Environmental Education to Support Conservation of Wild Camels

© Rich ReadingBonn,
6 February 2012
- A new project, implemented by
the Wild Camel Protection Foundation in collaboration with
the UNEP/CMS Secretariat and with funding from the Mohamed
bin-Zayed Species Conservation Fund will help to raise public
awareness on the plight of the critically endangered wild
Bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus ferus) and its
important ecological role for the deserts of Mongolia and
China.

John Hare, Founder of the Wild Camel Protection
Foundation, said: “There are only approximately 950
critically endangered wild camels left in the world - all
in China and Mongolia. The Wild Camel Protection Foundation
is the only organization dedicated exclusively to saving
this eighth most endangered large mammal from extinction
- an animal which in 2008 was recognized as an entirely
new and separate species. By giving us your support, you
can help us to achieve our aim.”

Wild Bactrian camels differ physically
and genetically from their domestic relatives. The population
numbers of the species have dwindled dramatically. The species
has been listed on Appendix I of CMS since COP7 (2002).
With current estimates of fewer than 1,000 animals, the
Mongolian subpopulation has declined by more than 45 per
cent since 1985.

Highly adapted to the extreme deserts of
Central Asia, the camels’ decline is an indicator
for the degradation of the entire Great Gobi ecosystem.
The species is found in the Gobi and Gashun Gobi deserts
of northwest China and Mongolia. The populations are under
constant pressure due to human encroachment into protected
areas, poaching and hybridization with domestic camels,
habitat degradation, reduction of water resources and competition
with livestock. Furthermore, border fences as well as illegal
mining activities in protected areas are a great cause for
concern.

In order to raise awareness among local
populations about the importance of wild camels for their
ecosystem and the potential negative effects of cross-breeding
between the wild camels and domestic ones, the project will
implement an education programme for local communities.
This will include the distribution of educational booklets
in English, Chinese, Uighur and Mongolian to schoolchildren
in local communities living near the wild camels. The project
aims to enhance knowledge and understanding and encourage
participation of local people in the protection of these
magnificent migratory animals.

 

 

Last updated on 16 June 2014

Type: 
News