Oryx

Published by Cambridge University Press (CUP)
Online ISSN: 1365-3008
Publications
Article
Markets for endangered species potentially generate incentives for both legal supply and poaching. To deter poaching, governments can spend on enforcement or increase legal harvesting to reduce the return from poaching. A leader-follower commitment game is developed to examine these choices in the presence of illegal harvesting and the resulting impacts on species stocks. In addition, current trade restrictions imposed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora are examined. With Cournot conjectures among poachers, the model details the subgame perfect equilibrium interactions between poaching levels, enforcement and legal harvesting. Copyright Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society Inc. and Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2004.
 
Article
In May 1996 there was an acute and dramatic mortality incident in the last remaining wild population of northern bald ibis Geronticus eremita. This species is Critically Endangered, comprising only about 250 wild individuals, which occur on the Atlantic coast of southern Morocco. Over a period of 10 days a total of 38 adult birds (aged 1 year or more) died or disappeared. Deaths, probably secondary to the loss of one or both parent birds, also occurred subsequently in six nestlings and one recent fledgling. The incident appeared to involve no other species. This paper describes the pattern of the incident, and pathological, microbiological and toxicological investigations and findings. Several features point to a toxic aetiology but the cause of the incident has not been established.
 
Total number of occurrences of each form of human disturbance found in Bwindi during the 1997 gorilla census.
Figure . 1. Map of south-west Uganda including the border regions of Rwanda and DRC showing the location of protected areas (stippled). The Virunga volcanoes encompass three parks: the Parc National des Volcans (Rwanda), the Mgahinga National Park (Uganda) and the Parc National des Virungas (DRC). Buhoma is the site of the gorilla tourism and Ruhija is the site of the ITFC, the research station in Bwindi.
Figure . 2. Gorilla groups found during the census in Bwindi. Locations are taken from the mean co-ordinates of the three nest sites visited. Groups are represented with circles of differing radius dependent upon group size.
Article
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in south-west Uganda supports a population of gorillas that has become the primary gorilla population for tourism following the genocide in Rwanda. Previous estimates made in the early 1990s indicated that the population numbered around 300 individuals. The census reported here was the first in Bwindi to use the method successfully developed in the Virungas, which utilizes a complete sweep across the park within a short period of time by a large number of teams working simultaneously. We estimated the population to be 292 individuals; to the best of our understanding – based on previous estimates – the population, therefore, appears to be stable. Most gorillas were found within the centre of the southern section of the park. It appears that there are some areas of unused habitat and, therefore, room for the population to grow. We found no clear relationship between gorilla distribution and human presence, but some forms of disturbance were more frequent and close to the edge of the park and may contribute to the gorillas’ avoidance of these areas. The effects of human disturbance, including tourism, on the gorillas and other wildlife should be investigated in more detail and monitored over time. This is particularly important in multiple-use zones which have been established around the edges of the park for bee-keeping, collection of non-timber forest products, and tourism.
 
Article
A spring (1999) census was conducted of great bustards Otis tarda in north-western Morocco, where a poorly known population of this species occurs. Sixty-four birds were seen in four distinct areas. Adult males were seen displaying at three of these areas, indicating that they are probably traditional lek sites. No adult males were observed in the fourth area and its status as a lek site is uncertain. Two further sites were visited but no birds were seen. Two 1st-year males were seen with their mothers, demonstrating successful breeding in 1998. We argue that the small number of birds, a population sex ratio of 1 : 3.3 in favour of females, evidence for a range contraction, and probable isolation from other great bustard populations mean that this population is now extremely endangered and will decline to extinction unless conservation measures are implemented immediately.
 
Article
The Amami rabbit Pentalagus furnessi is a rare forest-dwelling form endemic to the Amami and Tokuno Islands in Japan. In order to estimate the distribution and abundance of the Amami rabbit we counted their faecal pellets along forest roads and streams as well as within the forests on Amami and Tokuno Islands during January 1993–March 1995. The number of pellets/km along a stream gave a practical index for measuring relative abundance. The rabbit was estimated to be distributed over about 370 sq km on Amami Island and 33 sq km on Tokuno Island. There was a large variance in faecal abundance among the survey routes. Some populations were completely isolated and thought to be very small. The size of a local population was positively correlated with those of neighbouring populations and the amount of mature forest relative to other seral stages. We compared the results of this survey with those of previous surveys to find that the total population of this species appears to be declining. Some conservation measures are proposed for forest habitat management, designed to avert the decline of the Amami rabbit and to ensure its preservation.
 
Article
The Falkland Islands are a globally important breeding location for seabirds, including penguins. The total breeding populations of three of the four main penguin species present in the Falklands were censused in the austral summer of 1995/96. The results for gentoo and rockhopper penguins suggest declines of about 43 and 90 per cent, respectively, since a similar census in 1932/33. Recent monitoring studies suggest that these declines are still continuing; research to investigate causes (which is likely to reflect changes in the marine, rather than terrestrial environment) is a high priority. In contrast, king penguin populations, currently c. 400 pairs, have increased steadily, by 700 per cent since 1980/81, in line with world-wide trends for this species.
 
Map of Pakhui WLS and adjacent reserve forests, East and West Kameng district, western Arunachal Pradesh. 
Article
The responses of hornbills to selective logging were determined by comparing their diversity abundance in five habitats classified according to logging history. Relative abundance of three hornbill species was compared along trails in recently logged forest 20–25-year-old logged forest unlogged primary forest a relatively disturbed primary forest a plantation in Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary adjoining reserve forests in western Arunachal Pradesh. The species recorded were the Oriental pied hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris wreathed hornbill Aceros undulatus great hornbill Buceros bicornis. The great hornbill was the most common species overall its abundance varied across habitats being highest in unlogged forest. The Oriental pied hornbill which was recorded in only two habitats seemed to show a distinct habitat preference for secondary growth river-margin forests. Wreathed hornbill abundance did not differ between habitats. Differences in species abundance probably reflect aspects of their ecology such as degree of territoriality diet movement patterns differential vulnerability to hunting disturbance. Great hornbill abundance was correlated with large tree density (GBH &;ge 150 cm) basal area characteristic of unlogged primary forests while Oriental pied hornbill abundance was negatively correlated with tall forest indicating its greater numbers in low-stature river-margin forest. Wreathed hornbill abundance was not correlated with any vegetation variable which is probably related to its reported nomadic movements in search of fruit patches. Hornbill abundance was not correlated with densities of potential food nest tree species. Although hornbill abundance was not correlated with fig tree density this was probably because areas where relative fig tree densities were lower often contained a few large fruiting figs. Because hornbills are large mobile birds they can find resources such as fruiting figs even in otherwise unsuitable habitat.
 
Article
This is a small synopsis of the current threat with extinction of an entire species-rich genus of neotropical toad. Nowadays, 62 of 77 described species in the genus Atelopus are allocated to the IUCN Red List category Critically Endangered. Three are extinct while a total of 30 species is considered as possibly extinct. Extinctions in Atelopus are ‘enigmatic’, happening over short time and generally for unknown reasons including remote areas. There is strong evidence that most extinctions undergo due to a combination of chytridiomycosis (an apparently emerging infectious disease caused through an epizootic fungus) and global warming. A synchronous multi-disciplinary approach – i.e. basically taxonomic, disease and other research plus monitoring, captive breeding and habitat protection – is suggested to amend survival chances of Atelopus species. Such an approach needs novel law, policy and conservation frameworks, as pointed out in the IUCN ‘Amphibian Conservation Action Plan’. The latter is still not entirely put into practice. The future will show if it will help to prevent at least some harlequin toads from extinction. (© 2007 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)
 
Article
The Choiseul 1995 project spent 6 months studying the Chiroptera of Choiseul, one of the least disturbed and most poorly known islands in the Solomons. Among the results were: the rediscovery of a member of the Megachiropteran genus Pteralopex, which had been thought possibly extinct; a new record of another endemic pteropodid with a limited distribution; and evidence of a decline in the ‘commonest’ member of the family in the archipelago. The threats, present and future, to these animals and the forests of the island are discussed. An overview of the status of Pteralopex spp. in the Solomons provides an insight into the need for conservation action in the country as a whole.
 
Article
The aim of this study was to make preliminary assessments of the effects of human activities on the gorillas and other wildlife in the Dzanga-Ndoki Park and broader Dzanga-Sangha Dense Forest Reserve (RDS), Central African Republic. During a month-long survey in 1997, observation and sign of humans and large mammals, including ape nest-sites, were recorded on 81.2 km of line transects in three sectors of the park and reserve. Human activities, including intensities of logging and hunting, appeared to decrease with distance from the population centres and were lower in the park than in the reserve sectors. Encounter rates with sign of duikers Cephalophus spp., monkeys Cercopithecus spp. and Cercocebus albigena, elephants Loxodonta africana, and gorillas Gorilla gorilla gorilla were generally lower in regions of high human activity in the reserve than in the park sectors. Nevertheless, gorilla nest-site densities did not vary significantly between sectors or with human activity levels. A high frequency of zero (bare ground) nests at RDS suggests that gorilla surveys that rely on line transect methods and use nest decomposition rates from other studies may sometimes underestimate gorilla densities. This study suggests that current levels of exploitation in managed hunting zones of national forest reserves may be negatively affecting targeted wildlife populations in these zones. Assessments should be a regular part of efforts to monitor the health of wildlife populations in managed protected zones. Participation by Central Africans in research will continue to benefit conservation and development efforts.
 
Article
The history of the Addo elephant population in South Africa, from the creation of the Addo Elephant National Park (AENP) in 1931 to the present (every elephant currently living within the park is known), was reconstructed. Photographic records were used as a primary source of historical evidence, in conjunction with all documentation on the population. Elephants can be identified in photographs taken throughout their life by study of the facial wrinkle patterns and blood vessel patterns in their ears. These characteristics are unique for each elephant and do not change during the individual's life. The life histories of individual elephants were traced: dates of birth and death were estimated and, wherever possible, the identity of the individual's mother was ascertained. An annual register of elephants living within the population, from 1931 to the present, was compiled, and maternal family trees constructed. Preliminary demographic analyses for the period 1976–98 are presented. The quantity and quality of photographs taken during these years enabled thorough investigation of the life histories of all elephants. Prior to 1976, insufficient photographs were available to provide reliable data on the exact birth dates and mothers’ identities for every calf born. However, data on annual recruitment and mortality are considered sufficiently reliable for use in analyses of the population's growth and recovery.
 
Article
The Kaa-Iya del Gran Chaco National Park and Integrated Management Area was established in September 1995. At 3.44 million hectares it is one of South America's largest protected areas. The tropical dry forest of the Chaco, which this reserve protects, is Bolivia's most threatened major lowland habitat type. With the creation of this reserve the protected-area coverage of the Gran Chaco increased to 4.7 per cent. With at least 69 species of mammals (the Chiroptera have not yet been surveyed), it is one of the richest Neotropical sites for this taxonomic group. The Kaa-Iya park is being administered by the Izoceño-Guaraní Indian organization, the Capitanía del Alto y Bajo Izozog, and puts community-based conservation into practice. Threats to the park include encroachment by colonists, ranchers and farmers; the Bolivia–Brazil gas pipeline; and hunting.
 
Article
In terms of the persistence of biodiversity, the siting of conservation areas has traditionally been ad hoc. In the Cape Floristic Region, a hot-spot of plant biodiversity and endemism, past conservation interventions have led to the mountains being over-represented in the reserve network, while the lowlands have remained very poorly conserved. Ongoing threats to the lowlands such as the rampant spread of invasive alien plants, and land transformation for agriculture and resort development, continue to undermine biodiversity in these regions. A new conservation intervention, the Agulhas National Park, is in the process of being implemented on the coastal lowlands at Africa's southernmost tip. A flexible, reserve-selection design tool is being used to guide this process. The practical challenges in implementing a new protected area in a fragmented landscape, which has a high biodiversity and vulnerability, are examined. The role of different institutions, in particular state–private partnerships, and current investigations into conservation agencies’ policies, legislation and funding mechanisms are dealt with. It is imperative that future conservation planning considers the threats to biodiversity first and foremost. Institutions such as South African National Parks and the Cape Nature Conservation Board must act strategically to avoid changes in land use that will compromise the biodiversity goals of retention and persistence. Conservation efforts will only succeed if institutional and socio-economic considerations are integrated with conservation plans aimed at ensuring long-term persistence of biodiversity.
 
Article
Proponents of community conservation present it as a means of reconciling conservation and development objectives by ensuring that the interests of local people are taken into account in making trade-offs. Conservation critics see it as a challenge to the state-led, scientific management that is necessary to guarantee the preservation of biodiversity. In this paper, we argue that community conservation is not one thing but many. It is evolving both as a concept and as a practice that must be built on. It is not a project or policy ‘choice’ that can be simply accepted or rejected. The key questions about community conservation are who should set the objectives for conservation policy on the ground and how should trade-offs between the diverse objectives of different interests be negotiated.
 
Article
The threat that the bushmeat trade presents to primates and other taxa was assessed from the literature, including data from markets, village hunting studies and logging concessions in Central and West Africa. In many cases the numbers of both common and protected species of primate being killed throughout the region are thought to be unsustainable. This is also the case for other taxa involved in the bushmeat trade, which crosses geographic, cultural and economic boundaries. A suite of measures must be considered to mitigate the effects of this trade, and these measures will have to recognize the local, regional and national socio-economic importance of the trade if they are to result in long-term conservation success.
 
The Algoa Bay study area on the South Eastern Cape coast of South Africa.
Article
Population biology and socio-ecology of Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins Sousa chinensis were investigated during a 3-year study period in the Algoa Bay region, South Africa. The dolphins inhabit a narrow strip of coastal waters, mostly less than 15 m deep. Groups are small (mean=7 animals) and their daily activities concentrate around shallow rocky reefs—the primary feeding grounds. Dependence on these restricted, shallow-water habitats is evident throughout the year. Site fidelity is generally weak and is subject to seasonal migration, although female site fidelity seems to be related to reproductive stage. Births occur predominantly in summer. The social system is highly fluid, structured to some degree by sex and age, ‘mate-searching’ behaviour being the most likely male reproductive strategy. The dolphins inhabiting Algoa Bay are part of a substantially larger population that uses a considerable length of the coastal zone. Estimated population parameters are generally low, as are modelled population growth rates, and an increase in the population size seems unlikely. Humpback dolphins appear to be vulnerable to negative environmental pressure and the alteration/destruction of inshore habitats is probably among the greatest threats to them. Conservation of this species should be given high priority and be seen as an important part of integrated coastal zone management. Establishment of multiple-use management areas with controlled ecotourism and several priority sites declared as strict reserves seems to be the most effective conservation approach. In order to be successful, conservation and management policies need to recognize the needs and lifestyles of the local inhabitants.
 
Article
The African wild dog Lycaon pictus has declined dramatically over the past 30 years. Formerly distributed throughout sub-Saharan Africa, today c. 5000 wild dogs remain in total, mostly in southern and eastern Africa. Wild dogs’ decline reflects the expansion of human populations and the associated fragmentation of habitat available to wildlife. Because wild dogs live at very low densities, even ‘fragments’ covering thousands of square kilometres may not support viable populations. Furthermore, packs often range beyond the borders of reserves, so even nominally protected populations are often subject to persecution, road accidents, snaring and disease contracted from domestic dogs. Such edge effects mean that reserves smaller than c. 10,000 sq km will provide only incomplete protection. The highest priority for wild dog conservation, therefore, is to maintain and promote the contiguity of areas available to wildlife. Establishing cross-border parks and buffer zones, and encouraging game ranching on reserve borders, will all be beneficial. In smaller areas, protecting wild dogs requires that edge effects be mitigated by: (i) working with local farmers to limit persecution; (ii) controlling snaring; (iii) routing roads carrying high-speed traffic away from wildlife areas; and (iv) minimizing contact between wildlife and domestic dogs. Most of these measures will also benefit other wildlife.
 
Article
Based on field research in the Central African Republic, this article discusses several social and economic challenges to conservation programmes that include community development components. These interrelated challenges include immigration as people elsewhere are attracted to economic opportunities, the lack of tenure of land and natural resources, diversification of economic and subsistence strategies, ethnic diversity and the lack of a conservation ethic. Addressing these challenges requires fundamental socio-economic change.
 
Article
Controversy has surrounded the role of intervention in studies of African wild dogs Lycaon pictus. Following the death or disappearance of all wild dogs under study in the Serengeti ecosystem, it was suggested that immobilization, radio-collaring or administration of rabies vaccines might have caused high mortality by compromising wild dogs’ immune response to rabies virus. Planning future management and research on wild dogs and other species demands an assessment of the risks associated with such intervention. This paper critically reviews the available evidence and concludes that it is extremely unlikely that intervention contributed to the extinction of wild dogs in the Serengeti ecosystem. A more likely scenario is that vaccination failed to protect wild dogs exposed to rabies virus. Radio-collaring is an important component of wild dog research; hence, the benefits of immobilization appear to outweigh the risks, as long as (i) research is orientated towards wild dog conservation, (ii) radio-collaring is followed up by efficient monitoring, (iii) the number of animals immobilized is kept to the minimum necessary to maintain scientific rigour, and (iv) full data on disease and genetics are collected from all immobilized animals. By contrast, rabies vaccination currently seems to confer few benefits, at least when a single dose of vaccine is given. Further research, on captive animals, is in progress to establish more effective protocols, and to assess the role that vaccination might play in future management of wild dog populations.
 
Article
Human beings have been making (and almost certainly trading in) ivory artefacts for some 10,000 years. Yet it is only 8 years since the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) placed a complete ban on international trade in elephant products by listing the African elephant Loxodonta africana on Appendix I at Lausanne in 1989. Nevertheless, at the 10th Conference of the Parties to CITES in Harare this coming June, the listing will be challenged again by three of the Southern African countries who originally opposed it. This article describes what has happened on the ground since 1989, the political developments, examines the downlisting proposals, and looks at possible ways forward in the short- and medium-term. The views expressed are personal to the author.
 
Article
African wild dogs Lycaon pictus have been extirpated across most of West and central Africa, and greatly depleted in eastern and southern Africa. Given an urgent need for population recovery, especially in West and central Africa, this paper discusses the possibilities for using reintroduction to re-establish wild dog populations. Reintroduction is probably now technically possible, as long as release groups include wild-caught animals; several past attempts failed because captive-reared animals lacked skills needed to survive in the wild. However, reintroduction has only a limited role to play in wild dog conservation. Ideally, it should involve animals of the appropriate local genotype. Limited genetic data indicate that wild dogs from West and central Africa may be distinct from those in eastern and southern Africa. Because there are no wild dogs with West or central African genotypes in captivity, and no wild populations in the region large enough to be harvested for translocation, future reintroductions might have to use animals with non-native genotypes. In addition, there appear to be no suitable sites for wild dog reintroduction in West or central Africa, and few in eastern and southern Africa. Releases currently planned in the Republic of South Africa will be locally valuable, but will not establish a population likely to remain viable without intensive management in perpetuity. For these reasons, protecting remaining wild dog populations currently represents a better investment than any attempt at reintroduction.
 
Article
The future persistence of African elephants over the 80 per cent of the species's range that remains outside protected areas is increasingly uncertain in many parts of the continent. Conflict between elephants and agriculturalists is already widespread and can lead to displacement or elimination of elephants, causing a further decline in their range and numbers. ‘Protectionist’ conservation groups have recently attempted to play down the importance of human–elephant conflict, contending that it has been greatly exaggerated by those advocating sustainable use of wildlife. The future of elephants in ecosystems over much of the continent will depend largely upon the attitudes and activities of humans. The realities of survival faced by rural Africans may mean that little attention will be paid to a debate taking place on conservation philosophy in the developed world. Therefore, the IUCN African Elephant Specialist Group (AfESG) is investigating how human land use can be integrated with the needs of elephant populations in Africa's biogeographical regions. Findings from these studies will be used in attempts to benefit elephant conservation and management in the 37 African elephant range states.
 
Article
The current status and distribution of the red panda Ailurus fulgens in the wild is poorly known. The subspecies fulgens is found in the Himalaya in Nepal, India, Bhutan, northern Myanmar and south-west China, and the subspecies styani occurs further to the east in south-central China. The red panda is an animal of subtropical and temperate forests, with the exception of Meghalaya in India, where it is also found in tropical forests. In the wild, red pandas take a largely vegetarian diet consisting chiefly of bamboo. The extent of occurrence of the red panda in India is about 170,000 sq km, although its area of occupancy within this may only be about 25,000 sq km. An estimate based on the lowest recorded average density and the total area of potential habitat suggests that the global population of red pandas is about 16,000–20,000. Habitat loss and poaching, in that order, are the major threats. In this paper the distribution, status and conservation problems of the red panda, especially in India, are reviewed, and appropriate conservation measures recommended, including the protection of named areas and the extension of some existing protected areas.
 
Article
In 1990 the population of the red-necked ostrich Struthio camelus camelus in the Aïr and Ténéré National Nature Reserve, Niger, was estimated at c. 1600 individuals. During a 14-day survey carried out in the protected area in October and November 2000 no evidence of recent occurrence of ostriches was found, and it appears that the population size has dramatically declined in its favoured habitat. The species seems to have been severely persecuted during the civil war of 1991–1997. Although a small population had remained in the protected area after the conflict, the occurrence of further poaching suggests that remaining individuals are threatened with extirpation.
 
Article
The results of a field census of Alaotran gentle lemurs Hapalemur griseus alaotrensis carried out in February and March 1999 are reported. The results are compared with a census carried out 5 years earlier in 1994. Both censuses followed the same methods and were carried out by the same team, using direct observation from canoe. Mean group encounter rates for the lemur were assessed in each location, which allowed us to calculate the relative group density in each site. Qualitative information on habitat condition (on the basis of plant diversity, vegetation height and evidence of burning) was gathered at each site. Additional information, mainly on lemur hunting, was acquired through interviews with local people. In most sites group encounter rate was at least 50 per cent lower than 5 years before. Taking into account unusually low water levels because of a drought at Lac Alaotra in 1999, we estimate that these encounter rates reflect a 30 per cent decline in the total population size over the last 5 years. The main cause of this dramatic decrease was human-induced fire (habitat degradation) coupled with heavy hunting (poaching of lemurs for food). The importance of assessing regularly both population status and threats, and of adjusting conservation actions accordingly is emphasized.
 
Article
In 1996, the first major biological surveys in the Itombwe Massif in over 30 years revealed that significant areas of natural habitat and remnant faunal populations remain, but that these are subject to ongoing degradation and over-exploitation. At least 10 areas of gorilla Gorilla gorilla graueri occurrence, including eight of 17 areas identified during the first survey of the species in the massif in 1959, were found. Seventy-nine gorilla nest sites were recorded and at least 860 gorillas were estimated to occupy the massif. Fifty-six species of mammals were recorded. Itombwe supports the highest representation, of any area, of bird species endemic to the Albertine Rift highlands. Twenty-two of these species were recorded during the surveys, including the Congo bay owl Phodilus prigoginei, which was previously known from a single specimen collected in Itombwe nearly 50 years ago. No part of Itombwe is officially protected and conservation initiatives are needed urgently. Given the remoteness and continuing political instability of the region, conservation initiatives must collaborate with traditional authorities based in the massif, and should focus at the outset on protecting the gorillas and limiting further degradation of key areas.
 
Article
The Chinese alligator Alligator sinensis is one of the world's most endangered reptiles. At one time widespread throughout much of the lower Yangzi River basin, the remaining wild individuals are now restricted to a small area in southern Anhui Province and perhaps in adjacent Zhejiang Province. Population estimates conducted in the 1980s suggested that only 500–735 wild individuals remained at that time. Current figures suggest that the wild population is c. 400 individuals and continues to decline. The principal factor contributing to historic population decline has been habitat loss, but deliberate killing of alligators and the heavy use of pesticides have also had significant negative effects. The current conservation programme in Anhui Province is based on captive breeding and the establishment of a reserve for small groups of wild alligators. However, the inferred recent decline in the size of the wild population suggests that the reserve design is inadequate for the long-term survival of alligators. Programmes to survey the status of the remaining wild populations and evaluate the feasibility of establishing new wild populations by reintroducing captive-bred animals are currently being developed.
 
Article
The Critically Endangered Antiguan racer Alsophis antiguae is confined to Great Bird Island, a 9.9-ha (24.5-acre) islet off the north-east coast of Antigua in the Lesser Antilles. This island represents well under 0.1 per cent of the species’s historical distribution range. During the past 5 years, the total number of racers aged 1 year or more has fluctuated between 51 and 114, and currently stands at approximately 80. Since 1995, the Antiguan Racer Conservation Project (ARCP) has endeavoured to save this harmless snake from extinction by using a combination of education, conservation breeding, habitat restoration, local capacity building and applied research. The Antiguan racer’s ecology and population dynamics have become well understood after 5 years of intensive study, and the species has evidently benefited from the project’s rat eradication programme. The snakes are still seriously threatened by other intrinsic and extrinsic factors, however, including inbreeding depression, frequent hurricanes, invasive predators and deliberate killing by tourists, as well as the problem that Great Bird Island is too small to support more than about 100 individuals. This paper describes the activities and impact of this project to date, and outlines a series of conservation activities to safeguard the long-term future of the species, which include reintroduction of the Antiguan racer to restored islands within its former distribution range.
 
Article
Amazonian forests are experiencing rapid, unprecedented changes that are having major impacts on wildlife, regional hydrology and the global climate. Rates of deforestation and logging have accelerated in recent years and patterns of forest loss are changing, with extensive new highways providing conduits for settlers and loggers into the heart of the Amazon basin. These myriad changes are causing widespread fragmentation of forests. Fragmented landscapes in the Amazon experience diverse changes in forest dynamics, structure, composition and microclimate, and are highly vulnerable to droughts and fires—alterations that negatively affect a wide variety of animal species. In human-dominated lands intensive hunting may interact synergistically with fragmentation to further threaten wildlife populations.
 
Article
Four species of the avian family Cracidae were studied in the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve in north-eastern Peru. These large-bodied birds are an important source of protein for local communities on the periphery of the reserve. An estimated 425 kg of Cracidae biomass were harvested over a 1-year period by three communities. Pipile cumanensis was the most frequently hunted bird, both in terms of individuals hunted and biomass extracted. Mitu tuberosa and Penelope jaquacu also made up a substantial amount of the biomass extracted, but were hunted less frequently. Densities of all species of Cracidae within 5 km of the villages were substantially lower than in the interior of the reserve. Our results suggest that M. tuberosa and P. cumanensis are overharvested and P. jaquacu and Ortalis guttata are harvested within the maximum estimated sustainable levels. In this study hunting grounds were along waterways and adjacent to protected populations, which created a source–sink arrangement. If sink areas are overhunted, the unhunted populations inland of the waterways could be acting as source populations that replenish overhunted areas.
 
Article
The endemic bearded sakis Chiropotes satanas satanas and Chiropotes satanas utahicki of south-eastern Amazonia are among the most threatened of this region's primates because of a combination of deforestation and hunting, and their apparent intolerance of habitat disturbance. Recent surveys at eight sites confirm that sakis are locally extinct in some areas where intense habitat fragmentation is exacerbated by hunting pressure, but also show that, in the absence of hunting, they can be relatively abundant in isolated forest fragments. Density was unexpectedly low in one protected area, however, which implies that caution is necessary for the planning of long-term conservation strategies. Well-protected forest fragments of reasonable size (>5000 ha) appear to have good potential for the protection of bearded saki populations. While many of the region's major landowners may thus make a significant contribution to the management of saki populations, land conflicts are a potentially serious problem for the long-term conservation of not just these primates, but the region's fauna and flora as a whole.
 
Article
This article reconsiders the use of financial incentives for securing the participation of ‘local’ people on conservation programmes by raising several less discussed social consequences which such incentives may entail. To this end, it outlines the involvement of a South Indian honey-hunting ‘tribe’ with an ecodevelopment programme and the market economy, noting how commercializing ‘traditional’ livelihoods may increase the general ‘standard of living’ but undermine the social ‘fabric’ of the community and aid in the rationalization of custom. It concludes by suggesting that social development should precede economic development for communities in transition between subsistence and commodity-orientated economic practices.
 
Article
The Dominican Republic faces multiple threats to biodiversity. A list of native species of amphibians and reptiles (excluding sea turtles) is presented. Some may have become extinct recently, substantial populations of others have been extirpated, some have greatly reduced numbers, and others appear to be rare or have restricted ranges. Most of the 13 taxa listed are relatively large, vulnerable to human exploitation or introduced predators, and/or have limited distributions and specific habitat requirements. To be listed, evidence must exist that: (1) populations are dwindling, (2) the range is shrinking, or (3) a species must be vulnerable to exploitation and historically rare. Two iguanas (Cyclura cornuta, C. ricordii), two turtles (Trachemys decorata, T. stejnegeri vicina), and one crocodilian (Crocodylus acutus) have been exploited extensively and have long been recognized as threatened or endangered. The ranges of Cyclura ricordii and T. decorata are very localized and the previously widespread ranges of the others have shrunk or become fragmented. A toad (Bufo fluviaticus), a large galliwasp (Celestus anelpistus), and a snake (Alsophis melanichnus) have not been collected recently. Only a few specimens of another galliwasp (C. carraui) and a dwarf gecko (Sphaerodactylus cochranae) have been taken recently. In addition, extensive portions of the habitats of these species have been severely altered. Three other snakes (Alsophis anomalus, Ialtris agyrtes, I. dorsalis) are rare and may never have been common. Their size and habits render them vulnerable to predation by the introduced mongoose and to decimation by humans who fear and dislike them.
 
Article
Eight lesser anteaters Tamandua tetradactyla rescued from the rising waters of a dam at Serra da Mesa, Minaçu, Goiás, Brazil, were tranlocated to other areas and tracked using radio telemetry for periods of up to 10 months, from December 1996 through February 1998. With the exception of one, or perhaps two, female(s) that left the area while the radio collars were in place, the anteaters stayed within 2.17 km of their release sites and appeared to thrive. The results suggest that it is feasible to translocate small numbers of anteaters into new areas of suitable habitats without adverse effects on resident anteaters.
 
Article
The current distribution of Lepus corsicanus (recently considered to be a distinct species from L. europaeus) in peninsular Italy and Sicily is presented in this paper. Our data suggest that L. corsicanus is declining markedly in mainland Italy, and perhaps also in Sicily, and that it should be categorised as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. Conservation recommendations for this species are presented.
 
Article
Mountain gazelles were reintroduced to central Arabia during 1991–95. Hawtah reserve was searched for gazelles during the 1998–99 winter. Gazelles were seen in one wadi system and their signs were found in several others and on the plateau. Sightings were used to calculate the minimum number of gazelles in the Matham wadi system, which previously held most of the population. During October–November 1998, the minimum number was 64 per cent less than 4 years earlier. Frequent observation of recent signs in areas where no gazelles were seen suggested that daytime sightings alone were no longer adequate for monitoring this population. The decline in the number of gazelles seen, an increase in their flight distance and an apparent change in their activity patterns were consistent with the rangers’ claim that poaching had commonly occurred. Poaching started after reserve management built, without adequate consultation, a new fence that was intended to bar local people from part of the reserve. Management lessons include the need for the following: continued monitoring of reintroduced populations after the initial postrelease phase; long-term dialogue with local people; effective law enforcement; and the management of aridland domestic livestock in ways that prevent interspecific competition for food causing the elimination of wild ungulates.
 
Article
The return of the Arabian oryx Oryx leucoryx to Oman symbolized the success of a new approach to species conservation and established reintroduction as a conservation tool. Ten years after the species had been exterminated in the wild by poaching, the first 10 founder oryx, descendants of the ‘World Herd’, were reintroduced to the desert in central Oman in January 1982. A second release followed in 1984 and the population grew slowly through a 3-year drought that was broken by rain in June 1986. Further years of good rainfall and more founders meant that by April 1990 there were over 100 oryx in the wild, independent of supplementary feed and water, and using a range of over 11,000 sq km. At that time a new monitoring programme was implemented that allowed the transition from individual- to population-based monitoring and management. The population continued to grow and by October 1995 numbered approximately 280 in the wild (of which 22 were surviving founders) and used over 16,000 sq km of the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary. However, in February 1996 poaching resumed and oryx were captured for sale as live animals outside the country. Despite the poaching the population continued to increase and by October 1996 was estimated to be just over 400. However, poaching intensified and continued through late 1996 and 1997. By September 1998 it had reduced the wild population to an estimated 138 animals, of which just 28 were females. The wild population was no longer considered viable and action was taken to rescue some of the remaining animals from the wild to form a captive herd.
 
Article
Birds restricted to islands are susceptible to extinction, and burrow or ground-nesting birds are particularly vulnerable to introduced mammalian predators. Human intervention has also played a vital part. Birds have been used as a source of food, and in more recent times the rarer species have suffered from specimen and egg collection. The island of Madeira and its resident species, which include the endemic Zino’s petrel or Madeira freira Pterodroma madeira, are no exception. From subfossil evidence, this bird was once abundant. It was first recorded in 1903, and was already limited to the high central mountain massif of Madeira. By the middle of the century it was considered extinct, but a relict population was rediscovered in 1969. By 1985, all known breeding attempts were disrupted by introduced rats, to the extent that no young fledged. In 1986 the Freira Conservation Project was founded with the aim of increasing the population of Zino’s petrel, by controlling rats and human interference, the principal perceived threats to the species. This control was extended to cats after the disaster of 1991, in which a cat(s) managed to get onto one of the breeding ledges and kill 10 adult birds. The results of these efforts have been positive and the small colony is making a slow, but steady recovery. To maintain this success, a conservation strategy for the future is suggested.
 
Article
Przewalski's gazelle Procapra przewalskii is endemic to China and is classified as Critically Endangered by IUCN—The World Conservation Union. Historically, the species occurred in parts of the provinces of Gansu, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia and Qinghai but now appears to be restricted to three populations around Qinghai Lake. These three populations—Bird Island, Hudong-Ketu and Yuanzhe—have all declined since 1988. The populations have been monitored since 1994 and the smallest, on Bird Island, appears to be on the brink of extinction, with only seven individuals being recorded in 1998. In the same year, the Hudong-Ketu population comprised 56 individuals (29.4 per cent males, 50 per cent females and 21 per cent juveniles) and the Yuanzhe population 51 individuals (29.4 per cent males, 43.1 per cent females and 27.5 per cent juveniles). The causes of the declines vary for each population but include loss of habitat as a result of desertification, poaching and, possibly, wolf predation. Human activity and high juvenile mortality are major threats to the continued survival of the gazelle. Conservation measures proposed are: (i) the establishment of a special reserve for Przewalski's gazelle; (ii) a study of the wolf–gazelle relationship and control of the number of wolves if necessary; (iii) a search for remnant populations of Przewalski's gazelle in other regions in their historical range and the identification of suitable sites for translocation and establishment of new populations.
 
Article
This paper analyses the impact of a community conservation programme (CCP) implemented over a 7-year period around a national park in Uganda. Programme activities included dialogue, conflict reduction, education, community resource access and support for community development. Surveys of attitudes show that communities benefited from the programme were significantly more positive towards the park and wildlife than communities that did not. The community conservation programme built an understanding of conservation objectives amongst communities whose members were more likely to recognize positive aspects of the park and less likely to demand that it be degazetted. Comparison over the 7-year duration of the programme, however, did not show that communities were generally more positive towards conservation. They were more critical of management and demanded more support and resources than they had received. Their behaviour was not greatly changed, and high levels of poaching and illegal grazing continued. Attitudes were influenced by communities receiving development assistance, but improvements were fragile, vulnerable to poor behaviour of park staff and law-enforcement activities. Both were seen as contradicting community approaches. Attitudes were also influenced by land ownership and economic occupation. The CCP was not a panacea for the problems of the park and did not resolve fundamental conflicts of interest between communities and park management. However, it did change the way the protagonists perceive and interact with each other.
 
Article
Elephants Elephas maximus have declined in range and number in the wild in Sri Lanka, from c. 12,000 at the turn of the nineteenth century to c. 4000 today. While in the distant past the decline in elephant numbers was due largely to indiscriminate killing by sportsmen and trophy hunters, today elephants are being killed primarily because they interfere with agriculture. Human–elephant conflicts have increased substantially in the recent past and ivory poaching has become a byproduct of such conflicts. Elephant tusks have been used traditionally in the ivory-carving industry in Sri Lanka since the time of the ancient kings. Until the turn of the century, very little ivory was imported from Africa because there was a plentiful supply of tuskers locally available. Sri Lankan ivory carvers started to use African ivory in 1910. Today ivory and fake-ivory products are sold openly to tourists in some 86 shops in the island. Before the listing of the African elephant in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the value of raw ivory in Sri Lanka used to be $US228–285 per kg. After the listing, the price fell to $US72 per kg, reflecting a drastic drop in the demand for ivory from tourists. Many ivory carvers have switched to other jobs or are using substitutes (such as bone and horn) to produce fake-ivory carvings. Only about 7.5 per cent of bulls in Sri Lanka are tuskers and they are under poaching pressure outside protected areas. Given the rarity of tuskers in Sri Lanka, promotion of trade in ivory products, even locally, may pose a serious threat to their long-term survival in the wild.
 
Article
The process of community wildlife management in the Izozog area of the Bolivian Chaco began with participatory field research – self-monitoring of hunting activities and research on key game species. On-going discussions in community meetings have elicited seven wildlife management recommendations: (1) establishing hunting zones, (2) hunting only adults, (3) hunting only males during the reproductive season, (4) hunting only for the family’s needs, (5) hunting only abundant animals, (6) protecting plants that are important to wildlife, and (7) prohibiting hunting by outsiders. We compare community attitudes towards these management measures. A majority of communities favour, in decreasing order, measures 7, 4, 6 and 1, communities are divided with respect to measures 2 and 3, and most communities oppose measure 5. Two socio-economic characteristics of communities – location and ethnicity – are associated with patterns of attitudes towards wildlife management among communities, whereas religion, economic activity and community size are not. Izoceño communities are currently reinterpreting traditional beliefs both to support and to oppose active wildlife management measures.
 
Article
Wild Bactrian camels Camelus bactrianus ferus are endangered. Surveys over the past several decades suggest a marked decline in camel numbers and reproductive success. However, most surveys were made using methods that precluded rigorous population estimation. The need for more accurate surveys resulted in an aerial survey of known and suspected camel habitat in Mongolia during March 1997. We estimated density, group density and population size of large mammals in south-western Mongolia using the interactive computer program distance. We recorded sufficient data for population modelling of wild Bactrian camels, goitred gazelle Gazella subgutturosa, Asian wild asses Equus hemionus and argali sheep Ovis ammon. We observed 277 camels in 27 groups (mean group size=10.26±2.38 SE camels/group). Modelling yielded a population estimate of 1985±802 SE camels in the survey area. Population modelling for other ungulates yielded estimates of 6046±1398 SE goitred gazelles, 1674±506 SE Asian wild asses, and 909±303 SE argalis. Discrepancies between population estimates of ungulates in our survey and previous surveys are discussed with regard to methods used and robustness of results obtained. We also discuss conservation implications for wild Bactrian camels and other Mongolian ungulates.
 
The remaining fragments of the Neotropical rain-forest biome. The study area in Honduras is indicated by the box. Map modified from Emmons & Freer (1997).
The major rivers, valleys and mountain ranges of north-eastern Honduras.
The current extent of rain-forest cover and the proposed reserve network in north-eastern Honduras. Small clearings in the forest, although numerous in some areas, are not shown. Arrows indicate the direction of forest clearance. Large arrows represent areas under particularly heavy human colonization pressure.
Article
Between April and August 1994, three steps were taken to assess the status of Baird's tapir Tapirus bairdii in north-eastern Honduras: (i) forest cover was mapped to estimate the amount of habitat available; (ii) interviews with local people were conducted to determine where the species occurs; and (iii) searches were made for tapir signs in several mountain ranges to corroborate interview information. Local reports and searches indicated that the species occurred in forests throughout the area. Using density estimates of 0.05–0.24 tapirs per sq km, there may be 520–2760 tapirs in the 10,400–11,500 sq km of contiguous rain forest that remains in north-eastern Honduras—a population large enough to have a good chance of long-term persistence. The main threat to the population is human colonization, which is destroying the forest along the rivers and major streams. This is fragmenting the tapir population into isolated units, which will be increasingly subject to the stochastic events that drive small populations to extinction. Hunting, which along with habitat destruction, is a major contributor to the rapid decline of tapir populations in areas of human colonization, does not appear to pose an immediate threat in the study area. However, population trend data are lacking and the impact of hunting on tapirs remains unassessed.
 
Article
The Bali starling Leucopsar rothschildi is a passerine endemic to the dry monsoon forest of the island of Bali, Indonesia. Habitat conversion and excessive capture for the pet trade brought the species to the verge of extinction in the 1980s. The species is critically endangered because of 1) an extremely small population size, 2) restriction to a small area, 3) illegal trapping, and 4) diminishing suitable habitat left within its natural range. An intricate web of factors prevents the Bali starling from emerging from this precarious situation.
 
Figure . 1. The Ganges–Brahmaputra–Meghna and Karnaphuli–Sangu river systems in Nepal, India and Bangladesh.
Figure . 2. Kaptai Lake, Karnaphuli and Sangu rivers and the Sikalbaha–Chandkhali Canal.
Figure . 3. The Bagkhali and Matamuhuri rivers showing locations of closure dams.
Article
Surveys for shushuks Platanista gangetica were conducted during January to April 1999 in Kaptai Lake and the southern rivers of Bangladesh. A population of at least 125 dolphins was recorded in the Karnaphuli and Sangu rivers and connecting canal. The overall encounter rate was 0.76 dolphins per km. Density was highest in the lower reaches of the Sangu, where we recorded 1.36 dolphins per km. These rates are fairly high when compared with other areas of shushuk distribution. Dolphin movements in the Sikalbaha–Chandkhali Canal were consistent with it being used as a corridor for migration and dispersal between the Karnaphuli and Sangu. Shushuks were also sighted in marine waters of the Karnaphuli and Sangu river mouths, adding credibility to the hypothesis that dolphins move along the coast between the Ganges–Brahmaputra–Meghna and Karnaphuli–Sangu systems, perhaps during the monsoon when freshwater plumes extend into the Bay of Bengal. No dolphins were observed in Kaptai Lake, a dam-created reservoir of the upper Karnaphuli, despite reports of occasional sightings by local fishermen. No shushuks were observed in the Bagkhali and Matamuhuri rivers, possibly because of seasonal-closure dams present near the mouths of both rivers. The main threats to dolphin survival in the Karnaphuli–Sangu system are probably accidental entanglement in monofilament gillnets, bioaccumulation of persistent contaminants and possibly collisions with motorized vessels and a decline in prey as a result of over fishing. The most significant conservation measure that could be taken would be to establish a protected area for dolphins in the Sangu River below the Dohazari Bridge.
 
Article
In sub-Saharan Africa conservation of biodiversity is increasingly predicated on finding ways to ensure that the economic value of maintaining a landscape in its ‘natural’ state meets or exceeds the expected returns from converting the area to an alternative land use, such as agriculture. ‘Wildlands’ in Africa must generate, directly or from donor contributions, funds sufficient to cover both the operating costs of conservation, and the opportunity costs of forgoing other forms of resource use. Government and donor investments currently meet less than 30 per cent of the estimated recurring costs required to manage the protected-area network within central African countries effectively, and cover none of the growing opportunity costs incurred to maintain protected areas. Unfortunately, few additional sources of funding are available. Tourism is only economically viable where charismatic species exist in ‘safe’ areas that are not more than a few hours drive in a 4×4 vehicle from an international airport—ostensibly excluding tourism from most of central Africa. In contrast, a review of available information suggests that safari hunting could offer a significant and sustainable source of financing to offset some of the costs of maintaining protected areas in central Africa. However, better quantitative data are needed to assess whether trophy hunting is both ecologically sustainable and economically competitive over the long term relative to other land uses.
 
Top-cited authors
Alexandra Zimmermann
  • University of Oxford
William M Adams
  • U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Kent Redford
  • Archipelago Consulting
Paul A Racey
  • University of Exeter
Neil D. Burgess
  • UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre