AHEAD Update – June 2007

Dear AHEAD Colleagues:

*I should again note that if you wish to be removed from this e-mail list please just let me know. My hope is to keep parties interested in Animal Health for the Environment And Development up-to-date on developments post-Durban World Parks Congress over time, but I certainly understand if anyone wants to opt out of receiving such messages. Updates are also posted (and archived) on the AHEAD website at www.wcs-ahead.org. Please note that URL hotlinks for many of the organizations mentioned below can be found at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/links.html. News on potential funding appears towards the end of this Update.

If you would like to post an item in the next AHEAD Update, please just send it to me – thanks!

* AHEAD seed grant brings International Rural Poultry Center (IRPC) of the KYEEMA Foundation into partnership with WCS COMACO (Community Markets for Conservation) initiative in Zambia. The IRPC is a subsidiary entity within the KYEEMA Foundation, a not-for-profit organization based in Brisbane, Australia (http://www.kyeemafoundation.org) with programs around the world. The IRPC represents world-renowned technical expertise in village poultry production and the control of Newcastle disease (ND) under village conditions. The IRPC team, which includes veterinary as well as social science professionals, works in southern Africa to improve village poultry production in collaboration with local communities and government services. Results and experiences from a wide range of IRPC activities in southern Africa will benefit the COMACO program in South Luangwa, Zambia. Specifically, this project is designed to achieve the following objectives: the sustainable control of Newcastle disease in village poultry, improved village poultry husbandry and management strategies including marketing (critical within the COMACO framework – see www.itswild.org); and improved household welfare, including improved nutrition and food security- which through the COMACO enabling environment is leading to decreased poaching and a rebounding of local wildlife populations- along with a concomitant expansion of economic opportunities associated with healthy wildlife numbers. In addition to the $20,000 seed grant from AHEAD, both IRPC and the Cornell University-led USAID SANREM (Sustainable Agriculture and Natural Resource Management) initiative (see http://www.wcs-ahead.org/newsarchive.html#updatejan2006) in support of COMACO have contributed co-funding in addition to technical support.

* Collaborative "One Health" assessment undertaken on Mozambique side of Great Limpopo TFCA: In May and June 2007, a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional and multi-national team has been undertaking "Approaches to Wildlife Veterinary Services for Mozambique: A Rapid Assessment,” under the auspices of the National Directorate of Veterinary Services (DNSV) and the National Directorate of Conservation Areas (DNAC). This assessment has been designed collaboratively under AHEAD auspices to provide some immediate recommendations to Limpopo National Park (LNP) management, as well as to inform longer-term planning in terms of how Mozambique’s wildlife veterinary needs can best be met and sustained going forward. The recommendations coming out of this assessment should inform collaborating parties as to how to plan for the use of World Bank TFCA project funds set aside for wildlife health-related issues, as well as potentially inform interested supporting partners such as AFD (Agence Française de Développement) on the consensus developed by stakeholders as to how best to support the development of a program to address priority issues at the wildlife/livestock/human interface in the interest of successful biodiversity conservation and development related to LNP specifically, but nationwide as well. The outcomes of this assessment will also provide a framework under which agencies such as DNAC, DNSV, SANParks and WCS, along with local communities, can work together to implement consensus recommendations.

* Revised Conceptual Framework for the AHEAD GLTFCA initiative now available as a downloadable PDF at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/workinggrps_limpopo.htmlThe AHEAD (Animal Health for Environment And Development) - Great Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area (GLTFCA) Programme: Key Questions and Conceptual Framework Revisited will likely be of relevance well beyond the Great Limpopo itself- please let us know what you think!

* CIRAD Lowveld Livestock Project (CLLP)- Update from Zimbabwe- Alexandre Caron reports that this project, funded by the French Embassy in Zimbabwe and coordinated by CIRAD, is centred on the dip tank system which used to be maintained by the government's Department of Veterinary Services. Due to the difficulties Zimbabwe has been facing, the requisite chemicals have not available and the system has been deteriorating. The CLLP has chosen to focus on the Malipati Animal Health Centre (AHC) on the southern border of Gonarezhou National Park, supervising 10 dip tanks that serve about 17,000 head of cattle. Through the provision of monthly or bi-monthly dipping for local communities, two final year veterinary students from the University of Zimbabwe and one PhD student from the University of Zimbabwe's Centre for Applied Social Sciences (CASS) are using questionnaires when farmers come to dip their animals, with the help of local veterinary staff. These questionnaires are designed to evaluate: perceptions of farmers of the disease issues they face in the context of the interface between livestock and wildlife; perceptions of current livestock management systems and potential opportunities going forward; and feelings about the ways the dip tanks could/should be managed more efficiently in the current context. The project started in September 2006 and aims to collect one year of pilot data. As of March 2007, participatory rural appraisal (PRA) techniques are being used to investigate specific issues which have begun to arise from the questionnaires. The CLLP hopes to extend this pilot study to other AHCs in the district, and perhaps in some other places via development of local pilot sites for sustainably managed dip tanks and animal health surveillance systems in partnership with all stakeholders.


* Update on HALI (Health for Animal and Livelihood Improvement) Project, Rungwa-Ruaha, Tanzania from Dr. Deana Clifford, UC Davis-

– In collaboration with the community-based association to manage wildlife (MBOMIPA) we collected tissues from 20 wild animals during the 2006 hunting season. These tissues are being cultured for tuberculosis and sera available from 13 of these animals is being tested for Brucella exposure at Sokoine University.
– As of today we have collected 228 lymph node samples, 193 serum samples, 35 reproductive tracts and 2 lung samples (animals with suspect lesions) from slaughtered livestock in the region. Samples collected prior to May (n=124) are being cultured for tuberculosis and tested for Brucella exposure at Sokoine University.
– Sampling of water sources began in February, with sites being re-sampled monthly thereafter. We are using a variety of new and exciting technologies for the microbiology and protozoal isolation of organisms from water, including the Colilert test for counting the most probable number of coliform bacteria; gauze filtration and enrichment for the detection of Shigella, Salmonella, Vibrio, and Camplybacter spp. ; and immunomagnetic separation coupled with fluorescent antibody staining for the detection of Cryptosporidium and Giardia spp.
– We have completed 70 socioeconomic surveys of pastoralist households during the wet season. We will examine this data in June and July, and prepare to start surveys again in the dry season.
– We held a successful training for 19 MBOMIPA game scouts on how to reduce exposure to zoonotic diseases during the course of their normal working duties.
– HALI project is supporting two Master’s students at Sokoine University (Drs. Julius John and Annette Kitambi) and partially supporting Mr. Michel Masozera’s PhD work on socioeconomic issues.

Our focus for the month of June will be starting the household level sampling of livestock, continuing water sampling, and preparing to resume wildlife work in the dry season.


* The 7th AHEAD Great Limpopo TFCA Working Group meeting was held March 8th and 9th, 2007 at the ARA-SUL “Clube A Palhota” Resort at Pequenos Libombos Dam, Boane District, Mozambique- west of Maputo. The meeting was unique for several reasons. First, it was the first meeting Chaired by SANParks' Dr. Nicky Shongwe, who is now coordinating the AHEAD GLTFCA Working Group, with a base in South Africa. Nicky's diverse background and experience (recall from previous 'AHEAD Updates' that she is a medical doctor with experience in other realms including advertising and the arts) brought exciting new dimensions to the presentations and discussions. Several community members from Massingir, who live in and around Limpopo National Park, attended this 7th Working Group meeting, and were able to share their personal perspectives on the challenges they face at the wildlife / livestock / human interface. Equipped with cameras specifically in preparation for the meeting, the community was able to show the AHEAD GLTFCA WG how their day to day lives are impacted by disease, problem animals, inadequate access to potable water, uncertainties over resettlement plans, and a range of other challenges in this remote area. Excellent discussions followed, with community members staying for the duration of the Working Group meeting. In fact, this was the first AHEAD GLTFCA WG meeting that required simultaneous translation involving three languages: English, Portuguese, and Shangaan! It was very exciting (as well as productive) to see researchers and villagers, protected area managers and social scientists, graduate students and the donor community, veterinarians and medical doctors, government officials and ecologists- and more- all at the same table. In fact, this was the largest AHEAD GLTFCA Working Group meeting to date, with 55+ attendees. It is clear that the AHEAD GLTFCA initiative is poised to move full steam... ahead into a comprehensive implementation phase, one that we all believe will pay dividends for conservation as well as for development in the region. See note above about follow-up "One Health" field reconnaisance mission.

Special thanks go to our local hosts, particularly Bartolomeu Soto and Madyo Couto, and a wide range of Mozambican institutions for their gracious hospitality as well as critical contributions on a diverse range of topics at the meeting itself. The final minutes from the 7th meeting of the AHEAD Great Limpopo TFCA Working Group are posted in PDF at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/workinggrps_limpopo.html, and a photo gallery from the meeting is now posted as well (http://www.wcs-ahead.org/gltfca_2007gallery/gallery_march2007.html). PDFs of most of the Powerpoint presentations from the diverse agenda of the 7th AHEAD GLTFCA WG meeting are also now available online
(http://www.wcs-ahead.org/gltfca_march2007/agenda_march2007.html). Nicky will be letting the group know about future core and full Working Group meetings being planned for the months to come, as well as disseminating further information on formalizing a Steering Group and other organizational issues.

* AHEAD co-organizes "One Health" symposium for upcoming Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) Annual Meeting being held in Port Elizabeth, South Africa (July 1-5, 2007: http://www.nmmu.ac.za/scb/index.htm), hosted by Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. Please consider attending the 2 hour "Examining the Links Between Biodiversity and Health" symposium, jointly organized by AHEAD, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the University of Vermont's Gund Institute for Ecological Economics.

* CIFOR releases "Field Guide to the Future- Four Ways for Communities to Think Ahead" (Evans, Kristen, et al. 2006), a practical, step-by-step manual for using scenario-based methods in communities. See: http://www.asb.cgiar.org/ma/scenarios/field-guide.asp
According to the website, "Field Guide to the Future" is the latest in a series of CIFOR books that explain methods to help communities think ahead and plan for change. The 87 pp. field guide begins with a brief discussion "about communities that depend on natural resources, thinking about the future and why it is important for communities to think ahead." The guide introduces four methods for thinking about the future (1. Scenarios, 2. Projections, 3. Visioning, and 4. Pathways). It is available for download as per the above URL, in hard copy and on a CD. Contact:
World Agroforestry Center
PO Box 30677 - 00100
Nairobi, Kenya

* The Central Science Laboratory (UK) announces a conference on the "Ecology and Management of Wildlife Diseases" to be held from the 12th to the 16th November, 2007 at the Central Science Laboratory in York. The meeting is being co-sponsored by the European branch of the Wildlife Disease Association (WDA) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The conference's aim is to present new developments and best practices in wildlife disease ecology- from theory to applied solutions. The conference website, which includes a call for papers, is http://www.wildlifediseases2007.co.uk. For specific questions, please contact Elizabeth Olsen at wildlifediseases@csl.gov.uk.

* Several organizations have recently been added to the LINKs section of the AHEAD website at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/links.html. We are pleased to now have links in place to the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management- College of Natural Resources-University of California, Berkeley, and the International Rural Poultry Centre (IRPC) / KYEEMA Foundation – both very important collaborating institutions / programs.

* EU funding opportunities: Note that some of these "calls" are officially closed- but there are potentially European partners now looking for colleagues in Africa and elsewhere to bring into these multi-million Euro efforts. Of course some of you may already be in this loop. I found the "CORDIS" website link below rather difficult to navigate, so my advice would be to contact Manfred.Tanner@fli.bund.de if you are interested in any of these calls, as Manfred graciously alerted us to these possibilities (Dr. Manfred Tanner, Task Force Epidemiology, Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Federal Research Institute for Animal Health, Boddenblick 5a, 17493 Greifswald - Insel Riems, Germany, ph +49 38351 7 239, fax +49 38351 7 226 ). For those of you in southern Africa, Nick Kriek would also be a relevant contact from Onderstepoort, as OP is involved in several of the EU-related initiatives nick.kriek@up.ac.za.

1) Neglected zoonoses in developing countries: integrated approach for the improvement of their control in animals, call: FP7-KBBE-2007-2A

2) Using new technologies to identify (re-)emerging pathogens from wildlife reservoirs, call: FP7-KBBE-2007-2A

3) Improved epidemiological tools for zoonoses: application of geographical information for live animals and animal products, call: FP7-KBBE-2007-2A

4) Development of rational strategies for the eradication of bovine tuberculosis, call: FP7-KBBE-2007-1

5) Optimising research efforts for the development of the most effective tools for controlling infectious animal diseases, call: FP7-KBBE-2007-1

6) Evaluating and controlling the risk of African Swine Fever in the EU,
call: FP7-KBBE-2007-1

7) Emerging vector-borne diseases, in particular: West Nile fever, Rift Valley Fever and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, call: FP7-KBBE-2007-1
EU CORDIS (Community Research & Development Information Service) site:
PDF with more details downloadable at

If you have items for the next AHEAD Update, please just let me know – thanks.

All the best,