Archive for the Organization of The Day Category

Organization of the Day: Gorilla Doctors

Posted in Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2010 by Dori G

Today only 720 Mountain Gorillas populate the earth, and in only two parks (Uganda/Rwanda, and Democratic Republic of Congo). Dr. Dian Fossey founded what was originally called the Volcano Veterinarian Center in 1986. After studying Gorilla’s behavior and interaction with their environment she discovered that their population was declining rapidly, likely due to their interactions with humans. She decided to start a veterinarian project dedicated to the Gorillas. Sadly, she did not live to see the success, but today the project is known as Gorilla Doctors.

After years of research, scientists found that the secret to saving the lives of these animals existed within medical care. The largest threat facing these animals is disease, contracted through interaction with humans, other animals, and factors of their environment. Their research has found that people, mountain gorillas, and cattle share genetically identical intestinal pathogens, making them susceptible to diseases.

The Gorilla Doctors are a team of highly talented vets who intervene when needed and help nurse the Gorillas back to health. Seeing as the health of the Gorillas depends on the health of the people interacting with them, Gorilla Doctors also provide health care for their employees. Within the last ten years they have been able to increase the population of the Mountain Gorillas by 17%, and only hope to increase that number. These veterinarians are fully dedicated to their research, which has been groundbreaking, and to the survival of these precious gentle giants.

To learn more, please click here…..

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Organization of the Day: J.A.C.K.

Posted in Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2010 by Dori G

In 1960 the estimated population of chimpanzees was estimated at around one million individuals. Today the estimates have been dramatically reduced to 172,000 to 300,000 remaining, a decline of on the scale of 70-83%. Roughly 40% of this population is living within the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), an area where conservation efforts are greatly limited because its dangerous, war-torn conditions. The fact that a large portion of the chimp population inhabits the DRC makes this area essential for targeting conservation efforts in order to save this species. Chimpanzees there are being poached and removed live from their habitat to be sold in the black market for bushmeat and other illegal purposes like pet trade. Infant chimps are highly valuable in the pet trade as they are more manageable at that age. As they reach sexual maturity, their behavior becomes unmanageable and dangerous, as hormones fuel their now aggressive behaviors.

Chimpanzees are a highly social creature, relying on their tight social group to survive and aggressively protect their young. Thus capturing an infant is dangerous and difficult, and it is estimated that ten adult chimps have been killed for every one infant that has been captured or orphaned due to poaching activities. Immediate action is needed to prevent the extinction of this species. Founded in 2006 by Franck and Roxanne Chantereau, the self-funded Jeunes Animaux Confisqués au Katanga (J.A.C.K.) has taken a brave stand and created a protected refuge in Lubumbashi for chimps confiscated by DRC authorities. The Chantereaus have been doing their best to monitor the chimpanzees in the Lubumbashi area, and,have seen a loss in excess of 4,000 chimpanzees in Lubumbashi in the last 10 years alone. J.A.C.K also works with Congolese National Parks in hopes to eventually facilitate the return of their orphans into the wild. Wildlife conservation is not at the forefront of the minds of the povery-stricken, starved, and malnourished human population of the DRC. Their main concerns are focused on finding food by any means possible, which often includes bushmeat. In fact, their desperation might even be seen in their language, as the Swahili word for wildlife, “nyama”, is the same word used for “meat”.

Photo credit: Miriam Mannak

As a result of these conditions, J.A.C.K tries to raise awareness through educating the local people, believing conservation needs can be met through education. They have been extremely successful in their efforts with an estimated 12,000 local visitors to their facility each month, most being school children. J.A.C.K hopes their conservation efforts and messages will be carried into the future by the younger generations. The organization continues to expand, hoping to be able to develop even more educational activities within their refuge where children can view conservation videos and have a more interactive experience. Taking a stand in a place where most are too afraid to act, J.A.C.K’s efforts are nothing short of commendable. Without their sanctuary, it is certain that a far greater loss of the DRC’s invaluable chimp population would have occurred.

Photo credit: Miriam Mannak


To learn more, please visit their website.


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Organization of the Day: Ol Pejeta Conservancy

Posted in Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2010 by Dori G

John and Jane Kenyon took over the management of Ol Pejeta in 1949 when it was owned by Lord Delamere and together they spent the next 15 years developing the ranch. When John first took on Ol Pejeta he was joined by a school friend and business partner of Lord Delamere named Marcus Wickham Boynton. Together they organized the then 57,000 acre ranch into a successful beef producing company. Over the next few years they successfully expanded the farm to cover an estimated 90,000 acres. John and Jane left Ol Pejeta in 1958, returning in 1959 for a further ten years before finally retiring to run their own cattle ranch to the north. Since that period the ranch has had a number of owners, all entrepreneurs in their own right.

In 1988, the Sweetwaters Game Reserve (24,000 acres) was opened by another of Ol Pejeta’s previous owners, Lonrho Africa. Primarily started as a sanctuary for the endangered black rhino, wildlife populations (including the “Big Five”) have steadily increased since that time. In 2004 the ranch was purchased by Fauna and Flora International, a UK based conservation organisation. The Sweetwaters Game Reserve has now been extended to encompass the entire ranching area to create the “Ol Pejeta Conservancy”, approximately 90,000 acres in extent. This has created the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa, with the aim of generating profit from wildlife tourism and complementary activities (including cattle) for reinvestment into community development in the local area.

The Conservancy boasts the largest sanctuary for black rhinos in East Africa, provides a sanctuary for great apes and is host to the ‘big five’ among a large selection of other African animals. The Conservancy also operates a successful cattle program that is integrated with the local wildlife. The Conservancy also operates programmes with the surrounding local community to aid health, education, water, roads, provision of agriculture and livestock extension services and the development of community-based conservation tourism ventures. It has a number of projects aimed at protecting the highly endangered black rhino, and spends considerable time and effort ensuring that the security and further growth of the current population is maintained, the number of black rhinos on the conservancy currently stands at 100.

In 2009, four of the world’s eight remaining Northern White rhinos were transferred to Ol Pejeta from the Dvur Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic.  Other than these four, Northern White Rhinos have gone extinct in the wild.  Ol Pejeta is trying to repopulate the area with these rhinos.

To learn more, please visit their website.

Organization of the Day: Bonobo Conservation Initiative

Posted in Organization of The Day, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2010 by Dori G

Due to the hostile nature of Congo’s war-ravaged lands, the number of remaining Bonobos apes is one that is hard to pinpoint, and as a result there is no true approximation of their population size today. We are aware of one major fact, however, these creatures are endangered and their numbers are only decreasing. Multiple threats face the Bonobos. Their main habitat exists within only one country: the Democratic Republic of Congo. The wars that have faced this area have directly affected the Bonobos, as well as their use for bushmeat and the destruction of their natural habitat.

The range of the Bonobos is embodied in the last stronghold of the Congo rainforest, a prime target for loggers. Although the government has tried to stop the decimation of the rainforest, illegal activities persist. Bonobos are one of the most fascinating species that exist because of their uncanny similarities to that of man, sharing 98% of the same genetic make-up. The Bonobo Conservation Initiative (BCI) is a small, innovative non-profit organization that is the only one dedicated solely to the conservation of Bonobos. Their observation and respect of the animals has transferred over into their efforts in saving these animals.

Photo credit: Ben Buckley

Bonobos are known to be a peaceful species and BCI adopts this quality into their practices through educating the public, establishing protective areas, and capacity building for Congolese partners and indigenous communities. They have also launched a project known as the Bonobo Peace Forest Project (the Kokolopori Bonobo Reserve), which has gained legal recognition as a nature reserve. The reserve encompasses 1,847 square miles and is home to over 1,000 Bonobos, creating a safe habitat for this species to flourish in. Highly focused on the Bonobos, BCI has found a deep-rooted respect for these creatures and hopes to increase global awareness, believing that everyone can help make a difference.

Photo credit: Dan Caspersz

To learn more, please visit their website.


Posted in Africa: Rhinos, Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2010 by Dori G

Devastated by the poaching frenzy of the 1980’s, black rhino populations are dangerously close to extinction. This period of heavy poaching killed off 98% of the black rhino population and saw the massacre of some 90,000 elephants in Tanzania’s 50,000 km² Selous Game Reserve, the second largest area of the world set aside for wildlife (second only to Antarctica). Today, just barely over 100 of these rhinos are left in this World Heritage Site. Their prized horns are highly valuable in the black market and are used in the Middle East and Asia for medicinal and ornamental uses.Only man is to blame for this atrocity, and it is only man who can reverse the situation. When trying to establish a safari lodge within the Selous Reserve, Lizzy Theobald recognized the immediate need for conservation action to save this rhino species and founded the Kidai Rhino Project in 1995.

Tragically, her vision was cut short two years later when malaria claimed her young life. Her legacy lives on through the Selous Rhino Trust formed in 2000, having one key goal: “to stop the black rhino from becoming extinct in the Selous Game Reserve”. The Trust works with the Tanzanian Wildlife Division to form the Selous Black Rhino Protection Project, a team of twelve rangers and rhino specialists committed to protecting the rhinos (and other wildlife) from poachers. The remote nature of the Reserve and its rough terrain gives poachers many places to hide and makes locating their activities challenging. To overcome this obstacle, the Project uses aerial surveillance and monitoring to identify poaching threats. When found, location information is radioed down to a team on the ground who moves in to apprehend the poachers. The use of aircraft allows for vast tracts of land to be covered in a timely fashion, while also serving as a deterring reminder of the team’s presence.

(Credit: Piet Payer)

There have been no signs of rhino poaching in the last four years at the Reserve, but signs of elephant and hippo poaching are increasing despite the committed efforts of this brave team. Aerial monitoring also aids in the Trust’s surveying activities by identifying prime rhino habitat and quantifying the number of rhinos within the Reserve. Areas identified by air are then surveyed and studied extensively by a team on foot. The Trust also conducts monitoring activities to identify population numbers and to track movements of individual rhinos across the Reserve. On the ground, rangers rarely see the rhinos, but seeing them is not necessary to estimate the size of their population. They use two non-invasive techniques to achieve this task. Dung is collected for DNA analysis, which identifies individuals, their sex, and allows for genetic linkages to be made between individuals. However, DNA analysis is an expensive and lengthy process. Another way to identify individuals on the spot with minimal costs is by tracing rhino footprints.

(Credit: Brandon Daniel)

Each rhino has a distinct footprint, and, when found, the team traces the print onto a transparency sheet and compares it to all previously-catalogued footprints. This allows the team to determine if the rhino is a new individual or is one they already know about. Many of Selous Rhino Trust’s methods and techniques have not been used before in Tanzania, but it is because of the rangers’ developed skills and knowledge of these techniques that their efforts have been so successful. Ranger training takes place at the ranger post, and the Trust often works with other rhino organizations and programs to share ideas and skills. If it weren’t for the Selous Rhino Trust, the Reserve’s black rhino population would undoubtedly be gone. The actions of these brave rangers and their dedication to preserving this majestic species gives hope to keeping the unique and rich Selous Game Reserve wholly intact.

(Credit: Fernando Quevedo)

To learn more, please visit their website

Organization Of The Day: Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Program

Posted in Organization of The Day, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2010 by Dori G

With only about 500 adults left, the Ethiopian Wolf is the rarest candid species in the world and is dangerously close to extinction. While habitat loss and fragmentation are the biggest contributors to their decline, Ethiopian Wolves are also greatly compromised by diseases transmitted by domestic dogs, persecution from humans, and hybridization with domestic dogs. Home to many endemic species, the Afroalpine ecosystem in which the wolves live is also very close to being lost completely. In response to the rapidly declining population, Chris Hillman and Claudio Sillero formed the Ethiopian Wolf Project in 1988, which later gave rise to the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Program (EWCP) in 1995.

With Ethiopian Wolves now only existing in small, isolated population, their survival is severely jeopardized by loss of genetic diversity and inbreeding, and the entire population could easily be wiped out by a natural catastrophe or disease epidemic. Understanding as much as possible about their ecology, biology, and behavior is critical to saving this species from extinction, thus research  is at the core of the EWCP’s objectives. The program closely monitors each sub-population of wolves and works closely with sutdents and researchers to understand every element of this endangered species.With ever-expanding human populations, the wolves come into contact with domestic dogs quite frequently. Consequently, wolves are susceptible to disease that the domestic dogs carry (specifically rabies) and mating has occurred between the two dog species, giving rise to hybrid offspring.

EWCP tries to counteract the effects of the domestic dogs. Hybrids are quickly identified and sterilized to prevent further loss of genetic diversity amongst the wolf populations. The program also offers a domestic dog sterilization program and encourages better dog husbandry amongst local communities. Unfortunately, in the 90’s and again in 2003, a rabies outbreak contracted from domestic dogs nearly destroyed the wolf population. EWCP was able to stop the outbreak by vaccinating the wolves. They also vaccinate domestic dogs to prevent this from happening again. EWCP’s education program targets governments, local authorities, farmers, and school children living in wolf ranges and attempts to educate the people and raise awareness about the disappearing Afroalpine ecosystem and its wolves. EWCP celebrated the 12th annual “Wolf Day” with local communities just this last month, an initiative that seeks to increase awareness and foster positive attitudes toward this canid species. The Education Team visits local schools and distributes education materials to over 3,000 children each year.

Their education officers work with adults in the community, trying to spread the word about the problem with domestic dogs, and encouraging them to have their dogs sterilized. They also try to educate communities on the fact that the wolves are not known to prey on livestock, and thus livestock loss must not end in persecution of these animals. EWCP increases the capacity  of Ethiopians in ecology and conservation by training and mentoring aspiring field biologists. To address the biggest challenge facing the Ethiopian Wolves, EWCP seeks to protect what little is left of the wolves’ Afroalpine ecosystem. They are actively working to expand the boundaries of the area’s National Parks, as many wolves are living outide the parks. Preventing further habitat loss from land converted for cereal crop production and livestock grazing is critical to the future of the Ethiopian Wolves. EWCP seeks to ensure a future for these magnificent animals with the help of present and future generations. Without Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme, the wolves would have surely gone extinct by now.

To learn more, please visit their website


Organization of The Day: Elephant Pepper Trust

Posted in Africa: Elephants, Organization of The Day with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2010 by kendickjerkins

When human-wildlife conflict results in the deaths of wildlife, the outcome can be far-reaching for those populations. Such situations are further amplified when they lead to human deaths as well. Human-wildlife conflict can be caused by a number of factors, but is most commonly agriculture-related. In Africa (and Asia), farmers often find themselves in a gruesome battle defending their livelihood against relentlessly hungry elephants that raid their crop fields.

From beating drums to deploying fireworks to attempting to chase elephants away (which frequently results in human deaths), farmers are often left sleep-deprived and profitless from their agricultural investments. That is until 2002 when stars aligned and a chance meeting between Australian businessman, Michael Gravina, and elephant biologist, Dr. Loki Osborne, resulted in the Elephant Pepper Development Trust (EPDT) and gave new hope to small-scale farmers plagued with elephant problems. Methods for deterring the hungry elephants are only effective if they involve minimal costs and provide long-term solutions. EPDT struck gold when they discovered that elephants are inherently repelled by the smell of chili peppers.

Chilies are easy to grow as they survive in some of the more extreme conditions found in Africa that other crops cannot survive in, are money-making cash crops, and are unpalatable and revolting to most mammal “pests”. EPDT trains local farmers how to implement the use of chilies into their farming practices in a number of ways. Chilies can be planted to create an elephant-repellent buffer zone between valuable crops and wooded elephant habitat. Farmers can also saturate simple string fences with chili grease to discourage elephants from entering. At night (the time when crops are typically raided by the giant pachyderms), briquettes made of chilies and elephant dung can be burned to keep elephants away. Though often skeptical at first, once farmers see the success of these methods playing out for their neighbors, they become sold on these sustainable ideas and seek help from EPDT immediately.

Currently, the Trust is working with communities in areas of Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Namibia with great success, and uses Educational Demonstration sites to educate farmers about their methods.To increase benefits from the use of chilies, EPDT has joined with African Spices Pvt Ltd. to buy surplus chilies from the farmers which are then used to create delicious chili-based, “uniquely African” blends that are sold commercially as an organic, fair trade product. In this way, the farmers profit from the crops that have been protected by the chili methods, from the chili crop, and from the peace of mind brought to them as a result of all of these factors. Elephant conflicts become almost non-existent, preventing the death and injuries of both humans and elephants in a win-win situation.

10% of profits from “Elephant Pepper” products are given back to EPDT to be used for improving and expanding their program to more farmers and communities. This program also provides a way for the global community to become involved with elephant conservation by purchasing the delicious products and supporting the cause. EPDT’s problem animal control methods help to eliminate serious human-wildlife conflicts and can be used to do the same in other areas of the world where elephants and humans have been battling to the death.

To learn more, please visit their website