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The Babbler

Number 48 (October - December) 2013

Painting of the Saola by Jon Fjelds책. Professor, Curator. Natural History Museum of Denmark


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The Babbler 48

CONTENTS

The Babbler

Number 48 (October - December) 2013

In this issue Feature

Excerpt from The Last Unicorn by William deBuys

Profile

Page 3

Regional News Page 10

IBA News Page 30

Rarest of the rare

Page 54

Page 40

Page 55

Dedicated to the conservation of Vietnam's threatened fauna Le Minh Duc

Obituary

Passing of leading conservationist in Myanmar. Dr. Htin Hla

South Africa and Laos to sign rhino protection pact Sickening truth of the illegal trade in rhino horn Asia's most precious wood is soaked in blood A stunning new species of dragon tree discovered in Thailand China’s rarest seabird benefits from colony restoration

Personal Profile

Official says legality of sanctuary logging unknown Ex-environment minister says deforestation exaggerated Forest falls in Ratanakiri to the tune of chainsaws

Staff News

Page 56

Page 57

Just Published

Saola rediscovered!

Page 59

Page 38

Project Updates

ADHOC Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association

BirdLife Cambodia Programme welcomes new team members Farewell to members of the CEPF-RIT team Life, Fish and Mangroves Tiger Forever: Saving the World's Most Endangered Big Cat Chim Viet Nam Gioi thieu mot so loai

Record numbers of White-shouldered Ibis in Cambodia Overview of projects recently completed under CEPF-RIT Recent camera trapping and exploration of the Stuong Tin Hieng To visit the official website of the organisations featured in this document, please click on the organisation logo as required.

BirdLife Cambodia Programme Office #9, Street 29 Tonle Bassac, Chamkarmon, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. P.O.Box: 2686 Tel/Fax: +855 23 993 631


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COMMENT

At the end of 2013, BirdLife’s role providing the Regional Implementation Team for the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund in the Indochina region came to an end after five years. During December grantees and staff worked to complete and close the final 28 small grant agreements and most of the final project reports are now available on the CEPF website. With the closure of this project BirdLife loses its last two Hanoi based staff Pham Thi Bich Hai and Nguyen Hoang Long who have worked with great professionalism throughout the project. I would like to extend my sincerest thanks and send them my very best wishes in their future careers. Our Cambodia Project Officer Sum Phearun moves over to become Vulture Conservation Officer in the Cambodia Programme. It is with great sadness that in this issue we record the passing of Dr. Htin Hla, known as Tony to his many friends. I first met Tony in 2002 quite soon after he had begun to develop an interest in birds and their conservation. I had the privilege of working together with him in the high mountains of Kachin and the lowland forests of Taninathryi. The decade we spent together were “golden years” for both of us as Tony reminded me only in September. One of the grants BirdLife provided as part of its CEPF small grant fund was to Lore of the Land to enable William deBuys to research and write a book about the Saola with the purpose of raising the public profile of this remarkable animal and in the hope that in turn this will broaden support for its conservation. Bill’s book The Last Unicorn is to be published by Little Brown & Co. in 2015. In this issue of The Babbler we are delighted to feature an excerpt from the book that Photographs: above Jeremy Holden, right Jonathan C. Eames describe the events surrounding its discovery. How timely then and the perfect postscript, was the disclosure of the camera trapping of an individual in Vietnam during the last quarter. Throughout 2013 and especially during the past quarter Economic Land Concessions in Cambodia have made front-page news almost daily in Phnom Penh. Events in Ratanakiri Province, especially in and around Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary have featured with great regularity. The roles played by international banks, locally based equity funds and the conduct of Vietnamese agri-business have been prominent mainly as the result of the lobbying of Cambodian NGO ADHOC and Global Witness. In this issue we report widely on accusations and developments and profile ADHOC. BirdLife has this quarter undertaken a consultancy for Hoang Anh Gia Lai at their ELCs in Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary in an attempt to mitigate their impact and I plan to report on this more fully in the next issue. A happy and prosperous New Year to you all. The Babbler is the quarterly newsletter of BirdLife International in Indochina. The 48th edition of the Babbler was compiled by Tracy Brookshaw and edited by Jonathan C. Eames. The views expressed are those of contributors and are not necessarily those of BirdLife International.


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FEATURE

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Photograph: Steve Werblow

Excerpt from The Last Unicorn: A Search for One of Earth's Rarest Creatures

Featuring the forthcoming book written by William deBuys. Little, Brown & Co., available 2015.

The folkloric account of the discovery of Saola goes roughly like this: a group of field biologists are taking a day off from their survey of the Vu Quang Nature Reserve, in Vietnam’s Ha Tinh province. Some are resting; others are processing specimens or writing notes. One of them, seeking diversion, walks to a nearby village in hopes of scoring some rice wine, an alcoholic diversion with which to while away the day. Hours pass. Finally he returns to camp. He is lamentably empty-handed. No wine, no whiskey. The impoverished villagers had exhausted their supply. But he has brought back something better than liquor: a tale of having seen the most extraordinary horns on the wall of a hunter’s shack. It is a new kind of wild goat. Or something even stranger.

Symbolically, the story has much appeal. It suggests that good things happen to those who pop the occasional cork and that the quest for liquor can lead to new knowledge. But according to Le Van Cham, who saw the horns first, that’s not how things went. In Hanoi in June 2011, Cham told me that the story about looking for wine was a joke. In truth, he and his colleagues hungered for vegetables more than they thirsted for alcohol. They had been on the trail a long time. A few squashes or a pumpkin would have made a feast. That’s what he was seeking when he came to the village where he saw the horns on the hunter’s shack. The journey that led to the village and to the discovery of Saola, however, actually began years earlier. Beginning in 1986, a process called the Doi Moi, or national “renovation,” liberalized the Vietnamese economy and started a flood of change. Suddenly farmers were allowed to decide for themselves what crops they would plant. Even better, they might sell their harvest openly for cash, not government coupons. Businesses, too, were allowed to experiment with new products. The downstream effects of these changes may have been more Rube Goldberg than flow chart, but agricultural and industrial production gradually increased. The long lines for staple goods and precious consumer items gradually shortened, and markets sprang up, town by town and city by city, where people gathered to sell, buy, and barter, arguing out their prices face to face, independent of government minders. One ancillary effect of the “renovation” was the easing of restrictions against foreigners entering the country. The relaxation was like turning a tap: as the valve opened, a stream of westerners flowed into Vietnam. Some of them were biologists interested in conservation. Jonathan Charles Eames (lately OBE) was an early one. A son of the English midlands and a self-taught naturalist from boyhood, he remembers Hanoi in the late 1980's as a lugubrious city, its men dressed in the green pith helmets and olive fatigues of the Vietnamese Army, the women also drab, eyes downcast, minding their business. Nearly every home and shop hung a portrait of Ho Chi Minh where it was visible from the street; secret police tailed every westerner. Mostly bicycles and a few military trucks traveled the roads. There were no motorbikes to speak of, and the only private cars were Soviet Zils and Volgas that sported incongruous lace curtains. The city, with few signs and empty shop windows, was almost purged of color. Every day at sunset when the electricity shut down, it plunged into darkness, save for the oil lamps of streetside stalls where old women sold green tea and cigarettes, often one by one from crumpled packs. It was “a pretty wretched place,” according to Eames, a hard place to work or live. The countryside was harder. On potholed and boggy roads, it took an entire day to get to Vinh, just 200 kilometers to the south. You’d drive past moldering collective farms with twenty rusting tractors parked in a line, grass and weeds growing from them. On worsening roads, you’d keep driving, seeking the backcountry where the forests and biota were still mostly intact. That’s where discoveries would be made. Serious fieldwork, which Eames had come to Vietnam to do, required expeditions three months long. You needed a permit to leave the confines of Hanoi, and then more permits for each province you entered. You encountered all kinds of adverse conditions: you might fetch up in a place on the brink of famine, where the wells were dry and the crops wilting, with nothing available to eat but badly milled rice, full of grit and weevils. On one expedition in 1988, not far from Vu Quang, Eames recalls, “We bought the last few tins of condensed milk in this market town, and that was such an event that the police came and visited us and wanted to know what we were doing buying up condensed milk, and how come we got the money to do it.” You had to be a little insane to carry on under those conditions, but the adventure and challenge pulled you forward, and the possibility of a major discovery was always out there,


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FEATURE maybe in the next valley or village. Vietnam was a mystery, Laos an even greater mystery. Little significant biological work, least of all by westerners, had been done in the region since World War II. For nearly half a century, war had trumped every endeavor, and even after the shooting stopped, the oligarchs in Hanoi (like their counterparts in Vientiane) had no enthusiasm for westerners wandering through their forests. They remembered the last ones too well. But now, in the ’80s, the land was opening. It was terra nova, a blank spot on the map of the world’s biogeography. What was in there? No one knew. The prospects were as exhilarating as the conditions were horrid. If you were lucky, you found a way to lift your spirits with a jolt of inspiration. For the thirty-year-old Eames, inspiration had a name: John MacKinnon. Traveling between Vietnam and the UK, Eames (who would later settle in Hanoi) liked to stop off in Bangkok to visit the lanky MacKinnon. The grandson of a British prime minister, MacKinnon was a magnetic figure. He had worked with Jane Goodall on the chimps of Gombe while still a teenager. He had gone on to conduct wildlife surveys across Africa and much of Asia, including every country in East Asia to which he could gain entry. Eames would track MacKinnon to a “derelict” hotel and find him in a room littered with books and papers, with MacKinnon plugging away—“in his spare time”—on mapping software or a new field guide. It was MacKinnon who had led the way into Vietnam by writing a National Conservation Strategy for the country in 1984, even in advance of the Doi Moi. He soon helped launch programs there for both the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). It was MacKinnon who secured funding through WWF for the survey of Vu Quang in 1992 that led to the discovery of Saola. He had spotted Vu Quang’s dense, unspoiled forests in satellite photographs, then confirmed the habitat quality with a flyover in a small plane. Although it lay a mere twenty miles from the start of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the target of thousands of U.S. aerial strikes, the canopy showed no ill effects from American bombing. The expedition MacKinnon organized, undertaken jointly by Vietnam’s Ministry of Forestry and WWF, consisted of eight men, plus four soldiers who doubled as porters. The soldiers, he said, welcomed the break “from a monotonous wait for an unlikely invasion.” MacKinnon, then 45, was the only westerner. Officially heading the team was Vu Van Dung, a botanist and member of the ministry’s Forest Inventory and Planning Institute (FIPI). Two of Dung’s FIPI colleagues, Do Tuoc, a mammalogist, and Le Van Cham, a botanist, also came along. Nguyen Van Sang, borrowed from Hanoi’s Institute of Ecological and Biological Resources, would focus on amphibians, and Nguyen Thai Tu, a faculty member at Vinh University, would sample the fishes. Not to be left out, the provincial forestry department sent along a representative, and a staff member of the newly established Vu Quang Nature Reserve also joined the group. They set out on May 9 and nine days later reached central Vu Quang, where they bivouacked at a lonely guard post, Border Defense Unit No. 567, whose soldiers monitored the somnolent frontier with Laos. The team intended soon to shift their survey to another portion of the reserve, and provisions were low. Le Van Cham, who was charged with stocking the expedition’s larder, elected to walk to the nearby village of Kim Quang to see what he might buy. His friend Do Tuoc went with him.

Photograph: Jonathan C. Eames


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FEATURE

Vu Quang had been set aside (on paper, at least) mainly for ecological reasons, but it possessed cultural significance as well. In the late nineteenth century it had furnished a base for Phan Dinh Phung, a revolutionary hero who led an insurgency against the French colonial regime. It also harbored considerable cultural diversity. Like Laos, Vietnam is an amalgam of ethnic groups, each with its own dialect and traditions. Today the government of Vietnam officially recognizes 54 such entities, some numbering no more than one or two hundred people, but there are doubtless others even smaller, as there are in Laos, remnant bands and clans in unreachable valleys, the human analog to Saola. The village that Le Van Cham and Do Tuoc wandered into, however, did not belong to one of the smaller minorities. It was a Kinh village, the Kinh being the main Viet group that migrated south from China millennia ago and spread over the Red River delta, the hinterland of Hanoi. Eventually they continued south along the lowlands and into the delta of the Mekong. Today the Kinh comprise 85% of Vietnam’s population. Over the centuries, some of them, competing with culture groups already in place, pushed their way upslope into the higher reaches of the Annamites, even to the recesses of Vu Quang, where the wet valleys and steep mountainsides afforded little arable land. Obedient to necessity, they became adept at gathering the bounty of the forest and hunting its creatures. Le Van Cham is now retired and lives on the outskirts of Hanoi, close by the FIPI campus where he used to work. With the help of an interpreter, I asked him about the day in May almost twenty years earlier when he first glimpsed the horns of a Saola. Cham sat cross-legged in a thronelike chair of heavy, polished wood. A television flickered behind him. His voice was solemn, and he spoke deliberately. Both he and Do Tuoc are known to enjoy a drink, but Cham dismissed the story about looking for wine. He was after vegetables, yet the people in the village had little to offer. He was just walking, looking. The village was like any Kinh village in the mountains: shacks with porches, thatch roofs, dogs and chickens underfoot, a torpor settling in the heat of day. He passed the house of a hunter. It had to have been a hunter’s house because animal trophies hung on the outside wall. He saw two pairs of serow horns, short, rough, and backward-curving. And he noticed another set of horns. They looked odd. They were neither the tined antlers of a muntjac, nor the simple, short curves of the serow, a species of mountain goat. The trophy consisted of a skullcap with horns that were long and smooth, tapered to a sharp point, and nearly straight. Cham was puzzled. Do Tuoc looked at them, and he was puzzled, too. They inquired after the owner of the house. A young man appeared.

Years after the discovery of the Saola, there is no mistaking this specimen found during a CEPF project visit in Bolikhamxay, Laos Photograph: Jonathan C. Eames

“What animal is that?” “A wild goat,” said the man. “What kind of wild goat?” The man explained that there were two kinds of goat thereabout: the son duong, which was the serow, and another animal that was bigger, heavier, and darker, but just as nimble, with longer horns.


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FEATURE Cham and Tuoc wondered what kind of variant this long-horned goat might be. They didn’t immediately conclude that it was a new species. Logically, they reached for less dramatic explanations, trying to imagine how a serow or some other familiar animal, under what kind of circumstance, might have produced such an intriguing set of horns. Later, back at the guard post, they described what they’d seen to their colleagues. MacKinnon was not present—he was briefly on an errand of his own elsewhere—but there was general agreement that the horns were worth another look. It was two days later, according to Cham, that Do Tuoc led a group back to the village. May 21 was the last day that the expedition would spend at the guard post before pressing on to Man Tran, in the northeast of the reserve. It was also the last available day when they might visit the village. Cham didn’t go—this may have been the day a bout of malaria laid him low. So Vu Van Dung, Dr. Sang, and Dr. Tu accompanied Do Tuoc to the house of the young hunter who’d hung the strange trophy on his wall. They marveled at the frontlet with the unusual horns. They took pictures (with film, of course, which would not be developed for weeks) and finally acquired the trophy from the hunter. They discussed and opined. No one drew strong conclusions, but they remained on the lookout for more evidence of the long-horned goat. Over the next several days as the expedition progressed to Man Tran, they collected two more sets of horns, one of which was so fresh it had maggots. The additional horns confirmed that the first set was no fluke: the frontlet discovered by Cham and Tuoc had not been taken from an aberrant serow. The scientists were increasingly convinced that they had encountered a new species of large mammal, hitherto unknown. Do Tuoc, the mammalogist, was fairly sure it was a two-toed ungulate, probably a member of the family Bovidae, which includes cattle, goats, sheep, and antelope. By this point, according to Le Van Cham, MacKinnon had rejoined the group and was party to discussions about the strange new horns, but MacKinnon himself recalls a somewhat different sequence of events in the early days of discovery. He recollects that he had not been absent long. He initially stayed away from Kim Quang, the village where the first Saola horns were found, because he didn’t want the villagers to be distracted by a westerner in their midst. He feared this might inhibit the gathering of information. He recalls specifically urging Do Tuoc to be on the lookout for evidence of a second species of wild goat, for he thought that goral, another species of goat generally found in higher, steeper terrain than serow, might be present in the area. At his request, Do Tuoc went a second time to the village, possibly alone, to “borrow” a set of horns to show him. As soon as MacKinnon laid eyes on them, he says, he knew they belonged to a new species.

Photograph: Jonathan C. Eames


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FEATURE

The Babbler 48 Memory being malleable, perhaps it is not surprising that the recollections of survey team members should diverge after twenty years. All agree, however, that by the time the survey team departed Border Defense Unit No. 567, everyone, including MacKinnon, was delighted with the expedition’s progress. Already they had identified a new species of carp and a tortoise previously unrecorded in Vietnam. They’d found tracks of gaur and elephant and made excellent recordings of grey peacock pheasants and crested argus. They’d awakened each morning to the singing of gibbons and trekked through meadows alive with the cries of laughing thrushes. Thanks to a well-aimed load of birdshot, MacKinnon had taken possession of what he thought was a new species of bird (although this proved not to be the case). To crown all these successes, they now had evidence of a new mammal. A big one. Upon return from the bush, MacKinnon relayed the news to WWF, which on July 17, 1992 issued a press release from its Gland, Switzerland, headquarters announcing the discovery of the new species. The release was short, as there wasn’t much to say. Almost nothing was known about the animal, beyond the fact that it was “a large, horned mammal that may be a kind of goat.” Accompanying the release was a photograph showing MacKinnon holding one of the sets of horns. (This was the image, in the Bangkok Post, that captured the imagination of Bill Robichaud, then 34, and nudged him in a new direction.) Immediately plans were laid for a second expedition to gather more data. The second survey took to the field the following November, manned by Vu Van Dung and two colleagues. Over the course of two weeks, the scientists roved Vu Quang, visiting villages and interviewing hunters. In little time, they and others amassed a collection of more than twenty pairs of horns, some with whole or partial skulls, including three upper and two lower jaws, complete with teeth. (The analysis of dentition contributes mightily to taxonomic understanding.) Equally important, three whole skins complete with feet were added to the assemblage of specimens, and samples of skin and hair were sent to a Danish geneticist, Peter Arctander, for DNA analysis.

The initial DNA work indicated that the new mammal belonged to the subfamily Bovinae, which includes two great lineages of bovids: cattle, bison, and buffalo, on the one hand, and spiral-horned antelope, like gazelles, on the other. Because of its facial glands and other features considered primitive, the new animal was suspected Photograph: Jonathan C. Eames to be a survivor of an early bovid line that existed before cattle and antelopes went their separate evolutionary ways. The fundamental branching within the family was already in place by at least the end of the Miocene epoch, roughly 5.3 million years ago. In all likelihood, Saola are considerably older than that. By contrast, the species Homo sapiens, the evolutionary entity encompassing “anatomically modern” humans, is a late arrival, having come into being only about 500,000 years ago. The DNA analysis confirmed something MacKinnon, Tuoc, Dung, and the others suspected from early on: the new bovid was not just a new species. It also represented a new genus, of which it was the only known member. Perhaps it even represented a new tribe—a yet broader tier of taxonomic classification. Only continued research would tell. In the meantime, what to call it? “Long-horned goat” was discarded—the creature wasn’t a goat. “Vu Quang bovid” was a safe bet, although hardly a delight to the ear, and “Vu Quang ox” was no improvement, but MacKinnon adopted the latter term for want of better. “Saola” would soon replace it, but the name was as yet unknown to scientists. As to formal, scientific nomenclature, MacKinnon and his colleagues coined the new genus Pseudoryx. Given the Vu Quang bovid’s dramatic, dangerous-looking horns and boldly marked face, it superficially resembled an Arabian or African oryx, but it wasn’t one; it was pseudo. To designate the species within the genus, they initially intended to call it vuquangensis, memorializing the locality in which it was first identified, but the idea was rejected when, early in 1993, Nguyen Ngoc Chinh of FIPI found evidence of Pseudoryx


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FEATURE

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close to the Lao border, at Pu Mat, a reserve ninety kilometers to the north and west. (Chinh also learned that local Tai villagers called the creature sao la. When it was later learned that the name Saola had currency in Laos, the group at FIPI adopted it in preference to Vu Quang ox, and the rest of the scientific community followed suit.) If Saola would serve in common parlance and Pseudoryx as the genus name, there remained the task of completing the scientific binomial: Pseudoryx—what? In deference to the second discovery at Pu Mat, the scientists at FIPI, with MacKinnon’s acquiescence, resolved to call the creature nghetinhensis, after the former Vietnamese province Nghe Tinh, which had included both reserves. (In 1992, virtually simultaneously with the discovery of Saola, the province was divided into Nghe An province in the north, which includes Pu Mat, and Ha Tinh province in the south, which includes Vu Quang.) The word nghetinhensis is a mouthful for western tongues, but sounds something akin to ngay’-ting-en-sis. So there it was: Pseudoryx nghetinhensis. A formal description of the new species was published as a “letter” to the prestigious British journal Nature in June 1993. By that act, the official count of living creatures on Earth, so relentlessly hammered down by extinctions, increased by one. Scientists around the world were stunned—and jubilant. The reaction of John Robinson, director of international conservation at the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, was typical. “Most of us feel we know all the large mammals that are out there,” he said. “When something like this comes along, we are floored.” Jonathan Eames, MacKinnon’s early acolyte, had a different reaction, tinged with remorse. He was in England when MacKinnon came out of the Vu Quang forest. Even before WWF issued its press release announcing the big discovery, MacKinnon called to share the news. The connection was full of static, but Eames could hear the excitement in MacKinnon’s voice. “You are never going to believe this, Jonathan, but I’ve discovered a news species of large mammal, an ungulate, in central Vietnam.” As Eames listened, he felt the blood drain from his face, as though he were, in his own words, “terror-struck, cold.” Not two years earlier, he’d surveyed Bach Ma National Park, two hundred kilometers south of Vu Quang. In one village, at his request, a hunter dumped out a bag of miscellaneous animal parts. Eames leaned over and picked up a single, slender horn. It was long, smooth, and sharply pointed. A companion happened to snap a photo of him holding it. At the time he figured the horn had probably belonged to a hormonechallenged serow, but as he listened to MacKinnon, he knew he’d been wrong. Now there was no question what the horn was. It was perfectly clear. Although Eames would go on to name five new species of birds and twelve subspecies, the miss in Bach Ma would continue to rankle. It was the species he didn’t discover, the grail he didn’t grasp. He said nothing to diminish MacKinnon’s high spirits, and only offered congratulations.

Jonathan C. Eames holding single, slender Saola horn in 1986 Photograph taken by Trung Van La


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REGIONAL NEWS

South Africa and Laos to sign rhino protection pact South Africa and Laos are to sign an agreement aimed at curbing rhino poaching, the Department of Environmental Affairs said on Friday. The Memorandum of Understanding on Biodiversity would be accompanied by the endorsement of an implementation plan outlining steps and timeframes for eradicating wildlife crimes between the two countries. Laos is situated in Southeast Asia, where rhino horn is popularly believed to have medicinal properties, fuelling widespread illegal trade in the horn. "South Africa regards rhino poaching and illicit trafficking in wildlife and endangered species as part of the new and emerging forms of crime," Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said in a statement. The number of rhino poached for their horns in South Africa since January 2013 has increased to 790, while 31 poachers have been arrested in the past two weeks. The total number of people facing rhino poaching-related charges has increased to 259. The Kruger National Park has lost a total of 476 rhino so far this year. Of the total number of rhino poached, 87 rhino have been killed in Limpopo province, 65 in North West, 73 in KwaZulu-Natal and 68 in Mpumalanga. Four rhino have been poached in Gauteng, while three have been poached in the Eastern Cape and three in the Marakele National Park. Molewa said the government had established partnerships with privately owned nature conservation estates to address the scourge and put specific measures in place to combat illegal hunting within South Africa's borders and abroad. The department has also signed agreements with several Asian countries as part of efforts to stop the illegal trade of rhino horn. An implementation plan, putting into action the terms of a memorandum of understanding signed with China on cooperation in wetland and desert ecosystems and wildlife conservation, is also expected to be signed soon. "Rhino poaching was declared a national security risk and a national priority in 2011 and is being dealt with through a plethora of interventions at the highest levels of government," Molewa said. National interventions included legislative amendments, the creation of a National Rhino Fund and greater cooperation with stakeholders locally and internationally. Source: www.sanews.gov.za 28 October 2013

Exposing myths: Chinese connections in African ivory & rhino horn markets For the first time, journalists from mainland China worked with African journalists on an undercover investigation into the Chinese connection with ivory and rhino horns market in South Africa and Mozambique. Wildlife trafficking syndicates brazenly sell rhino horn and ivory at Chinese markets in Southern Africa's capital cities, in the face of global attempts to crack down on the illicit trade in endangered species. China is responsible for an estimated 70% of the world trade in ivory, and research by the international wildlife trade monitoring organisation Traffic indicates that nearly 80% of the reported seizures of illegal rhino horns in Asia between 2009 and late last year happened in China. The recent influx of Chinese immigrants to Southern Africa has seen the market grow. Who are the Chinese people involved, and how do they go about buying these illegal products? Read more here. Source: Wildlife Extra News 14 October 2013

Falling demand for ivory in Cambodia & Singapore? Despite unprecedented levels of illegal ivory trade globally, there are positive signs that ivory markets in Cambodia and Singapore may be showing signs of decline, according to a piece in TRAFFIC Bulletin, the only journal devoted exclusively to wildlife trade issues. Two separate surveys carried out by TRAFFIC suggest that there has been a significant reduction in ivory items for sale in markets in Cambodia and Singapore over the past decade. Where large amounts of ivory were on sale in retail outlets in Phnom Penh during surveys carried out in 1994 and 2001, most of the approximately 900 ivory items observed for sale in March 2013 were estimated to comprise less than 30 kg of ivory. Similarly, a survey undertaken in Singapore in 2012 found a reduction in ivory products for sale and the number of outlets selling ivory, compared with a similar study a decade earlier. However, Singapore remains an important transit route for high volume consignments of illicit ivory between Africa and Asia, and within Asia. Source: Wildlife Extra News 11 November 2013


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REGIONAL NEWS

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sickening truth of the illegal trade in rhino horn ENV Public Service Announcement Click on YouTube logo for footage

 

WARNING: You may find some content distressing


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Asia's most precious wood is soaked in blood Commentary by: Michael Spencer and the FREELAND Foundation 21 November 2013

Deep in the tropical forests of Southeast Asia grows a rare and beautiful tree whose wood is so highly prized that men will kill to possess it. Wild rosewood, famous since antiquity in China and Japan for its unique, bloodhued luster and intricate grain, was once only used for the finest religious statues and princely ornaments. Now, China's nouveau riche lust for decorative baubles and furniture made of rosewood as a sign of status leading to a massive surge in demand for this precious timber that shows no signs of abating. In just a few short years the price has skyrocketed from just a hundred dollars a cubic meter to over US$ 50,000 today. In just a few short years, the poorly protected forests of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia have been almost completely stripped of their rosewood. Unscrupulous criminal gangs who control the traffic are now targeting Thailand's national parks and wildlife sanctuaries, where the region's last reserves of this precious wood can still be found. Understaffed and outgunned, Thailand's park rangers are fighting a losing battle to protect the Kingdom's natural heritage from these determined poachers who will stop at nothing to achieve their ends. Rosewood is famed for its blood-red colour, but now it is the real blood of park rangers that is being spilled in the frenzy to exploit this precious commodity. The front-line in this increasingly violent conflict is Thap Lan National Park whose pristine, emerald hills jut starkly from the arid plains of Northeast Thailand with its hardscrabble farms and rural communities. In the 1970's Thap Lan's impenetrable jungle terrain served as a hideout for communist guerillas, but today a new kind of war is ravaging the forest. Thap Lan's park rangers face a formidable task in defending this unique, biologically diverse landscape. Covering a massive 2,236 square kilometers, its ecological importance received international recognition in 2005 when, along with four other areas in the Dong Phayayen Khao Yai forest complex, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Evidence of Thap Lan's incredible biodiversity is readily witnessed by visitors. An early-morning trek through the park’s mist-wreathed mountains reverberates with the cries of pileated gibbons and melodious birdsong. Trails are pock-marked with tracks and signs of wildlife that inhabit the forest, including rare and enigmatic carnivores. The demand for rosewood is not only threatening Thap Lan's rich biodiversity, but it is also putting the lives of its park ranger guardians on the line. Forests across Southeast Asia have been attacked by poaching syndicates who have infiltrated national parks and plundered their rosewood timber with astonishing efficiency. The species is believed to have disappeared from many forests in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, making Thailand the last hope to save this species in the wild.

The blood-red hue of rosewood stands out amidst piles of confiscated logs at Thap Lan National Park Photograph Š FREELAND Foundation/Eric Ash


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As rosewood stands have declined elsewhere, Thap Lan’s rangers have witnessed a dramatic increase in the logging of these trees in the park that has now reached epidemic levels. Groups of armed poachers of up to 30 or more in number, equipped with GPS units, radios and assault rifles are systematically plundering the forest. Traveling light, these groups bring little food with them and rely instead on killing wildlife for the pot, causing devastation wherever they go. During patrols, rangers have discovered the remains of many species, including gaur, wild pig, civets, hornbills and dhole (Asiatic wild dog) that have fallen prey to these rapacious hunters. The wild animals in the park are not the only ones under threat. On the 14th of March, 2013, 33-year-old Thaweesak Chomyong, a ranger in neighboring Pang Sida National Park, was killed when a group of rosewood poachers fired on his patrol team before fleeing the scene. Ironically, this tragic incident occurred while the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was meeting three hours away in Bangkok, and whose delegates had just agreed to regulate international trade of Siamese rosewood (Dalbergia cochinchinensis). Regulations are meaningless if they are not enforced. So far, a lack of financial and governmental support for the park rangers across Southeast Asia has made the CITES regulations toothless pieces of paper in the fight against environmental crimes of which rosewood is just one in a long list. The front-line rangers of Thap Lan face a daunting task. Lacking even basic food provisions, equipment and training, they are tasked with defending huge areas of difficult terrain from large groups of ruthless and violent criminals who would kill them without a moment's hesitation. The rangers patrol the forest as best they can, hampered by its harsh conditions, under the threat of injury and death and increasingly out-manned and out-gunned. Antiquated weapons and ammunition used by rangers often fail or malfunction, seriously compromising the safety of rangers who increasingly find themselves in armed

Enforcement rangers undergo FREELAND PROTECT enforcement training in the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai World Heritage Site. Photograph © FREELAND Foundation

Enforcement rangers in Thap Lan National Park seize trollies of rosewood during a field practical section of a FREELAND enforcement training course. Photograph © Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation/FREELAND Foundation


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conflict situations with poachers. In the absence of a national insurance program, injured rangers are left with astronomical medical bills and no pay during their recovery period. Families of rangers killed in action are left destitute following the loss of their only breadwinner. FREELAND Foundation, a Thai-based NGO that fights human and wildlife trafficking, has never observed a threat develop so quickly in its 13 years of operation. Using camera traps on known poacher trails in Thap Lan, FREELAND observed an astonishing 900 percent increase in illegal activity within a three-month period in early 2013 compared to the previous two years. FREELAND is working in both Thap Lan and Pang Sida National Parks with support from Save Our Species and Rapid Response Facility to provide emergency enforcement ranger training, equipment, provisions and monitoring. The organization hopes to not only help parks intercept and deter poachers, but also to encourage higher levels of the Thai government provide additional support and address some of the chronic issues faced by rangers. There are some encouraging signs. Recently, the Thai DNP announced plans to establish a rosewood suppression and investigations task force for the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex. The DNP also held its first World Ranger Day event in July of this year. At the event, Thailand’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vichet Kasemthongsri pledged greater support for the country’s rangers in the form of a ranger welfare fund, a group insurance scheme and a compensation program. Reports in the Thai media suggest that a 20 percent pay increase for rangers will be implemented nationally and that over 1,300 temporary workers will be granted permanent employment status. It is not yet certain when these changes will take place.

The vast forested landscape of Thap Lan National Park is home to some of Thailand’s last remaining rosewood now threatened by intense illegal logging. Photograph © FREELAND Foundation/Eric Ash

Armed rosewood poachers moving felled timber out of the forest are photographed by FREELAND camera traps in the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai World Heritage Site. Photograph © FREELAND Foundation/Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation


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Asia's most precious wood is soaked in blood continued...

Three Cambodians Killed Illegally Logging Across Thai Border

Conservation groups in Thailand recognize that turning the tide in the battle for rosewood requires the full support of the highest levels of government in Thailand and elsewhere in the region. It is believed that transnational criminal groups operating in Thap Lan and along illicit trade routes take advantage of corrupt officials and thereby threaten to derail enforcement efforts. Official corruption has also allowed criminal syndicates to freely traffic rosewood across international borders into Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and China. Elsewhere in the region. It is believed that transnational criminal groups operating in Thap Lan and along illicit trade routes take advantage of corrupt officials and thereby threaten to derail enforcement efforts. Official corruption has also allowed criminal syndicates to freely traffic rosewood across international borders into Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and China.

Touch Ra, director of the Chaom-Sangam border crossing in Oddar Meanchey province, said Cambodian border police had received reports of the incident Wednesday morning and were attempting to establish the identities of the slain Cambodians.

Support for local enforcement rangers must be coupled with stiff penalties against criminals and corrupt officials. Regional law enforcement investigations through platforms like the ASEAN-Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) are needed to target the kingpins of rosewood trafficking. Consumers of rosewood must also be made aware of the ecological and human cost of the illegal timber trade which they may unwittingly be supporting. Rosewood may not evoke the same passions as tigers, elephants, and other charismatic fauna found beneath the forest canopy, but the pillaging of rosewood in Thap Lan is symptomatic of the war being waged on the environment throughout Southeast Asia. The multibillion dollar illegal trade in timber and wildlife threatens to commodify and deplete the region’s rich biodiversity while empowering the criminal groups that stand to profit from it. In many cases, it is only the poorly trained and ill-equipped rangers on the front-line who stand in the way of such destruction. Despite the challenges and threats, many of the rangers of Thap Lan National Park harbor a sense of pride both in their work and their park. If asked why they continue to put their lives at risk and endure the rigors of what is often a thankless job, many respond with comments that reflect a deep admiration and respect for the wildlife and wild places they see every day. If the steadfast dedication of those who fight at the front-lines of nature conservation is coupled with greater support, Thailand could very well set itself apart in Southeast Asia as the only country in the region that is truly committed to protecting its natural heritage. Source: www.mongabay.com

Thai forestry officials killed three Cambodians who were illegally logging on Tuesday, in what they said was a shootout in Thailand’s Sisaket province, a border official reported. The latest deaths bring the number of Cambodians who have been shot while logging across the border this year to 33, according to rights group ADHOC.

"Thai authorities said they had come across the loggers at about 3 a.m. during a routine patrol" Mr. Ra said, “Thai forestry officials are always patrolling their forest, it is not like Cambodian forestry officers who stay on the roads and stay in the city.” Thai officials have in the past insisted that their soldiers only shoot Cambodian loggers when fired upon first. Police are now searching for family members of the dead loggers, who are believed to have lived in Oddar Meanchey’s Trapaing Prasat district, which borders Sisaket, according to district police chief Keo Tann. Eighteen felled logs of Siamese Rosewood were found near the bodies, along with a collection of handsaws and axes, The Bangkok Post newspaper reported Wednesday. The report does not say whether any guns had been found on the bodies, but said that they will be sent back to Cambodia after autopsies have been carried out. The Bangkok Post article says that Thai authorities had estimated that the confiscated wood could be sold for 10 million baht, or about US$ 315,000, if smuggled out of Thailand. In March, Siamese Rosewood was elevated to protected-species status by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. Prime Minister Hun Sen earlier this year issued a directive ordering provincial authorities to prevent Cambodians from crossing into Thailand illegally to log rosewood. In 2012, 45 Cambodians were shot dead by Thai border protection forces while logging over the border, according to government figures. The death toll in 2011 was 15 people, according to figures from ADHOC. Source: Written by Saing Soenthrith for the Cambodia Daily 21 November 2013


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'Sustainable' tropical timber trade a misnomer, says group The production and trade in 'sustainable' timber products in Southeast Asia is mostly 'a mirage' due to questionable forestry practices and loopholes in import regulations, alleges a new report from Friends of the Earth International. The report, ‘Sustainable’ tropical timber production, trade and procurement', focuses on logging in Malaysia and timber import laws in Japan, South Korea, and Australia. It says declining timber production in Malaysia shows that current management practices are inherently unsustainable, depleting future generations of natural resources. Worse is the environmental damage being wrought to the region's rich forests and the deprivations suffered by indigenous communities, especially in the state of Sarawak, where forest dwellers have been forced off their traditional lands. "We are witnessing a global depletion of natural timber resources and sustainable tropical timber remains essentially a mirage," said Meenakshi Raman, Honorary Secretary of Friends of the Earth Malaysia, in a statement. While several key importing nations seem to have in place regulations that would protect against such abuses, the report argues they have not "resulted in meaningful changes on the ground". A chief issue has been a focus on legality of timber supplies, rather than safeguarding human rights or ensuring sustainability. "A disproportionate amount of emphasis seems to have been focused on eliminating the trade of illegal timber, at the expense of the efforts to ensure the sustainable production and consumption of tropical timber products," states the report. "Consumer countries have also failed to reduce their tropical timber consumption levels to more sustainable levels." The report urges policy makers in consuming countries to adopt policies that move beyond a strict focus on legality by incorporating human rights, good governance, and environmental performance into their regulatory frameworks for timber and wood products imports. Accordingly, Friends of the Earth International lays out what it views would be a good definition for "legal and sustainable" timber from Malaysia as well as specific recommendations for strengthening import policies for Japan, South Korea, and Australia. "For policy to be able to address the reality on the ground, it cannot afford to ignore systemic corruption, the violations of human rights as well as unsustainable production and consumption patterns," says the report. "Policy has to be fully grounded on governance transparency and a real understanding on the ecology of natural resources as well as the human lives it affects." Source: www.mongabay.com 24 October 2013. CITATION Friends of the Earth (2013). From policy to reality: ‘Sustainable’ tropical timber production, trade and procurement. Photographs: Logging in Malaysia www.mongabay.com


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Logging ‘crackdown’ falls flat with villagers

A stunning new species of dragon tree discovered in Thailand

Hundreds of villagers in Preav Vihear’s Kulen district cut down a palm tree on Monday and used it to block provincial officials attempting to confiscate tonnes of luxury timber from their village, their representative said yesterday.

A dragon tree species Dracaena kaweesakii from Thailand that is characterised by its extensive branching is new to science, although it has been well known by some Thais apparently for centuries. The new species reaches an impressive 12 metres in both height and crown diameter, and has beautiful soft sword-shaped leaves with white edges and cream flowers with bright orange filaments, all highly distinctive features.

Ri Sothun, a spokesman for more than 400 families in Tbeng II commune’s Kdak village, said between 400 and 500 villagers, after hearing the sound of beating drums and other instruments at a local pagoda, rushed to help block the officials’ cars and trucks from leaving the area with seven cubic metres, or 128 pieces, of the timber. “All the villagers were determined not to allow the trucks to leave the village, because they use the timber to build houses, make furniture and sell to traders in order to support their families,” he said. Villagers considered the officials’ crackdown on their activities “inappropriate” and had impounded their vehicles without violence, he added. “Previously, the villagers were allowed to fell trees without any problems from the authorities and sold the timber for $200 per cubic metre,” Sothun said. Kulen District Governor Chum Puy said yesterday that after negotiating with the villagers, the officials had agreed to let them keep the timber in exchange for the return of their vehicles. “Some of that timber has been pre-sold to a trader, but we have given it back in order to avoid serious confrontation,” he said. Rather than pursue the issue with the villagers further, Puy said, the authorities would instead focus their crackdown on a businessman believed to buy luxury timber from the villagers. But Lor Chann, provincial coordinator for rights groups ADHOC, said he doubted authorities would do that. Authorities, he said, were only willing to take action against poor villagers who were trying to make a living rather than those who profited most from the trade. “The authorities are not brave enough to intercept the rich and powerful companies behind the illegal logging,” he said, adding that the villagers had only been responding to unfair treatment against them. Source: Written by Phak Seangly for the Phnom Penh Post 31 October 2013

Dracaena kaweesakii is a relative of the beautiful Canary Island dragon tree Dracaena draco. It is an ecologically important species found only on limestone hills and mountains that are often associated with Buddhist temples in Thailand. Dracaena kaweesakii is extracted from the wild for use in horticulture in Thailand and is one of the more popular species due to its extensive branching. Dracaena species in general are thought by Thai people to bring luck to households that have them, hence their popularity. A number of populations of D. kaweesakii are protected by proximity to temples or having been transplanted into their gardens. There is no direct evidence yet of over-extraction but sustainability studies are needed at population level to insure the protection of this beautiful species.

This is the new dragon tree species Dracaena kaweesakii viewed from below showing the rich branching. Photograph: Paul Wilkin

"Dracaena kaweesakii is thought to be endangered through having a limited distribution, destruction of limestone for concrete and extraction of trees for gardens," comments Dr Wilkin about the conservation status of the new dragon tree species. The study describing this new species was published in the open access journal Phytokeys by an international team of scientists. Source: Wildlife Extra News 23 October 2013


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Deforestation Is Good for Economy

Can’t see the forest …

CPP lawmaker Chheang Vun on Wednesday lauded the economic and social benefits of the widespread clearing of Cambodia’s forests for development projects. Speaking to reporters at the National Assembly after a meeting with the Vietnamese Ambassador Ngo Anh Dzung, Mr. Vun, who is also the spokesman for the Na­tional Assembly, said the protection of forestland is important, but not more important than economic development.

The percentage of Cambodia covered in forest has fallen from about 72 per cent in 1973 to only about 46 per cent in 2013, satellite image data released yesterday shows. A series of animated maps that Open Development Cambodia (ODC) produced from NASA satellite images detail the drastic depletion of the Kingdom’s forest areas, a process that has rapidly accelerated in the past five years.

“We need to balance the consequences of deforestation, [which is] what we can get from the deforestation for the good of the people,” Mr. Vun said, adding that the Lower Sesan 2 dam in Stung Treng province is a prime example of economic development growing out of felled forests. “Hydropower is very important for developing industry,” Mr. Vun said, adding that the taxes collected from this new industry will bring “more revenue for the state and for families.” The government cannot allow people to stop progress, he said. “If they do not want us to cut the forest and stop the economic de­velopment, we cannot accept this.” Last month, the Council of Ministers ordered a halt to logging in preparation for the Lower Sesan 2 dam in Sesan district following allegations from a local commune chief that the company contracted to clear the forest was illegally fell­ing trees outside the dam concession’s boundaries. Mr. Vun promised that the Sesan dam will move ahead eventually, despite the calls for the project to be cancelled. Thun Sarath, spokesman for the Forestry Administration, said that the formation of a committee to investigate illegal logging in Sesan district and demarcate the concession’s boundaries is “ongoing.” “We will cooperate with the community on what’s going on and how to crack down on illegal logging,” Mr. Sarath said. The Lower Sesan 2 dam has been a lightning rod for criticism from local communities, NGOs and environmentalists. Slated to displace more than 5,000 people in Sesan district, environmentalists have said the dam’s impacts to local fisheries could affect more than 100,000 people living up and downriver from the dam. Chhith Sam Ath, director of NGO Forum, said that the government is concerned only about economic development, but not about social development. “If we are talking about development, it is development for whom?” Mr. Sam Ath asked. “If the people say they don’t want development to impact their livelihoods and the forest and impact climate change, and the majority of them say they don’t need this development, I think we need to listen to them carefully.” Source: Mech Dara and Dene-Hern Chen for The Cambodia Daily 7 November 2013

“Analysis of satellite images shows that in 1973, approximately 72.11 per cent of Cambodia was covered by forest,” ODC’s website states. “More recent images suggest that today’s forest cover is closer to 46.33 percent, inclusive of tree plantation.” In 1973, ODC’s data shows, about 42 per cent of the country was covered by dense forest, a figure that has plummeted to less than 11 per cent in 2013. The animated maps show widespread depletion across the country, especially in the north, northeast, west and southwest. As the animations – each lasting about two minutes – move further along a timeline from 1973 to 2013, greenery disappears at a much faster rate. By the end, dense forest areas are shadows of their former selves, having become non-forest areas or “mixed forest”. These areas can include land turned over for development as rubber and other plantations. Since 1973, the percentage of total land that is mixed forest has increased from 30 to 35 per cent, the data shows. “Analysis of Cambodia’s pre-war forest, compared to forest cover in 1989, showed only minor changes, while significant changes were observed between 2000 and 2013,” the website says. Vast amounts of the Snuol Wildlife Sanctuary in Kratie province have been decimated in the past four years, while the large expanses of Virachey National Park in the northeast have lost their once-dense forests. Thy Try, executive director and editor in-chief of Open Development Cambodia, said yesterday that his organisation’s role wasn’t to provide analysis. Equally, ODC did not draw links between the data and events happening at the time. “[But if] you were interested in learning more about the Cardamoms in 1999-2000, you could investigate the economic land concessions and other growth areas occurring in the same region and make appropriate conclusions,” he said. In the early 2000's, the government began using land to lure investors and introduced a new land law that, in part, focused on the awarding of economic land concessions. Rights groups say millions of hectares have since been awarded to private companies for development and hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by land disputes.


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Marcus Hardtke, program coordinator for German conservation group ARA, said direct correlations could be drawn between governance at the highest level, ELCs and the extent of deforestation. “It’s pretty intense,” he said. “The whole thing is completely sidelining Cambodian law. The extent of it is shocking.” Hardtke said ODC’s maps provide a “complete picture countrywide” of what was happening. “Usually, it’s small stories … people often don’t see the big picture. But over the last few years, they’ve done a lot of damage in Ratanakiri – satellite pictures contain very little forest.… The northwest is being destroyed [as well]. “They’re supposed to be protected areas.… All you see is rubber, rubber, rubber,” he said. Hardtke predicted the deforestation to continue unless a moratorium on logging activities inside ELCs and an independent review into timber resources inside them occurred. Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said yesterday that he was not in a position to comment in depth about the matter. “I don’t want to give any misinformation,” he said, before offering to provide documents detailing the government’s position on addressing deforestation today. A Ministry of Land Management spokeswoman could not be reached. Try, from ODC, said further data, broken down province by province, shows “that Banteay Meanchey, Koh Kong and Takeo all show significant decreases year over year”. “To our knowledge, this is the first time that a Cambodian team has undertaken this kind of Landsat analysis,” he said. On its website, ODC says obstacles faced in collating the data included cloud coverage and seasonal changes. “Although the Forest Cover Change maps are a product of rigorous analysis, a number of limitations and potential mapping biases still persist,” it says. The data follows separate studies last month by the Regional Community Forestry Training Center and the University of Maryland showing that Cambodia has lost a significant amount of forest land in the past decade. Source: Shane Worrell for The Phnom Penh Post 12 December 2013

A hand-reared sandpiper travels 8,000 km A rare hand-reared spoon-billed sandpiper has been spotted for the first time in the wild, more than 8,000 km from where it was released in Russia. Twenty-five of the critically endangered birds have been raised over two years by an Anglo-Russia conservation team on the Russian tundra, before being released to join their wildborn counterparts in migrating to South-East Asia. However until now it was unknown whether any would be spotted until they return to Russia to breed aged two-years-old, so the news one has been seen in Thailand, on the coast near Bangkok, and another in southern China was welcomed. WWT Head of Species Conservation Department, Baz Hughes said: “This is really exciting news. We now know that spoon-billed sandpipers, raised by our avicultural staff on the Russian tundra, can migrate with their wild counterparts to wintering areas a quarter of the way around the globe.” Conservationists take eggs from wild spoon-billed sandpiper nests, prompting the parent birds to lay a further clutch. The hand-reared chicks are safe from predators and, with the wild-raised chicks from the second clutch, it increases the total number of birds fledging by up to ten times. The hand-reared birds are all marked with small white plastic leg flags. Marking birds allows them to be identified later and helps reveal information about their movements and behaviour. Christoph Zöckler, Coordinator of the East Asian- Australasian Flyway Partnership’s Spoon-billed Sandpiper Task Force said: “We’ve learnt an enormous amount about spoonbilled sandpipers’ movements over the last few years but there are big gaps. While we still don’t know all the places they stop over on migration, we can’t protect them or address any threats they face there.” Source: Wildlife Extra News 20 November 2013


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China’s rarest seabird benefits from colony restoration Until this year, there were only two known breeding colonies of the Critically Endangered Chinese Crested Tern Sterna bernsteini: the Mazu Islands off the coast of Fujian, and the Wuzhishan Islands off Zhejiang. However, this summer an innovative tern colony restoration project has apparently established another. Earlier this year, a small island called Tiedun Dao in the Jiushan Islands, an archipelago where Chinese Crested Terns used to breed, was chosen for colony restoration. The restoration team expected it would take some years before there was any hope of attracting the birds back. Their plan was to use decoys and playback tern calls to initially attract Great Crested Terns Sterna bergii to Tiedun Dao. It was hoped that the Great Crested Terns would initially colonise the island, their numbers would then gradually grow, and that Chinese Crested Terns, which have always been found nesting within large colonies of Great Crested Terns, might eventually follow too. Yet by late September, and at the first attempt, a substantial new colony of Great Crested Terns had arrived on Tiedun Dao, raised hundreds of young and, among them, at least one Chinese Crested Tern chick also successfully fledged. In early May 2013, a team from the Xiangshan Ocean and Fishery Bureau, the Jiushan Islands National Nature Reserve, the Zhejiang Museum of Natural History and Oregon State University cleared vegetation and placed 300 tern decoys on Tiedun Dao. Solar powered playback systems were installed among the decoys broadcasting contact calls of Great and Chinese Crested Terns from the Wuzhishan Islands colony. A few Great Crested Terns visited during the first week in June and showed some initial nesting behaviour but only stayed a few days. This alone was considered a successful first season for the project. With no further signs of any visiting birds in the following five weeks, the breeding season was thought to be over and monitoring was suspended. When another international team including members from BirdLife International, the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, the Oregon State University, the Zhejiang Museum of Natural History and the Jiushan Islands National Nature Reserve visited in mid-July, they restarted the playback system. To their surprise and delight, almost immediately a few Great Crested Terns were attracted in and were seen flying above the decoys. Their numbers grew to several hundred within a few days and by the end of July a high count of 2,600 Great Crested Terns had been recorded and hundreds of pairs had laid eggs and begun incubation. Among them were 19 adult Chinese Crested Terns – the highest single count since the species’ rediscovery in 2000. At least two pairs also laid eggs and initiated incubation. Despite typhoons, that made further monitoring difficult, by late September approximately 600 Great Crested Tern, and at least one Chinese Crested Tern chick, had successfully fledged. Commenting on the recolonisation project, Mr Yu Mingquan, Deputy Director of the Xiangshan Ocean and Fishery Bureau, who is very pleased with its success, said, “We will do our best to ensure good management of the Jiushan Islands National Nature Reserve and we also hope to receive more support for the conservation of the tern colony here in Xiangshan.” Photograph © Fan Zhongyong


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“The success on Tiedun Dao is a landmark for contemporary conservation in this region,” responded BirdLife’s Senior Asia Conservation Officer, Simba Chan. “No one dared imagine that the first year of such a challenging restoration project would be so successful, it just goes to show what can happen with a good idea, strong local commitment and a bit of luck.” Jim Lawrence, BirdLife’s Preventing Extinctions Programme Manager, also commented, “This is a wonderful example of the conservation success that can be achieved through coordinated international collaboration when it is backed by solid science, local enlightenment and strategic funding support. Congratulations to all concerned.” This BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme project is sponsored by several international funders including the Japan Fund for Global Environment, the US Fish and Wildlife Service (Wildlife Without Borders), the Ocean Park Conservation Foundation Hong Kong and BirdLife International supporter, Mark Constantine. In China, the Xiangshan Ocean and Fishery Bureau, the Jiushan Islands National Nature Reserve and the Zhejiang Museum of Natural History provided vital match funding. These three Chinese organisations also coordinated conservation action in China and provided significant logistical support there that helped make the first year of the project such a resounding success. Source: BirdLife Community News 4 October 2013. Photograph © Fan Zhongyong

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New hope for two of the most threatened birds in the world Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Nordmann's Greenshank found in record numbers in China An international survey team found a sensational record total of 140 Spoon-billed Sandpiper and 1,200 Nordmann's Greenshank, two of the rarest and most threatened birds of the world in Rudong Jinagsu province on the Chinese coastline. "We believe the entire world population of the adult population of both Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Nordmannn's Greenshank are staging at the highly productive intertidal flats on the coast of Rudong" stated Dr Nigel Clark from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) in the UK, highlighting its vital importance for the survival of both species. Representatives of the local and provincial government announced the creation of a special wetland reserve for Spoon-billed Sandpipers during a workshop following the survey. "This is a historic moment in the conservation of the species. For the first time since our efforts to conserve the species began in 2000, we can realistically hope to save the species from extinction" concluded Dr Christoph Zรถckler, coordinator of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper (SBS) Task Force, who organised the survey and workshop with Jing Li and Tong Menxiu from SBS in China.

1,200 Endangered Nordmann's Greenshank were spotted during a survey of Chinese coastal wetlands. Photograph: Luke Tang

The survey, conducted by the conservation network SBS in China on October 15th-19th supported by an international team of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper (SBS) Task Force confirmed the outstanding international conservation importance of intertidal wetlands along the 120km of coastline between Dongtai and Rudong, Jiangsu province. Many of the most important intertidal wetlands along the Jiangsu coast are threatened by continuing reclamation for agricultural and industrial development. However, local and provincial authorities now recognise the international importance of the area as shown by their announcement of the creation of a new protected area for spoon-billed sandpiper. This, together with two shellfish reserves which overlap with most of the wader feeding areas give the first protection to this vital link in the chain of wetlands that these two species depend on to get from their breeding areas in the arctic to the wintering sites in tropical SE Asia. It is hoped that these fledgling reserves will eventually achieve protection at provincial and national level. "Our surveys confirm the intertidal wetlands of Rudong as the most important remaining stopover site for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper during its entire 8,000km long migration route. Protecting these internationally important intertidal wetlands is vital for the sandpiper's survival, and also for the maintenance of the shellfishery and other vital services provided by tidal-flats," stated Jing Li (Coordinator of SBS in China). As part of this work, Prof. Chang Qing, of Nanjing Normal University, who advises the Forest Department of the Jiangsu Province on environmental issues stated: "We now hope to create a working group of local government and NGOs that involves all stakeholders in the future planning of wetland reserves and their management." "I am very pleased to see so many Spoon-billed Sandpiper here in Rudong" concluded Dr Evgeny Syroechkovskiy of the Russian Ministry for Natural Resources, SBS Task Force Chair. He added: "I will encourage my ministry to include both, Spoon-billed Sandpiper and Nordmann's Greenshank, which breed exclusively in Russia, into the recently signed bilateral agreement on migratory bird conservation between China and Russia." Source: Wildlife Extra News 30 October 2013

The survey found a record total of 140 Spoonbilled Sandpipers on the Chinese coast, quite possibly the whole wild population of this enigmatic bird. Photograph: www.wildlifeextra.com


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Lao consultants give dam the thumbs up

Answers demanded on dam site

The controversial Don Sahong hydropower dam, which Laos says it will soon build just a kilometre from the Cambodian border, will not have significant effects on the Mekong River, according to an environmental impact assessment paid for by the dam’s builder. Obtained yesterday, the report, prepared for Malaysian developer Mega First Corporation Berhad, says the project will actually benefit Laos, despite widespread concerns from environment groups.

A month after a company owned by tycoon Kith Meng was ordered to suspend logging the reservoir area of the controversial Lower Sesan II dam, the government yesterday threatened legal action against it if its orders aren’t followed. In a letter obtained by the Post yesterday, the Council of Ministers demands that the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries explain whether the logging ban on Ang & Associates Lawyers, a subsidiary of Meng’s Royal Group, is being implemented.

“[The dam] will not have significant local or cumulative impacts on the Mekong River flows, fish migration, or fisheries,” the document says. The EIA, submitted in January, adds that only 11 households will be relocated to make way for the project, which may have “small but positive impacts on global climate change by providing electricity that does not involve the burning of fossil fuels”. “The health risks facing people living in the Lao PDR are higher than for those living elsewhere in the region …the hydropower project can improve this situation.” The EIA was prepared by the National Consulting Company, which is based in the Lao capital, Vientiane, following an earlier EIA in 2007. Laos, which has committed to building hydropower projects on the Mekong in the face of opposition from environment groups and its neighbours, pressed ahead with building the 1,285-megawatt Xayaburi dam last November. A number of Lao ministries, including the prime minister’s office, were involved in the environmental assessment process, the Don Sahong EIA says. Environment group International Rivers has warned that the dam “spells disaster for Mekong fish” and threatens the survival of the already endangered Irrawaddy dolphin. Adding to these concerns, Meach Mean, a coordinator at the 3S Rivers Protection Network, said yesterday that the EIA had not considered Cambodians living downstream. “It just focuses on the Laos side and the company that is investing . . . the communities downstream here, we have had not any consultation,” he said. “It will have a huge effect on fisheries, especially during the dry season.” Source: Shane Worrell for the Phnom Penh Post 31 October 2013

In the letter, signed by Ouk Bun Uy, secretary of state at the Council of Ministers, dated November 13, the ministry is told that logging began in the area before a number of procedures relating to the dam’s construction were carried out. “They’ve logged instead. Why?” the letter reads. Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said yesterday that he had not received any response from the ministry. “But we will take action according to the law,” he said, referring to both the ministry and Meng’s company. From April to when the ban was imposed, via an order on October 16, Ang & Associates was logging parts of the reservoir area at the dam site in Stung Treng province. As part of the ban, it was also announced that a commission of inquiry would be set up to investigate the operations of Ang & Associates. Minister of Agriculture Ouk Rabun and Secretary of State Ty Sokun could not be reached for comment yesterday. Logging has not been occurring inside the reservoir since the ban, said Seak Mekong, Srekor commune chief in Stung Treng’s Sesan district. But representatives of Meng’s company had been transporting already-felled luxury timber out of the area, he added. “Our people are wondering whether they are collecting the luxury wood for money for their investment, because they have done nothing but log in there.” Mekong also alleged that logging was taking place outside the reservoir area in a community forest that villagers rely on for their livelihoods. “This project does not help people but depletes the natural resources instead,” he said. Hydrolancang International Energy, a subsidiary of the state-owned China Huaneng Group, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Royal Group almost a year ago for an initial two-year cash injection into the 400-megawatt dam that environmental groups say will devastate riverside communities. Earlier this year, Ang & Associates reportedly inked a joint-venture agreement with local businessman Sok Vanna, the brother of Sokimex founder Sok Kong, to clear the 36,000-hectare site in preparation for the US$ 816 million project. Meng could not be reached for comment yesterday. Source: May Titthara for the Phnom Penh Post 21 November 2013


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Dam channel’s classification hotly debated As Laos pushes toward its goal of becoming the “battery of Asia” through hydropower, its newfound claim that the location for the proposed Don Sahong dam is not on the Mekong River’s main stream is provoking incredulity from some observers. Less than two kilometres north of the Lao-Cambodian border, where the Don Sahong is slated to be built, developers call the Hou Sahong channel a Mekong tributary. Under the 1995 Mekong Agreement, that would require downstream neighbours only be notified, rather than consulted, before construction of a dam. “But it’s not on a tributary, it’s on a channel in the middle of the Mekong,” said Meach Mean, coordinator of the 3S Rivers Protection Network. “This is the one channel that fish can migrate up year-round to spawn; they cannot swim up the other channels in the dry season.” According to regulations outlined by the Mekong River Commission, if a dam changes mainstream river flow in the dry season, or diverts water from the mainstream in the rainy season, the country building it must consult with other member states prior to construction. In 2007, the MRC Secretariat requested that the Don Sahong, as a year-round power generator using mainstream flows, file for prior consultation. In the June MRC meeting, Australian Ambassador to Cambodia Alison Burrows asked on behalf of development partners including the US, European Union, Japan and the World Bank that the project undergo consultation. Ignoring these requests, on September 30, Laos submitted a notification to the MRC, along with its intention to pursue construction beginning this month. “The notification from the Lao government specifies that on average the Hou Sahong channel naturally carries 5 per cent of the total flow of the Mekong water in that area. This could imply that Lao PDR considers that water use on this channel would have limited impact on the water quality or flows regime of the Mekong mainstream,” said Surasak Glahan, MRC Secretariat communications officer. Last week, US-based NGO Conservation International called for a moratorium on Mekong hydropower projects. And on Friday, NGOs in Thailand demanded an immediate halt to the dam’s development in a public letter by the Foundation for Ecological Recovery. “The Don Sahong Dam was registered as one of 12 mainstream dams [in earlier proposals] and all MRC country members were informed of this,” reads the letter. “Engaging the ‘prior notification’ process instead of the ‘prior consultation’ reveals Laos PDR’s action to distort information in order to quicken the construction process.” Officials at the MRC said they have not taken a position. “What’s happening with Don Sahong is showing a weakness in the MRC agreement,” said Youk Senglong, from the Fisheries Action Coalition. “There isn’t any sort of regional authority to turn to when countries don’t follow the agreement.” Dam project managers did not return requests for comment. Source: Laignee Barron for the Phnom Penh Post 19 November 2013

Thai officials intercept three turtle smuggling attempts Four suitcases containing 470 Black Pond Turtles have been seized at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok by Thai Royal Customs and a Pakistani national on a flight from Lahore was arrested. The turtles, which varied in size from 6-25cm in length, are increasingly at risk from the pet trade in Southeast and East Asia and becoming increasingly rare in the wild. The species is completely protected in its native Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Nepal, and is listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which makes any international commercial trade illegal. This was not the only smuggling attempt thwarted this month at the airport as Royal Thai Customs officials also recovered 72 Black Pond Turtles and eight other turtles, including six Crowned River Turtles, one Three-keeled Land Tortoise and one Indian Eyed Turtle from two bags that arrived on a flight from Bangladesh. Two days later, officials also discovered another load of tortoises and freshwater turtles in two uncollected suitcases including the heavily trafficked Indian star tortoise Geochelone elegans. All the animals seized in these three events have been placed in the care of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation. Source: Wildlife Extra News 13 November 2013


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Global Witness calls for investors to drop Vietnamese rubber giant HAGL over failure to reform on land grabs Vietnamese rubber giant Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) has failed to keep to commitments to address environmental and human rights abuses in its plantations in Cambodia and Laos, Global Witness said today. The campaign group says the company now poses a financial and reputational risk to its investors, including Deutsche Bank and the International Finance Corporation, and recommends they divest. In May 2013, Global Witness’s Rubber Barons investigation revealed extensive social and environmental damage in and around HAGL’s plantations in Cambodia and Laos, including grabbing land from local communities and the clearing of large areas of forest. Despite the company committing to addressing these urgent problems, there is little evidence to show that anything has yet changed on the ground. “HAGL has been very good at making commitments but very bad at keeping them. It’s been busy telling us and everyone else it’s serious about changing its ways, but the evidence indicates that logging is still carrying on and the people whose farms were bulldozed are still struggling to feed themselves,” said Megan MacInnes from Global Witness. Global Witness gave HAGL and its investors six months to address the issues outlined in the Rubber Barons report and film. Following an initial meeting with Global Witness in June, the company issued a four-month freeze on clearing and planting within its concessions, and agreed to visit all affected villages to discuss and address problems local people were facing. However, Global Witness interviewed people in seven villages around HAGL’s concessions in Cambodia in August. In three of these, people claimed that the company had not yet visited their village, whilst in the other four, it was reported that HAGL officials had refused to discuss disputes over land or forests. In six of these villages, people spoke of continued logging in and around HAGL’s rubber plantations, despite the moratorium. Independent satellite analysis of forest cover within HAGL’s concessions taken between July and August also indicated continued forest loss. During a second meeting with Global Witness in September, HAGL agreed to an independent audit of its rubber plantations to address the concerns. However, the company has not delivered on this commitment, deciding to focus instead on “social programmes”, which appear to be little more than a PR exercise. “November marks the end of the six-month deadline for the company to clean up this mess. HAGL’s inaction so far leaves us no choice but to conclude that it has little intention of taking these problems or its responsibilities seriously”, said Megan MacInnes. “Villagers suffering everyday as a result of HAGL’s concessions are all too aware of the environmental and social risks the company is taking - we think its investors should be concerned too, and as a result should divest”. 

When questioned by Global Witness on 13th November 2013, HAGL refuted the lack of progress. The company stated it had provided jobs and implemented economic and social development projects (including building roads, houses and hospitals), but that the monsoon and Cambodia’s national election had prevented the company from accessing affected communities. HAGL claimed that their moratorium was being followed, describing the satellite evidence provided by Global Witness as “untrustworthy”. In addition, HAGL says it is “looking for an independent consulting firm to help HAGL make the survey and give advice to HAGL to improve the issues related to the communities” but that such consultants must be accompanied by company staff in order to “assure the consultant’s independency of their findings”. Negotiations between Global Witness and a second Vietnamese company exposed in Rubber Barons, the Vietnam Rubber Group, are ongoing. Source: Press release by Global Witness 14 November 2013


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Deutsche Bank maintains ownership in Hoang Anh Gia Lai The German bank says that it bought 2.7 million shares to maintain its ownership ratio in Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) Group after HAGL listed more shares. This move is contrary to the previous speculation on Deutsche Bank’s divestment. In the announcement sent to the HCM City Stock Exchange on December 6, Ms. Fiona Cheng - Vice Chair of the Deutsche Bank AG - Hong Kong Branch, said that the bank and related entities still own 4.99 percent of shares of the HAGL Group. Compared to the most recent report dated June 26, 2013, the rate of ownership is not changed. During the period from 25/6 to 29/11, Deutsche Bank AG bought 6.9 million HAG shares, raising its ownership ratio from 3.03 percent to 3.82 percent. The Deutsche Asset Management (Asia) Ltd. sold 3.94 million shares, reducing its stake to 0.03 percent and the Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas sold more than 264,000 shares, to have the ownership rate at 1.14 percent. During this time, the Deutsche Bank AG-related group bought 2.7 million shares, retaining the ownership rate in HAGL at 4.99 percent because HAGL has just listed additional 73.3 million shares. The announcement by the Deutsche Bank was launched a few days after the latest report of a non-governmental organization, which recommended investors to withdraw capital from HAGL. This organization in May accused HAGL of land occupation, deforestation in Laos and Cambodia. In November, this organization stated that HAGL did not keep the commitment to address environmental violations at its projects in Laos and Cambodia. It also said that this could make impacts on HAGL’s foreign investors - Deutsche Bank and IFC – and recommended these investors to withdraw their capital from HAGL. Most recently, on December 3, this organisation wrote on its website that the Deutsche Bank had withdrawn capital from HAGL after its recommendation. HAGL started planting rubber in 2007. By the end of 2012, the group grew 43,540 hectares and it aimed to have 51,000 hectares of rubber in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia by the end of 2013 (Laos and Cambodia account for 80 percent). HAGL’s first latex processing plant with an annual capacity of 25,000 tons in Laos has been put into operation. According to its financial statements, in the January-September period, HAGL earned VND 122 billion (US$ 6 million) of revenue from latex, or 6 percent of its total revenue. Apart from earnings from latex, according to the company's calculations, at the end of the exploitation period (after 25 years), 51,000 hectares of rubber will produce about 3 million cubic metres of wood to serve in the wood processing industry, worth about US$ 750 million. Written by Na Son for VietNamNet Bridge 10 December 2013 Arsenal fans campaigning to get the club to end its association with a Vietnamese rubber firm which has been accused of human rights abuses. An online petition set up by an Arsenal fan has attracted more than 1,600 signatures. Vying support the football fan from London writes: We love our football club, Arsenal FC. The continuing relationship with Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL), our partner in Vietnam, brings shame on our club and its history. HAGL has been exposed by Global Witness for taking vast amounts of land in Cambodia and Laos, evicting communities from their land with little or no compensation, and devastating the environment. They are using Arsenal to bring a veneer of respectability to their disgusting behaviour. We can make this stop. Pride in our team extends beyond the players on the pitch; it reaches all levels of the club and its partners. We want the club to set an example and be known for exporting the best of football all over the world. End the shame. End the partnership. Make us proud.

The petition and supporters comments can be viewed here. Source: www.change.org


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An addition to the biogeography of the genus Stichophthalma C. & R. Felder, 1862: a new species from the Vietnamese central highlands (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae: Amathusiinae)

A new species, Stichophthalma devyatkini spec. nov. from Hon Ba Nature Reserve (C. Vietnam, Khanh Hoa province, Dien Khanh District) is described and illustrated. The new species belongs to the Stichophthalma louisa (Wood-MAson, 1877) group and seems related to S. mathilda JAnet, 1905 and S. eamesi MonAstyrskii, devyAtkin & UeMUrA, 2000, while differing in a number of major characters. The new taxon fills a biogeographical vacuum for this group of species, reaffirming vicarious ranges of endemic Stichophthalma in the Indochinese Peninsula. Source: Alexander l. Monstyrskii. An addition to the biogeography of the genus Stichophthalma C. & R. Felder, 1862: a new species from the Vietnamese central highlands (Lepidoptera, Nymphalidae: Amathusiinae) Atalanta 44 (1/2): Würzburg (2013), ISSN 0171-0079

Stichophthalma devyatkini spec. nov. in trap on rotting banana in the type locality.

Protected Areas and Effective Biodiversity Conservation Soizic Le Saout,1 Michael Hoffmann,2,3 Yichuan Shi,2,3 Adrian Hughes,2 Cyril Bernard,1 Thomas M. Brooks,2,4 Bastian Bertzky,3* Stuart H. M. Butchart,5 Simon N. Stuart,2,3,6,7,8 Tim Badman,2 Ana S. L. Rodrigues1†

Although protected areas (PAs) cover 13% of Earth’s land (1), substantial gaps remain in their coverage of global biodiversity (2). Thus, there has been emphasis on strategic expansion of the global PA network (3–5). However, because PAs are often understaffed, underfunded, and beleaguered in the face of external threats (6, 7), efforts to expand PA coverage should be complemented by appropriate management of existing PAs. Previous calls for enhancing PA management have focused on improving operational effectiveness of each PA [e.g., staffing and budgets (6)]. Little guidance has been offered on how to improve collective effectiveness for meeting global biodiversity conservation goals (3). We provide guidance for strategically allocating management efforts among and within existing PAs to strengthen their collective contribution toward preventing global species extinctions. Read full article here.

Experimental Test of a Conservation Intervention for a Highly Threatened Waterbird Human exploitation and disturbance often threaten nesting wildlife. Nest guarding, a technique that employs local people to prevent such interference, is being applied to an increasing number of species and sites, particularly in South-East Asia. Although research has begun to assess the cost- effectiveness of nest guarding, case–control studies are rare and the circumstances in which the schemes are most useful remain unclear. We experimentally tested the effect of nest guarding for the critically endangered whiteshouldered ibis (Pseudibis davisoni), a species exploited opportunistically for food and now largely confined to dry forests in Cambodia. We randomly applied guarded and unguarded (control) treatments to 24 and 25 nests, respectively, at a single site over 2 years. Nest guarding had no detectable effect on nest success, with an overall probability of nest success of 0.63–0.86 at guarded and 0.55–0.82 at unguarded nests. Nest monitoring across 4 study sites over 3 breeding seasons found a combination of natural predation, weather, and anthropogenic activities (robbery and vandalism) responsible for nest failure, although causes of failure remained unknown at 58% of nests. Nest guarding itself increased nest destruction at 1 site, indicating that this intervention needs cautious implementation if only a small proportion of the local community gains benefit. Comparison with other studies suggests that nest guarding effectiveness may be context-specific and differ between species that are exploited opportunistically, such as white-shouldered ibis, and those routinely targeted for trade. © 2013 The Wildlife Society. The full paper can be read here. Source: Hugh L. Wright, Nigel J. Collar, Iain R. Lake, Net Norin, Rours Vann, Sok Ko, Sum Phearun, Paul M. Dolman. Experimental test of a conservation intervention for a highly threatened waterbird. The Journal of Wildlife Management 77(8):1610–1617; 2013; DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.605.


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Food availability fails to explain asynchronous breeding of two syntopic oriental trogons Seasonal variation in food supply may not adequately explain avian breeding phenology in tropical areas with relatively stable climates. In northeastern Thailand the Redheaded Trogon (Harpactes erythrocephalus) and Orange-breasted Trogon (H. oreskios) share similar nest sites, diets, foraging habitats, and foraging techniques but differ in timing of reproduction even though their food supply of insects varies in a similar seasonal pattern, peaking in June for both species. For the Red-headed Trogon, egg laying lasts 5–6 months and peaks in May; nest- ling provisioning coincides with peak food availability. For the Orange-breasted Trogon, by contrast, egg laying lasts 2–3 months and peaks in February. This nesting period is shorter and earlier than that of most other species of birds at our study site, and nestling provisioning preceded the period of peak food by 4 months. Timing of breeding by the Orange-breasted Trogon may represent a compromise between breeding at the optimal time based on food resources and avoiding competition for nest sites from the larger Red-headed Trogon. Read the full paper here. Source: James S. Steward, Philip D. Round, and John R. Milne. Food availability fails to explain asynchronous breeding of two syntopic oriental trogons. The Condor 115(4):838–846. © The Cooper Ornithological Society 2013

Farmers kill rare wolves to protect livestock A 40-strong pack of wolves thought to be endangered Asiatic wild dogs (Cuon alpines) have come under attack from farmers in northern mountainous Son La Province's Muong Lan Commune trying to protect their livestock. Giang No Ly, a resident in the commune's Pa Kach Village, said the wolves were usually seen in the commune during the rainy season, often between April and October, hunting the villagers' cows and buffaloes for food. Due to the wolves, he'd lost four buffaloes and so many pigs he'd lost count, Ly said. "It's a miserable situation as cows and buffaloes are treasures to us", another villager, Ly Thi Mai, said. "We raise these animals for two years and then one day they suddenly disappear," she added. "Is it any surprise we want to kill all the wolves?" Pa Kach Village is one of the poorest villages in Muong Lan Commune with 36 households mostly comprising of Hmong ethnic people, said Giang Se Tua, head of the village. On average, each household loses two or three animals each year, he said. According to Ly, the wolves appearing in the commune were believed to be 90 cm in length, with tails of up to 30 cm and weighing 30-40 kg. The fur on their backs and sides was reddish brown, with white or lightly coloured underbellies, Ly added. Ly said all local residents knew that killing the wolves was a violation of regulations on protecting wild animals, but they had to do this to protect their livestock. In the meantime, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed the Asiatic wild dog as an endangered species. They are also named in the Vietnam Red Book as a species needed to be preserved to avoid extinction. Experts highly recommended authorised agencies and local authorities to issue a policy to protect both the Asiatic wild dog and local residents' livestock. Giang Ba Tua, vice chairman of the commune's People's Committee said that in the short term, the committee had told local residents to keep a careful eye on their livestock and to refrain from attacking the wolves. But the committee was still searching for a long term solution, he said. Source: Viet Nam News 2 December 2013

An Asiatic wild dog named in the Vietnam Red Book as a species needed to be preserved to avoid extinction. Photograph: www.wara.org


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White-shouldered Ibis Pseudibis davisoni population size and the impending threat of habitat conversion Cambodia boasts a rich diversity of large-bodied waterbirds and harbours globally significant populations of several threatened ibises and storks, and a crane (Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund 2012). While the future of these species remains perilous, recent research has advanced understanding of their ecology and enhanced conservation responses (Keo 2008, van Zalinge et al. 2011, Wright 2012, Clements 2013). Greater search effort, collaborative and nationwide monitoring (White-shouldered Ibis Conservation Group 2012, Wright et al. 2012b) and speciesspecific research (Wright 2012) have improved knowledge of the White- shouldered Ibis Pseudibis davisoni. This species was once widespread in Southeast Asia but, following a decline in the twentieth century, is now confined to Cambodia and tiny areas of southern Laos and east Kalimantan, Indonesia (BirdLife International 2013). In 2000 the species was classified as Critically Endangered (BirdLife International 2001), with an estimated global population of fewer than 250 mature individuals. Since 2009 birds have been counted at wet-season roosts in Cambodia and in 2010 these revealed a minimum national population of 523 individuals (Wright et al. 2012b). Conversion of habitat to agriculture is one of the greatest threats to the species (White-shouldered Ibis Conservation Group 2012) and to much of Cambodia’s globally important forests and grasslands (Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund 2012). Government land in Cambodia is classified into state public (land for public interest or use) and state private (not for the public and available for private purchase) property. The leasing of both types for economic development through various legal concession mechanisms, particularly as Economic Land Concessions (ELCs), is now the major driver of agricultural expansion in Cambodia (Poffenberger 2009). ELCs are leased to private companies for up to 99 years, and habitats are converted to the industrial-scale cultivation of commodity or energy crops, such as rubber, cassava, sugarcane and jatropha (Sukkasi et al. 2010, Open Development Cambodia 2013a). While many concessions have not yet commenced cropping, publicly available data (Open Development Cambodia 2013b) suggest that more than 2 million ha of ELCs have already been granted. Despite their scale, very few studies have quantified the potential impact of ELCs on threatened species. This paper reports the latest White-shouldered Ibis censuses in 2011 and 2012, combining roost counts with supplementary data to revise estimates of the Cambodian and global populations. Comparison of the distribution of ELCs and roosting White- shouldered Ibis starkly highlights the imminent threat that the concessions pose to the species. To read the full article here. Source: Hugh L. Wright, Sok Ko, Net Norin and Sum Phearun

Photograph: Jonathan C. Eames


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Official Says Legality of Sanctuary Logging Unknown A district-level Environment Ministry official in Ratanakiri province on Wednesday claimed that he had no way to determine the legality of logging operations by firms with private land concessions inside the province’s Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary. The claim by Chou Sopheak, director of Lomphat district’s environment department, follows revelations that an agro-industry firm, Daun Penh Agrico Co. Ltd., has engaged in the systematic logging of rare and protected species of trees in an unauthorised area of the wildlife sanctuary. Mr. Sopheak, who is responsible for the sanctuary, said he didn’t even know the boundaries of the official land concessions in the area of his responsibility. “It’s difficult to say whether or not a company is logging outside its ELC [economic land concession], because there are no marked boundaries to show the extent of the company’s land,” Mr. Sopheak said. “So, if they are cutting down trees outside their ELCs, we wouldn’t know,” said Mr. Sopheak, who blamed unnamed local “villagers” for illegal logging in the sanctuary. Mr. Sopheak also denied that Daun Penh Agrico Co. Ltd., which was issued an 8,825 hectare ELC inside the 250,000-hectare sanctuary in 2011, was also granted a second tract of land in the sanctuary earlier this year. Ratanakiri provincial governor Pao Ham Pan has called Daun Penh Agrico’s new concession “unofficial.” Photographs taken by local human rights group ADHOC last week show thousands of 3 metre long logs, much of it rare rosewood, stockpiled inside a sawmill located on Daun Penh Agrico’s 2011 ELC in the sanctuary. Photos taken on the same day show alleged employees of Try Pheap Import Export transporting hardwood logs of the same dimensions by boat across the Srepok River inside the Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary. In February, the Ministry of Agriculture granted Try Pheap exclusive rights to purchase all timber felled in Ratanakiri, a decision rights workers say has only served to hasten the deforestation in the province. Yun Potim, a lawyer for Daun Penh (Cambodia) Group, which once oversaw Daun Penh Agrico, said Wednesday that the Ratanakiri subsidiary had been sold to another local firm, Dara Ratanakiri Agriculture, late last year. “All relations and connections with that company [were severed] in 2012,” Mr. Potim said during an interview at Daun Penh Group’s headquarters in Phnom Penh. Mr. Potim said Daun Penh Agrico’s 2011 ELC inside the Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary was likewise transferred to Dara Ratanakiri Agriculture. “Our plan was to plant cassava, but…cassava was not economically viable,” Mr. Potim said of the 2011 concession. On Wednesday, a page on Daun Penh Group’s website that had previously touted the company’s rice and cassava-growing ventures in Ratanakiri was removed. Kim Eang, a representative of Daun Penh Agrico, said she had never heard of Dara Ratanakiri Agriculture, saying that the owners of her company are, in fact, Vietnamese. On Tuesday, Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said Daun Penh Agrico’s “unofficial” concession, which a company representative said was awarded about five months ago, violated Prime Minister Hun Sen’s May 2012 moratorium on the issuance of new ELCs. A report released this week by the Cambodia Human Rights Task Force claims that Try Pheap and his wife, Mao Mam, have been granted nearly 90,000 hectares of concession land in Ratanakiri province alone. The report also says that Try Pheap’s ELCs across the country have negatively impacted 1,445 families, although it does not explain how researchers determined this figure. Source: Aun Pheap and Ben Woods for the Cambodia Daily 21 November 2013

Photograph: Jonathan C. Eames


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Environment Ministry Denies Issuing New ELC to Logging Firm The Ministry of Environment on Thursday denied that a private agro-industry firm had been issued an “unofficial” land concession inside Ratanakiri province’s Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary, as stated on Monday by the provincial governor. In response to claims by local officials that Daun Penh Agrico Co. Ltd., was logging luxury hardwood outside the boundaries of its 2011 government-issued economic land concession (ELC) inside the sanctuary, Ratanakiri governor Pao Ham Phan on Monday said the company had been granted a second tract on which to grow cassava and rubber. “This is not an official concession,” Mr. Ham Phan said at the time. On Thursday, the Environment Ministry strenuously denied that any ELCs had been awarded inside protected zones since Prime Minister Hun Sen placed a moratorium on the issuing of new concessions in May last year. “The Ministry of Environment would like to state that since [the moratorium] it has not provided any more concessions for investment or development projects in the protected natural area that is controlled by the ministry,” a letter signed by acting Environment Minister Khieu Muth said. That Daun Penh Agrico received a second allotment, the letter says, “is not true, because the Ministry of Environment acts according to the law.” “The Ministry is thoroughly reforming the management of natural resources,” it adds. On Wednesday, Chou Sopheak, director of the Lomphat district environment department also denied that Daun Penh Agrico had been granted a second concession, but then claimed he had no way of knowing whether firms with ELCs inside the Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary were logging legally or illegally, as “there are no marked boundaries to show the extent of the companies’ land.” Contacted Thursday, Mr. Ham Phan said he had been “misunderstood.” “The Minister of Environment has reprimanded me,” he said, declining to comment further. Former Environment Minister Mok Mareth, who currently chairs the National Assembly’s Third Commission on Environment and Water Resources, said he urged the media to go easy on Mr. Ham Phan. “Don’t mistreat him, because I just called him to scold him this afternoon,” Mr. Mareth said. Source: Aun Pheap s for the Cambodia Daily 22 November 2013

Photograph: Jonathan C. Eames


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Ex-Environment Minister Says Deforestation Exaggerated Former Environment Minister Mok Mareth on Tuesday accused the media of having “twisted the truth” in reporting on illegal logging in Ratanakiri province, where rights groups and independent forestry monitors say the natural environment is being pillaged and ethnic minority communities impoverished by illegal loggers and agro-industry companies. In a letter dated Tuesday, Mr. Mareth, a CPP member of parliament who currently chairs the National Assembly’s Third Commission on Environment and Water Resources, said recent media coverage of illegal logging in the northeast had also “twisted public opinion, especially the youth, about the government’s success in encouraging conservation and investment on the fringes of conservation zones for the benefit of the nation and the people.” Human rights groups say the rate of logging by private land concession holders across the country has risen sharply in the past year. Earlier this month, local officials in Ratanakiri’s Lomphat district found thousands of pieces of luxury-grade timber stockpiled at a sawmill on a land concession owned by Daun Penh Agrico Co. Ltd. District and commune officials said they were powerless to stop such logging, which they alleged was conducted outside the company’s official 8,825-hectare economic land concession in the Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary. Ratanakiri provincial governor Pao Ham Phan explained the logging, saying that the company had been given a second, “unofficial” concession in another location in the sanctuary. In his letter Tuesday, Mr. Mareth, whose former ministry is responsible for authorising land concessions inside conservation zones, such as in Lomphat, argued that the government is protecting the country’s forests and simultaneously encouraging economic growth. “In the management and use of natural resources for economic development, the Cambodian government takes into account of the economic efficiency, environmental protection, management and wise use of natural resources,” the former minister wrote. “I think that the policy ambition to confiscate land concession[s] for agri-industry, eco-tourism, special economic zone[s] and resort center[s] is the loss for the country,” he added. Mr. Mareth did not mention the Lomphat sanctuary in his letter. However, he argued that companies operating inside another conservation zone, Ratanakiri’s 332,500 hectare Virachey National Park, were doing little harm to the natural environment. Land concession firms “just remove the scattered remaining trees” from their concessions and “clear the area for agri-industry…under strict management and monitoring of the park rangers and local authorities.” The province’s indigenous communities benefit directly from such companies, he claimed. “Indeed, the minority groups get job[s] as workers and technicians from the development investment which improve[s] their family income which contributes to [a] reduction of population movement from the country to other countries for job[s],” he wrote. Forest monitors and those working with indigenous communities Tuesday rejected the minister’s rosy appraisal of the situation in Ratanakiri. Chhay Thy, provincial coordinator for local rights group ADHOC in Ratanakiri, said that companies with government-issued land concessions are only a detriment to local residents. “Before, villagers were practicing sustainable farming. But now, they have lost their farmland because the private companies confiscated the land from them,” Mr. Thy said. “We have seen the living standards of those people decrease, and now they are facing difficulties finding sources of revenue,” he added. Pierre-Yves Clais, a longtime resident of Ratanakiri and the owner of the Terres Rouge Lodge in Banlung district, also painted a very different picture of the situation in the Virachey park. “All that’s happening around the park is sheer destruction and the local authorities are doing nothing but turning a blind eye on it,” Mr. Clais wrote in an email Tuesday. Sek Sophorn, national project coordinator at the International Labor Organization, which works to protect the communal property rights of 114 ethnic minority groups in seven provinces, said that indigenous people are particularly vulnerable to the effects of a large-scale agro-industry. “Their lives depend on the forest around their communities, and those forests have been destroyed,” Mr. Sophorn said. “I see that the companies gain a lot of income from logging the trees; that is the main goal, [but] indigenous communities are suffering,” he added.


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Ex-Environment Minister Says Deforestation Exaggerated continued... A report released by environmental watchdog Global Witness in May said Ratanakiri’s ethnic minorities blamed Vietnamese-held land concessions for impoverishing their communities. “In every community visited by Global Witness, people described how their standard of living had been damaged by HAGL’s [Hoang Anh Gia Lai] subsidiaries taking their land and forest,” Global Witness wrote. HAGL and its subsidiary firms hold some 46,370 hectares of concession land in Ratanakiri, about 5 percent of the province’s total land area, Global Witness wrote. A study published in the journal Science earlier this month found that Cambodia experienced the fifth-highest rate of deforestation in the world. Source: Ben Woods and Aun Pheap for The Cambodia Daily 27 November 2013

Forest Falls in Ratanakiri to the Tune of Chainsaws From behind the corrugated metal walls of Daun Penh Agrico’s wood depot, the raspy buzz of a chainsaw rattled through the surrounding forest on Monday afternoon. As the chainsaw revved and cut, a heavy-duty truck packed full of long, sawn logs of high-grade timber rumbled through the depot’s front gate, kicking up a choking cloud of dust that enveloped Keo Souleng’s modest stilt house. Mr. Souleng, a nimble 62-year-old, who has farmed the land around his home for the past 31 years, said he sees at least nine such trucks, loaded with logs, enter the depot each day. The cargoes of timber hauled “from outside” and into the depot began in March, stopped during the rainy season and started up again last month. “They use nine trucks to transport the wood every day, during the day and during the night,” Mr. Souleng said. Villagers and some local officials have accused the company of logging outside its governmentapproved rubber and palm oil plantations, which are located inside this sanctuary. The villagers, many of them ethnic Lao, accuse government environmental officials of ignoring the logging of this nominally protected sanctuary. They also accuse the loggers of targeting the century-old resin trees in the forest, which they depend on to make a living. Manning a shabby wooden guard post just outside the gate of Daun Penh Agrico’s depot, San Sopheap pulled on a tan jacket a size or so too small for his tall frame with a Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary patch stitched to the shoulder. Mr. Sopheap said that he worked for the provincial environment department and had been assigned to guard the company’s wood depot by Ou Sothea, the son of the Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary’s director, Ou Sothy. Asked why the government was guarding a private firm’s sawmill, Mr. Sopheap declined to comment. “If you want to know, ask my boss. His name is Ou Sothea,” he said. “My boss sent me to guard the company.”

Photograph: Jonathan C. Eames


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Forest Falls in Ratanakiri to the Tune of Chainsaws continued... The environmental officer and latter-day depot guard said the truck full of wood that rumbled through the gates on Monday afternoon had come all the way from neighbouring Mondolkiri province to the south. Lomphat district police chief Soy Thaov confirmed the arrangement between Daun Penh Agrico and the provincial environment department. “Ou Sothea is the son of Ou Sothy, and he provides security for the company so they don’t need help from our authority,” the police chief said. Daun Penh Agrico has the legal rights to log inside its land concession as a means to clear land for planting rubber and palm oil trees. But Mr. Thaov acknowledged that local villagers are worried about losing their farms to the firm and the surrounding forests they depend on. “People now are worried because they’re afraid they will lose the forest and their farmland, and our authority can’t stop it because this is the order from the national level,” he said of the company’s work. Lomphat district governor Kong Srun also confirmed Mr. Sothy and his son’s domain over the sanctuary, and he had some harshly critical words about the arrangement. “Ou Sothy is the director of the Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary. His son, Ou Sothea, is part-time staff,” he said. “Nowadays there are many illegal loggers in the wildlife sanctuary and no one can stop them because this area is under the control of Mr. Ou Sothy and his son,” he said. “After we get information from villagers confirming that people are logging inside the wildlife sanctuary we go there to take action against the illegal logging. But we never see the loggers because Mr. Ou Sothy and his son tell the loggers to leave the logging place and we just find the trees already cut down,” the district governor said. Neither the police chief nor the district governor had contact information for Mr. Sothy or his son, and those who did have the information refused to share it. Sorn Sovansong, who oversees Lomphat district’s section of the wildlife sanctuary for the provincial environment department, said he was not authorized to speak with the media or to give out Mr. Sothy’s contact number. “I don’t dare to give you his phone number because he has banned all his staff from giving his number to people,” Mr. Sovansong said. He referred further questions to Ratanakiri’s provincial environment department chief, Chou Sopheak, who declined to comment for this story. Last month, Mr. Sopheak told The Cambodia Daily that the boundaries of Daun Penh Agrico’s land concession were not fully demarcated, making it impossible to know whether the firm was logging inside or outside the land it had been granted by the government. He conceded that some illegal logging may be taking place in the area. Local villagers claimed the logging of their resin trees, and of several other protected species of rare woods, prized for their light-to-deep red grain, was happening well outside the bounds of the concessions. The local commune chief and district governor supported these claims. Deep inside the Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary, a three-hour drive through mostly forestland from his home village of Sre Chhouk on the southern banks of the Srepok River, Khaim Sokha stepped over what was left of a recently logged Chheu Tiel tree. “Do you know how old this tree is? It’s more than 100 years old,” said Mr. Sokha, an ethnic Lao who keeps a small house not far away from here for seasonal farming, fishing and tapping the local Chheu Tiel trees for their valuable resin. Selling at 50,000 riel, about US$ 12.50, for every 30 litres, the resin is a key source of income for the area’s villagers. But they say their resin trees are falling fast to the loggers. “I worry because for the villagers here, their living depends on the resin trees. If they cut the trees, how can we make money?” he said. Along the banks of a dry stream, more than a dozen additional Chheu Tiel and other high-value trees had recently been cut down, some gone but for their stumps and bark, others only toppled and waiting for the loggers to return and finish the job of turning them into lengths of timber. Mr. Sokha said he and a group of fellow villagers came across the loggers here late last month. The loggers had come with three trucks to haul their cache of wood away. They said they worked for Daun Penh Agrico, Mr. Sokha said. In late 2012, at a meeting inside the local commune office, he added, Mr. Sothy, the wildlife sanctuary’s elusive director, and Daun Penh company representatives offered to pay the villagers for every tree they cut down. “The villagers did not agree, but they come to cut anyway,” Mr. Sokha said. “The trees they cut here they take to Daun Penh Agrico,” he added. “I have seen it. One time I went inside the company [depot] and they paid me for the resin tree that they cut, US$ 200 for five trees.” Mr. Sokha said the loggers had already cut down the trees when he found them, and that the company only agreed to pay after an argument. Down the dusty track from the depot, Mr. Souleng, the rice farmer, said he’d also been inside the depot on occasion to sell fish to the workers to earn some extra cash. “They cut it [the logs] into timber. After they turn it into timber they take it to the Srepok River” he said, adding that he lost track of where the timber went from there.


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Forest Falls in Ratanakiri to the Tune of Chainsaws continued... Kim Eang, a representative for Daun Penh Agrico, declined to comment for this story. Last month, local staff for rights group ADHOC found boatmen ferrying large logs across the Srepok River similar to those they had recently seen inside Daun Penh’s depot. According to ADHOC, the boatmen claimed that they worked for well-known timber magnate Try Pheap and that the logs were picked up on the opposite bank to be trucked to Vietnam. The government granted Mr. Pheap the exclusive rights to buy up all the timber cut inside Ratanakiri’s more than 24 official land concessions, including the one owned by Daun Penh Agrico. Spokesmen for the Try Pheap company have denied any involvement in illegal logging but conceded that they have no reliable system in place to know if the timber they buy is sourced legally inside legal land concessions. The government said the deal with Try Pheap would help stem illegal logging in the province, but rights groups and villagers living around concessions in Ratanakiri say it has done just the opposite.

NGOs Reject Claim That Virachey Park Safe From Loggers Non-government groups working in Ratanakiri province on Wednesday said illegal logging across the province’s northern forests was still rife, a day after former Environment Minister Mok Mareth called reports of such activity exaggerated. After weeks of media reports that illegal logging in the northeastern province’s protected forests was on the rise, Mr. Mareth, a lawmaker for the ruling CPP, issued an open letter to say that the reports had “twisted the truth.” He specifically insisted that agri-business firms operating inside Ratanakiri’s 333,000-hectare Virachey National Park were doing no harm and in fact helping the area’s indigenous ethnic minority communities by offering them jobs. But the former environment minister’s account clashes with regular reports from those communities and the NGOs keeping track of their disappearing forests. Veronique Audibert-Pestel, a program manager for the NGO Poh Kao, has been trying to convince the government to establish a 55,000-hectare conservation area along Virachey’s southwestern border for several years. On Wednesday, she said illegal logging was alive and well in the area’s thick forests, and that logging had picked up in recent months and was extending ever further into Virachey itself. “What I see is destruction everywhere,” she said. On a patrol of the area earlier this year, Ms. Audibert-Pestel said her NGO mapped a new road illegal loggers had cut through the area, which the NGO hoped to one day turn into a conservation area. The logging route cut across some of the local villages’ sacred forests, and well into Virachey Park. “They are destroying spirit forests, they cut the big trees…. Now people are logging inside [the park],” she said. “It’s everywhere in the buffer zone and inside Virachey National Park.” Chhay Thy, the provincial coordinator for rights group ADHOC, said his staff watched loggers carrying at least 30 cubic meters of nominally protected, luxury grade Thnong wood out of Virachey Park’s Taveng district only on Wednesday. “In only one day, we have seen two areas from where they transported at least 30 cubic meters,” he said. “My assistant is now staying in that area to continue investigating and to collect evidence and then make a report to send to the government.” Mr. Thy said his staff tracked some of the logs, which were taken to a timber depot owned by businessman Try Pheap, who has the exclusive right to purchase all wood in Ratanakiri province.

After a lengthy investigation of its own using field visits and satellite images, environmental campaign group Global Witness last month said land concessions belonging to other firms inside the Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary were also illegally logging healthy forest inside and outside the borders of their land.

Pol Visal, deputy director of Mr. Pheap’s operations in Ratanakiri, denied any involvement in illegal logging. “I want to deny this because the information is not true. They [loggers] just use my company for personal advantage,” he said.

Source: Zsombor Peter and Aun Pheap for The Cambodia Daily 12 December 2013

Source: Zsombor Peter and Aun Pheap for The Cambodia Daily 28 November 2013

Chou Sopheak, who heads Ratanakiri’s environment department, which manages the province’s national parks, declined to comment. Thun Sarath, deputy director of the department of administration, planning and finance at the Forestry Administration, which oversees forests outside of parks and sanctuaries, said he knew of the reports of illegal logging in and around Virachey but added that it was up to local authorities to take action.


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Maps of Virachey National Park and its surrounding areas in northeastern Cambodia illustrate forest coverage and deforestation in 1973 (left) and 2013 (right).

Dense Forest

Mixed Forest

Non-Forest

Water

Cloud

Dense Forest

Mixed Forest

Dense to Mixed Forest

Further maps of illustrating deforestation across Cambodia can be found here. Source: www.opendevelopmentcambodia.net

Non-Forest

Dense to Non-Forest

Water

Cloud


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Vietnam starts work on tramway to Fansipan Work on an aerial tramway to the top of Fansipan, the tallest peak in Indochina, began Saturday as part of a drive to boost tourism in northern Vietnam. The tram, scheduled to be completed late next year and go on-stream in 2015, will cut the 3,143-meter climb up Fansipan from two days and nights to a 15 minute "flight." The tramway will be the first of its kind in Asia, and the world's longest and highest at 6,200 meters long and 3,000 meters high, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said at the launch of the project, according to a report on the government website. Fansipan attracts foreign and Vietnamese tourists alike, but Lao Cai authorities recently tightened rules on the mountain after a missing person incident that involved an independent group of climbers that had not informed authorities of their trip. Pham Ngoc Anh, a 20-year-old college student from Hanoi, has been missing on the mountain since last July. Other students in his group said he went along a different path when they stopped for a rest and never came back. The cable car will be followed by the construction of hotels and recreational facilities in the northern highlands. The Fansipan - Sa Pa Cable Car Company, which is building the tramway, is a member of Sun Group Corporation which invested in the 5,802-metre cable car at Ba Na Hills in Da Nang where it is based. Lao Cai Province authorities will supervise and support the VND 4.4 trillion (US$ 209 million) project in procedural steps. Source: Thanh Nien News 4 November 2013

Photograph: Jonathan C. Eames


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Saola rediscovered!

‘Asian Unicorn’ sighted in Vietnam for first time in 15 years

The Saola, one of the rarest and most threatened mammals on the planet, has been photographed in Vietnam for the first time in the 21st century. The enigmatic species was caught on film in September by a camera trap set by WWF and the Vietnamese government’s Forest Protection Department in the Central Annamite mountains. “When our team first looked at the photos we couldn’t believe our eyes. Saola are the holy grail for South-east Asian conservationists so there was a lot of excitement,” said Dr. Van Ngoc Thinh, WWFVietnam’s Country Director. “This is a breath-taking discovery and renews hope for the recovery of the species.” A cousin of cattle but recalling an antelope in appearance, the Critically Endangered Saola, dubbed the Asian Unicorn because it is so rarely seen, is recognised by two parallel horns with sharp ends which can reach 50 centimetres in length. The last confirmed record of a Saola in the wild was in 1999 from camera-trap photos taken in the Laos province of Bolikhamxay. In 2010, villagers in Bolikhamxay captured a Saola, but the animal subsequently died. “In Vietnam, the last sighting of a Saola in the wild was in 1998,” said Dang Dinh Nguyen, Deputy Head of Quang Nam Forest Protection Department and Director of Quang Nam’s Saola Nature Reserve. “This is an historic moment in Vietnam’s efforts to protect our extraordinary biodiversity, and provides powerful evidence of the effectiveness of conservation efforts in critical Saola habitat.” In the area where the Saola was photographed, WWF’s Preservation of Carbon Sinks and Biodiversity Conservation (CarBi) Programme has implemented an innovative law enforcement model in which Forest Guards are recruited from local communities, and co-managed by WWF and

Above: Close-up of WWF camera trap photograph of Saola taken in September that confirms the species existence in Vietnam. Photograph: WWF

Left: The Saola, one of the rarest and most threatened mammals on the planet. In 2010, villagers in Bolikhamxay captured a Saola, but the animal subsequently died. Photograph © William Robichaud


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Vietnamese government counterparts, to remove snares and tackle illegal hunting, the greatest threat to the Saola's survival. “Saola are caught in wire snares set by hunters to catch other animals, such as deer and civets, which are largely destined for the lucrative illegal wildlife trade,” said Dr. Van Ngoc. “Since 2011, forest guard patrols in the CarBi area have removed more than 30,000 snares from this critical Saola habitat and destroyed more than 600 illegal hunters’ camps. Confirmation of the presence of the Saola in this area is a testament to the dedicated and tireless efforts of these forest guards.” The Saola was discovered in 1992 by a joint team from Vietnam’s Ministry of Forestry (now called Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development) and WWF surveying the forests of Vu Quang, near Vietnam's border with Laos. The team found a skull with unusual horns in a hunter's home and knew it was something extraordinary. The find proved to be the first large mammal new to science in more than 50 years and one of the most spectacular species discoveries of the 20th century. Twenty years on, little is still known about the Saola's ecology or behaviour, and the difficulty in detecting the elusive animal has prevented scientists from making a precise population estimate. At best, no more than a few hundred, and maybe only a few tens, survive in the remote, dense forests along the Vietnam-Laos border. “These are the most important wild animal photographs taken in Asia, and perhaps the world, in at least the past decade,” said William Robichaud, Coordinator of the Saola Working Group of the IUCN Species Survival Commission. “They are also inspiring evidence of the effectiveness of the forest guards model to keep Saola from sliding into the abyss of extinction. But more support is needed, so that WWF and other partners can scale up the initiative to additional parts of the Saola's range in Vietnam and Laos.” The Saola is an icon for biodiversity in the Annamite mountains that run along the border of Vietnam and Laos. The area boasts an incredible diversity of rare species, with many found nowhere else in the world. In addition to the discovery of the Saola, two species of deer, the large-antlered muntjac and the Truong Son muntjac, were discovered in the Annamite’s forests in 1994 and 1997 respectively. “We are committed to supporting the successful monitoring and law enforcement interventions to ensure the remaining Saola, and other threatened species, are given the best possible conditions for recovery,” said Carsten Kilian, Senior Project Manager with KfW, the German Development Bank and a funding partner for WWF’s CarBi Programme in the Central Annamites. “We hope this remarkable find gives a much needed boost to efforts to save one of the world’s rarest and most distinctive large animals.”

Patrol team with wire snares collected in Saola habitat, central Laos (Nakai-Nam Theun National Protected Area), 2009. Photograph © William Robichaud

The Saola sighting confirms the species persistence in Vietnam’s Central Annamite mountains and will help WWF and partners in the search for other individuals and in targeting the essential protection needed. WWF is also providing alternative livelihood options for communities bordering the Saola Nature Reserves to help reduce poaching and provide much needed income to villagers. This work is a critical complement to law enforcement and protection efforts, and will help wildlife across the Central Annamites recover. Source: wwf.panda.org 12 November 2013


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Establishing Sustainable Management at Key Wetlands for Sarus Crane in the Cambodia Lower Mekong This study was commissioned to evaluate project “Establishing sustainable management at key wetlands for Sarus Crane in the Cambodian Lower Mekong” which commenced in October 2010 through to June 2013. The study assessed the impacts of the project made to the condition of the two crane reserves and the lives of local people dependent upon the two wetlands, Boeung Prek Lapouv Management and Conservation Area (BPL) and Anlung Pring Management and Conservation Area (AP). It also assessed if the project had changed people's attitude towards the conservation of the cranes and wetlands. Assessment was made on i) the achievement of the interventions versus expected results, ii) the outcomes and impacts of intervention, iii) the relevance of project intervention, and iv) institutional arrangement of the project, in particular the relationship between the four consortium NGOs and the partnership with the FA in the government. The evaluation used various methods and information sources, including document review, interviews with consortium members of CEPF’s funded projects including Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), Mlup Baitong (MB), Cambodian Institute for Research and Rural Development (CIRD) and Chamroen Chiet Khmer (CCK) and government staff. Focus group discussion and semi-structured individual interviews with beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries were conducted during the field based study at 5 selected villages that mainly use the two wetlands AP and BPL. The main findings included: • Legal Protection and Conservation Planning. The Prime Ministerial Sub-Decree and map showing boundary as well as the 5 years management plan (MP) of both sites were in

Photograph: Jonathan C. Eames


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place according to plan. The Sub-Decree of each site would be strengthened if followed by a Prakas or regulation from Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (MAFF) to restrict activities with negative impacts on the conservation sites. The management plans for both sites were developed with strong participation of all key stakeholders, but there remains a need to identify actions to address the issue of Vietnamese people crossing the border to work in shrimp farms or rice fields in the dry season. • Strengthening conservation management actions at BPL and AP. Peak numbers and usage of the site by Sarus Cranes increased 23% in AP due to number of illegal activities declining to zero incidents. At AP, Community Livelihood Development Management Committee (CLDMC) were involved in awareness raising with Local

Conservation Groups (LCG) during 3 years of project funding and all households had land tenure compared with BPL, where CCK were involved in awareness raising for 1 year of project funding and where very few households had land tenure. The habitat of Sarus Cranes surrounding the reserve at AP is at risk of conversion to shrimp farming and rice fields. At BPL, there is a risk of both land encroachment in the buffer zone and conversion of floodplains into rice fields. Selg help groups (SHGs) organising sustainable agriculture, wildlife-friendly handicraft production and water supply improvement are perceived as promoting sustainable livelihood activities that Photograph: Jonathan C. Eames


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effectively contribute to the maintenance and improvement of ecosystem services of both sites. However, these activities would be more beneficial if a co-management approach were adopted to promote ownership and commitment of local stakeholders in conservation work. LCGs in both sites had received a range of trainings but because of staff turnover will need to be repeated at regular intervals. They requested refresher training in particular on biodiversity monitoring. Law enforcement patrols were regularly conducted by LCG. Local communities perceived Vietnamese migrants and private landowners to be sometimes acting outside of the law. There was no standardised procedure for handling feedback and complaints of communities; this needs to be rectified in any future project. The community forums (CF) were well conducted at BPL by LCG and CCK and AP by LCG and CLDMC. The prepared questions and answers of CF ensure that the appropriate information is disseminated as well as monitoring the knowledge and awareness of communities. However some questions still need to be clarified and updated. The awareness raising at village level by CLDMC and LCG at AP was practical and sustainable considered as assets by the communities. • Long-term financing mechanisms and 5 year management plans for both sites have been developed but discussions about potential allocation and use of the commune infrastructure planning budgets were not held. This is an opportunity that should be considered in future work. • Project coordination with other CEPF-funded projects. The partnership among the four CEPF funded project organisations was well coordinated with clear guidelines and regular bi-monthly Project Coordination Committee (PCC) meetings. This partnership would benefit from a communication approach with a joint-decision making process. The frameworks of the 4 CEPF projects were not consolidated into one over-arching framework which might have allowed more effective monitoring and may have led to some constraints in project coordination. The main conclusion and recommendations drawn were: • The proposed five year management plan (2014-218) of AP and BPL should include activities to ensure that Vietnamese people crossing border to farm (shrimp/ rice fields), and collect other wetland produce are integrated into the management activities for the sites. Law enforcement activities undertaken by LCGs should also take into account the activities of these people as well as local people • The good practice at AP that led to the decline of illegal activities should be developed and replicated. • Co-management approach (as detailed should be introduced between implementing partners (MB or CCK) with SHGs (Saving Group, Cow Bank) and other beneficiaries (i.e. shallow well or water tank recipients) to generate their commitment and ownership in the conservation work. • WWT should provide coaching to leaders (Chief/ Vice Chief) of LCG, CLDMC, Village Volunteer Committee (VVC) to enable them conduct bi-annual refresher training to their team members to address the high turnover of staff members. • WWT, MB and CCK should support LCG and CLDMC or VVC to establish a standard protocol for handling feedback and complaints to encourage communities to participate in law enforcement and other activities at AP and BPL. • The prepared questions and answers during the CF should be reviewed and updated to ensure full meaning and sufficient message for interaction with communities. • The good practice in awareness raising on the protection and conservation of wildlife and biodiversity conducted at village level by CLDMC working with LCG with technical support by MB, or with individuals by LCG should be replicated by the different groups in the Liaison Panel, which is proposed in the next five years management plan. • The Community-based Ecotourism Group (CBET’s) infrastructure should be a key focus for Commune investment budget planning through consultation meeting and technical support to CCK during annual commune investment plan discussions. • The logical frameworks of all implementing partners (WWT, MB, CCK, CIRD), should be consolidated as part of the 5 Years Management Plan and to ensure consistency monitoring and effective coordination. • The bimonthly PCC meeting should be replaced by a quarterly meeting of the Liaison panel at both sites using it as a forum to update on progress, share information and experiences, coordinate activities and take joint decisions. Written by Nuy Bora


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Record numbers of White-shouldered Ibis in Cambodia A record 973 White-shouldered Ibis Pseudibis davisoni have been recorded in the wild in Cambodia, making the known global population larger than previous studies suggested. These results once again confirm that Cambodia is the stronghold for the White-shouldered Ibis and that it contains the most globally significant population of this Critically Endangered species. BirdLife International and its partners including Cambodian Forestry Administration, General Department for Administration of Nature Conservation and Protection, People Resources and Conservation Foundation (PRCF), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), Sam Veasna Center (SVC) and Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), implemented a coordinated survey of 59 White-shouldered Ibis roosts at sites across Cambodia. The consortium launched four monthly censuses of this species over the wet season and the September counts produced a staggering 973 individuals. The data exceeds previous counts and closely matches the top end of the population estimate for Cambodia, which in early 2013 was suggested to be 897 - 942 individual birds. With the likelihood that there were additional roosts unknown to the survey teams and that individuals therefore went unrecorded, the total population in Cambodia could be even higher, and may exceed 1000 birds. This result follows nearly a decade’s conservation work by international and local NGOs and government agencies. Since coordinated counts began in 2009, the known population for this species has been increasing every year. Conservation actions, such as nest protection to improve chick survival, may have contributed to this increasing number but the population increases observed are mainly due to increased survey effort and better knowledge of roost locations. Many of the roost locations are either outside of protected areas or in threatened protected areas and the future of this species is far from certain as Dr Hugh Wright an expert on this species from the University of Cambridge explains; “Many of these birds are at risk of losing their habitat from imminent changes in land use and currently more than 79% of the birds were censused on roosts outside the boundaries of legally protected areas. The counts have identified Western Siem Pang Proposed Protected Forest as the most important site for this Critically Endangered Species globally, with 451 individuals – equal to 41% of the global population – followed by Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary with 298 individuals, however both of these sites are threatened by Economic Land Concessions which will destroy key nesting and foraging habitats for this species”. Other key sites in the national census include Kulen Promtep Wildlife Sanctuary in Preah Vihear, Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri, and the Mekong Flooded Forest in Kratie and Stung Treng; all of which also had recordbreaking high census results in 2013. With a global population that is only 1114 - 1249 birds, Cambodia could hold as much as 97% (including small sub-populations at Tonle Sap Lake and some missing roosts) of the world’s White-shouldered Ibises and the country is of vital importance for the species’ conservation. Though the recent counts are positive news there is still significant work to be done if this species is to be safeguarded. The new government recently announced that there will be no more Economic Land Concessions, however several key sites for White-shouldered Ibis are in previously granted Economic Land Concessions. The significance of this threat to this species needs to be recognized by Cambodia’s government, Economic Land Concession owners and local and international civil society if this globally irreplaceable population is to be saved, the loss of which would likely result in this species global extinction. Several donors have supported this work, particularly the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, for which BirdLife International manages Phase 1, Mr. Steven Martin, Whiteshouldered Ibis Species Champion, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund. Source: BirdLife International Cambodia Programme


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Overview of projects recently completed under the BirdLife International CEPF-RIT Indo-Burma Center for Environmental and Rural Development (CERD): Pilot different survey methods to identify Saola population in Pu Mat National Park of Nghe An Province To date most information on Saola has come from local people. While this information is very valuable, local people sometimes consciously provide incorrect information during interviews (due to the fear of receiving legal punishment for former activities, or concern of limitations from future conservation). Approaching indigenous knowledge will help identify Saola population easier and more realistic, while camera capture, analysis of excrement and terrestrial leech parasitizes on Saola will help confirming existence of Saola population at the area. The project research team spent eight days in the vicinity of Pu Mat National Park, Nghe An Province, Vietnam. The primary aim of this pilot survey was to trial interview methods and associated community data-collection techniques, in order to develop a regionally appropriate and culturally sensitive standardised questionnaire and fieldwork protocols for wider use across different sites. Fieldwork was conducted in two communities situated on the margin of the national park, Trung Chinh village and Luc Son villages. Both villages rely on the neighbouring forests of the national park for hunting and other non-timber forest products (NTFPs), and previous small-scale and nonstandardised community interview projects have documented a series of relatively recent Saola reports from hunters in Trung Chinh village (Tham Ngoc Diep et al. 2004). The pilot survey aimed to identify the most appropriate methods for the following steps of the community interview process: • Identifying/locating respondents who hunt in Pu Mat National Park, and who have extensive knowledge about local forest usage and the park’s large mammal fauna; • Determining spatial patterns of community usage of Pu Mat National Park; • Determining local names for landscape features in Pu Mat National Park; • Optimising accuracy of recall of past sighting events for saola and other species; • Determining past and present levels of hunting in Pu Mat National Park; • Determining local names for different large mammal species, and accurately correlating this local ethnozoological classification system with scientifically recognised large mammal species; • Collecting quantitative data on sighting records for saola and other large mammal species. Read the full report via the link on page 48 Source: CEPF Grantee Final report

Community mapping exercise during respondent focal group meeting, using beans to indicate areas of the national park that are visited by hunters from the village. Photograph © Cao Tien Trung


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Global Wildlife Conservation: Nurturing the Flame: Promoting Collaboration for Saola Conservation Regionally and Internationally Conservation Impacts: Now that rhinos are likely gone from the ecosystem, Saola is probably the most endangered large mammal remaining. The involvement of zoos, fostered by this project, significantly helped the Saola Working Group (SWG) to reach a decision, at its June 2013 meeting, to move forward with captive management of Saola, to establish an ‘insurance population’ of Saola in Laos or Vietnam. The conservation impact of this going forward could be substantial. It could result is saving one of the rarest, most iconic species of the ecosystem. Please summarise the overall results/impact of your project against the expected results detailed in the approved proposal. Our project proposed to initiate or deepen partnerships for Saola conservation with three parties: potential donors in the Middle East, the Los Angeles and San Diego Zoos in the US, and, if resources allowed, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). We will detail the results of the project against each of these three objectives: Middle East donors: We completed a written introduction to Saola, with a provisional 10-year budget, for the Board of Directors of the Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ) Species Conservation Fund (based in Abu Dhabi). At their request, it includes everything needed, over the next ten years, to save Saola from extinction. Please see attached. SWG member Barney Long met with a member of the MBZ board in October, and we followed up and sent the brief to them on 16 November 2013. We are now waiting for their response. We have suggested to them that the SWG Coordinator now visit Abu Dhabi for further discussions, and if our suggestion is accepted, we will use other funds for this. Los Angeles Zoo (LAZ) and San Diego Zoo (SDZ): SWG Coordinator William Robichaud visited and gave talks on Saola conservation to staff of the two zoos in January 2013. The visits were highly productive, with these results: • LAZ both renewed and increased their funding level of ongoing support to the work of the SWG, to $13,000/year. • SDZ committed to recurrent, core support to the SWG, starting at $9,000/year. • SDZ sent one of its mammal curators, Andy Blue, at SDZ’s expense, to attend the SWG meeting in Vientiane in June, 2013, to advise the SWG on issues of captive management. • Staff of both LAZ and SDZ are active members of the new Intensive Management of Saola Advisory Group (an advisory group formed by the international zoo community to advise the SWG on issues of captive management of saola). European Association of Zoos and Aquaria: SWG Coordinator William Robichaud gave a plenary talk on Saola to the annual conference of EAZA in Edinburgh, Scotland in September 2013, and a Saola talk during the conference to EAZA’s Cattle and Camelid Taxon Advisory Group (TAG). The conference brought to a close EAZA’s two-year fund raising campaign for conservation of SE Asian wildlife, for which Saola was the campaign logo. The SWG’s involvement in the campaign, of which participation at this meeting was a crucial component, resulted in EAZA donating 30,000 euros (approximately US$ 40,000) to GWC for the work of the SWG. Robichaud followed the EAZA conference with his first visit to ZooParc de Beauval (ZPB), in northern France. Last year, ZPB began supporting the SWG with a 10,000 euro contribution (approximately US$ 14,000). The visit was highly productive, and renewed ZPB’s commitment to support Saola conservation. Source: CEPF Grantee Final report


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The Babbler 48 Community Economic Development (CED): Mekong Biodiversity Protection Project

 

Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV): Targeted campaign to reduce consumption of rhino horn in Vietnam

Conservation Impacts: Vietnam is currently considered as a major rhino horn consumer market in the world, and increasing demand for rhino horns in Vietnam has direct links to the killing of rhinos in other countries globally. ENV believes that in order to protect the world’s rhinos, we must address the demand for rhino horns in countries such as Vietnam. Therefore since August 2012, ENV has initiated the programme “Reducing rhino horn consumption in Vietnam through demand reduction and law enforcement.” ENV’s strategy aims to stop illegal rhino horn trade by strengthening law enforcement, and reduce the demand for rhino horn in Vietnam through a range of activities such as public service announcements (PSA), corporate banners and radio shows. Though it is difficult to measure changes in public attitudes and behaviours as a result of the campaign, public feedbacks indicate that our campaign has definitely influenced their attitudes. Moreover, our campaign has reached millions of Vietnamese as each PSA has been aired for a month in length on 35 to 47 television stations across the country. Source: CEPF Grantee Final report

CEPF comments: The project was one of an integrated set of grants in the central section of the Mekong River in Kratie and Stung Treng provinces. The work led by CED complemented grants to WWF (on protected area designation and species protection) and CRDT (on livelihood improvement) by focusing on community empowerment and sustainable natural resource management in 21 villages. Ethnic minority communities were assisted to register as indigenous peoples, submit claims for communal land title and apply for community forests and community fisheries. The process for submission and review of these claims is inherently long and uncertain, as it is controlled by the government, and a number of claims remained at various stages of completion. Nevertheless, two villages had their communal land title recognized by the end of the project, one village had its community forest recognized, and two pending applications for community forests were expected to be approved by December 2013. The project also promoted alternative livelihoods that contribute to the sustainable management of natural resources and poverty reduction, through the establishment of savings groups and micro-business groups. Furthermore, it strengthened the voice of local communities, by facilitating their participation in a community forestry network, and helped them to resolve land disputes. In one case, 30 hectares of land was returned to an indigenous community by an Indian agribusiness, which establishes an important precedent for successful resolution of land disputes with economic land concessions.

Save Cambodia's Wildlife: Community Empowerment for Biodiversity Conservation along Sesan and Srepok Rivers of Mekong Basin CEPF comments: The project strengthened the capacity of local communities along the Sesan and Srepok Rivers to engage in natural resource governance at local, provincial and national levels. This was achieved through raising awareness about biodiversity conservation and natural resource rights, and empowering local people to advocate for good natural resource governance. With this support, local communities raised concerns about hydropower dam construction along the two rivers, through letters to concerned agencies, such as the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology, the Cambodian Parliament, and the Chinese Embassy in Phnom Penh. At the same time, the communities displayed closer collaboration with local authorities in reporting illegal activities, and engaged with the commune investment planning process in order to integrate natural resource protection activities into commune work plans and budgets. Through these activities, the grantee reported that biodiversity conservation was strengthened in about 600 ha spread over four districts, through the registration of community forests, designation of fish conservation zones, and other actions.


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Fauna and Flora International: Securing long-term sustainable financing of Community Conservation Teams for the protection of Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys in Khau Ca, Northern Vietnam This project addressed the continued protection of a CEPF Priority Species, the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus avunculus), at a CEPF Priority Site, Khau Ca Species & Habitat Conservation Area (KBA VNM50), in the Sino-Vietnamese Limestone Priority Corridor (Corridor 3). It addressed Strategic Priority 1: Safeguard priority globally threatened species by mitigating major threats; specifically CEPF Investment Priority 1.1: Transform pilot interventions for core populations of priority species into longterm conservation programs. CEPF has placed a strong emphasis on conservation of Vietnam’s threatened primate species as priorities for investment. This grant has helped to secure one of the highest priority primate taxa globally, the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey, in the species global stronghold, Khau Ca SHCA. With the largest global population, estimated at approximately 113 individuals, this site represents a key investment area for avoiding global mammal extinctions. This can only be achieved through long-term financial and technical investment in community-based approaches to conservation, which has been the theme of the grant provided. CEPF investment in this priority corridor, KBA and species represents a significant step towards meeting the objectives of the CEPF funding round in Indo-Burma as described in the ecosystem profile. Support Community Conservation Teams: The central objective of this project was to provide ongoing salary and technical support for six members of the Khau Ca Community Conservation Team, a group of local community members under management of the Ha Giang Forest Protection department conducting patrol work in Khau Ca Species Habitat Conservation Area. The CCT successfully conducted monthly patrols between April and October 2014. Monthly patrol meetings were held to assess the finding of patrol work. FFI continued support of the management board of Khau Ca and conducted a Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool Assessment in May 2013. FFI also provided field equipment including two new GPS units to the CCT during this period to aid in facilitation of their field work. Number of days patrolling April 1 – October 30 = 924 days of patrol effort including approximately 5544 km of patrol effort inside of Khau Ca SHCA. Patrols resulted in the detection and reporting of ten instances of illegal activity, including; (1) one instance of local people collecting NTFPs reported to MB of Khau Ca SHCA and Du Gia NR; (2) six instances of illegal logging in Khau Ca – no violator present, reports made to MB with follow up site assessment by forest rangers in one instance; (3) one instance of the patrol team being assaulted by violators throwing stones – reported to police in Tung Ba Commune PC – currently under investigation; (4) one report from Minh Son Commune PC of illegal logging made to MB in Khau Ca. Secure Sustainable Financing for CCTs: The major initiative for raising in additional funding for CCTs, based on FFI’s previous successes working with Zoos for long-term enforcement funding, was to ensure a strong FFI presence at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) conference “Zoos and Aquariums Committing to Conservation Conference” - July 8-12, 2013. FFI presented a poster detailing our community conservation work there, “Community-based in-situ Conservation of Critically Endangered Primate in Northern Vietnam”, and liaised with multiple donors during the conference to explore options for funding for community-based conservation teams. Donors/Institutions approached included Margot Marsh Biodiversity Fund, Mohammed bin Zayed Foundation, Wildlife Conservation Network, San Francisco Zoo, Sea World Parks and Entertainment, North Carolina Zoo and Disney Conservation Fund. To date no additional sustainable financing for supporting CCTs has been secured however we continue to look for options through these and other donor institutions. Additionally, FFI Vietnam has made the commitment to looking at alternative options for sustainable financing through the hire of a Programme Development Officer whose role it is to seek sustainable financing revenue for FFI Vietnam’s primate conservation projects. Source: CEPF Grantee Final report


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Other recently completed CEPF projects For the full list of funded projects and final reports, please see here

Funding USD

Grant Term

Final Report

Targeted campaign to reduce consumption of rhino horn in Vietnam

19,657

Nov 2012 – Oct 2013

View here

Using and systematizing fishers’ local ecological knowledge to monitor and manage fisheries, with emphasis on three globally threatened fish species (the Giant Catfish [Pangasianodon gigas], Sanitwongsei’s catfish [Pangasius sanitwongsei] and Jullien’s Golden Carp [Probarbus jullieni]), in the Lower Mekong River system of Long An Province, Vietnam

19,937

Nov 2012 - Oct 2013

View here

Grantee

Project title

Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV)

Research Centre for Resources and Rural Development (RECERD)

Nurturing the Flame: Promoting Collaboration for Saola Conservation Regionally and Internationally Securing long-term sustainable financing of Community Conservation Teams for the protection of Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys in Khau Ca, Northern Vietnam Finding the Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) in the Annamite Range in Laos

8,000

Dec 2012 – Oct 2013

View here

19,994

Apr 2013 – Oct 2013

View here

20,000

Dec 2012 – Oct 2013

View here

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

Addressing the illegal trade and consumption of rhino horn in Vietnam

19,916

Nov 2012 – Oct 2013

View here

Center for Environmental and Rural Development (CERD)

Pilot different survey methods to identify Saola population in Pu Mat National Park of Nghe An Province

18,483

Feb 2013 - Oct 2013

View here

Newcastle University

A strategic approach to conserving the Critically Endangered Edwards’s pheasant (Lophura edwardsii)

20,000

May 2013 - Oct 2013

View here

Centre for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (CRES)

Confirming the existence of the Zhou’s Box Turtle in Northern Vietnam and developing a conservation plan for the species

18,509

Mar 2013 – Oct 2013

View here

20,000

Nov 2012 - Oct 2013

View here

19,266

Nov 2012 - Oct 2013

View here

19,996

Nov 2012 - Oct 2013

View here

Global Wildlife Conservation Fauna & Flora International (FFI) The Lao Wildlife Conservation Association

Raising Awareness on Potential Impacts of Upstream Development Center for Water Resources Conservation and Activities to Hydrological Regimes, Livelihoods and Biodiversity in the Development (WARECOD) Plain of Reeds, Mekong Delta, Vietnam Living River Siam (LRS) Green Innovation and Development Centre

Strengthening Local Community Network for Fish Conservation in the Ing River, Thailand Strengthening Good Governance for Hydropower Dam Development on the Mekong Mainstream, with a Particular Focus on the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (www.cepf.net) is a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation. CEPF began a US$ 9.5 million five year investment plan in Indochina in July 2008, in partnership with BirdLife International (www. birdlifeindochina.org/cepf), who provide the Regional Implementation Team (RIT). Five years later, on completion of the project, as the RIT in Indochina, BirdLife International has: raised awareness of CEPF; solicited grant applications and assisted organisations to make applications; reviewed applications; given small grants and jointly made decisions with CEPF on large grants; and monitored and evaluated progress with the investment strategy.


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PROJECT UPDATES Funding USD

Grant Term

Final Report

Baseline population assessment of the Critically Endangered Cat Ba langur (Trachypithecus poliocephalus poliocephalus) and initiation of a long-term research agenda

19,891

Apr 2013 - Oct 2013

View here

Cleveland Zoological Society (CZS)

Keeping the legend alive: research and conservation of Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle in Vietnam

9,217

Sep 2013 - Oct 2013

View here

Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC)

Conservation through collaboration: The third meeting of the Saola working group

16,610

Jun 2013 - Jul 2013

View here

Sanamxai Village Community

Integrated Eld’s Deer Conservation Project in Xonnabouly District, Savannakhet Province

19,243

Nov 2012 - Oct 2013

View here

Action For Development (AFD)

Integrating Bengal Florican Conservation in Community Forest Management - Phase II

19,165

Feb 2013 - Oct 2013

View here

Chamroen Chiet Khmer (CCK)

Enabling continued protection of the Boeung Prek Lapouv and Anlung Pring Sarus Crane Reserves

19,847

Apr 2013 - Oct 2013

View here

Chamroen Chiet Khmer

Establishing Sustainable Community Fisheries and Wetland Management at Boeung Prek Lapouv Sarus Crane Reserve

19,999

Nov 2012 - Oct 2013

View here

Fauna & Flora International Cambodia Programme

Developing a conservation action plan and working group for hog deer Axis porcinus annamiticus in Cambodia

20,000

Jul 2013 - Oct 2013

View here

Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia

Conserving three Critically Endangered vultures in Cambodia

19,116

Nov 2012 - Oct 2013

View here

Paññāsāstra University of Cambodia

Conserving three Critically Endangered vulture species in Cambodia

15,474

Jul 2013 - Oct 2013

View here

People Resources and Conservation Foundation (PRCF)

Strengthening White-Shouldered Ibis Conservation Initiatives and Bolstering Local Stakeholder-Led Initiatives in the Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary, Cambodia

14,862

Mar 2013 - Oct 2013

View here

Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP)

Conserving the Last Remaining Wild Populations of Hog Deer in Cambodia

15,778

Nov 2012 - Oct 2013

*

Royal University of Phnom Penh

Community-Based Monitoring and Conservation of Threatened Fish Species in the 3S (Sekong, Sesan and Srepok) Basin of Cambodia

19,885

Nov 2012 - Oct 2013

View here

Royal University of Phnom Penh

Assessing the Status and Distribution of Eld’s Deer in Western Siem Pang Dry Dipterocarp Forest, Stung Treng Province

19,995

Mar 2013 - Oct 2013

View here

Sam Veasna Center for Wildlife Conservation (SVC)

Stakeholder-based conservation of three large waterbirds in the dry forest

18,933

Nov 2012 - Sep 2013

View here

Wildlife Conservation Society - Cambodia Programme (WCS Cambodia)

Finding a Place for the Bengal Florican in an Agricultural Landscape

19,165

Feb 2013 - Oct 2013

View here

Grantee

Project Name

International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, Vietnam Country Programme (IUCN Vietnam)

*Final reporting to be uploaded to the CEPF website shortly. For further information please visit the website here.


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Centre for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies: Confirming the existence of the Zhou’s Box Turtle in Northern Vietnam and developing a conservation plan for the species Conservation Impacts: The project has enhanced scientific knowledge of the targeted turtle species. Through this knowledge, priority research activities are recommended to better understand its natural range and habitat. Collaboration between related stakeholders working on conservation has been enhanced during the process of the project implementation with the research team gaining valuable experience in surveying the critically endangered species. These skills are essential for developing further survey activities for this species. During the course of the project, we undertook three interview surveys, two in Tuyen Quang and one in Bac Can Province, and one field survey in Bac Can Province. In total, 190 interviews were conducted with more than 10 species being identified in the survey area. Cuora zhoui was recognised by 25 interviewees in Tuyen Quang and Bac Can provinces. Our field survey did not capture any turtles, probably because it was late in the season (October). However, we were able to identify good wetland areas, where this species potentially occur. During our interview and field surveys, we are able to identify the presence of a number of high conservation priority species in Tuyen Quang and Bac Can provinces, e.g., Platysternon megacephalum, Cuora galbinifrons, Cuora mouhotii, Mauremys mutica, and Sacalia quadriocellata. The data can help prioritise conservation efforts in the future for the threatened chelonian species. Source: CEPF Grantee Final report

The Babbler 48 Conservation International: Reducing exploitation of trade-threatened mammals in their Cambodian strongholds CEPF comments: The project added a species-focused component to long-term CI interventions in the Cardamom Mountains and Tonle Sap Lake, addressing six mammal species threatened by wildlife trade. In so doing, the project contributed to an observed reduction in threats to core populations of two of these species (hairy-nosed otter and smooth-coated otter) and a stabilisation of core populations of two others (Asian black bear and sun bear). In the Kampong Prak area of Tonle Sap Lake, the project contributed to the successful establishment of three community conservation areas, which provide essential habitat for otters, as well as dry-season refuges for fish species important to the local economy and food security. In the Cardamom Mountains, the project helped engage community members in conservation through conservation agreements, and establish a sign-based monitoring system for bears. In the coastal zone of Koh Kong province, the project made important findings, including the presence of breeding hairy-nosed otter, although these did not lead on to conservation actions, as originally planned, due to a shift in focus of CI’s program in Cambodia away from the coastal zone. It is to be hoped that the surveys under this project do ultimately lead to conservation action for hairy-nosed otter and its habitats, either through partners or under the auspices of a broader ridge-to-reef initiative planned by CI, especially considering the rapid rate of coastal development in Koh Kong. Another project component that could not be fully implemented was updating the Cambodian Red List to afford full legal protection to all otter species, although it must be recognised that, while CI did everything possible in terms of contributing to this process, progress was outside of its control. In contrast, work to improve the treatment of confiscated pangolins exceeded expectations, as CI secured funds for a dedicated pangolin rescue facility at Phnom Tamao. At the same time, the project also prepared guidelines for handling and release of Sunda pangolin and reviewed the (parlous) status of fishing cat in Cambodia. Beyond these direct impacts, the project also made admirable and important investments in the development of early-career conservationists, who will form the core of an expanding cadre of young Cambodian scientists dedicated to the conservation of threatened mammal species. It is to be hoped that CI continues to support the critical work its national and local staff are doing for species conservation, given recent changes to its mission and focus in Cambodia.


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PROJECT UPDATES

Recent camera trapping and exploration of the Stuong Tin Hieng In late November, a twelve day general biodiversity survey was carried out by BirdLife along the O’Cheangheang River in the North of Western Siem Pang. The most significant finding was a camera trap record of Smooth-coated Otter Lutrogale perspicillata. Otter tracks and spraint were recorded during previous surveys but this is the first confirmed Otter species for the site. The conservation status of this and other Otter species at Western Siem Pang is likely to be poor though; human-induced disturbances are evident along most of the river and its various tributaries and over-fishing is likely to be a problem too. Camera trapping also produced photographs of a troop of at least eleven Indochinese Silvered Langur Trachypithecus germaini at a salt lick. Other significant records included the first site record for Red-legged Crake Rallina fasciata which was seen bathing in the late afternoon in a small stream, as well as several sightings of Red-collared Woodpecker Picus rabieri. Some impromptu spotlighting through some of the semi-evergreen riverine forest that borders the O’Cheangheang confirmed Small-toothed Palm Civet Arctogalidia trivirgata; another site first. A total of 12 camera traps were left at salt licks, along animal trails, and at trapeangs (forest pools). More results are expected in early January when the camera traps will be collected. Written by Daniel Willcox, BirdLife International Cambodia Programme

Smooth-coated Otter Lutrogale perspicillata.

Indochinese Silvered Langur Trachypithecus germaini. Photographs BirdLife International Cambodia Programme


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PROJECT UPDATES

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People of Western Siem Pang affected by flooding receive aid from the Cambodian Red Cross Flooding across Cambodia in October 2013 displaced almost 145,000 people and affected 1.7 million. In response to the crisis the BirdLife International Cambodia Programme together with the Cambodian Red Cross donated rice to local communities in Western Siem Pang. Photograph: Jeremy Holden


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PROJECT UPDATES

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Update from Lomphat: Management zoning plan of Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary received endorsement from three district governors With funding support from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and MacArthur Foundation, BirdLife International Cambodia Programme and People Resources Conservation Fund (PRCF) are providing technical and financial support to the Department of Wildlife Sanctuary and Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary Management team to develop the management zoning plan. The main objective of the zoning is to protect the core integrity of Lomphat Wildlife Sanctuary and provide reference for decision makers before introducing any development projects to this sanctuary. Part of the zoning process involved conducting a biodiversity survey including the natural resources used and socio-economic status of local communities. Consultation meetings with local communities and authorities were also held (at least 27 times within 27 villages). By the end of July 2013, the first draft of the LWS management zoning plan was produced with reference to results from the aforementioned surveys and consultation sessions. On 7 August 2013, a district consultation meeting was organised at Banlung town, Rattanakiri province with participation from village chiefs, commune chiefs, representatives of ethnic minority groups, district governors, LWS management team, and economic land concession owners (totalling 40 participants). During this meeting, the boundary of each zone was strictly checked by each participant and concerns expressed   regarding the likely future negative impacts on local communities livelihoods. By the close of the meeting, a second version of the LWS management zoning map had been produced with a basis of biodiversity and local livelihood perspectives. This second draft received endorsement from three district governors and deputy governors (Lomphat, Kon Mom and Kok Nhek). Based on this second draft, 50% of the sanctuary territory was identified as core zone and conservation zones (core = 70,823 ha, conservation zone = 58,911 ha). Approximately 20,000 hectares were also proposes by local communities as reserves for establishment of Community Protected Areas and the remaining area identified as communities' zones and sustainable use zone (including economic land concession). The core habitat of the sanctuary, such as foraging habitat of the Critically Endangered White-shouldered Ibis and Giant Ibis and the semi-evergreen forest, where a high abundance of tiger prey species were recorded, were located in the core and conservation zones. The next priority action of this zoning process is to advocate for endorsement from provincial governors (both Rattanikiri and Mondulkiri) which is anticipated to be complete in the first semester of 2014. Written by Bou Vorsak, Country Programme Manager


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PROFILE

The Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) was founded by a group of former political prisoners in December 1991. The organisation works to address the absence of basic rights, freedoms and liberties in Cambodia by providing people with knowledge and understanding of human rights, law and democracy and how to defend these rights and freedoms for themselves. Overview of Programmes The Human Rights programme monitors the situation of human rights in Cambodia through investigation and intervention into human rights violations and gathering and documenting case information. ADHOC staff investigate complaints; assist victims; monitor prisons; lobby for change; engage in national and regional campaigns and advocacy. Women’s and Children’s Rights programme works towards improving the situation for women in Cambodia through investigation and intervention of abuse cases; empowering women and informing them of their rights; undertaking anti-discrimination training in communities for men and women; assisting women victims of abuse in their reintegration back into communities; holding safe migration trainings to ward against human trafficking; and engaging in advocacy through the press and report publications. The Land and Natural Resource Rights programme staff are extremely busy in Cambodia’s current climate, where vital land is being sold for development without proper impact analysis or compensation arranged beforehand. As a result, many people are forcibly evicted from land that is the main source of their livelihood, and forced to migrate to areas far from basic services such as education and health clinics. The main activities of the Land rights programme are: Community empowerment educating the population at risk of their land rights and encouraging them to defend these rights; Investigating land rights violations and intervening through material/legal assistance to victims, petition and filing complaints to the courts and the relevant authorities; Creating a culture of dialogue, ADHOC host workshops to facilitate communications between authorities and community representatives in order to encourage cooperation and collaboration. Land rights abuses are often linked to government officials or are exacerbated by judicial corruption. ADHOC also engages in land rights advocacy through press statements and conferences, publication of thematic reports and cooperation with the National Human Rights Commission in serious cases. The organisation is actively working against illegal land grabs taking place in Ratanakiri province and advocating the rights of Cambodia’s indigenous communities affected. Source: www.ADHOC-cambodia.org


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PERSONAL PROFILE

The Babbler 48

Dedicated to the conservation of Vietnam's threatened fauna Le Minh Duc started to acquire an interest in biodiversity conservation in his college years. His undergraduate research completed at Hanoi University focused on turtle fauna of Vietnam, in which he documented morphological variations of tortoises and freshwater turtles, along with threats posed by widespread wildlife trade in the early 1990's. Minh went on to obtain a master’s degree in resource geography from Oregon State University, and a Ph.D. degree from Columbia University in the City of New York. His dissertation at Columbia addressing the systematics, biogeography, and conservation status of the most endangered turtle family, Geoemydidae, with many of its members living in his home country. After returning to Vietnam, Minh has continued to pursue his life-long interest in turtle biology and conservation. His long-term collaboration with the Asian Turtle Program in surveying endangered species throughout Vietnam has helped clarified genetic diversity and conservation status of some of the most critically threatened taxa, including Vietnam Pond’s Turtle (Mauremys annamensis), Swinhoe’s Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei), and Indochinese Box Turtle (Cuora galbinifrons). Realising the critical need to study and conserve other wildlife species in the country, Minh has expanded his research and conservation activities to mammals, amphibians, and other reptiles, including lizards and snakes. Along with his colleagues, Minh has described several new species of amphibians and reptiles for Vietnam, and measured the level of genetic diversity of poorly studied muntjacs, Laotian rock rats, lorises and pangolins. These studies have strong conservation implications for the taxa, as they are facing many direct threats from vanishing natural habitats to deadly wildlife trade. Minh understands the many challenges lying ahead. Time is fast running out to protect the country’s valuable, natural resources. He and his colleagues are doing their very best every day to keep their dream alive to conserve Vietnam's most vulnerable species. Written by Le Minh Duc

Le Minh Duc pictured with an African Spurred Tortoise (Geochelone sulcata) Photograph: Robert Pascocello


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OBITUARY

Passing of leading conservationist in Myanmar Dr. Htin Hla, known to his many friends and colleagues simply as Tony, a leading figure in Burmese conservation has passed away at his home in Yangon aged 59. Those that knew him will remember his dauntless spirit and boundless enthusiasm to tackle challenges as well as his friendliness and charm, which meant he made many friends around the world in the conservation movement. Born in 1954, Tony arrived at bird conservation via a background in medicine. A passion for nature conservation came to him later in life and he took on its many trials with characteristic aplomb. Tony studied for both Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Medicine degrees at the Institute of Medicine II in Yangon. After several years of practicing medicine and later as a representative of a pharmaceutical company, Tony made the switch to a new career in bird watching tourism. In 1994 Tony established Wildbird Adventure Travels and Tours (WATT), which specialises in bird watching, nature adventure and trekking tours and expeditions to remote part of Myanmar. His growing interest in birds lead naturally to an awakening of the need for their conservation. In 2002 Tony reached out to BirdLife, which heralded the start of a long and productive decade for bird conservation research in Myanmar. Tony, with others was responsible for the formation of the Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association (BANCA) in 2004, which later became the BirdLife Affiliate. There then followed a number of collaborative conservation projects with BirdLife, reflecting Tony’s keen and growing interest in birds and conservation, which most notably lead to the rediscovery of Gurney’s Pitta in southern Myanmar in 2003. Subsequent research guided by him has shown the species to be far more numerous and widespread than previously believed. The years that followed saw projects to survey the vultures of Myanmar and wetland surveys of the Chindwin basin, which as a result is known to support the largest populations of Masked Finfoot and Whitewinged Duck in Southeast Asia but sadly the Pink-headed Duck remained elusive. More recently as Chairman of BANCA, Tony directed research and conservation action on efforts to conserve the Spoonbilled Sandpiper in Myanmar. All of these projects were initiated by Tony and without his drive and determination and great organisational skills none would have succeeded. In 2008 Tony lead BANCA in a different direction when they were engaged as consultants to undertake the environment impact assessment (EIA) for the controversial Myitsone Dam near the source of the Irrawaddy River. After the completion of the EIA and amid growing public controversy, Tony argued for full public disclosure of the EIA to facilitate open debate on the matter. On 30 September 2011, President Thein Sein announced that the Myitsone dam project was to be suspended during his tenure.

Photograph: A W Tordoff

Tony stepped down as chairman of BANCA in 2013 but remained an active force in conservation until only a few months before his death. It is hoped that those he helped and supported will continue the important work he started on so many species in the future. Written by Jonathan C. Eames OBE


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STAFF NEWS

The BirdLife Cambodia Programme welcomes new members of staff to their team

From the United Kingdom, new BirdLife consultant Steve Jones has spent ten years with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB; BirdLife partner in the UK). Initially he worked as a Conservation Officer, ensuring IBAs were not damaged by built development and managing species recovery projects, and then in the International Funding Unit, assisting the fundraising efforts of BirdLife partners in Asia. Latterly, Steve worked at the World Land Trust, supporting reserve creation by local wildlife organisations in the Andes. Steve will be supporting the BirdLife Cambodia Programme's biodiversity survey and fundraising efforts.

Administrative Assistant Pal Holy, known affectionately to colleagues as Holly, has finally become a full-time member of staff on the BirdLife Cambodia Programme.

Sum Phearun is now employed as National Vulture Project Coordinator for the BirdLife Cambodia Programme. Phearun has recently submitted his master's thesis which he will soon defend.


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STAFF NEWS

Thank you and farewell to members of the BirdLife International CEPF-RIT on completion of the five year project in Indo-Burma

Nguyen Hoang Long, CEPF-RIT Project Officer for Vietnam, Laos and Thailand

Net Yav started his new role as Wetland Project Officer with the BirdLife Cambodia Programme in December 2013. Like Phearun, Net has also recently submitted his master's thesis which he will soon defend.

Pham Thi Bich Hai, CEPF-RIT Finance Officer. The photograph taken on a project site visit in Laos


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JUST PUBLISHED Life, Fish and Mangroves

In Life, Fish and Mangroves, Melissa Marschke explores the potential of resource governance, offering a case study of resource-dependent village life. Following six households and one village-based institution in coastal Cambodia over a twelveyear period, Marschke reveals the opportunities and constraints facing villagers and illustrates why local resource management practices remain delicate, even with a sustained effort. She highlights how government and business interests in communitybased management and resource exploitation combine to produce a complex, highly uncertain dynamic. With this instructive study, she demonstrates that in spite of a significant effort, spanning many years and engaging many players, resource governance remains fragile and coastal livelihoods in Cambodia remain precarious. Author: Melissa Marschke Presses de l'Universite d'Ottawa / University of Ottawa Press

Land and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding Claims to land and territory are often a cause of conflict, and land issues present some of the most contentious problems for post-conflict peacebuilding. Among the land-related problems that emerge during and after conflict are the exploitation of land-based resources in the absence of authority, the disintegration of property rights and institutions, the territorial effect of battlefield gains and losses, and population displacement. In the wake of violent conflict, reconstitution of a viable land-rights system is crucial: an effective post-conflict land policy can foster economic recovery, help restore the rule of law, and strengthen political stability. But the reestablishment of land ownership, land use, and access rights for individuals and communities is often complicated and problematic, and poor land policies can lead to renewed tensions. In twenty-one chapters by twenty-five authors, this book considers experiences with, and approaches to, post-conflict land issues in seventeen countries and in varied social and geographic settings. Highlighting key concepts that are important for understanding how to address land rights in the wake of armed conflict, the book provides a theoretical and practical framework for policy makers, researchers, practitioners, and students. Land and Post-Conflict Peacebuilding is part of a global initiative to identify and analyze lessons in post-conflict peacebuilding and natural resource management. The project has generated six edited books of case studies and analyses, with contributions from practitioners, policy makers, and researchers. Other books in the series address highvalue resources, water, livelihoods, assessing and restoring resources, and governance. Editors: Jon Unruh and Rhodri C. Williams


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JUST PUBLISHED

Bird Conservation: Evidence for the Effects of Interventions brings together scientific evidence and experience relevant to the practical conservation of wild birds. The authors worked with an international group of bird experts and conservationists to develop a global list of interventions that could benefit wild birds. For each intervention, Bird Conservation: Evidence for the Effects of Interventions summarises studies captured by the Conservation Evidence project, where that intervention has been tested and its effects on birds quantified. The result is a thorough guide to what is known, or not known, about the effectiveness of bird conservation actions throughout the world. The preparation of this volume was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council and Arcadia. Authors: David R Williams, Robert G Pople, David A Showler, Lynn V Dicks, Matthew F Child, Erasmus KHJ zu Ermgassen and William J Sutherland. Biotic Evolution and Environmental Change in Southeast Asia The flora and fauna of Southeast Asia are exceptionally diverse. The region includes several terrestrial biodiversity hotspots and is the principal global hotspot for marine diversity, but it also faces the most intense challenges of the current global biodiversity crisis. Providing reviews, syntheses and results of the latest research into Southeast Asian earth and organismal history, Biotic Evolution and Environmental Change in Southeast Asia investigates the history, present and future of the fauna and flora of this bioand geodiverse region. Leading authorities in the field explore key topics including palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, biogeography, population genetics and conservation biology, illustrating research approaches and themes with spatially, taxonomically and methodologically focused case studies. Biotic Evolution and Environmental Change in Southeast Asia also presents methodological advances in population genetics and historical biogeography. Exploring the fascinating environmental and biotic histories of Southeast Asia, this is an ideal resource for graduate students and researchers as well as environmental NGOs. Editors: David Gower, Kenneth Johnson, James Richardson, Brian Rosen, Lukas R端ber and Suzanne Williams. Foreword: Tony Whitten


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JUST PUBLISHED

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Tigers Forever: Saving the World's Most Endangered Big Cat Tigers are in trouble, and National Geographic photographer Steve Winter is on a one-man mission to address the plight of this magnificent cat , while there’s still time. Together with Panthera, the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to saving big cats, and its Tigers Initiative, Winter reveals a decade worth of stunning images and stories of tigers in their world. In Tigers Forever, readers follow Winter through Myanmar’s leech-infested jungles in search of tigers; into the forbidden realm of poachers in Sumatra; and witness the breathtaking intimacy between a tiger mother and her cub. Winter’s gripping images, along with co-author Sharon Guynup’s eloquent prose, tell the dramatic story of the tiger’s fight for survival, and the lengths to which one man would go to bring that story to the world. Above all else, Tigers Forever reveals the tiger itself: elusive, majestic, ferocious, powerful, mysterious, and in desperate need of our help to survive. Authors: Steve Winter and Sharon Guynup


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JUST PUBLISHED

Gioi thieu mot so loai Chim Viet Nam

Introducing some species of Vietnamese Birds

Le Manh Hung, Nha xuat ban Khoa hoc Tu nhien va Cong nghe, Hanoi 2012 When I first travelled to Vietnam in April 1988 there was no field guide on the birds of the country in Vietnamese. At this time the only portable books on the birds of Vietnam in the Vietnamese language were Professor Vo Quy’s work Chim Viet Nam. Essentially this work was an attempt to translate the monumental and lavishly illustrated, but rare and expensive Les Oiseaux de l’Indochine Francaise by Jean Delacour and Pierre Jabouille into Vietnamese and included more recent information from Vo Quy’s own studies, especially from Hoa Binh. The next field guide to the birds of Vietnam to be published was in 2000 when Chim Viet Nam by Dr. Nguyen Cu, Le Trong Trai and Karen Phillips was published by BirdLife. This was the first modern Vietnamese-language field guide to Vietnam's birds. The book did not aim to cover all the birds of Vietnam, but rather focused on common, globally threatened and endemic species. Its objective was to encourage the study and appreciation of birds. The wealth of information provided, including over 500 species accounts, a comprehensive checklist of Vietnam's birds, and chapters on bird conservation, bird biology, bird watching and birds in Vietnamese culture, was designed to promote a wider appreciation and understanding of Vietnam’s birds for a general readership. Around this time a young ornithologist by the name of Le Manh Hung was developing his interest in birds as a protégé of Dr Nguyen Cu at the Institute of Biology and Ecological Resources in Hanoi. Over the last decade Hung has travelled widely in Vietnam and developed his photographic skills, amassing a collection of photographs of birds. His book Chim Viet Nam published in 2012 is the result. The book contains species accounts for 532 species and reproduces 841 of his photographs. The scope of the book does not cover every species, this would have been too great a challenge, but every family is well represented. Each species is afforded a page where text and a distribution map takes-up half the page and a photograph the other half. The photographs vary immensely in quality, but at least all of them were taken by the author in Vietnam. The book includes some species for which I had never seen photographs taken in Vietnam before such as Cinereous Vulture and Band-bellied Crake. Others may be the first records of species not documented elsewhere, including Rufous-bellied Niltava. The taxonomy used is contemporary and one will find species accounts for both Blyth’s and Vietnamese Shrike Babblers for example. The maps are in colour and the country is divided into six regions, which are shaded according to a species range. The book has a soft cover and is perfect bound, which is essential for a field guide, which must be robust to endure use in the field. If there is one criticism it is the poor quality of the printing – a fate shared by most books published by government printers in Vietnam. Overall this is a good book and the author is to be congratulated on a job well done. I shall be taking this book into the field with me this weekend. Written by Jonathan Eames OBE

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