Creating capacities for the conservation of sharks in Honduras

In Honduras, despite Shark Sanctuary Legislation, artisanal fishers in the Moskitia region continue overfishing sharks. This fishery targets endangered hammerheads and other sharks to meet the demand for dry fish during Lent. Most consumers are unaware they are eating endangered sharks. There are limited technical capacities in institutions which have the capacity to regulate shark products and there is a general misinformation in the non-consumptive importance of sharks. Our project seeks to create capacities in local stakeholders that will enable them to contribute directly to the conservation of shark populations within this region. Through the project we will build technical capacities in government institutions and partner organizations that can influence decision making on sharks. Increase regulatory capacity on illegal shark products and reduce demand on products through a behavior change campaign aimed at consumers. We will implement a communication campaign focused on creating understanding and fostering support for the conservation of sharks. Additionally, through project activities field gaps of information on the fishery and trade, while working closely with artisanal fishers. Results will be shared widely with government stakeholders through the Shark working group and contribute to apex shark predators being present in reefs in Honduras for the long term.

Conservation of Southern Tuco-tucos in Pampean dunes:creation of sanctuaries and threats alleviation

The Southern Tuco-tuco, Ctenomy australis, is one of the most Endangered mammals from the Pampean grasslands in Argentina. This endemic and fossorial species is an ecosystem engineer, adapted to live only in coastal sandy grasslands. Tuco-tucos are declining due to habitat fragmentation by urbanization and exotic forestations; increased abundance of birds of prey related to exotic forestations and loss of sandy burrows by unregulated vehicle transit in dunes. Our goal is to ensure the long-term conservation of the Southern Tuco-Tuco. This means local communities are engaged in habitat protection and main subpopulations thriving in safe habitats. Our purpose is to increase the survival of four Tuco-tucos families of the two largest subpopulations in one year. To achieve this purpose, we plan to: (i) reduce predation by birds of prey, through remotion of perches from pine trees located next to sandy burrows; (ii) reduce mortality caused by vehicles through fencing and adding signs to 4 sandy burrows; (iii) improve habitat conditions within fenced sites by restoring habitat, and; (iv) raise awareness in local schools and engage students in habitat conservation. This project will walk the first steps towards the long-lasting conservation of this species.

Population monitoring and awareness building for Ludlow’s Bhutan Glory in India

Bhutanitis ludlowi (Ludlow’s Bhutan Glory) is an endangered butterfly endemic to parts of Bhutan and North-East India. In India, this species is known to have only one pocket population at Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh. Unfortunately due to data deficiency on this population, conservationists do not have any current structured plan for its future conservation and legal protection. Local community are also not aware of the conservation needs of Bhutanitis ludlowi. Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary is currently undergoing a large-scale developmental changes which if not judiciously done, can cause severe risk for this lesser-known species and its habitat. Thus, there is an immediate requirement of assessment of the current population status of Bhutanitis ludlowi and generation of community awareness about its conservation. In order to achieve this goal, we will conduct status survey of the target species, identify potential habitat patches of it and conduct a number of community outreach programmes to share the knowledge among local stakeholders and policy makers. Our work will eventually generate a baseline database of current population trend of B. ludlowi, its habitat map and a group of local aware stakeholders which will eventually assist to plan further developmental work judiciously while conserving the habitat in Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, India.

“Bhutanitis ludlowi (B. ludlowi) is one of the most charismatic butterfly species. It will be a big loss and a matter of shame if we can’t protect it from extinction and let our future generation enjoy such beauty of nature. This grant makes me believe that real work on conservation of insects will have a brighter future worldwide. From now on, this will remain as a big source of motivation for me to pursue my goal of conservation of butterflies in my country in future”.

Safeguarding the Endangered White-bellied (Phataginus tricuspis) pangolin in Ghana

Pangolins are regarded as the most traded mammals globally and Africa’s four species are no exception. Pangolins are also considered among the least known mammals in the world in terms of their ecology. Of the African species, the biology and ecology of the two arboreal species, the white-bellied (Phataginus tricuspis) and the black-bellied (Phataginus tetradactyla) pangolin remain a mystery to science. In 2019, the IUCN Pangolin Specialist Group re-evaluated all African pangolin species under the Red List Criteria and determined that white-bellied pangolins qualify as Endangered, a decline in status while black-bellied pangolins remain Vulnerable. Rapid forest loss, high human consumption, and the illicit trade in their scales have pushed these species to the very brink of extinction. Regrettably, the lack of basic ecological data is hindering targeted management actions for these species. The overall aim of this project is to contribute crucial biological data on the habitat, population structure, and threats to the endangered White-bellied pangolins. We will combine field surveys and occupancy monitoring (modeling) to investigate their population size and structure, and critical conservation areas. The results of this project are crucial for developing conservation strategies for the species in Ghana. We will also initiate an education campaign to raise awareness among stakeholders to instigate lasting behavior changes.