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At the end of yet another eventful year here at Fauna & Flora International (FFI), we take a look back at some of the most powerful news stories from the last 12 months.
The year started on a high when a new group of one of the world’s most threatened primates was discovered in Brazil’s Caparaó National Park. A group comprising of at least 50 individuals was counted making it fantastic news for northern muriqui conservation.
In February, we were delighted when Myanmar’s Lake Indawgyi was designated as a Wetland of International Importance. The lake is home to a great diversity of water birds, fish and reptiles as well supporting the livelihood of about 30,000 people.
In March, a scientific study revealed novel genetic differences between hawksbill turtles in the Eastern Pacific. This remarkable discovery suggests that the conservation management of Eastern Pacific hawksbills should be re-evaluated.
Exciting news announced in April, when a Conservation Leadership Programme team discovered a previously undescribed species of evergreen tree in The Western Ghats, which is one of India’s most iconic landscapes.
April also saw FFI’s Vice President, Sir David Attenborough, abseiling down the 15 metre high living wall in the central atrium to officially open a new global conservation hub in Cambridge. Appropriately named the David Attenborough Building, it is the largest grouping of nature conservation organisations (including FFI) and university researchers in the world.
There was cause for celebration in May, when we established a Species Fund that aims to restore key populations of highly threatened species to viable levels over the next two decades. The fund has already begun supporting our conservation work with hawksbill turtles, Siamese crocodiles and Saint Lucia racers.
In June, after more than five years of tireless work, Cambodia reached an exciting landmark for marine conservation in the shape of a signed proclamation declaring a 405km2 Marine Fisheries Management Area.
July saw the announcement of plans to restore the Caribbean island of Redonda to its former glory. By removing invasive black rats and goats from the island it is expected that the island will become forested and support the survival of rare native species once again.
In August, we were ecstatic to discover the world’s second largest population of the Critically Endangered Delacour’s langur primate. The striking primate is indigenous to Vietnam but sadly is under severe threat of extinction due to human activities. This discovery has given scientists renewed hope that they can be saved.
More good news in September when the UK Government formally announced plans to ban the sale and manufacture of cosmetics and personal care products containing plastic microbeads.
The world’s largest primate, the Grauer’s gorilla, was re-categorised as Critically Endangered following the submission of a scientific report. The report revealed a shocking 77% decline in Grauer’s gorillas over the course of just one generation.
After decades of community campaigning, October saw the designation of the Fair Isle Demonstration & Research Marine Protected Area – the first of its kind in Scotland. Fair Isle records a greater diversity of bird species per unit area than anywhere else in Britain and Ireland and this new marine protected area will help protect the island’s sea bird population.
November saw our team in Aceh, Indonesia, acquire two quadcopter drones to help reduce incidents of conflict between humans and wild elephants. The drones will enable the team to respond quickly when elephants are approaching community farms to minimise potential conflicts.
A camera trap survey provided an exciting Christmas present in December in the guise of the first ever video of a rare, wild turkey from Indonesia. This elusive turkey has evaded photographers and filmmakers throughout the latter part of the 20th century and was only photographed in the wild for the first time in 2007.