Monitoring and habitat rehabilitation for Sharpe’s longclaw in Kinangop, Kenya

This project will contribute towards efforts to conserve the unique highland Kinangop Grasslands Nature Reserve and its unique biodiversity. The grasslands are a stronghold of the Endangered Sharpe’s longclaw and home to other important avifauna including Grey-crowned Crane (Endangered), Aberdare cisticola (Vulnerable), and Jackson’s and Long-tailed widowbirds (Range Restricted). The remaining grasslands are highly fragmented, the effects of which impact the Aberdare Mountains and Lake Naivasha. Parallel to the decline of grasslands is the decline of biodiversity. Despite the importance of these grasslands, there are big ecological and natural history knowledge gaps, which hinder effective conservation initiatives.

The project seeks to conserve these unique grasslands by slowing and reversing habitat loss and degradation, and the associated population declines and biodiversity loss. The aim is to build the capacity of local youngsters to monitor and document the biodiversity of the grasslands, as well as share lessons learnt to raise environmental and education awareness. This will help inform effective conservation decisions to improve the quantity and quality of the grassland habitat.

Occupancy modelling to determine wildlife corridors at Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana

This project will carry out multi-species occupancy modelling for the western boundary of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park (MPNP) in Botswana to assess the main transgression points that species use to leave and enter the park to/from community land. Migratory routes occur across the community land in the west of the national park, connecting the MPNP and the more southern Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR). This has resulted in high levels of human-wildlife conflict in the region, and increased political pressure to manage wildlife populations by decreasing numbers and movement. However, recent plans to rebuild the game fence along the western boundary of the MPNP may disturb current migratory routes and lead to the isolation of populations within protected areas. Spoor surveys indicate the locations of elephant highways that may be useful as wildlife corridors. However, for the proper placement of wildlife corridors, we need additional information on other species that regularly use or avoid elephant highways. We are therefore planning a camera trap survey along the boundary to investigate hotspots in animal transgression. This information will be used for the strategic placement of wildlife corridors as well as the development of locally-adapted mitigation strategies to reduce human-wildlife conflict in the area.

A foundation for the future: Building India’s first comprehensive model for snow leopard conservation

Snow leopard Panthera uncia is a wide ranging species occurring across the high mountains of Asia. Snow leopards (and other wildlife) overlap with domestic livestock in this region, which is the main source of livelihood for local communities. Thus, conflict between pastoralists and snow leopard conservation remains one of the biggest threats to the survival of the species. We aim to establish the first-ever, comprehensive, landscape-wide system for reducing key threats to snow leopards in the trans-Himalayas. Specifically, these threats are a lack of awareness and human-wildlife conflict that lead to persecution and hunting/killing of snow leopards. The aim is to expand outreach and community conservation engagement across 7,000 sq km of key snow leopard habitat in Himachal Pradesh state, as informed by previous CLP projects. We will achieve this by creating a network of 30 local conservation champions who will be trained in the principles of community conservation (PARTNERS Principles). We will support this network in developing community conservation programs wherever there is a need. We will also create awareness for conservation by working with 50 schools across this landscape. This effort will be articulated as a landscape-level conservation plan to be incorporated into national and international level policy documents, such as the Project Snow Leopard and the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program.

Recovering the Critically Endangered El Rincon stream frog in Patagonia, Argentina

With just a handful of isolated sub-populations remaining in the wild, the El Rincon stream frog (Pleurodema somuncurense) is the most critically endangered frog in Patagonia. The recent expansion of invasive rainbow trout has restricted the frogs to the hot springs of the Valcheta Stream’s headwaters. Even there, where frogs should be thriving, they are declining because of habitat destruction by cattle. Since 2013, thanks to CLP, we have been working on the recovery of this frog. Our purpose is to ensure the long-term viability of three sub-populations by doubling the distributional range and size of two small extant sub-populations and re-establishing one extinct sub-population.

To achieve this, we plan to: (1) create fish barriers and remove trout from one kilometre of stream; (2) create three breeding sanctuaries by preventing cattle access, and restoring vegetation and rocky coverage; (3) re-establish a sub-population in a sanctuary where frogs have become extinct, and (4) engage the local community in biodiversity conservation by promoting ecotourism as an alternative to cattle ranching. This project will have a strong impact on the long-lasting viability of the El Rincon stream frog to become a model conservation initiative.