Reintroduction of the cheer pheasant

Following a request from the Government of Pakistan, the Foundation furnished financial support in order to reintroduce, with the help of the Game Conservancy, a viable population of Cheer Pheasant (Catreus wallichi) in the Margalla Hills, via the shipment of eggs from breeding birds in the U.K Over a period of 3 years, 1,000 cheer pheasant eggs were produced , sent to be hatched in Pakistan, and the products released to the wild. The operation has been continued under the sponsorship of the World Pheasant Association.


Taxonomy of wild sheep

One of the first preoccupations of the Foundation was the conservation and management of Mongolia's argali (Ovis ammon), largest wild sheep in the world.But other species of wild sheep occur from the Western Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Sardinia, through the Middle East, all of Central Asia and Eastern Siberia. The identification of the different species has kept professional taxonomists arguing fiercely for decades. The Foundation has promoted and facilitated the DNA study of Asian wild sheep and goats. This will help to identify the species and/or isolated populations. This information is necessary for management and law enforcement information purposes


Translocation of blackbuck antelope

In Nepal, due to a number of factors, the range of blackbuck antelope (Antelope cervicapra) had been reduced : the Kingdom of Nepal asked the Foundation to help them with a financial contribution to reestablish a viable population in the west of the country. A certain number of blackbuck antelope were captured, translocated and released to the wild, in partnership with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management of Nepal. This project initiated the research on suitable reintroduction conditions and identified the need to make further attempts, if conditions were favorable.


Wildlife conservation

In the 1970's, it was apparent to the Government of the MPR and to the Foundation that the pastoralist economy of the country, based mainly on raising millions of domestic sheep and goats, together with widespread poaching of game species was endangering the very survival of some exceptional wildlife species which were abundant in the past. For instance, the argali (Ovis ammon), which are the largest wild sheep in the world - adult males weigh up to 300 kilos - were now rarely seen: they are found in the Altaï mountain range of Mongolia. At the initiative of the Foundation, the MPR's Government accepted to collaborate in the domain of ecological monitoring and wildlife management in the country. A protocol was signed in 1978 between IGF and the MPR government to: create Khukhtsyrh Reserve preserving approximately 100,000 hectares for the wildlife of the High Altaï, i.e. argali, siberian ibex, wolves, snow leopard, etc., draw up and implement a management plan for argali and ibex, equip wardens to patrol the Reserve, organize scientific expeditions to carry out wildlife inventories, monitor their trends and evaluate range recovery following the exclusion of domestic stock from the Reserve, establish contacts, for the MPR Government, with North-American specialists in management of wild sheep and particularly of water supply for desert sheep habitat improvement, introduce Mongolian hunting authorities to European and American safari agents so as to develop tourist hunting revenues through sustainable use of wildlife. After a few years of total protection, this collaboration resulted in the possibility to reopen argali hunting on a limited quota basis, harvesting 5 to 30 trophy argali, depending on natural mortality of the previous year.A scientific mission of the Foundation in June 1994 estimated that Khukhtsyrh Reserve was by then populated by 800 argali and 1,500 ibex, with numbers increasing. The Foundation was equally active in informing the US Government of these conservation measures, which have made it possible to import argali hunting trophies into the US. Since US sportsmen make up about half of all sheep hunters, this possibility provided vital financial returns to local and national conservation authorities in Mongolia. In 1982, another agreement was reached with the MPR Government to help establish the Ar-Toul Reserve, of approximately one million hectares, in the virgin taïga northeast of Ulan-Bator. The wildlife of the taïga includes Asiatic wapiti, brown bear, wolf, wolverine, lynx, Siberian roedeer, capercaillie, etc. The Foundation was instrumental in convincing the MPR Government to invest very large sums from the national budget for the conservation and management of wildlife. The Foundation will continue to collaborate and provide follow-up and advice to the MPR Government. Two missions were carried out in 1997. It is to be hoped that the new regional autonomy of the MPR's Provinces will allow further development of the Foundation's approach, which consists in demonstrating that conservation of biodiversity is compatible with the development of rural and national economies.


Can intensive farming support wildlife?

As a game bird, the grey partridge (Perdix perdix), always were to French cereal-growing plains what grouse (Lagopus scoticus) have meant to the moors of Scotland. Partridge populations had decreased dramatically in the last decades. Research by the Game Conservancy (U.K.) had demonstrated that insecticides were certainly responsible, but it was believed that other chemical treatments and agricultural methods such as irrigation might also affect recruitment of young birds. The Foundation launched a big project on the general theme: "Is it possible to reconcile modern, intensive agriculture and the grey partridge's survival in Europe? " Newborn partridge chicks are entirely dependant on a high-protein insect diet during the first ten days of their lives. Insufficient insect densities led to 100% chick mortality. But the presence of most insects on farmland depends largely on broad-leafed weeds. Weeds and insects are, on the other hand, considered as pests by farmers and were eliminated in the race for greater cereal production. To resolve this problem, the Foundation brought together as partners all the interested stakeholders: farmers, hunters, agronomists, biologists, etcÉand their professional institutions. A number of farms practicing intensive cereal growing were chosen as proving grounds. Different avenues for weed/insect/partridge rehabilitation were tested, the ecology of the farmland and the evolution of partridge populations monitored. United Kingdom research had highlighted the need for the "3-legged stool" approach for partridge conservation and development, i.e. providing nesting cover where insects were abundant, controlling predators and adapting shooting levels to partridge densities. The Foundation showed that a fourth leg was needed for that stool in order to enable partridge population to grow back to former densities: supplemental feeding for the adults, all year round, together with adapted high-protein pellets for the chicks in their early age. This last leg is imperative in what remains a hostile and poor environment for wild birds. As a result of the project, on many farms in Central and Northern France, wild partridge nesting densities have grown back to over 50 breeding pairs per 100 hectares and breeding success allows a sustained bag of one bird /hectare/year. The Foundation's strategy has been to publicize on a large scale the project's results, demonstrating that means exist to reconcile conservation of some biodiversity with agricultural policies and economic constraints. An extension booklet was published, and a 55-minute videocassette was produced explaining the recipes for success.


 
 

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