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International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW);
Perhaps the most widely accepted framework for community development and human well-being today is the United Nations' 2030 agenda, more commonly known as the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Agreed to by all 193 member states of the UN, the goals outline international priorities to achieve sustainable human development. As the preeminent guidance on human development, these goals inform the policies of governments, non-governmental organizations, and the UN system.
While the SDGs are certainly more comprehensive than purely economic measures of progress such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), they place limited emphasis on the value of the natural world. Despite this, animals and their habitats are interwoven in the fate of human development. All species, big and small, imperiled and ubiquitous, have an important role to play in building a healthy, prosperous, and sustainable future for humans. This report will examine these connections and the value of animal welfare and habitat conservation in achieving each sustainable development goal. As we will see, effective animal welfare and conservation can contribute significantly to the achievement of these goals, and promoting animal welfare provides an important avenue to improve both human and animal lives. IFAW seeks to enhance awareness of the connections between animal welfare, conservation, and human development to inspire greater collaboration through which to achieve a shared goal of improving conditions for all species and the planet.
The 'Building Resilience in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands of Northern Kenya' project was implemented in Turkana County, in Northern Kenya, between July 2012 and April 2015. The project was designed to build the resilience of project participants to a number of shocks and stresses: droughts - which threaten the area annually - floods and outbreaks of human and animal diseases on the one hand, and anthropocentric risks on the other hand, such as fire, livestock theft, and conflicts. The project worked at different levels to try and reduce households' vulnerability to these risks, through Community-Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR) and integration of community-level plans and committees into the work of the county government. This Effectiveness Review used a quasi-experimental evaluation design to assess the impact of the project activities, at the household- and community-level. The results provide evidence that the project had had a positive impact on households' resilience capacities. This report is part of Oxfam's Effectiveness Review series.
Center for Biological Diversity;
Mexico is one of the world's most biologically rich nations, with diverse landscapes that are home to a treasure trove of wildlife, including plant and animal species found nowhere else. Sadly, in Mexico and around the world, species are becoming extinct because of human activities at rates never seen before.
In this report we highlight the threats facing Mexico's 10 most iconic endangered species to help illustrate thebroader risks confronting the country's imperiled plants and animals. These 10 species -- which in most cases are protected only on paper -- were chosen to reflect Mexico's diversity of wildlife and ecosystems and the wide range of threats to the country's biodiversity. New awareness of these unique animals and plants is critical to inspiring a nationwide demand to protect these critical components of Mexico's natural heritage.
Endangered Species Research;
Penguins are the most threatened group of seabirds after albatrosses. Although penguins are regularly captured in fishing gear, the threat to penguins as a group has not yet been assessed. We reviewed both published and grey literature to identify the fishing gear types that penguins are most frequently recorded in, the most impacted species and, for these susceptible species, the relative importance of bycatch compared to other threats. While quantitative estimates of overall bycatch levels are difficult to obtain, this review highlights that, of the world's 18 species of penguins, 14 have been recorded as bycatch in fishing gear and that gillnets, and to a lesser extent trawls, are the gear types that pose the greatest threats to penguins. Bycatch is currently of greatest concern for yellow-eyed Megadyptes antipodes(Endangered), Humboldt Spheniscus humboldti (Vulnerable) and Magellanic Spheniscus magellanicus penguins (Near Threatened). Penguins face many threats; reducing bycatch mortality in fishing gear will greatly enhance the resilience of penguin populations to threats from habitat loss and climate change that are more difficult to address in the short term. Additional data are required to quantify the true extent of penguin bycatch, particularly for the most susceptible species. In the meantime, it is crucially important to manage the fisheries operating within known penguin foraging areas to reduce the risks to this already threatened group of seabirds.
Frontiers in Marine Science;
Understanding the horizontal and vertical habitat of olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea), a threatened species, is critical for determining regions for protection and relevant gear modifications that may effectively reduce bycatch, the largest threat to this species. Satellite transmitters were used to determine the movement and dive behavior of 21 female olive ridley turtles tagged in Pongara National Park, Gabon during the 2012, 2013, and 2015 nesting seasons. A switching state-space model was used to filter the tracking data and categorize the internesting and post-nesting movements. Gridded utilization distribution (UD) home range analysis of tracking data revealed that the entire core habitat occurred in the Komo Estuary during the internesting period. Within the Komo Estuary, 58% of this core UD occurred in shipping lanes. Dive data from the 2015 tagging season revealed that during the internesting period, turtles spent the majority of their time resting on the estuary seabed. Approximately 20% of all dive time was spent on the bottom and all maximum dive depths corresponded to the depth of the seabed, indicating that bottom set gear during the internesting period may pose the greatest potential for fisheries interactions. National parks currently protect many of the nesting sites and the Gabon Bleu initiative has formally designated 10 new marine parks and a network of community and industrial fishing zones; this data was a layer used in determining the park and zone boundaries. Shared use of the estuary by fisheries, shipping, and olive ridley turtles creates a need for management measures to reduce interactions. Thus, the results from this study can further provide detailed information that can be used to support the development of evidence-based management plans.
Center for Biological Diversity;
Trump's border wall will be a deathblow to already endangered animals on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. This report examines the impacts of construction of that wall on threatened and endangered species along the entirety of the nearly 2,000 miles of the border between the United States and Mexico. The wall and concurrent border-enforcement activities are a serious human-rights disaster, but the wall will also have severe impacts on wildlife and the environment, leading to direct and indirect habitat destruction. A wall will block movement of many wildlife species, precluding genetic exchange, population rescue and movement of species in response to climate change. This may very well lead to the extinction of the jaguar, ocelot, cactus ferruginous pygmy owl and other species in the United States.
Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance (SACIDS);
In March 2016, a Tanzanian government health official recommended that the Ministry of Health contact the Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance (SACIDS), a consortium of academic and research institutions working to both modernize and democratize the early detection of epidemic prone diseases in Tanzania and beyond. The year before, SACIDS, which is headquartered at Tanzania's Sokoine University of Agriculture, had launched a new project dubbed Enhancing Community-Based Disease Outbreak Detection and Response in East and Southern Africa (DODRES), funded by Skoll Global Threats Fund. A primary goal of the project: mobilize local communities to contribute to disease detection and response— and drastically improve the scope and efficiency of infectious disease surveillance in the process.
International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN);
Plastic has penetrated everyday life, and the disadvantages of plastics are becoming more and more visible: large quantities of plastics leak into rivers and oceans, with adverse effects to marine ecosystems and related economic activities. This report is one of the first of its kind to quantify primary microplastics leakage and to demonstrate that these primary microplastics are globally responsible for a major source of plastics in the oceans.
Center for Biological Diversity;
While the decline of European honeybees in the United States and beyond has been well publicized in recent years, the more than 4,000 species of native bees in North America and Hawaii have been much less documented. Although these native bees are not as well known as honeybees, they play a vital role in functioning ecosystems and also provide more than $3 billion dollars in fruit-pollination services each year just in the United States.
For this first-of-its-kind analysis, the Center for Biological Diversity conducted a systematic review of the status of all 4,337 North American and Hawaiian native bees.
For this report we assembled a list of all valid native bee species and their current conservation status as established by state, federal or independent researchers. We then conducted a comprehensive review of all literature on those species as well as records documenting their occurrence. From that research we identified those bees with sufficient data to assess their status, including current and historical range, behavioral observations and studies, arriving at the first comprehensive analysis of the status of North American and Hawaiian native bees.
We also highlight five native solitary bee species that are seriously imperiled. These remarkable, underappreciated pollinators offer a snapshot of the threats driving the alarming declines in many native bee species — declines that must be reversed to save these irreplaceable native bees and the health of the ecosystems that depend on them.
* In July 2014, Skoll Global Threats Fund (SGTF) gave a $2 million, two-year grant to Chiang Mai University in Thailand to create the Participatory One Health Disease Detection (PODD) project—a first-of-its-kind community-owned pandemic surveillance and response system. SGTF issued a second grant in July 2016 to help scale the program to other regions in Thailand.
* The goal of PODD is to enable early detection of animal-borne (zoonotic) disease outbreaks and prevent them from becoming pandemics. The grant funded the development and launch of a Thai-built mobile app that local volunteers use to report suspected outbreaks and other dangerous events, as well as the development of a protocol for coordinating fast evaluation and response among local government officials, veterinarians, and public health experts.
* The PODD program had 300 trained local volunteers at launch, growing to more than 4,600 volunteers two years later.
* Within the first few months, volunteers reported more animal disease events in those districtsusing PODD than had been reported in the whole province of Chiang Mai in the previous year. Within 16 months, 1,340 abnormal events were reported. Among those, a total of 36 incidents of dangerous zoonotic diseases were verified.
* The early detection of one case of foot-and mouth disease, stopped before it could spread, saved $4 million.
* PODD volunteers are now also using the system to report a range of other hazards, from fraudulent medication sales to landslides and flash floods.
* In July 2016, Chiang Mai University transferred ownership of the PODD tool to the Thai government, which, with additional funding, could expand the project to additional provinces and eventually nationwide.
Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS);
From its early days, BAIF has focused on driving rural prosperity. Initially, it empowered farming communities to improve the productivity of animal husbandry through technology and training — it had supported 5,892,045 families in this way by 2014. The organization went on to help 201,144 rural families roll out innovative homestead agri-Horti-forestry, or "Wadi,"orchards, that combine techniques and resources to allow farmers to rear fruit trees, flowersand vegetables. BAIF has also applied its technical expertise to help farmers find better ways of managing their land, soil, and water resources. Over the years, it has expanded its focus to undertake health, women's empowerment, and resilience programs in conjunction with its agrarian interventions to drive holistic development in rural communities.
WWF, the global conservation organization;
With massive infrastructure plans threatening all tiger landscapes and risking recent gains in tiger conservation, Asian governments must adopt a sustainable approach to infrastructure planning and construction or drive tigers toward extinction, according to a new analysis by WWF.