Argali herd © Askar Davletbakov
Bishkek, 25 September 2014– Government and civil society representatives and key experts from 14 Asian countries agreed on a joint initiative to strengthen the conservation of 14 large mammal species that move across Central Asia such as the Saiga antelope, Mongolian gazelle, Snow leopard, Wild Camel and Argali mountain sheep.
The new initiative is the result of a meeting held 23 -25 September 2014 in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, organized by the Secretariat of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) in cooperation and with logistical and financial support of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) of Germany and the German GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH) in the framework of the project FLERMONECA (Forest and Biodiversity Governance, including Environmental Monitoring) which is financed by the European Union as well as with funding from Switzerland.
“The Central Asian Mammals Initiative is an entirely new approach for CMS. For the first time, we have started a regional initiative combining existing efforts to protect large mammals under the Convention. We hope that this approach might be emulated elsewhere”, said CMS Executive Secretary Bradnee Chambers.
Different countries and key actors came together to agree on urgent cooperative transboundary conservation actions for migratory species in the Central Asian region. The agreed conservation measures are essential for saving the unique wildlife of Central Asia and will benefit many other charismatic species.
The Central Asian region is home to some of the most stunning migrations. Dubbed as the “Serengeti of the North”, the vast deserts, semi-deserts, grasslands and high mountains of the Central Asia and adjacent regions, support some of the world’s last remaining large mammal migrations. Yet these great migrations are in peril as poaching, illegal trade, habitat loss, infrastructure development and barriers to migration, as well as disease and climate change are threatening their very existence. Science-based and internationally coordinated conservation measures across all the range states are needed to ensure the survival of the species, their migrations and habitats, as well as sustainable benefits they bring to people.
The new initiative will strengthen the conservation of 14 large mammal species and outlines actions to address key threats to the species such as illegal hunting and trade as well as habitat loss and fragmentation. Participants at the international meeting also identified priority landscapes and habitat that are of special importance for several species and developed activities to help keep those ecosystems intact. Furthermore, the program includes ways to improve transboundary cooperation, communication and exchange of experience as well as best practices. It will help countries, Non- Governmental Organizations, donors and scientists to coordinate their conservation action by strengthening communication and cooperation across borders and institutions.
The Central Asia Mammals Initiative will be presented for adoption at the 11th Conference of the Parties to CMS (COP11) which will take place in Quito Ecuador (4-9 November 2014), along with an action plan for the conservation of the Argali (Ovis ammon) and guidelines to mitigate negative impacts from linear infrastructure on migratory mammals in Central Asia.
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The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), also known as the Bonn Convention, works for the conservation of a wide array of endangered migratory animals worldwide through negotiation and implementation of agreements and species action plans. It has 120 Member States.
Last updated on 29 September 2014