May 2020

Greetings from Nairobi! 

Our March newsletter celebrated World Wildlife Day. Our April newsletter highlighted what our partners are doing to protect the people and wildlife they serve in the face of a pandemic.

This month we look at what USAID-supported projects are doing in the East African region to protect wildlife from tra fficking, stop deforestation and adapt to climate change, three challenges that contribute to the rise of zoonotic diseases.

I hope you are staying safe and healthy. Enjoy the read.
Aurelia Micko
Environment Office Chief
USAID Kenya and East Africa
Combating wildlife trafficking is vital to protecting Tanzania’s tourism-focused, wildlife-dependent economy. It can also stop the proliferation of zoonotic diseases. The private sector is an indispensable partner in the fight.

Wildlife smugglers use Tanzania’s private sector network of transportation companies to ship elephant ivory, rhino horn, and pangolin scales to other parts of the world. They use private sector banks and money transfer programs to collect their payments.

The USAID Promoting Tanzania's Environment, Conservation, and Tourism (PROTECT ) project collaborates with the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation, the voice and umbrella body for 300 companies, to provide awareness training and educate companies on actions they can take to combat wildlife crime. Aviation, banking, transport and logistics companies learn how to flag and follow illicit money and how to identify and report wildlife crime incidents.
“Involving partners such as shipping companies in combating wildlife crime is key. Illegal wildlife traders use ships to transfer illegal wildlife products to other parts of the world. Now I am aware of the local and global issues on combating wildlife crime. I will share this knowledge with my co-workers and together we will improve our investigations. This workshop connected me with many companies which will be helpful during investigations.”

-      Abel Uronu, Executive Secretary for Tanzania Shipping Agent and training participant.

Find out more about the PROTECT project here .
Engaging Private Sector to Protect Tanzania's Biodiversity

Learn about our approach and progress to date

Read more
PROTECT partnerships have raised $2.5 million in assets for conservation efforts and preserved more than 300,000 hectares of biologically significant areas through improved management.
The Uganda National Forest Authority recently launched a Review of Collaborative Forest Management in Uganda . The report assesses the impact and process of implementing Collaborative Forest Management over the past 15 years.

See below NTV video for more on the event.

Collaborative Forest Management is a key strategy for the National Forest Authority's approach to sustainably managing its Central Forest Reserves, which hold 28% of Uganda’s remaining standing forests. Those forests hold critical biodiversity and are central to the country’s economy and people’s livelihoods.

The U.S. Forest Service and USAID support Community Forest Management as a sustainable model to help community forest user groups co-manage the forests they rely on. The model works by having forest user groups register as managers of individual forests or parts of a forest in a Central Forest Reserve. Each party of the registered group agrees to specific roles and responsibilities around the utilization and conservation of the forest. For example, the group may derive income from honey bees they maintain in the forest or from plantation woodlots on the edge of the forests they are co-managing. With their livelihoods more secure and interlinked with forest conservation, the forest user groups can become the Central Forest Reserves' greatest protectors.

Broadly, the report confirms that Collaborative Forest Management has positively impacted communities and at least partially restored positive attitudes toward Uganda's National Forest Authority. But, the process requires some adjustments to improve the effectiveness of the model. For a summary of those adjustments, click on the infographic to the right. For all the intricacies, read the report .
Listen to newly appointed Uganda Minister of State for Environment, Hon. Beatrice Atim Anywar, explain how Collaborative Forest Management helps conserve Uganda's forests.
USAID expends resources to combat wildlife crime because wildlife is critical to East Africa's tourism industry which fuels economic growth by bringing in over $6 billion to the region each year. Reducing or eliminating illegal wildlife crime also contributes to supporting stronger cross-border security, stability, and resilience in the region, and it can stop the spread of zoonotic diseases.

Our work supports strong conservation policy, landscape-level protection and enforcement, and the use of science and technology to improve investigation and prosecution. We also support intergovernmental partnerships to address transnational wildlife crime.

Find out more by reading our Combating Wildlife Crime fact sheet .
Welcome to ROUTES

The Reducing Opportunities for Unlawful Transport of Endangered Species (ROUTES) Partnership brings together government agencies, transportation and logistics industry companies and representatives, international conservation, development and law ...

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"Climate Risks to Conservation in Uganda" analyzes biodiversity resources and livelihoods dependent on biodiversity in five landscapes, as well as the ecosystem services on which they both rely. The study outlines potential climate impacts and adaptive responses to protect biodiversity and related livelihoods based on available climate projections for each of the five landscapes.

The analyses support USAID/Uganda decision making on integrating biodiversity and climate change programming.

The  Climate Change Adaptation, Thought Leadership Assessment   (ATLAS) project worked with USAID’s Bureau for Africa and the USAID/Uganda mission to assess the vulnerability of biodiversity in a set of protected areas and their surrounding landscapes.
Climate Risks to Conservation in Uganda

This report provides information on the risks of climate change to biodiversity conservation in Uganda.

Read more
(Articles and headlines are taken directly from the sources cited)

What do the coronavirus and the extinction of endangered species have in common? With the current outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), global attention has been drawn to the significant health risks posed by eating wild animals. 

According to WWF Italy, many of the so-called emerging diseases – such as Ebola, AIDS, SARS, avian influenza, swine flu and today the new coronavirus are not spontaneous, catastrophic events, but the consequence of our impact on natural ecosystems. Source: African Conservation. Read more.

The  coronavirus  pandemic has disrupted tourism the globe over, grounding travelers and shutting down nonessential businesses. For Matt Brown of the Nature Conservancy, that spells trouble for the wildlife the environmental organization works to protect. Source: ABCNews. Read more.

A suspect in the transmission of Covid-19 to humans, pangolins are the most trafficked animal in the world despite the ban on trade by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES). Currently on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), pangolins are armadillo-looking mammals found in Asia and Africa but are more closely related to cats and dogs. Humans hunt them for their scales used in traditional medicine and the fashion industry and for their meat, which is considered a delicacy. Asian pangolins have become critically endangered, and poachers have turned to trafficking African species, most destined for China and Vietnam. According to  TRAFFIC,  a leading non-governmental organization working on wildlife trade, twenty tons of pangolins are trafficked each year, putting them on the fast track to extinction. Source: New Security Beat. Read more.

It's a trope from any movie about the end of humanity: Vegetation slowly reclaims cities, while deer and foxes roam the streets. Probably the closest we’ll ever get to this scenario without an actual apocalypse is happening right now in locked-down metropolises across the world. In San Francisco, coyotes—normally scared away by cars—  are traipsing  across the desolate Golden Gate Bridge. In the Welsh town of Llandudno, mountain goats  are moving in . In Barcelona, wild boar  have infiltrated  the city center.

But while you might think a world without people would be great for animals, whether a species suffers or benefits from our absence depends on how dependent they are on human conservation efforts or upkeep of their habitat. Source: Read more.

Conservation groups say nature must be a cornerstone of economic recovery plans for the sake of people, health and economies.

The call comes amid fears of a "spike in poaching" as rural communities lose vital income. Source: Read more.

Poachers have killed the only female white giraffe in Kenya and her calf at Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy in Ijara, Garissa County, eastern Kenya. Source: The East African. Read more.
USAID Kenya and East Africa Environment |