The NGO WildTeam is protecting one of the most iconic animals in the world by helping the communities that live alongside the tigers of the Sundarbans.
We are excited to arrive in the Annapurna Conservation Area, to spend the next few days hiking the Annapurna Circuit, enjoying a landscape cradled within the Himalayas and observing one of Nepal’s iconic ‘Conservation Areas’ through our ecologist glasses. What we found simply amazed us: remote villages and monasteries showcasing a beautiful intertwining of Hinduism and Buddhism, the shifting landscape from jungle and terrace farmlands through dense alpine forests and rugged slopes to the abode of eternal snow, constantly surrounded by epic views of the Nepalese Himalayas.
The Annapurna Conservation Area is the first protected area in Nepal that has allowed local residents to continue living within the boundaries after its establishment as well as play an integral part in the conservation of local nature.
Before we arrived in India, we had a certain eurocentric picture of human-wildlife conflict and its challenging mitigation. Unfortunately, where humans and large carnivores share space, a diversity of conflicts can emerge. And across Europe, there is a low tolerance for the presence of these species.
So what can we expect as we reach the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, which is regarded as the second most affected state by human-tiger conflicts in the whole country?
What needs to be done to make sure humans and big cats coexist peacefully now and in the future? Nowhere is this question more evident than in India, where around 32 million people are already living as next-door-neighbors to tigers in a country that hosts over 70% of the world’s remaining wild tigers.
In our two months in Georgia, we have met many people who work in the field of nature conservation: protected area staff including rangers and visitor centre specialists, environmental NGOs, the government’s Agency of Protected Areas and activists to get an insight into nature conservation in Georgia has developed since the collapse of the Soviet Union and, most importantly, the way forward for the future.
In this article, we want to cover three important pillars in Georgian nature conservation which we have not specifically covered so far: funding with a special focus on the Caucasus Nature Fund, the political agenda to enlarge the protected area network made possible by the Agency of Protected Areas, and the crucial work of rangers.
Throughout its 30 years of existence, NACRES has become a centrepiece in the conservation puzzle of Georgia. We had the chance to accompany the conservation team on their field work to monitor the East Caucasian turs in the mountainous Kazbegi National Park. We spent the days searching for Caucasian turs on the majestic slopes of the Kazbegi National Park, while the evenings were filled with talks about Georgian biodiversity, human-wildlife conflict, effectiveness of protected areas and capacity building of rangers.
As we approached the province of Hatay, we had no idea yet how intricate and strong the nature protection community really is here. But soon enough, we found out that like the underground network of trees in a forest, the protectors of Hatay developed a unique and diverse network, consisting of academicians, conservationists, media personnel and nature enthusiasts, working as coordinated as we have not seen before.
And what are they protecting? Taking up only 0.7% of Turkey, Hatay hosts 60% of all of the country’s mammal species. Moreover, it is a major bottleneck for migratory birds and hosts some of Turkey’s most important wetlands belonging to the Asi river basin.
We visited the Agigea Ornithological Observatory on the Romanian black sea coast to talk about why ringing birds is so important and what we can learn from it. What we did not expect is to learn about the 100-year-old protected sand dunes located in just next to the port of Constanta.
The ‘Dunele Marine de la Agigea’ (sea dunes of Agigea) are in fact the only natural sea sand dunes left on the entire Romanian coastline outside the Danube Delta. But how can a 100-year-old, so strategically located protected area survive world wars as well as communism? Not easily, we can tell you this much…
Our second visit was a personal one for me (Jonas). My first ever job in nature conservation was at the Naturpark Taunus, a nature park located in the Central Upland range of the Taunus mountains in Central Germany with an area of 1348 km2. I did a voluntary year called “FÖJ” here after I graduated from high school. Shortly before …