30 African countries launch joint initiative to save 4 carnivore species

More than 30 countries hosting the African wild dog, cheetah, leopard and the lion in Bonn, Germany have announced establishment of African Carnivore Initiative. It is first Africa-wide commitment towards saving these carnivores.

Key Facts

Supported by experts of IUCN Cat Specialist Group, these 30 range states agreed to establish work programme to guide their conservation actions in coming years. The countries agreed also agreed developing and implementing conservation strategies for each of four species; creating and maintaining network of healthy ecosystems to address threat of increasingly fragmented habitats and finding solutions to human-animal conflicts and facilitating coexistence. It also includes sustainable economic and livelihood benefits to communities and reducing costs of living alongside wildlife.

African Carnivores Initiative

  • It is umbrella initiative that targets four iconic African carnivore species African Lion (Panthera leo), Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), Leopard (Panthera pardus), and African Wild Dog (Lycaon pictus).
  • It is unique collaboration between only two global treaties whose mandate is to conserve endangered species
  • Convention on Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS): It focuses on broad conservation measures, such as habitat protection, establishment of ecological corridors and mitigation of human-wildlife conflict.
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): It regulates international trade and seeks to stop illegal trade.

Mandate

  • Develop concrete, coordinated and synergistic conservation programmes for all four carnivore species, with local and regional projects implemented across their African range;
  • Develop policy guidance and recommendations for Range States, CITES and CMS concerning the four species.
  • Organize the collaboration with other conservation initiatives and organizations, such as IUCN.

Background

  • According to Red List Assessments of International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), African wild dog inhabits 6% of its historic range, while it is 9% for cheetah, 51% for the leopard and 17% for the lion.
  • The main reasons for these animals’ rapid decline across most of Africa are habitat loss and fragmentation, prey depletion, retaliatory killing by owners of livestock and increasing trade in lion specimens and live cheetah.

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