The Okomu Forest Reserve in south-west Nigeria contains a 114-sq-km wildlife sanctuary that is an important refuge for several threatened species, including the white-throated guenon Cercopithecus erythrogaster. A conservation project that started in Okomu in 1987 focused initially on protection, but the emphasis recently shifted to a programme of agricultural development assistance to migrant farmers in the reserve. This approach, which appears to follow the philosophy espoused in IUCN/UNEP/WWF's Caring for the Earth, may hasten rather than prevent the destruction of this remnant tropical forest and its wildlife.
Wildlife conservation efforts are increasingly faced with declining, overcrowded or fragmented populations, environmental contamination, and the introduction of new species of either competitors or pathogens. These efforts are coming under increased public scrutiny in their attempt to balance human social and economic needs with those of wildlife. The integration of veterinary medicine as part of a multidisciplinary approach to conservation can assist in the successful planning, implementation and evaluation of conservation projects. Beyond the role of immobilizing animals, veterinarians can contribute to assessing and monitoring the health of wild populations, and can train others in modern approaches to working with and caring for wildlife.
The National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development (NCWCD) was established in 1986 to oversee all wildlife conservation programmes in Saudi Arabia. One of the first species-specific programmes, started in the same year, was a houbara bustard Chlamydotis undulata macqueenii captive-breeding project at the National Wildlife Research Center. With the production in 1992 of a selfsustaining captive houbara flock and the provision of an annual surplus of houbara chicks, attention has shifted to the release of captive-bred houbara into protected areas. Critical review of the houbara programme in 1993 emphasized the need for field studies, public-awareness programmes and international collaboration in addition to captive-rearing and release.
The Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) has long been a white spot on maps depicting national parks and similar protected areas. This changed dramatically with the official declaration in October 1993 of 18 protected areas covering over 10 per cent of the country's land surface. Among the countries of South East Asia Lao PDR now ranks among those with the highest proportion of land under legal protection. The political climate seems favourable and additional areas may still be added. System planning and, increasingly now, the management of declared areas has been carried out by the Protected Areas and Wildlife Division of the Centre for Protected Areas and Watershed Management (PAWM), Forest Department, with funding by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and technical support from IUCN-The World Conservation Union. Some of the most vulnerable species, such as the Javan rhinoceros Rhinoceros sondaicus, may already be extirpated, but most species and ecosystems have good prospects of survival if management of the reserves and some wider conservation initiatives can be implemented.
Over 10 years ago, Oryx published initial details of an investigation into the effects of selective timber logging on primates in the Sungai Tekam Forestry Concession in peninsular Malaysia (Johns, 1983). This original 2-year field study developed into a long-term monitoring programme, in which the recovery of primates in the regenerating forest is to be recorded throughout the logging cycle. This is the only such monitoring programme so far established in the world's tropical forests. The dataset is now complete for forests logged up to 18 years ago.
The Alaotran gentle lemur Hapalemur griseus alaotrensis is found only in the marsh vegetation surrounding Lac Alaotra in Madagascar. This habitat is shrinking and becoming fragmented due to conversion to rice cultivation. In addition, lemurs are hunted for pets and food. There is no protected area within their limited range. This paper presents the results of a 6-month field study assessing the distribution, population size and conservation status of the lemur. The population consists of about 7500 animals, split into at least two subpopulations. If no conservation action is taken in the near future, drainage of the remaining 13,000 ha block of marsh vegetation will probably lead to the extinction in the wild of this primate taxon.
The shift to the use of shotguns from traditional hunting weapons has often been mentioned as one of the factors contributing to over-hunting in the tropics. It has also been argued that indigenous people using traditional hunting methods are conservationists because they do not over-exploit natural resources. A study of two Indian communities in south-eastern Peru, one of which hunted with guns and the other with traditional weapons, found that there was little difference in the amount of meat consumed per capita in each village and that shotgun hunters were no more exploitative than the traditional hunters.
In 1992 the discovery of a new bovid, Pseudoryx nghetinhensis, in Vietnam led to speculation that the species also occurred in adjacent parts of Laos. This paper describes a survey in January 1994, which confirmed the presence of P. ngethinhensis in Laos, although in low densities and with a patchy distribution. The paper also presents new information that helps clarify the phylogenetic position of the species. The low numbers and restricted range of P. ngethinhensis mean that it must be regarded as Endangered. While some admirable moves have been made to protect the new bovid and its habitat, more needs to be done and the authors recommend further conservation action.
Wild animals have played an important role in the lives of Maya Indians but recent evidence from a small Maya community in south-eastern Mexico suggests that their importance as a source of food may be diminishing. The persistence of subsistence hunting despite low kill rates suggests that hunting is still culturally important to the Maya community as a whole. By combining subsistence hunting with other subsistence and commercial activities, such as gardening and the extraction of chicle latex from sapodilla trees Manilkara zapota, contemporary Maya hunters are preserving a culturally important activity while simultaneously adapting to internal and external pressures to modernize their society.
Zimbabwe's approach to wildlife conservation started to change radically just over 30 years ago. Recognition of the fact that wildlife will only survive outside protected areas if the people who share the habitat are given responsibility for and derive benefits from wildlife has had positive effects for the conservation of the macrofauna. The author, the country's former Director of National Parks and Wild Life Management, describes the history of wildlife management in Zimbabwe and how the new approach is working.
Wildlife hunting, for meat and skins, is an important component of the rural economy in Argentinian Patagonia. Every year thousands of fur-bearing mammals are killed and the impact of this on their populations is unknown. This paper reports on the results of a preliminary investigation into the sustainability of the harvest of culpeo foxes Dusicyon culpaeus in a 1000-sq-km area of Neuquen Province. Monitoring of fox densities and harvest rates over 5 years on six ranches revealed that, despite intense hunting, the numbers of foxes remained little changed. On the other hand, life-table analysis suggested that the levels of hunting pressure on four ranches were too high to allow fox populations to persist unless they were boosted by immigration. The findings have applications for wildlife managers in establishing sustainable harvest rates and optimal spatial distribution of those rates.
When the Yuquí Indians of Bolivia adopted a settled life-style in the 1960s, wild animals continued to be their main source of meat. As a result, game species declined in numbers around their settlement and their problems were exacerbated by colonists seeking new lands to farm. Prospects brightened in 1992 when 115,000 ha of land were designated Yuquí Indigenous Territory. This paper describes how a system of satellite camps was developed to enable the Yuquí to exploit game animals sustainably and to defend their land from encroachment.
This paper examines the impact of hunting on the conservation of large Neotropical primates (≥ 6 kg adult body mass) and of the forest they inhabit. A greater emphasis on thein-situconservation of large cebids outside protected areas and close to people is advocated and research priorities are suggested to support the conservation of large primates imperilled by hunting.
Few issues in the conservation community rival the intensity of the debate over sustainable use of wild species. At one extreme, people advocate that sustainable use ensures conservation of the resource. Others view it as a guise to exploit wild species. Somewhere between these positions, scientists point out that it impossible to guarantee sustainability given the complexity of human and biological factors that must be balanced. All these points of view are represented among the membership of the IUCN.
Reduced to a tiny fraction of its original area, much of the Atlantic Forest habitat remaining in eastern Brazil is distributed in small, isolated patches on private land. The potential role of these fragments in the conservation of the region's primate fauna is poorly understood. As part of a study of buffy-headed marmosets Callithrix flavicepsin Minas Gerais, forest remnants were visited in order to evaluate this potential. Marmosets were observed in one-third of the sites and may exist in up to 60 per cent of forest patches in the region. A second threatened primate, the brown howler monkeyAlouatta fusca,may occur in one-quarter of the sites visited. The muriquiBrachyteles arachnoideswas not encountered. Overall, the survey suggests that, with appropriate management, privately owned forest fragments may play an increasingly important role in the conservation of the Atlantic Forest's fauna in this and other regions.
Tamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary in the Upper Chindwin district of Myanmar could be one of the most important remaining sites for wildlife in the country. Until recently, insurgency problems prevented officials of the Myanmar Forest Department visiting the area or carrying out any form of management. Yet the sanctuary is essentially intact and, with the exception of rhino, appears to contain viable populations of most large mammal species known from that part of Myanmar. However, hunting and the collection of forest products in the sanctuary are having negative impacts on the wildlife community. The future survival of the Sumatran rhino in the Upper Chindwin area is doubtful. Other large mammal species, such as the tiger and gaur, may follow the rhino towards extinction in the near future. Tamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary will need to be actively protected and managed to ensure that much of Myanmar's wildlife continues to survive in this area, well into the future.
During recent surveys in the Cordillera de Coldn, a semi-isolated mountain range in northern Peru, observations were made and information collected on three species of mammals considered globally threatened with extinction – yellow-tailed woolly monkeyLagothrix flavicauda,Andean night monkeyAotus miconaxand spectacled bearTremarctos ornatus.The yellow-tailed woolly monkey has an extremely restricted range, in which extensive deforestation is occurring, and the species is also heavily hunted. The urgent establishment of an effectively protected area in the Cordillera de Colán is strongly recommended in order to help secure the future for this poorly known primate and other mammal and bird species of conservation importance.
New Caledonia, a French territory in the south-west Pacific has a very high number of endemic taxa. The endemic fauna include a monotypic genus of parakeets – Eunymphicus. One subspecies, Eunymphicus cornutus uvaeensis, which is endemic to the island of Ouvéa in the Loyalty Islands, is seriously threatened by degradation of its natural habitat, natural predators and capture for sale to collectors. There are now only 200–500 individuals left in the wild. The parakeet is the emblem of Ouv–a and local people, together with research scientists, have formed a society with the aims of studying the parakeet in its natural environment, making the general public aware of its conservation requirements, combating smuggling, increasing its population by breeding it in captivity and, if possible, introducing it on to a neighbouring island.
The wild alala Corvus hawaiiensis population has been declining for many years and only three pairs of birds are currently reproductively active on the island of Hawaii. At the recommendation of a committee formed by the National Academy of Sciences, a restoration programme was initiated in 1993 by The Peregrine Fund in collaboration with private land-owners, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Biological Service and the State of Hawaii. The restoration programme includes removing eggs from wild nesting birds for artificial incubation, handrearing and reintroduction. In two breeding seasons (1993, 1994), 17 eggs were removed from alala nests in the wild. Three eggs were infertile, 13 chicks hatched and 12 alala were successfully reared (hatchability: 93 per cent; survivability: 92 per cent). Four of these chicks were sent to the State of Hawaii's Olinda Endangered Species Propagation Facility, while four chicks from this facility were sent to the reintroduction programme. Twelve alala have been released by The Peregrine Fund: five in 1993 and seven in 1994. Three of the five birds released in 1993 and all seven of the birds released in 1994 are currently surviving in the wild.
Human behaviour probably evolved within the confines of small social groups whose members were closely related or interacted repeatedly over long periods of time. Patterns of behaviour regarding use of natural resources reflect this. It would appear that humans also tend to perceive as more urgent environmental problems occurring over a relatively short period of time, at relatively local spatial scales, and which affect them directly, rather than those occurring over greater spans of time and space. If so, then conservation strategies may be planned accordingly. This hypothesis is explored in the context of species conservation by the presentation of a country case-study (Nepal) and by a review of selected conservation programmes from several developing nations. There has been a general lack of research efforts that examine the effect of societal scales in this context, and more such efforts are needed to achieve conservation goals.