Frontline Dispatches – April 2023 Vol. V, No. 4
Bison restoration plan announced by U.S. Department of Interior. Bison recovery is one of America’s greatest conservation success stories. Wild populations have rebounded to about 15,000 but their range remains limited. Engagement with tribes and using indigenous knowledge will be core to the government’s new $25 million grasslands conservation effort.
Montana sets unprecedented 5-year plan for bighorn sheep management and restoration. The Wild Sheep Foundation calls the state’s investment the most comprehensive effort undertaken by Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The work will include new research on bighorns co-mingling with domestic sheep and disease transmission, with support and engagement from Montana’s wool growers. Learn more about all the conservation actions to be taken here.
Oregon biologists are monitoring an important California bighorn sheep population. The Hart Mountain herd, the state’s first successful reintroduction, is now being studied to assess population response to cougar removal and improvement of habitat and water sources. Watch the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s video to learn more.
New York biologists are studying the state’s Adirondack moose population, reports MeatEater. The Department of Environmental Conservation is collaring moose calves and juveniles to monitor population growth and impacts of brain worm and winter ticks. Previous helicopter surveys estimated 700 moose in the Adirondack mountains.
Study monitors elk calf survival in Tennessee. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and University of Tennessee partnered with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to complete a 3-year project to better estimate elk population dynamics and improve management. Watch a video of biologists capturing elk from a helicopter here.
Invasive oryx are distressing New Mexico ecosystem. Introduced decades ago from Africa, the oryx has become a popular game species that generates revenue for the state’s Game and Fish Department. But with the population growing exponentially, oryx are overgrazing Chihuahua Desert habitat and outcompeting native species like pronghorn and mule deer, creating a complex management challenge.
New tool will support management decisions for wild horses and burros. A modelling program released by the U.S. Geological Survey and Bureau of Land Management allows wildlife managers to compare outcomes of different management actions and their costs. Feral horse and burro populations now exceed range capacity in many parts of the western U.S., overgrazing natural ecosystems and outcompeting native wildlife.
Indigenous-led funding model benefits ecosystems and local economies in Canada, per Mongabay News. 27 First Nations invested $79 million on 439 environmental and economic development projects, including one of world’s first “project finance for performance” models, with the aim of sustaining 85% of temperate forest in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii.
$1.6 billion in conservation funding generated by sportspeople in back-to-back record-breaking years. This funding comes from America’s system of conservation based on excise taxes on recreational shooting, hunting, and fishing equipment from the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts, reports the Congressional Sportsmen Foundation.
Lions return to the beach as population expands in Namibia. While lions relearn how to hunt a unique marine diet on Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, a new geofencing project implemented by the Desert Lion Conservation Trust acts as a warning system to mitigate conflicts with tourists.
New study links distribution of benefits to tolerant wildlife attitudes in Mozambique. Developing strong local institutions to manage equitable benefit sharing through active community participation is critical to successful natural resource management and including rural people in Africa’s wildlife economy.
PATROL: Anti-Poaching in Action launches to feature work of safari operators across Africa. This new platform will show the behind-the-scenes efforts of anti-poaching groups and realities of on-the-ground conservation. Watch their documentary videos here.
United Kingdom’s House of Commons passes hunting trophy import ban, after much controversy. British Members of Parliament voted in favor of the bill despite criticism from African communities and academics calling out misinformation in the parliamentary debate.
Lynx are making a silent comeback in Europe. The LIFE Lynx project aims to develop a strategic approach to ensure long-term viability of the reintroduced lynx population in the Dinaric-Southeast Alps area. The support of European hunters and international cooperation was recently highlighted at the International Lynx Conference in Slovenia, reports the European Federation for Hunting and Conservation.
Ocean conference reaches historic agreement for marine protection, reports BBC News. After 10 years of negotiations, a $20 billion commitment was made by parties to the High Seas Treaty to protect 30% of international waters by 2030. Only 1.2% of the high seas are currently protected and 10% of global marine species are at risk of extinction. This agreement will limit fishing activity, shipping lanes, and mining exploration, and seek to share marine resource benefits with developing nations.
Climate change exacerbates human-wildlife conflicts and impacts vulnerable human populations, according to a new global review. Understanding the effects of climate, such as drought, and reintegrating local cultural knowledge could provide solutions. Read the publication to learn more.
Brazil’s indigenous territories are jaguar hotspots, new research shows. Jaguars occupy 50% of their historical range with an estimated 64,000 cats, half of which are in Brazil. 8 of the top 10 highest priority protected areas are indigenous lands, making local participation and funding crucial to conservation efforts.
Pablo Escobar’s ‘cocaine’ hippos may be protected, fears researchers reacting to Columbia’s environmental ministry’s new policy direction. The invasive hippos have increased from an original 3 escapees to 150 individuals and pose a threat to the environment, native endangered species, and local fisheries. However, the government seems paralyzed by groups advocating for their protection.