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Ethiopia's Cheetahs, Wild Dogs, and Lions Get National Action Plans


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By: Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

cheetah.JPG
Three of Ethiopia’s large carnivores – the cheetah, wild dog, and lion – received much-needed action plans today to address future conservation of these imperiled predators, which are increasingly threatened by development and human-related activities.
April 19, 2012 - Three of Ethiopia's large carnivores – the cheetah, wild dog, and lion – received much-needed action plans today to address future conservation of these imperiled predators, which are increasingly threatened by development and human-related activities.

The plans, endorsed by Dr. Kifle, Director General of the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority, were launched today at a press conference held today at Wildlife Rescue, Conservation, and Education Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The plans were developed during national workshops by the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority together with representatives from key NGOs, including the Wildlife Conservation Society, Zoological Society of London, Frankfurt Zoological Society, and Born Free Foundation. Representatives from South Sudan Wildlife Service and Kenya Wildlife Service also attended and provided advice about transboundary populations. The workshops were funded by the Wildlife Conservation Society, Howard G. Buffet Foundation, and Zoological Society of London, while the Columbus Zoo provided additional funding to support their implementation.

"These two strategies will serve as roadmaps to conserve Ethiopia's cheetahs, wild dogs, and lions," said Dr. Sarah Durant, WCS Conservationist and Zoological Society of London Senior Research Fellow. "Ethiopia is an important area connecting East Africa to North Africa populations for these large carnivores. We are confident that the national action plans released today will go a long way in ensuring the conservation of these species for future generations."

Speaking at the press conference, Mr. Yenneneh, representative of the Ethiopia Wildlife Conservation Authority, said: "These action plans were drawn through a collaborative effort, and it is important that this collaboration continues if Ethiopia is to succeed in protecting these important wildlife species. The national action plans provide a guideline for conservation from initial surveys to management. The Ethiopia Wildlife Conservation Authority thanks all of the organizations and people that had assisted with the planning process."

Netty Puchase, Lead Coordinator - Range Wide Conservation Planning for Cheetah for ZSL/WCS, said: "This is a very exciting day for cheetah, wild dog, and lion conservation, as a national action plan provides the roadmap for all concerned to start working to ensure that cheetahs, wild dogs, and lions continue to survive, and populations are protected in Ethiopia. The national action plan was developed under the umbrella of the regional strategic planning process of cheetah and wild dog in East Africa, and as a result Ethiopia is part of this larger network of committed governments – a network that is critical to ensure that cheetah and wild dog persist well into the future."

Cheetah and Wild Dog Action Plan

The national action plan for cheetahs and wild dogs recognized that these two species have wide overlap in their conservation needs. Both require larger areas than many other carnivore species making conservation actions more difficult. Rapid expansion of land under agriculture and construction in Ethiopia compounds the problem. Other risk factors include livestock conflicts, prey loss, poorly managed tourism, illegal trade, and disease – particularly for wild dogs.

A number of Ethiopia's important wild dog and cheetah populations straddle international boundaries, particularly the borders with Kenya and South Sudan. Transboundary management will therefore be required for long term conservation of both species in Ethiopia.

The goal of the national action plan for cheetah and wild dogs is to reverse the declines and improve the status of cheetah and wild dog populations and their habitats across Ethiopia.

The plan contains specific objectives with timetables for activities. Objectives include:

• Developing and implementing strategies to promote co-existence while managing conflicts between people and cheetah and wild dogs.

• Improving knowledge on cheetah and wild dog populations and providing relevant stakeholders and managers with scientific and timely information.

• Strengthening capacity to conserve cheetahs and wild dogs.

• Mainstreaming cheetah and wild dog conservation in land-use planning and its implementation.

• Encouraging networking and collaboration within the country and with neighboring countries.

Lion Action Plan

The goal of the action plan for lions is to secure, and where possible restore, sustainable lion populations throughout their present and potential range in Ethiopia, recognizing their potential to provide substantial social, cultural, ecological, and cultural benefits.

Though African lions are the national symbol of Ethiopia, they are also the principle predator of domestic livestock and present a risk to human life. Livestock loss and poor management capacity for human–lion conflicts has led to declines in lion populations.

Ethiopia plays an important role in the species' distribution pattern with the southern part of the country providing a crucial link in the connectivity between East and Central African lion populations.

The plan contains specific objectives with timetables for activities. Objectives include:

• Ensuring effective conservation and management of lions, their habitats and wild prey.

• Mitigation of human-lion related conflict.

• Maximizing the benefits of lion conservation and ensuring equitable distribution of the same to communities and other stakeholders.

• Ensuring that all land-use plans and strategies do not negatively impact, and if possible contribute to, lion conservation.

• Preventing illegal trade in lion and lion products.

• Authors of the National Action Plan for the Conservation of the African Lion in Ethiopia include: Ethiopia Wildlife Conservation Authority, Born Free Foundation, Wildlife Conservation Society, Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Panthera, and Zoological Society of London.

• Authors of the National Action Plan for the Conservation of Cheetah and African Wild Dog in Ethiopia include: Ethiopia Wildlife Conservation Authority, Wildlife Conservation Society, Howard G. Buffet Foundation, and Zoological Society of London.

 

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