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News Article | May 19, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

Austin's 'Notebook' is one of California's most comprehensive sources for water news and information. The blog focuses on major planning processes currently underway, follows statewide policy issues and explains the latest developments in Delta science. "We have the Conservation Framework. Now what?" is the theme of the June 29 symposium. Austin will lend an authoritative voice to conversations about implementing the Governor's Executive Order to make conservation a California way of life and establish a long-term conservation framework, enforcement and equity, water use efficiency targets, and balancing conservation and agriculture. "We are thrilled that Chris Austin, author of the popular Maven's Notebook, has agreed to help moderate the compelling dialogue," said Eunice Ulloa, CBWCD's executive director.  "As one of the most relevant voices in California water, Ms. Austin will help make this event one that can't be missed." The inaugural Symposium on Statewide Conservation will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 29 at CBWCD's Water Conservation Center, 4594 San Bernardino St., Montclair. For more information, log on to CBWCD.org, or contact the District at 909-626-2711. The Chino Basin Water Conservation District is a public agency that protects the Chino Groundwater Basin by the capture and percolation of waters through its network of channels, basins and spreading grounds. Water conservation education is provided to the individuals and organizations within the service area to further promote the efficient use of water resources. To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/water-maven-chris-austin-to-lead-discussions-at-local-conservation-symposium-300460926.html


News Article | May 17, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Chino Basin Water Conservation District unveiled its new Inland Valley Garden Planner website (https://inlandvalleygardenplanner.org/) at an evening garden party in the Water Conservation Garden on May 11. The new garden planning website helps Inland Empire gardeners select and learn about the best plants for the region to create the “have-it-all” garden they want. Through stunning photos and an easy-to-navigate site, the Inland Valley Garden Planner offers free and detailed, regionally-specific information for gardeners in the Inland Empire area. Users can create their own profiles, save project lists, and easily save and print information on their selected or custom plant palettes, choosing from a curated list of over 350 plants that thrive in the Inland Empire. “The Inland Empire’s Mediterranean climate gives us so many incredible options for our gardens,” said Scott Kleinrock, CBWCD’s Conservation Programs Manager. “We truly can have it all in our outdoor spaces, with color, comfort, wonderful scents, and habitat for birds and pollinators, year-round, and without needing to water much, if we choose the right plants and put them in the right places.” New visitors to the site who create free accounts before June 30 will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win a family membership to Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden or gift certificates to the Grow Native Nursery. The site also provides cohesive pre-designed plant palettes and helpful lists for common conditions including slopes and small spaces. “We can have so much more than gravel and cactus or lawns that really don’t do much for us,” Kleinrock said. Developed by landscape architect and author Robert Perry for CBWCD, the Inland Valley Garden Planner reflects his decades of research into the best landscape plants for our region and uses his extensive and inspiring photo archive. “We constantly get questions from community members who want to save water in their landscapes while having beautiful, livable outdoor spaces to enjoy with their family and friends,” says Becky Rittenburg, CBWCD Community Programs Manager. “We launched the Inland Valley Garden Planner to provide Inland Empire homeowners with a free resource to help achieve their garden goals.” CBWCD works to sustain the regional water supply through public stewardship, stormwater percolation, demonstration, and education. Stop by the Water Conservation Center and demonstration garden in Montclair and see firsthand how beautiful, functional, and beneficial water conservation can be. The center is free and open to the public Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


News Article | October 29, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

Halloween can be a fright, but these elephants clearly weren’t all that spooked by the jack-o’-lanterns decorating their digs at the Elephant Care and Conservation Center in Mathura, India. In fact, the plucky pachyderms turned them into tasty Halloween treats. The elephants, rescued from abusive situations by conservation group Wildlife SOS, appeared to have a real bash celebrating Halloween. For proof, have a look at the Wildlife SOS video: The celebration allowed Wildlife SOS staff to get into the holiday spirit too, but having the carved pumpkins also served a practical point, providing both a nourishing snack and a new experience for the elephants. Elephants are highly intelligent and curious animals, and finding pumpkins filled with treats seemed to stimulate them—in fact, several tried to eat more than one pumpkin at once. Wildlife SOS executive director Nikki Sharp said the celebration was especially touching given the elephants' backgrounds. “All of them have been rescued from lives of cruelty and abuse,” said Sharp. “It was awesome to see them playing trick or treat in their own way! They really seemed to enjoy themselves.” The Elephant Care and Conservation Center currently houses 20 elephants, but Wildlife SOS plans to expand the center in the coming months if funding allows. For more information, please contact Wildlife SOS USA Communication and Development Specialist John Pecorelli by telephone at 801 / 750-0301 or by email at john(at)wildlifesos(dot)org. About Wildlife SOS: Wildlife SOS is one of the largest rescue and conservation charities in South Asia, operating 10 wildlife rehabilitation facilities across India, including the world’s largest sloth bear rescue center and the recently established Elephant Conservation and Care Center, which is the first in India and currently houses 22 rescued elephants. Wildlife SOS runs a tribal rehabilitation project that aims to create an alternative livelihood for poachers and other indigenous communities that once depended on wildlife for a livelihood. We also run a leopard rescue center, a wildlife hotline in New Delhi and Agra, and Forest Watch, which is an anti-poaching wildlife crime enforcement unit. More information about the organization can be found at http://www.wildlifesos.org. The U.S. branch of Wildlife SOS is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and received 501(c)3 charity status in 2005.


News Article | December 23, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

Mohan the elephant received a “jumbo-sized” stocking filled with elephant treats to celebrate Christmas at the Elephant Care and Conservation Center. Indian media had once christened Mohan the "unluckiest elephant in the world" based on a long history of captivity with an abusive owner. According to the Times of India, "Decades of overwork, abuse and neglect had left him with severe psychological trauma as well as physiological ailments, which are evident from the countless scars and puncture wounds across his severely malnourished body." After almost two dozen court hearings, the "unlucky elephant" was finally granted a new home at a wooded sanctuary run by preservation group Wildlife SOS. Now he is recovering from a lifetime of abuse at the center devoted to rehabilitating severely mistreated elephants Mohan's rehabilitation includes daily veterinarian treatments, baths, and long walks. It also includes introducing him to what the group calls "enrichments," which feed his curiosity and challenge his thinking while providing nutrients. The 5-foot-long stocking, while a very nice holiday gesture, is really an enrichment in disguise. In a video prepared by Wildlife SOS, Mohan can be seen tearing into the stocking with the gusto of young child, certainly not the "unluckiest elephant." For more information, please contact Wildlife SOS Communications Lead John Pecorelli at (801) 750-0301. Email: john(at)wildlifesos(dot)org. About Wildlife SOS: A non-profit organization, Wildlife SOS is one of the largest rescue and conservation charities in South Asia, operating 10 wildlife rehabilitation facilities across India, including the world’s largest sloth bear rescue center and the recently established Elephant Conservation and Care Center, which is the first in India and currently houses 22 rescued elephants. Wildlife SOS runs a tribal rehabilitation project that aims to create an alternative livelihood for poachers and other indigenous communities that once depended on wildlife for a livelihood. We also run a leopard rescue center, a wildlife hotline in New Delhi and Agra, and Forest Watch, which is an anti-poaching wildlife crime enforcement unit. More information about the organization can be found at http://www.wildlifesos.org. The U.S. branch of Wildlife SOS is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, ands received 501(c)3 charity status in 2005.


News Article | August 31, 2016
Site: phys.org

As conservationists work to recover endangered species populations, taking individuals that are maintained and protected under human care and reintroducing them into the wild, it becomes apparent that there is a great deal to learn about the science of species recovery. In a paper published in the recent edition of the Journal of Applied Ecology, a team of wildlife experts from San Diego Zoo Global, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the University of Nevada analyzed the effect of habitat quality on the survival and dispersal of released desert tortoises. Juvenile tortoises used in this study originated from eggs produced by females housed at the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center in Las Vegas. Ages ranged from 6 months to 4 years. The tortoises were translocated and monitored for one year, using radio tracking systems. "The goals of the study were to help re-establish populations of this threatened and declining species, and to understand better what critical resources on the landscape are associated with the ability of young tortoises to survive and thrive," said Ron Swaisgood, Ph.D., director of Applied Animal Ecology at San Diego Zoo Global. Tortoises released in habitat that included appropriate vegetation, rocks and the presence of animal burrows had lower mortality rates than those released in areas where land features offered fewer options for predator avoidance. "Burrows created by small mammals represent critical components of desert tortoise ecology," said Melia Nafus, Ph.D., a researcher for San Diego Zoo Global and lead author of the study. "Supporting healthy rodent populations through habitat management may improve juvenile desert tortoise survival and recruitment." Another interesting finding of the study was that tortoises released on rocky ground were less likely to disperse away from the release site. "This finding probably relates to the tortoise's dependence on rocky substrate, as camouflage to hide from predators," said tortoise expert and co-author Todd Esque, Ph.D., from the U.S. Geological Survey. "The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service encourages research such as this because it provides vital knowledge that informs our policy and management decisions," stated study co-author Roy Averill-Murray, who heads the service's Desert Tortoise Recovery Office. "Now, we have better information when deciding which habitats to protect for desert tortoises, and where to attempt re-establishment of desert tortoise populations with future releases." Translocation of individuals back to the wild is one of many important tools that conservation biologists use to recover endangered and threatened species. "We view these translocations as a way to learn more about animals' habitat requirements, while also assisting directly with species recovery goals," said Ron Swaisgood.


News Article | February 13, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

There is so much being done to help stop elephants being wiped out in the wild. We’ve identified more than 50 campaigns and organisations around the world, from well-known charities like the World Wide Fund for Nature to grassroots groups like Elephanatics in Canada and Laos-based ElefantAsia. If you think we’ve missed anyone or anything, let us know at elephant.conservation@theguardian.com. We’ll update the list with your suggestions. Please note, however: presence on this list does not constitute an endorsement. Organisations take differing approaches to elephant conservation, and even the most secure-looking can run into financial difficulties. As a conscientious giver it is your responsibility to make sure your contribution will be used wisely. Set up petitions, organise marches, lobby politicians or just spread the word: there are a number of ways in which you can campaign and really make an impact. There are many inspiring grassroots groups that do amazing work; why not join one of these, or set up your own if there’s none in your country? In the UK, Action for Elephants has organised marches and talks to highlight the importance of banning the ivory trade. This grassroots group also campaigns against keeping elephants in captivity. Even though 179 countries have signed up to Cites, the UN’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the illegal trade in wild animals remains a multibillion-dollar industry. The Bloody Ivory campaign aims to put pressure on Cites to do more to prevent poaching and ivory trafficking. Its online petition to tackle the black market in ivory has 56,000 signatures (and counting) and will be presented at the next Cites meeting in 2019. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Elephanatics aims to raise awareness of the poaching crisis and ensure the long-term survival of elephants through education, conservation and fun activities like the annual global march for elephants and rhinos. Inspired by her childhood in Africa, Joyce Poole has been studying elephant behaviour and communication for more than 30 years. She has a particular interest in how poaching and habitat destruction affects herds’ social dynamics. Through ElephantVoices, which she founded in 2002, Poole campaigns for elephants and promotes research and conservation projects, while providing others with the resources they need to do the same. Conducting the first pan-African aerial survey of elephant populations in 40 years and covering 345,000 square miles across 18 countries, this ambitious project set out to count and map Africa’s savannah elephants. The final report, published last year, showed a 30% fall in numbers over the last seven years. While the census itself is complete, the organisation is now using its database to help governments, scientists and NGOs manage and protect elephant populations. Committed to bringing an end to animal poaching and trafficking, IFAW campaigns for the bolstering of wildlife trade policy with supranational organisations such as the UN and the EU, while helping to train customs agents and wildlife rangers. It also investigates online crime. This offshoot of WildAid – one of the largest conservation groups working to eliminate demand for wildlife products such as elephant ivory and rhino horn – is responsible for the #JoinTheHerd campaign. Showing your support is as easy as uploading a photo of yourself – which the website then stitches to one of an elephant – and sharing the resultant image on social media, with the #JoinTheHerd hashtag. This non-profit aims to fight ivory trafficking on every front, training rangers, supplying sniffer dogs, working to make ivory less prestigious … Responsible for the #SaveElephants social media campaign, it also provides plenty of highly shareable pictures for your own activities. Named after the 96 animals killed for their ivory every day in Africa, this offshoot of the Wildlife Conservation Society works to highlight the plight of elephants and supports organisations caring for them around the world. Campaigns include Origami for Elephants (“create your own customised digital origami elephant”) and the #ElephantYogaChallenge (“You can help save elephants with yoga”). Putting pressure on politicians both at home and overseas is a powerful way to effect change. Save the Asian Elephant provides template letters and contact details for top-ranking officials, including the British prime minister, Theresa May, and India’s minister for tourism, Dr Mahesh Sharma, which you can use to urge them to follow through on their promises to protect Asian elephants. A grassroots organisation dedicated to raising awareness about the ivory trade and the fate of elephants across Africa. It offers a space to share knowledge, lobby government and join marches. Founded by two zoology students from the University of Exeter, this little organisation focuses on producing short films that target a wildlife crime or human-wildlife conflict issue. These are then shown to affected communities through a bicycle-powered cinema. In Malawi, Stop Wildlife Crime, Protect Malawi’s Wildlife, about elephants and the illegal ivory trade, was shown to more than 14,000 people. This World Wide Fund for Nature initiative is focused on ending Thailand’s ivory trade – once the world’s second largest – and has already enjoyed much success. In 2015, its efforts helped the Thai government to pass new regulations, while last year’s Ivory-Free Thailand campaign enlisted the help of local celebrities to discourage consumers from buying or accepting gifts of ivory. Launched by the World Elephant Society, which creates and distributes educational information about elephant conservation, World Elephant Day (12 August) asks elephant-lovers the world over to share their appreciation of these endangered animals. Youth 4 African Wildlife works with young people in the hope that they’ll become global conservation ambassadors. It offers conservation internships for people from all over the world, and also raises awareness through community outreach in the greater Kruger National Park area in South Africa. If you want to help elephants and have time to spare, these organisations want to hear from you. Some offer hybrid travel and volunteering experiences that will let you interact with elephants in their own habitat. Others need assistance with campaigns or administration. As always, make sure you understand their aims and approaches before signing up. Set in the lush countryside of Thailand’s northern Mae Chaem district, this sanctuary serves as a retirement community for some of the country’s 4,000-plus registered captive elephants, which have endured long lives of hard graft and exploitation, predominantly within the tourism and logging industries. Tasks for volunteers range from feeding and bathing the animals to teaching English to local children. With stays at the charity’s Cambodian elephant sanctuary lasting anywhere between one and four weeks, a good level of fitness is a must, as volunteers are expected to spend much of their time hiking through the Mondulkiri province’s mountainous terrain. Activities include observing the elephants in their natural habitat and planting seedlings to counteract deforestation. Elephants in Lagos are traditionally used in logging and worked to the point of exhaustion. The Conservation Center is home to the country’s first elephant hospital dedicated to victims of logging accidents, and has an elephant breeding programme. Reliant on donations and fees from volunteers, the centre invites visitors to learn about elephants and the importance of conservation in their natural environment. A useful starting point for any well-intentioned volunteer who doesn’t quite know where to start. There are dozens of opportunities across Africa and Asia to choose from, including data collection and research projects in Thailand, community outreach and wildlife education programmes in South Africa, and hands-on caretaking roles in a Sri Lankan elephant sanctuary. Human-animal conflict is one of the greatest threats to some of the world’s most at-risk elephant populations. The Great Projects links volunteers to conservation efforts in Asia and Africa; these include protecting the Namibian desert elephants – whose slowly recovering numbers were as low as 300 in the 1990s – by working with the local farmers, who frequently come into violent contact with the animals. Dedicated to protecting the Asian elephant, Save the Elephant Foundation provides a safe home for rescued elephants in its Elephant Nature Park in Chang Mai, Thailand. It invites volunteers and visitors to spend time with the animals, feeding, bathing and giving them care and affection in their natural habitat. One of the largest human-elephant conflict resolution projects in the world, this scheme run by the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society sees volunteers muck in across a wide variety of tasks. Daily activities might include observing elephant herds, identifying game trails, developing a dialogue with local communities, or maintaining the scenically situated base camp in north-western Sri Lanka. Giving money may seem the easiest way to help a cause you believe in. But deciding which organisation to donate to can be a daunting task. Some will use the money across their programmes, while others will let you back specific projects. Be sure to check that the organisation is legitimate and fits your objectives. Study its website, check its credentials and search the web to learn about its reputation and status. In addition to government regulators, these organisations provide advice for charitable giving: Charity Navigator, GuideStar, Charity Watch and GreatNonprofits. The rangers who risk their lives to prevent wildlife poaching and trafficking make little money and often spend months at a time away from their families. A guaranteed 100% of donations to this WWF-run initiative fund the equipment and infrastructure they need to do their jobs effectively and safely. For more than 30 years Born Free has been working to keep wildlife in the wild. You can support its work by (symbolically) adopting either orphaned Asian elephant calf Jubilee, or African elephant Emily Kate, who now has a calf of her own. The welcome pack includes a cuddly toy and personalised adoption certificate. Since its creation three years ago, this joint initiative between Save the Elephants and the Wildlife Conservation Network has channelled donations to the areas where elephant populations are collapsing the quickest, and the projects on the ground best placed to do something about it. Its celebrity-backed anti-ivory campaign in China played a vital role in changing policy in the country. With donations funding information-gathering operations and deep-cover field investigations, the EAL adopts an intelligence-led approach to uncovering and disrupting the criminal networks behind poaching and ivory trafficking. As well as using specialist investigators to infiltrate the criminal organisations profiting from the exploitation of wildlife, the EIA runs evidence-backed campaigns to advocate for meaningful policy change at a governmental level. Investigations typically cost between £10,000 and £20,000 and rely on donations from the public. Rather than paying into a pot that the charity will redistribute as it sees fit, this foundation allows donors to choose a specific programme and guarantees that 100% of their donation will reach their intended recipients. There are more than 20 research and conservation projects to choose from, including the Mounted Horse Patrol Anti-Poaching Unit for Mount Kenya. As well as its own investigative and policy work, the IFAW partners with media organisations around the world to raise awareness of the illegal ivory trade and the destruction it causes. Donations help to fund future media campaigns and awareness-raising projects. From elephants and tigers to chameleons and carnivorous plants, this research project run by the International Union for Conservation of Nature is aiming to gauge the health of the world’s biodiversity by assessing 160,000 species by 2020. It’s almost halfway there. Donations will support this ongoing research as well as supporting on-the-ground conservation projects. Elephants and tigers play vital roles in the ecosystem, and JTEF aims to raise awareness of their importance. It has several programmes to support conservation work, and reduce Japanese demand for wildlife products. It’s not just elephants and other wildlife that are at the mercy of the poachers’ weapons: more than 1,000 park rangers are estimated to have been killed in the past decade simply for standing in their way. This Australian-run foundation seeks to “protect nature’s protectors” by providing training and vital anti-poaching equipment, while also offering financial support to the families of those killed in the line of duty. Wild Philanthropy supports at-risk ecosystems and communities in Africa through grants to NGOs that are involved in managing protected areas. It also provides secured loans to local eco-tourist businesses.. As an all-volunteer organisation, the WAF uses every penny donated to help secure the longevity of animals and the delicate ecosystems that they inhabit. To show your support for elephants specifically – rather than the plethora of protected species ranging from fireflies to fish – you can symbolically adopt one for $35 (£28) a year. When elephants come into contact with farmland, they can wreak havoc and destroy livelihoods by eating or crushing crops. Many farmers respond by setting out poison or taking other extreme measures. World Animal Protection works with communities to come up with simple and sustainable solutions that allow humans and elephants to coexist, such as the introduction of chilli fences in Mikumi National Park in Tanzania. Most poaching takes place after dark, when rangers aren’t around. This initiative from the Lindbergh Foundation runs drone operations at night in collaboration with local rangers. With thermal imaging sensors, it can locate wildlife as well as poachers, and position rangers before an incident takes place. In two years of testing in a park in South Africa that had been losing 18 rhinos a week, not one animal was lost. Air Shepherd has now conducted around 5,000 missions, across South Africa, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Stepping in where local governments are unwilling or unable to act, African Parks manages 10 national parks in seven countries, taking complete responsibility for the day-to-day management and preservation of 6 million hectares of protected land. Already employing 600 rangers – the largest counter-poaching force on the continent – it aims to increase its conservation operation by 2020 to 20 parks and more than 10m hectares. The communities who share their land with elephants are best placed to conserve their natural heritage, but they often lack the means to do so. The African Wildlife Foundation recruits, trains and equips wildlife scouts from these areas, providing employment opportunities to local people and creating a large and effective poaching deterrent in the process. Renowned wildlife researcher and conservationist Cynthia Moss has been studying elephants in the Amboseli National Park, straddling the Kenya-Tanzania border, since the early 1970s. She founded the Amboseli Trust for Elephants after seeing elephant populations in Kenya plummet by an estimated 85%. As well as groundbreaking scientific research, the trust conducts extensive community outreach programmes with the local Maasai community. One such scheme compensates anyone who has lost livestock to elephants, which has more than halved the number of animals speared and killed in retribution. Policing the 2m acres of elephant habitat in the Amboseli-Tsavo-Kilimanjaro region of east Africa takes courage and dedication, with wildlife rangers spending weeks in remote outposts, putting their lives at risk every day. The Big Life Foundation employs hundreds of Maasai rangers, providing them with field units, vehicles, tracker dogs and aerial surveillance. You can support their efforts by joining the Ranger Club with a one-off or monthly donation. An elephant calf depends on its mother’s milk for the first two years of its life. So when one becomes orphaned – often because its mother has fallen foul of ivory poachers – the calf’s life hangs in the balance. The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust fosters, feeds and rears these orphaned calves, eventually reintroducing them to the wild in the Tsavo East National Park. To date, 150 calves have been saved in this way. A research-based organisation that began life as Save the Elephants – South Africa, Elephants Alive! has been monitoring one of South Africa’s largest continuous elephant populations for over 20 years. It believes that extensive knowledge of elephants’ movements and needs is vital to ensure their long-term survival. An offshoot of the Wildland Conservation Trust, this non-profit organisation works with Maasai communities in Kenya to help elephants and other wildlife. On the banks of the Zambezi river, where Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe share a border, lies the town of Kazungula, from where Elephants Without Borders (EWB) runs its transnational conservation operation. African elephants regularly cross these international boundaries, leaving them at the mercy of changeable policy and conservation laws. Using state-of-the-art monitoring technology, EWB tracks their movements and works with the local authorities to create safe migratory corridors through which the elephants can move freely. In Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, elephant and other wildlife populations are at risk from bone-dry summers as well as from humans. In 2005, a particularly devastating drought saw scores of animals lose their lives. On the back of this disaster, Friends of Hwange was formed to pump water from underground sources, providing waterholes even in the most extreme conditions. Zambia sits at the heart of southern Africa, surrounded by four countries identified by Cites as centres of ivory poaching and trafficking. The Game Rangers International Wildlife Crime Prevention Project works with conservation organisations and law enforcement to end the illegal wildlife trade in and through Zambia. Malawi is one of the poorest, and fastest-growing, countries in the world, which is putting its natural habitat under severe strain. In 2008 the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust launched its first project, the Wildlife Centre, as a sanctuary for rescued animals and an education centre. The NGO now works across the country in rescues, advocacy and conservation education. Based in Tanzania, PAMS Foundation works in conservation to benefit both wildlife and the community. Its initiatives include training dogs to detect ivory being smuggled at borders, and supporting the Tanzanian government to undertake anti-poaching efforts. The elephants of northern Kenya’s Samburu National Reserve are some of the best studied in the world, thanks to the work of Save the Elephants. The charity’s main research centre is located in Samburu, from where it once pioneered the GPS tracking of elephant populations, and continues to try to understand ecosystems from an elephant’s perspective. Donations go towards various research and protection projects, from anti-poaching aerial surveillance to better understanding the herds’ migratory movements. Poaching is the immediate threat. But there is another, perhaps even more serious threat to Africa’s elephants: the loss of their habitat as economies grow and land competition surges. Space for Giants is pioneering efforts in Kenya, Gabon, and Uganda to lessen human-elephant conflict with specially-designed electrified fences, and spends a lot of time working with local communities explaining why fences help. This Japanese-Kenyan NGO is best known for its “No Ivory Generation” campaign, aimed at changing Japanese consumers’ attitudes to ivory. Tusk has invested about £30m in 60 conservation projects across Africa since its founding in 1990. Education and sustainable development are at the heart of its approach to conservation, working with local schools and rural communities to promote happy cohabitation between at-risk wildlife and the ever-expanding human population. The group behind the Ninety-Six Elephants campaign (see the campaign, lobby and educate section above) has a presence in 15 of the 37 African elephant range sites, from the savannahs of east Africa to the Gulf of Guinea. Donations help WCS’ efforts to stop the degradation of elephant habitats and prevent wildlife crime by providing rangers with essential technological and intelligence-gathering resources. A US Fish and Wildlife Service initiative financed by a mixture of government contributions and public donations, the fund awards grants to a variety of conservation and animal welfare projects. Recent beneficiaries include a scheme to mitigate human-elephant conflict in Nepal; counter-poaching operations in Thailand; and veterinary training to improve the care of captive elephants in Indonesia. As an all-volunteer organisation, the AES uses 100% of donations to fund numerous and diverse programmes everywhere from India to Vietnam. These range from English as a Second Language classes so that mahouts can develop their careers, to meeting the veterinary and housing needs of retired working elephants. ElefantAsia promotes alternative, cruelty-free careers for the elephants and mahouts that have traditionally served the logging industry in Laos and other parts of south-east Asia. The Laos-based non-profit also providing veterinary care in the form of mobile clinics and an elephant hospital in Sayaboury province. By making a one-off donation or sponsoring an elephant – generally a pregnant female, a mother with a baby, or an elderly or injured animal – donors can support the ECC’s efforts to rescue elephants from the Lao logging industry and re-home them in 106 hectares of protected forest. Rather than impose western ideas of how to run conservation projects, Elephant Family empowers local experts to develop their own solutions to protect Asian elephants in India, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Malaysia. Soraida Salwala founded Friends of the Asian Elephant’s first elephant hospital in Thailand in 1993. Since then, more than 4,000 elephants have received medical treatment in her facility. In their spare time, a group of young people based in Gudalur work in nature conservation in the Nilgiri region of south India. Part of their work involves research into how people and elephants can coexist peacefully. The next generation of conservationists could be the key to ensuring elephants’ long-term survival. Through its educational programmes, Think Elephants International is keeping the subject alive in classrooms both at home in the US and in Thailand, with ambitions to spread the word far beyond. Formed almost 20 years ago in response to the threats to wildlife in India. With 150 employees, the group is dedicated to nature conservation through a wide range of projects. For example, it has supported anti-poaching training for more than 15,000 people working with wildlife. You can make a real difference to conservation efforts by becoming a citizen scientist. You don’t need a PhD to help track elephant populations. Run by the University of Cape Town, the MammalMAP project asks travellers and citizen scientists to share their photos of African wildlife, along with information about the date and location that the photograph was taken. In so doing, you will be helping to build a valuable picture of the mammal population and how it is changing. This Android app, created by ElephantVoices, allows users to upload sightings and observations of Mara elephants to help the conservation charity with its research and campaign work. A must-download for locals and visitors to Maasai Mara. A fun, simple and interactive way to conduct valuable scientific research from anywhere in the world. Snapshot Serengeti asks citizen scientists to help classify the animals caught on some of the hundreds of camera traps dotted throughout the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. You will be shown a photo and provided with a user-friendly and searchable list of native animals. Get clicking to help researchers better understand the park’s animal populations. You don’t have to travel all the way to Mozambique to be part of the Gorongosa National Park’s conservation team. Simply review webcam and camera trap footage to help identify the movements of the park’s animal populations. Whether you would rather bake cakes or trek across Kenya, your hard work can raise money (and awareness) for elephant conservation. Just make sure you obey local regulations. Described by National Geographic as one of the “most authentic, most innovative … and most sustainable tours” out there, this annual nine-day expedition involves trekking across the Kenyan countryside, encountering wildlife and the people responsible for its conservation along the way. Participants are asked to raise upwards of $1,000 (£800), which goes towards preventing the slaughter of the region’s elephants. Simply select an elephant-focused charity or conservation project from the website’s vast database, and within a couple of minutes you can set up your own fundraising page. Crowdrise promises that at least 97% of the proceeds will go to your chosen cause. Alternatively (or additionally), you can sponsor and support others in their fundraising efforts. Functioning in much the same way as its crowd-funding cousin Crowdrise, JustGiving provides users with a simple way to share news of their fundraising campaigns with friends and family and to collect sponsorship. Whether you want to run the London Marathon, climb Mount Kilimanjaro or hold a bake sale in the name of elephant conservation, Tusk’s team can support your fundraising endeavours, be that by helping you get a place at an event, or by providing you with useful tips and ideas. An anti-poaching initiative, Veterans 4 Wildlife sends skilled veterans – and volunteers – to support rangers across Africa. Often poverty is the cause of poaching, so this organisation does a lot of community-based work, such as building schools and creating jobs. Provides all the tools and tips you need to create a successful fundraising campaign. Download flyers, posters and pictures direct from the website, or draw inspiration from other fundraising efforts. It’s easy to become so fascinated by elephants that you overlook ways in which you are harming them. Here are some of the things you should not do if you want to prevent exploitation and abuse.


News Article | September 28, 2016
Site: www.scientificamerican.com

The world’s last known Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog (Ecnomiohyla rabborum) has died. Known as “Toughie,” the tiny male frog, originally from Panama, spent the past few years living by himself at Atlanta Botanical Garden. The species has not been observed in the wild since 2007, just two years after it was first discovered by scientists. Toughie’s death follows four and a half years after another Rabbs’ tree frog died at Zoo Atlanta. That frog was euthanized in 2012 after its health began to decline. Both of these Rabbs’ tree frogs were collected in Panama while scientists were there investigating the deadly chytrid fungus, which has devastated amphibian populations in that country and around the world. Although no signs of wild Rabbs’ tree frogs have shown up in the past nine years, at least one scientist still held out hope they might one day be found again. “The habits of this genus can make them extremely difficult to find if they remain high up in the trees,” says Jonathan Kolby, director of the Honduras Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Center. “Being that this species breeds in tree cavities up in the canopy, I would hope that this behavior offers some protection from exposure to chytrid fungus, although the species was reported to have become much less common after the arrival of chytrid in the region.” Still, the likelihood remains that the Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog is now truly gone. That’s notable, not just for the extinction, but for the circumstances around Toughie’s life. Extinctions, you see, are very rarely witnessed by humans. Instead, they tend to be discovered years or even decades after the last member of a species gave up the fight. The Rabbs’ tree frog was a rare exception. For the past four and a half years, Toughie has been a very public ambassador for his lost species, and for all of the frog species going extinct around the world during the current amphibian extinction crisis. How many thousands of people who walked by his enclosure at Atlanta Botanical Garden felt the pull and gravity of his inevitable extinction? As the organization posted today on Facebook, “He will be missed by Garden staff and visitors alike.”


News Article | September 1, 2016
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

A team of wildlife experts has analyzed the effect of habitat quality on the survival and dispersal of released desert tortoises. Juvenile tortoises used in this study originated from eggs produced by females housed at the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center in Las Vegas.


News Article | September 13, 2016
Site: phys.org

The Koh Kong Reptile Conservation Center in western Cambodia is a joint effort between the government's fisheries department and the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society. The 206 turtles belong to one of the world's 25 most endangered tortoise and freshwater turtle species. It's also known as the southern river terrapin, but its primary name harkens to historical times when only the royal family could consume the turtle's eggs. The turtle was believed extinct until 2000 when a small population was rediscovered, and it was designated the national reptile in 2005. Since 2001, a joint project between the government and conservation society has saved 39 nests with a total of 564 eggs that resulted in 382 hatchlings. The hatchlings are raised in captivity and later released into the wild. "With very few Royal Turtles left in the wild and many threats to their survival, Cambodia's national reptile is facing a high risk of extinction," said Ouk Vibol, director of Fisheries Conservation Department. "By protecting nests and head starting the hatchlings, we are increasing the chances of survival for this important species for Cambodia," he said. The breeding and conservation center has five big ponds with grass and sand banks for the resettled turtles to nest, society spokesman Eng Mengey said by telephone from Koh Kong province where the center is located. "We hope in time to have other species like Siamese crocodiles at the center, and may even develop it into a site for ecotourism to generate revenue to be used for conserving the turtles in the center," Ross Sinclair, the society's country director for Cambodia, said in the statement. Explore further: Center opens to protect rare turtle in Cambodia


News Article | September 13, 2016
Site: news.yahoo.com

In this photo released by the Wildlife Conservation Society, conservationists prepare to release Royal Turtles at a conservation centre in Mondul Seima, Koh Kong province, Cambodia, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016. The New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society have transferred 206 of the nearly extinct Royal Turtles to a new purpose-built breeding and conservation center, easing fears the rare species will disappear in Cambodia. (Mengey Eng/Wildlife Conservation Society via AP) PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) — More than 200 of Cambodia's nearly extinct royal turtles were released Tuesday in muddy waters at a new breeding and conservation center that was built in hopes of keeping the national reptile from disappearing. The Koh Kong Reptile Conservation Center in western Cambodia is a joint effort between the government's fisheries department and the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society. The 206 turtles belong to one of the world's 25 most endangered tortoise and freshwater turtle species. It's also known as the southern river terrapin, but its primary name harkens to historical times when only the royal family could consume the turtle's eggs. The turtle was believed extinct until 2000 when a small population was rediscovered, and it was designated the national reptile in 2005. Since 2001, a joint project between the government and conservation society has saved 39 nests with a total of 564 eggs that resulted in 382 hatchlings. The hatchlings are raised in captivity and later released into the wild. "With very few Royal Turtles left in the wild and many threats to their survival, Cambodia's national reptile is facing a high risk of extinction," said Ouk Vibol, director of Fisheries Conservation Department. "By protecting nests and head starting the hatchlings, we are increasing the chances of survival for this important species for Cambodia," he said. The breeding and conservation center has five big ponds with grass and sand banks for the resettled turtles to nest, society spokesman Eng Mengey said by telephone from Koh Kong province where the center is located. "We hope in time to have other species like Siamese crocodiles at the center, and may even develop it into a site for ecotourism to generate revenue to be used for conserving the turtles in the center," Ross Sinclair, the society's country director for Cambodia, said in the statement.

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