The Maasai have long coexisted with the natural world, but the relationship is under strain as rising populations and infrastructural development exert increasing pressure on wildlife habitat and resources. WWF, with the support of HSBC, has been working with a Water Resources Users’ Association (WRUA) in Leshuta, Mara, to better manage water resources and reduce wildlife conflict. Through this initiative, the community has built an 8-kilometre pipeline that supplies more than 3,000 people and their livestock with clean water. In doing this, the community has protected and rehabilitated five freshwater springs, planting trees around them, constructing water pans for livestock and putting up fences around the springs to protect them from encroachment. This has led to an increase in the availability of safe water and a reduction in outbreaks of water-borne and other diseases that result from poor hygiene.
SDGs Mean Business: How Credible Standards Can Help Companies Deliver the 2030 Agenda, a new report from WWF and ISEAL, illustrates how sustainability standards – ready-made tools for businesses and supply chains – can help accelerate progress on many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while delivering direct benefits to companies and small-scale producers. Credible, multi-stakeholder standards embody the partnership spirit of the SDGs, bringing businesses, NGOs, governments and other stakeholders together to work towards common goals that benefit business, people and the planet. Tried and tested, they can be used at every link in the value chain – enabling harvesters, producers and processors to achieve a recognized level of sustainability, and traders, manufacturers and retailers to address the impacts of their supply chains. WWF and ISEAL are calling on the business community to use credible standards a tools to increase sustainability and report on progress.
WWF-Cambodia’s team was delighted to report spotting 11 new Irrawaddy dolphin calves in the Mekong during 2016 – as well as a 30 per cent fall in dolphin mortality between 2015 and 2016. The Cambodian Mekong Dolphin Conservation Project (CMDCP), a collaborative effort between WWF, the Cambodian Rural Development Team (CRDT) and the Fisheries Administration, works to conserve this critically endangered dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris) by implementing the Cambodian government’s Mekong Dolphin Conservation Strategy. Its aim is to maintain a viable dolphin population – currently the largest of the five known populations – and protect the health of the Mekong by reducing such threats as overfishing; increasing community awareness, particularly through education; researching dolphin mortality and monitoring threats; and building cross-border and community cooperation in implementing the conservation strategy.
On World Wetlands Day 2016, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance designated five new sites in Madagascar, nominations strongly supported by WWF. Ankarafantsika, Nosy Ve Androka, Bemanevika, Sahamalaza and Antrema contain different types of ecosystems that are poorly represented on the Ramsar List, and host remarkable but highly threatened biodiversity – the Bemanevika wetland in the Northern Highlands, for example, is the only place known to shelter Madagascan pochard (Aythya innotata), a wild duck believed extinct but rediscovered there. The barrier reef of Nosy Ve Androka in the Mahafaly seascape contains more than 140 species of coral and over 240 fish, shellfish and other marine species. This site is also home to the “fossil fish”, the coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae), as well as five sea turtles species.
The South African Department of Environmental Affairs has announced that in 2016, 1,054 rhinos were killed in the country. This is a decline from 1,215 in 2014 and 1,175 in 2015. Enhanced enforcement efforts in the Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s largest wildlife reserves and home to the world’s biggest population of white rhino, also resulted in a 20 per cent decline in the number of rhinos killed, from 826 in 2015 to 662 in 2016. Nonetheless, rhino populations remain perilously close to the tipping point, with the latest figures highlighting the impacts of poaching sweeping across South Africa, as criminal syndicates shift their focus in response to law enforcement. Key populations in KwaZulu-Natal in particular bore the brunt of poaching, with 161 rhinos killed in the province during 2016 – an increase of 38 per cent on the previous year.
The discovery of a new shark species by the Belize Fisheries Department is a reminder of the need to protect the waters around the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve, the longest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere and a haven for 1,400 kinds of plants and animals, including rare marine turtles, rays, sharks and dolphins. The discovery of the yet-to-be-named fish is as an indicator of the state of Belize waters as sharks require healthy habitats for nursery areas. During 2016, WWF, as part of the Belize Coalition to Save Our Natural Heritage, orchestrated a worldwide campaign that led to more than 265,000 people lobbying the prime minister of Belize to secure long-term protection of the UNESCO World Heritage site. As a result, the Belize government suspended permissions for seismic surveys and oil exploitation within 1 kilometre of the Belize Barrier Reef.