&FFI - Issue 1
Whether you’ve stumbled on this page serendipitously, or purposely navigated your way here, welcome to this brief introduction to the inaugural edition of &FFI, which aims to give you a taster of what’s inside the first issue of Fauna & Flora International’s renamed, redesigned annual magazine. Below you’ll find short summaries of some of the features in our November 2019 issue, complete with links to the relevant FFI projects and details of the donors whose generous support enables us to carry out this vital work.
Illegal wildlife trade has a devastating effect on rhinos, elephants and tigers, but its impact on geckos, orchids and seahorses, for example, is equally alarming. FFI is championing some of these neglected casualties of wildlife crime. Our efforts to protect the critically endangered Sumatran tiger are also helping to safeguard pangolins and helmeted hornbills. FFI and partners are also working to prevent the unsustainable exploitation of rare reptiles including the Union Island gecko.
African elephants are rarely out of the spotlight, but their Asian counterparts are in even greater need of conservation attention. FFI has been at the forefront of elephant conservation in Southeast Asia since 1995. We work in partnership with governments, communities and local NGOs in Cambodia, Indonesia and Myanmar to increase understanding of the species’ needs, safeguard its habitat, combat poaching and reduce human-elephant conflict.
We urgently need to increase investment in the conservation leaders of tomorrow. But how do we do that in the places that matter? The globally renowned Conservation Leadership Programme plays a vital role in this respect. In 2019, the programme received a massive, and timely, injection of funds from Arcadia – a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.
Botanists have long lamented the disparity between the relative levels of attention given to animals and plants. FFI has been addressing the phenomenon of ‘plant blindness’ for many years. Find out how we’re conserving wild bulbs in Central Asia, safeguarding Honduran rosewood in Belize and combining magnolia and monkey conservation in northern Vietnam.
The importance of retaining or re-establishing connectivity between tracts of habitat cannot be overstated. Our work in this regard is helping maintain the integrity of the Maya Golden Landscape, restoring links between two chimpanzee strongholds in Uganda, protecting Raja Ampat’s riches in West Papua and conserving corridors for large carnivores in Romania.
Few would deny that next year is a pivotal one for the planet. If we are going to capitalise on the momentum created by the actions of movements such as Extinction Rebellion and the teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg, there is surely no better opportunity than the series of global policy forums scheduled for 2020. But the clock is ticking. We don’t underestimate the enormity of the challenges facing our natural world, but with your support we are tackling them head on.
Our Conservation Finance & Enterprise programme is addressing the urgent need to transform how conservation is financed. In Indonesia, Liberia and Vietnam, our REDD+ work is ensuring that communities benefit from keeping their forests standing. In Kyrgyzstan, we are helping people to gain improved access to international markets for their sustainably harvested botanical products.
Sir David Attenborough has been a member of FFI for a mind-blowing 60 years and was first elected vice-president a full four decades ago, shortly after soliciting the organisation’s help in rescuing the mountain gorilla from impending oblivion. Today, the International Gorilla Conservation Programme stands as a fitting monument to that vital intervention, which has seen mountain gorilla numbers increase fourfold.
The restoration of Redonda to its former glory is a long-term proposition, but this Caribbean island has already undergone a spectacular transformation since the removal of the invasive rats and goats that were decimating the native plants and animals, including incredibly rare reptiles.
Many of our greatest success stories began life as apparently lost causes. They remind us that even species in dire straits can be brought back from the brink. Kazakhstan’s saiga population is enjoying a resurgence, while the increase in mountain gorilla, Antiguan racer and hawksbill turtle hatchling numbers augurs well for our efforts to reverse the decline of Grauer’s gorilla, Saint Lucia racer and eastern Pacific leatherbacks respectively.
We are encouraging the transition from conventional to more sustainable farming practices that benefit biodiversity, by providing training and technical support for farmers in project sites such as Guinea’s Ziama Man and Biosphere Reserve and southern Belize’s Maya Golden Landscape.
Many of the forest landscapes where FFI works in Southeast Asia support important populations of gibbons, all of which are threatened with extinction. The western hoolock gibbon is benefiting from an inspired community-led initiative in Myanmar. Our Vietnam programme is safeguarding critically endangered northern white-cheeked, western black crested and cao vit gibbons. Across the border in Cambodia, we are gathering vital data on the poorly understood northern yellow-cheeked gibbon.
Our gallery includes snapshots of species and stories that made the headlines: Siamese crocodile success and a super-rare sponge found during a seahorse survey in Cambodia, proof positive of sturgeons spawning in Georgia, an upturn in fortunes for a snub-nosed monkey in Myanmar, and the discovery of a new population of the vanishingly rare Bukharan pear in Kyrgyzstan.
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