Search Results for: "Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust DWCT"
The Darwin Initiative is a UK government grants scheme that helps to protect biodiversity and the natural environment through locally based projects worldwide. The initiative funds projects that help countries rich in biodiversity but poor in financial resources to meet their objectives under one or more of the biodiversity conventions. The objective is to to address threats to biodiversity such as: - habitat loss or degradation - climate change - invasive species - over-exploitation - pollution and eutrophication.
Illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is the fifth most lucrative transnational crime, worth up to £17bn a year globally. As well as threatening species with extinction, IWT destroys vital ecosystems. IWT also fosters corruption, feeds insecurity, and undermines good governance and the rule of law. The UK government is committed to tackling illegal trade of wildlife products. Defra manages the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund, which is a competitive grants scheme with the objective of tackling illegal wildlife trade and, in doing so, contributing to sustainable development in developing countries. Projects funded under the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund address one, or more, of the following themes: • Developing sustainable livelihoods to benefit people directly affected by IWT • Strengthening law enforcement • Ensuring effective legal frameworks • Reducing demand for IWT products Over £23 million has been committed to 75 projects since the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund was established in 2013; five projects were awarded in 2014 (via applications to the Darwin Initiative), fourteen in 2015, fifteen in 2016, thirteen in 2017, fourteen in 2018 and in the latest round in 2019. This round of funding includes the following projects (details of which can be found at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/811381/iwt-project-list-2019.pdf)): IWT062, IWT063, IWT064, IWT065, IWT066, IWT067, IWT068, IWT069, IWT070, IWT071, IWT072, IWT073, IWT074, IWT075.
In a series of GCRF-funded projects we have developed a prototype low cost, robust, and simple to operate thermal-infrared drone system built from off-the-shelf components that can (semi)automatically detect, identify and locate animals and fires in thermal infrared footage. The objective of this proposal is to use the system to help conservation agencies protect Madagascar's biodiversity - a cornerstone of the country's economy - and thereby deliver significant, long-term, social and economic impact. To achieve this goal, we will overcome existing challenges [C] with innovative solutions [S] by setting strategic targets [T] with quantifiable measures of success [M] which will lead to long-term benefits [B] through the following steps: 1. [C] Madagascar is currently building a national framework and regulations for operating drones. [S] Building on our experience as part of key UK Government panels shaping drone policy, we will work with the Aviation Civil de Madagascar (ACM) [Civil Aviation Authority of Madagascar], our partner and key local stakeholder, to outline regulations required for a national qualification to fly drones safely. By implementing a national drone policy [T], drone operators applying for flying permits [M] will be required to follow the latest international aviation regulations, ensuring optimal safety and best practice are implemented in drone flight from the beginning. [B] The uptake in drone technology will open the door to the same transformative changes in all areas of economy and society seen in other countries. 2. [C] In part due to high costs of commercial drone systems, there are few drone pilots in Madagascar, and little capacity for building/maintaining non-commercial drones. [S] Building on our experience setting up a Drone Research Lab at Liverpool John Moores University in the UK, we will work with ACM and our key conservation partner, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (DWCT), to develop a Drone Centre in Madagascar. [T] This will be fully equipped and staffed to (i) build and maintain drones from off-the-shelf components and (ii) train users to fly drones. [M] We will train 4 DWCT staff to build, maintain and fly drone systems so DWCT have the capacity to operate independently long-term. [B] This will initiate, and with continued training of new people over time, greatly increase the Madagascan capacity for using drone technology. 3. [C] Madagascar's unique biodiversity is crucial to the country's economy and long-term growth, but is being reduced sharply by hunting and habitat loss. An essential aspect of conservation is knowledge on animal abundance and hunting. Current conservation efforts are hampered by the high costs and large time investments of current methods to assess these. [S] With infrastructure from steps 1 and 2 in place, we will work with DWCT and other stakeholders (e.g. Madagascar National Parks, who manage National Parks in Madagascar) to use the drone systems to conduct regular, long-term, systematic monitoring of key geographical areas critical to Madagascan biodiversity and economy. [T] We will survey the entire Lake Alaotra region (which produces 50% of Madagascar's rice) and Baly Bay National Park (a hot spot for the illegal wildlife trade). [M] From these data we will derive accurate and precise densities for Aloatran Gentle Lemurs (which act as key indicators of restorative action in Lake Alaotra), and substantially reduce poaching in the Baly Bay National Park. [B] Our pilot studies show that our drone system offers between a 20-400x improvement in efficiency for detecting/identifying animals, humans and fires in surveys compared with current methods. The adoption of this research technology will provide a step change in the scale and frequency with which DWCT can conduct surveys. This will substantially reduce poaching and illegal activity and provide stakeholders with the information needed to balance conservation with sustainable growth.