Endangered Wildlife Trust

Saving carnivores
Summary
Create Conservation Project/Cause - Saving carnivores | Carroll Hutchings
Purpose/Mission: 
Since established in 1973, the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) has grown from the three founding individuals focused on three projects to over 100 staff members working on over 100 projects across southern and East Africa. Their passionate staff members are dedicated to conserving threatened species and ecosystems in southern Africa for the benefit of all people. The EWT achieves its mission by delivering on our three Strategic Imperatives: Saving species, conserving habitats, benefitting people.
Saturday, 17 February, 2024 to Monday, 17 February, 2025

Although Africa’s carnivores are celebrated and attract tourists from all over, they face grave threats and are among the most Endangered mammals in Africa. The Endangered Wildlife Trust conserves southern Africa’s carnivores by reducing threats to their survival and protecting and restoring their habitats.

 

Africa’s carnivores are highly celebrated by almost all cultures and attract tourists from all over the world. However, these animals are also in great danger. The main threats they face are habitat destruction and loss of safe spaces in which they are not impacted or threatened by humans. Habitat fragmentation by barriers such as fences or roads is also a significant threat. These barriers prevent animals from reaching other populations to breed. When this happens, animals breed with close relatives, otherwise known as inbreeding. The result is a loss of genetic diversity within populations, weakening their health and ability to evolve adaptations to survive environmental changes brought on by climate change and other human impacts.

Furthermore, people trade carnivores illegally as pets or for their body parts. They also use their skins for fashion, decoration, and religious or status symbols. Bones, particularly lion bones, may be used in traditional medicine and are in demand across Africa and globally. They are increasingly threatened by the illegal wildlife trade, which is particularly damaging and challenging to address. Lions are often poisoned to obtain these parts, which often kills dozens or even hundreds of other scavengers in the process. The conflict between people and carnivores is also a serious threat and is the primary driver of carnivore population declines across Africa. Conflicts often occur because people fear for their safety or when carnivores kill their livestock. This sometimes results in the revenge killing of carnivores.

Background: 

The Endangered Wildlife Trust has conserved South African carnivores since it was founded in 1973. Carnivores are so central to the EWT’s work that the Cheetah pawprint is our logo. The EWT works to reduce threats to carnivores, including addressing conflict between carnivores and people. A key component of this approach is continuous engagement with communities, providing education on carnivores, raising awareness of their importance, threats they face, and solutions to reduce conflict between carnivores and people. We protect existing carnivore populations by using near-real-time monitoring systems to identify Wild Dog packs in danger from snares and human-wildlife conflict, and we recover lost range across the continent. We help to maintain the genetic diversity of recovered populations that cannot disperse naturally due to barriers like fences and densely populated human landscapes by relocating offspring to reserves with unrelated individuals. To reduce the impact of potentially devastating poisoning events, we work with the EWT’s Vultures for Africa Programme to provide Poison Intervention Training for rangers and reserve managers. We use a holistic approach to address all threats to carnivores so that our work is effective and sustainable.