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|Sacred Forest Research |
In the West African countries of Liberia and Ghana, a Calgary Zoological Society Researcher is working to map forested areas which are protected by local people due to their spiritual or religious significance. These 'sacred' forests, once mapped and studied, could contribute to a nation's protected area strategy. In the future, if existing protected areas such as national parks and wildlife areas can be connected to the network of sacred forests, many endangered species could benefit. To read more about CZS Researcher Donna Sheppard and her work in Liberia and Ghana go here.
A soothsayer's shrine (left) and a household shrine (right)
|Hunting Shrines as a Conservation Tool |
CZS researchers are using traditional hunting shrines as a way of enlarging the boundaries of an important wetland in the West African country of Ghana. Researchers are working with local people to identify and survey hunting shrines in a search for evidence of a wetland dwelling antelope called sitatunga. This species is endangered in Ghana and its presence, once proven, will enable conservationists and wildlife managers to enlarge the wetland protected area which sitatunga and a large human population depend on. Hunting shrines offer clues to which species live in a certain area. Sitatunga remains identified in a hunting shrine show researchers where to locate their camera traps which in turn lead to photographic evidence of the presence of this species. To read more about CZS Researchers Donna Sheppard and Dr. Joy Sammy and their work with Sitatunga in Ghana go here (insert link)
|Community-based Conservation – Proven Success|
CZS Researchers have published an important scientific study of the CZS project known as the Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary. Conservation scientists world-wide are beginning to question the long-term success of community-based approaches to conservation. Yet, the peer reviewed CZS study shows that, given the right approach and conditions, this form of conservation may be very effective. This study documents the Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary's development and success and relationship of the CZS to the project for a period of more than a decade. To read the scientific paper go here.
Kombo nut split open revealing the fruit inside.
|Forest Conservation Through Non-timber Forest Products and Tree Crops |
CZS staff are in a race against time working to protect one of the most biologically diverse places on earth: the Guinea rainforests of Liberia. Liberia is recovering from a brutal 14 year civil crisis which left the country in ruins. The spectacular Guinea rain forests represent short-term economic opportunity to the struggling country and will in all likelihood be harvested in the coming years unless alternatives can be found which utilize the forests in a more sustainable way. The CZS is working with a Liberian conservation partner to create livelihoods through the harvesting of non-timber forest products and tree crops. Because local people receive economic benefits directly from these activities, they are no longer forced to cut down the rainforest trees to make a living. CZS work has focused on mapping economically important trees in a national protected area and working with local clan and tribal leaders to build community organizations to manage natural resources for their own benefit. To find out more about our Liberian partner go here and to find out more about what CZS and our partner have accomplished in Liberia go here. For some photos of our field work in Liberia and Ghana go here.
|Bongo Surveillance |
Mountain bongo are Africa's rarest antelope. CZS works with a partner to monitor and protect mountain bongo in one of their last strongholds, the Aberdare Mountains of Kenya. CZS also supports community projects in mountain bongo range to reinforce the monitoring and protection measures currently being undertaken. The project has education programs for children in many communities and works to create alternatives to bush meat harvesting and illegal timber harvesting in mountain bongo habitat. To view a recent report from the mountain bongo conservation program go here.
| ||Bateman Get to Know Program |
CZS staff are working with iconic Canadian artist Robert Bateman and the Bateman Get To Know Your Wild Neighbours Society to re-connect kids to nature. Canadian children who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s spent as much as 80 percent of their waking hours in the outdoors. Today, some researchers claim that number has fallen to 20 percent. Instead, today's children spend hours each day in front of screens and are more disconnected from nature than any generation in Canadian history. Richard Louv, founder of the Child and Nature Network described this phenomenon as "Nature Deficit Disorder". To read more about this topic go to Children & Nature Network (C&NN) CZS is field testing and helping to develop nature-based and technology-based learning tools to help youth interact with nature. The initiative known as Natural Treasures has been installed on the Zoo grounds and the CZS is partnering on a mobile phone version of "Natural Treasures" due to be piloted on the Zoo grounds in 2012.