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The Optimist: A WCA Positive Eco New Journal

Conservation optimists unite! This year, the Wildlife Conservation Association is launching a happy news series, focused on reporting eco protection wins from around the globe. At a time when it’s easy to think pessimistically about our future, we’re dedicating a quarterly journal to bringing inspiration to the conservation community.


Let’s dive in!


Canopy bridges connect forests, wildlife, and international researchers

Female howler monkey (Alouatta palliata palliata) uses a canopy bridge in Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica which is designed to support prehensile tail use. Photo by Ines Azofeifa.

The rapid expansion of roads and highways has negatively impacted many species by limiting their ability to travel to to seek food, shelter and mates. In Nosara, we’ve become accustomed to the sight of monkeys crawling on telephone lines and wildlife crossing the bustling streets.


Enter: canopy bridges.


Canopy bridges provide a simple solution to this problem by allowing animals to cross over roads safely and maintain gene flow between populations. A naturally occurring vine or connecting tree branch forms a natural canopy bridge, but a single rope or ladder-like structure built by humans can fill in these gaps caused by deforestation. Many organizations are developing and implementing these solutions in their own communities, including several in Nosara. Check out SIBU Sanctuary and the International Animal Rescue to see how you can make a difference and support their work!


Mammal activity remains the same across the tropics

Map showing the different locations of the cameras used in the study. Image by Andrea F. Vallejo-Vargas

You might be relieved to hear that a new study examining when and why mammals eat, sleep and move about, using 2.3 million camera trap photos from the Neotropics, Afrotropics, and Indo-Malayan tropics, finds consistent patterns of daily activity across continents. The study results can help us understand when and why animals are active, which is fundamental for protecting them, and can also help to mitigate conflicts with humans.


Read the full study published in Nature Communications here.


In the Philippines, a love for sea turtles turns poachers into protectors

All five species of sea turtles found in the Philippines - Green, Hawksbill, Loggerhead, Leatherback, and, our personal favorite, the Olive Ridley - are endangered.


The “pawikan”, as they are called in that corner of the world, are hunted for their eggs, meat and shells, and as such face threats from trade, habitat loss, and even climate change. But good news is upon us as a conservation effort established in 2009 has transformed sea turtle poachers into allies, offering incentives and training to help save thousands of turtles.


Read more from the in-depth in Reuters piece here.

A baby olive ridley sea turtle emerges from its nest at CURMA’s hatchery, in San Juan, La Union, Philippines, December 20, 2022. Eloisa Lopez, Reuters.

Whether you're an optimist, a pessimist, or anything in between, we over at the WCA believe in spreading good news to our community. So make sure to stay up to date with our new series and help to spread the hopeful news along with us!

 

References

Canopy bridges for conservation: Case studies from around the world. (2022). Folia Primatologica, 93(3-6). Retrieved from: https://brill.com/view/journals/ijfp/93/3-6/ijfp.93.issue-3-6.xml


Kimbrough, Liz. “Canopy bridges connect forests, wildlife, and international researchers”. Monga Bay, January 30, 2023. https://news.mongabay.com/2023/01/canopy-bridges-connect-forests-wildlife-and-international-researchers/


Prasetyo, D., Lestari, D. A., Wahyuni, T., & Ismanto, A. D. (2022). The effectiveness of artificial canopy bridges for the diurnal primates within a hydroelectric project in North Sumatra-Indonesia. Folia Primatologica, 93(3-6), 271-285. doi:10.1163/14219980-20211106.


Reports, S. (2023, February 2). Love of sea turtles turns Philippine poachers into protectors. Reuters. Retrieved April 3, 2023, from https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/philippines-environment-turtles/


Vallejo-Vargas, A. F., Sheil, D., Semper-Pascual, A., Beaudrot, L., Ahumada, J. A., Akampurira, E., … Bischof, R. (2022). Consistent diel activity patterns of forest mammals among tropical regions. Nature Communications, 13(1), 1-10. doi:10.1038/s41467-022-34825-1


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