conservation efforts.
Sahara Ostrich Conservation Program:
The North African ostrich is critically endangered and without urgent conservation action may soon follow its cousin the Arabian ostrich into extinction. Inspired by local conservationists in the Aïr Mountains of northern Niger, who were protecting the last of Niger’s ostriches in captivity, the Sahara Conservation Fund launched an international appeal to save this unique population and return the ostrich to the wild. This project is a model-in-the-making of participatory, grassroots conservation and a catalyst for the conservation of other endangered species. It demonstrates and reinforces the fundamental relationship required between successful conservation action and the local people that drive, implement, and sustain it. In 2012, The Living Desert supported the Sahara Conservation Fund in their efforts to save the Sahara ostrich.
Vaquita Conservation Through Fisheries Education:
The vaquita is the rarest porpoise in the world and it is found in our own backyard, the head of the Sea of Cortez. Vaquitas are threatened by the use of gill nets in the productive fisheries of the region. In 2013 The Living Desert supported the work of the Centro de Estudios de Desiertos y Océanos in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora to education fishers in sustainable fisheries practices that reduce impact on the vaquita.