Wildlife management in tropical moist forest

Everyone is aware that tropical moist primary forest have been disappearing by millions of hectares. Natural habitats are being transformed to small farms or large-scale agricultural monocultures such as soybean and sugarcane, and extensive livestock ranching, etc.These forests are however the home to some of the planet's highest biodiversity, including very large numbers of living organisms and ecosystems, which are still unknown to science. Since the extinction of wild species is primarily due to the loss of their habitat, and since this loss results from socio-economic pressures favoring alternative land-uses, it must be demonstrated that wild products can be equally or even more profitable" The contribution of wildlife as a natural resource of great social and economic value for rural populations as food, local and international trade was recognized by all participants". A meeting was held in Manaus, with the support of the Foundation. All participants, except those from Costa-Rica and El Salvador, expressed however regrets that the value of wildlife as a resource was not recognizes by Latin American governments and, as a result, funding for wildlife research, conservation and development projects and law enforcement was very limited. This situation is slowly changing, but protectionist attitudes must be altered so as to encourage the sustainable of valuable fauna and flora, in order to open and/or develop controlled national and international markets for this biodiversity, so as to justify and motivate its long-term conservation and development.

Reintroduction of the wood bison

From endangered to huntable : The bison has always been considered as a symbol of the survival of man in North America. Of the three existing sub-species, the wood bison (Bison bison athabascae) is the largest : an adult bull weighs as much as one ton. It is the emblem of the Province of Manitoba. The remaining herd of 2,000 wood bison, preserved in Wood Buffalo National Park, was becoming hybridized with introduced plains bison. In 1965, a first pure-bred selected herd was moved from Wood Buffalo National Park to Mackenzie Bison Sanctuary, in the Northwest Territories, and a second one to Elk Island National Park, in Alberta. To secure the long term conservation of the wood bison, remove it from the red list of endangered species, and restore it to a huntable status, at least five free-ranging herds needed to be reestablished in Canada. The reintroduction of this species would also allow its reintegration in the local Indian traditional economy. The Foundation initiated the translocation of 34 wood bison in february 1984 to Northern Manitoba, from where it had totally disappeared a century ago. Eleven calves were born that same year. At the same time, the Foundation involved the local Indian people, the Waterhen Band, in building captive breeding and release pens, making sure that the reintroduction would benefit their local economy, especially when bison numbers would allow release to the wild and subsequent harvesting of the animals. It would then become possible for the Band either to hunt them themselves or have them hunted by outsiders. The wood bison reintroduction, breeding and release were such a success that it was downlisted from Canada's Red List of Endangered Species in 1988 : Three additional populations were established in the Northern Territories where limited hunting has been allowed by residents since 1990. Since 1993, a quota of wood bison can also be harvested by non-residents in Canada. This endeavour has allowed constructive dialogue and collaboration between local Indian tribes, the Provincial and the Federal Government on the restoration, management and sustainable harvesting of wildlife. It is providing long-term incentive for wood bison conservation as well as benefits and employment to local people throughout Canada. The Foundation's aim was to ensure that this initiative continues to provide socio-economic benefits for the local Indian Band, help the initiatives taken by Canada - and then by the United States - to downlist the species, and have it recognized internationally as unendangered, which was accomplished in June 1997 by CITES. It is, furthermore, to publicize this example of successful rehabilitation of a species driven by the incentive of a sustainable harvest providing benefits to the local economy.



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