Ethnic/Racial Minorities - Other Specified
The Mali Elephant Project strengthens the capacity of local communities to stop elephant poaching, and is a joint initiative of The WILD Foundation & International Conservation Fund of Canada.
Local communities in the Gourma region in Mali are at the frontlines of an intense escalation of poaching caused by criminal poaching networks. WILD works with key stakeholder groups to secure a healthy environment that is productive and resilient for both people and elephants, and capable of enduring criminal activity and a variable climate. We take a "whole system" approach that works with national and regional decision makers, businesses, schools, and tourists to empower local communities to manage the environment in a way that: makes more resources (water, pasture, forest) available through protecting and restoring habitats; leaves space for elephants to reduce conflict; assures connectivity and corridors; protects the elephants from illegal killing.
This herd of elephants, which only a few years ago was estimated at 550 individuals and has since declined to around 350 individuals, lives in one of the harshest environments in the world and has one of the longest migration routes of any elephants. Representing 12% of the West African population, they are the most northerly elephant herd in Africa. Threats include poaching, ecosystem degradation, increasing human occupation of their migration route, insurrection, and banditry.
Local communities are heroes in the fight against elephant poaching in the Gourma region. The Mali Elephant Project provides occupations for young men, preventing their radicalization by violent fundamentalists and at the same time protecting elephants and the ecosystems of the Gourma
Using the knowledge gained in Phase I of the Mali Elephant Project (Research and Understanding), we have established population baselines and are better able to report what success looks like.
As recognition of WILD's successful engagement with local communities, the government of Mali asked WILD, through our Mali Elephant Project, to lead a national process guiding reconciliation of the many young men who left local communities to join radical rebels and preparing Mali governmental agencies and communities for the influx of foreign aid.
Conde Nast recognized our work during the war by presenting our Field Leader, Nomba Ganame, with one of their 2013 Conservation Leadership Awards.
Clean and available water, effective communication and collaboration, and consistent research and monitoring are key components to achieving positive results for the Mali Elephant Project. Here is what WILD has accomplished:
- Providing water in an area of good pasture outside the elephant range for the people living around Lake Banzena has been a top priority for the Mali Elephant Project. This enables the local population to move from Lake Banzena and leave this key dry season water for elephant use only.
- Sinking three boreholes in difficult terrain, deep and fractured water tables during the resurgence of conflict caused by northern rebels. The boreholes have been completed and we have evidence that our strategy is working.
- The numbers of cattle have diminished greatly at the lake, and Lake Banzena did not dry this year, despite poor rains last year. The elephants have enough water to survive.
- Community-forester patrols sponsored by WILD are now autonomous, and continue to patrol with the camels donated by the project. As a result, illegal wood cutting, charcoal burning and hunting has diminished markedly, leaving more forage for elephants.
Ethnic/Racial Minorities -- General
Native Americans/American Indians
Young Adults (20-25 years)
The first World Wilderness Congress convened in South Africa in 1977. It pioneered the concept of wilderness as an issue of international importance. Each Congress there-after has broken new ground and has had real positive conservation results globally. The Congress has now convened 10 times on 4 continents and is the world's longest-running, public conservation project and environmental forum.
The Congress convenes to create solutions and IMPLEMENT THEM. It integrates art, science, management, government, academia, native leaders, youth, corporate leaders and advocates into a multi-year conservation program, with unique results at each convening. It is the best-known and most effective global platform for debating and ACTING on wilderness issues. We provide a balanced approach, taking on highly charged issues in a constructive manner, and most importantly helping to facilitate solutions.
The WWC is an ongoing conservation project, focused on practical outcomes in policy, new wilderness areas, new funding mechanisms, trainings for communities and professionals, and more. Read the outcomes of the most recent WWC,WILD10 with over 1000 delegates from 65 countries at wild10.org
The WWC creates and announces new and improved protection of wilderness:
Queensland's Premier established protections for several new areas of intact rainforest adjacent to Queensland's Daintree National Park at the 2nd WWC.
Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser announced the expansion of Australia's Great Barrier Reef National Park and recommends submission for World Heritage status at the 2nd WWC.
At the 7th WWC a consortium of government agencies and non-governmental organizations announced an initiative to expand South Africa's Baviaanskloof ("Baboon's Ridge") Nature Reserve from 200,000 hectares (494,000 acres) to (500,000 hectares/1.235m acres), and received a grant from the GEF to implement the project. Angola's Kissama National Park received a grant of $1 million USD from the GEF.
Adrian Gardiner (Shamwari Game Reserve), the Wilderness Foundation (South Africa) and WILD announced the first wilderness designation on private property in Africa at the 7th WWC. The area is approximately 3,000 hectares (7,500 acres). The same organizations announce a second 15,000 hectare (45,000 acre) area on the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve at the 8th WWC.
The CEMEX Corporation launched the El Carmen Wilderness Area (30,365 hectares/75,000 acres) on critically important habitat it owns in Northern Mexico at the 8th WWC.
A consortium of non-governmental organizations announces the designation of The Bonobo Peace Forest Initiative in the Democratic Republic of Congo at the 8th WWC.
Collaboration with government agencies, NGOs and indigenous partners to strengthen peer-to-peer networks, share best-management practices and stimulate ongoing collaboration.
The WILD Foundation is promoting smart growth and sustainable development by keeping the planet wild, providing both short-term relief and long-term protection for our vital wild places. In North America, we are creating systemic, large-scale momentum for wilderness protection by initiating, incubating and facilitating the North American Intergovernmental Committee on Cooperation for Wilderness and Protected Area Conservation (NAWPA). This group of seven North American government agencies - the Parks Canada Agency of the Government of Canada; the Mexican National Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) of the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT); the U.S. National Park Service (NPS), Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) of the U.S. Department of Interior; and the Forest Service and Office of Ecosystem Services & Markets (now Office of Environmental Markets) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - is protecting wilderness by leveraging the power of collective impact. It also represents the first time all seven agency heads have met to coordinate wilderness protection strategies.
WILD has facilitated at least one general committee meeting every year since establishment in 2011. WILD also coordinates working group meetings.
Nature Needs Half™ is a vision of the planet that is protected through connecting at least half of the Earth's natural areas, on both land and water. Based on scientific consensus and an ethic of reciprocity NNH is a vision for a vital and necessary new relationship between people and nature. NNH ensures that enough natural areas of land and water are protected and interconnected - and are of sufficient size and quality - to provide life-support ("ecosystem and biodiversity services") essential to both human health and prosperity, and to assure a bountiful, beautiful legacy of wild nature. Human well-being depends on a healthy, resilient, and abundant natural world… NNH is as much about the resilience of human populations as it is about wilderness. To survive and thrive, we must share this planet equally with nature.
The escalating global ecological crisis - characterized by loss of natural habitat and ecosystem services, increasing species extinctions, and rapid warming of the planet - has demonstrated that conservation efforts to date have not been sufficient to sustain life on earth. While this has been happening, our ecological knowledge has also increased dramatically, especially concerning how much land and water we must protect to support life on Earth. Many assessments over the last 20 years have typically determined that nature needs at least half of a given eco-region to be protected, and needs to be interconnected with other such areas, in order to maintain its full range of life-supporting, ecological and evolutionary processes, the long term survival of the species that live there, and to ensure the system's resilience in the face of environmental change. Some ecosystems will require more than half.
Simply put, Nature Needs Half™, and it is time to say so.
The goal has already been largely achieved in many parts of the world. Boulder County, Colorado, USA, the home of The WILD Foundation, is 67% protected. The Canadian Boreal Framework (signed onto by many varied interests) calls for the protection of at least of Canada's Boreal Forest in an interconnected manner, and both Quebec and Ontario have made public commitments towards at least half of their vast northern regions. Over half of British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands (Canada) have been protected through the combined action of governments and the Haida people. Countries such as Bhutan and Venezuela have set ambitious conservation targets; 51% of Bhutan is currently protected and 46% of Venezuela is currently protected. The Dominican Republic, a very small nation with a dense and growing population and one of the lowest per capita incomes in the western hemisphere has 67 protected areas covering 32% of the county's land.