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The Explorers Club headquarters in New York City and The Endangered Wolf Center in St. Louis were perfect settings for special events recently, featuring guest speaker Gareth Goldthorpe, Carnivore Project Coordinator in Georgia.
Gareth presented an overview of our program in Georgia, which sits at a fascinating biological crossroads between Asia, Europe, and Africa. His work with our Georgian partner NACRES addresses a problem familiar to us here in the US – human-carnivore conflict related to the wolf. He shared strategies they use, such as more effective use of guarding dogs, to reduce the harmful contact between wolves and livestock.
We enjoyed vibrant Q&A sessions, which afforded Gareth the opportunity to provide a glimpse beyond carnivores to the other components of this program—work with Tusheti herders to improve animal husbandry practices and develop diversified livelihood strategies; collaboration with national park authorities on park planning and building staff-capacity at all levels; and public-awareness efforts to strengthen the constituency for conservation.
Fauna & Flora International (FFI) staff and NACRES colleagues monitor the effects of each element of their project carefully, harvesting lessons learned and refining tools—such as a new human-carnivore conflict toolkit we hope to use throughout the region. This is a good example of how FFI seeks to avoid ‘reinventing the wheel’. We remain eager both to learn and to widely share innovations borne of field-level engagement.
It was a pleasure to gather in celebration of a remote part of the world that too rarely finds its way into the spotlight. We hope to have brought more attention, and much-needed financial support, to Georgia and its globally important wildlife and wild places.