AHEAD Update – April / May / June 2018

Dear AHEAD Colleagues:

* Welcome to the latest issue of the AHEAD Update. As always, if you would like to post an item in the next Update, please just send it to us – thanks.

Summary Now Available – Commodity-Based Trade of Beef and Enhanced Market Access: The Vital Role of the Department of Veterinary Services

A Botswana Dept. of Veterinary Services (DVS)-hosted Workshop, in collaboration with AHEAD

Building upon the November 2017 forum in Maun as described in our last AHEAD Update, in February 2018 Botswana’s Department of Veterinary Services (DVS), in collaboration with Cornell University’s AHEAD Programme, hosted the above-mentioned training workshop. Additional support was again provided by The Rockefeller Foundation and Cornell University’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

The forum brought together over 60 participants, including 40 senior DVS veterinary officers; other government stakeholders (Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Department of Wildlife and National Parks); the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC); representatives from farmers associations and the private sector; researchers, and colleagues from multilateral institutions. The workshop provided attendees with the opportunity to (i) better understand how commodity-based trade (CBT) of beef can be applied, (ii) enhance understanding of the diversity of technical elements and issues that impact FMD management, and (iii) consider approaches to FMD outbreak response in FMD-endemic areas that don’t hobble the beef sector.

Basis for the meeting:

In Botswana, wildlife conservation and livestock production are often in conflict due to the prevalence of animal diseases – especially foot and mouth disease (FMD) – that can be transmitted between wildlife and livestock. This situation restricts market access and constrains the success of livestock owners in the FMD-endemic red zone. In addition, attempts to meet international standards related to "freedom from disease" under currently applied policies for addressing FMD have had significant negative repercussions for free-ranging wildlife, largely related to disease control fencing.

Fortunately, new beef value chain-based approaches, known as commodity-based trade, have now been developed. Furthermore, in 2015 the international sanitary trade standards adopted by the OIE (World Organisation for Animal Health) were amended to remove certain restrictions on the trading of beef derived from areas where wildlife maintains FMD viruses. All of this provides a timely opportunity to rethink approaches to FMD management in FMD-endemic countries or zones.

The Summary is now downloadable at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/botswana_dvs_workshop_2018/botswana_dvs_workshop_2018.html.

The complete agenda and PDFs of presentations are available at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/botswana_dvs_workshop_2018/agenda.html.

The photo gallery is at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/botswana_dvs_workshop_2018/photo_gallery.html.


* Moving in the Anthropocene: Global Reductions in Terrestrial Mammalian Movements (2018) Tucker MA, Böhning-Gaese K, Fagan WF, et al., Science, 359 (6374): 466-469. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aam9712Animal movement is fundamental for ecosystem functioning and species survival, yet the effects of the anthropogenic footprint on animal movements have not been estimated across species. Using a unique GPS-tracking database of 803 individuals across 57 species, we found that movements of mammals in areas with a comparatively high human footprint were on average one-half to one-third the extent of their movements in areas with a low human footprint. We attribute this reduction to behavioral changes of individual animals and to the exclusion of species with long-range movements from areas with higher human impact. Global loss of vagility alters a key ecological trait of animals that affects not only population persistence but also ecosystem processes such as predator-prey interactions, nutrient cycling, and disease transmission.

* ANIPEDIA – a quality-assured reference system and platform of the award-winning three volume book Infectious Diseases of Livestock available online for veterinary, paraveterinary and allied animal and human health professionals and students, stock owners, farmers and the public at large. For details, see http://www.anipedia.org or contact info@anipedia.org

* Why We Need Landscape Connectivity – This one minute (!) video, good for kids as well as those new to landscape conservation, illustrates why isolated protected areas alone aren't enough to support wildlife. See https://youtu.be/cswQpkHiPOs.

* Water and Cattle Shape Habitat Selection by Wild Herbivores at the Edge of a Protected Area (2018) Valls-Fox H, Chamaillé-Jammes S, de Garine-Wichatitsky M, Perrotton A, Courbin N, Miguel E, Guerbois C, Caron A, Loveridge A, Stapelkamp B, Muzamba M and Fritz H, Animal Conservation, https://doi.org/10.1111/acv.12403Understanding the spatiotemporal dynamics of human-wildlife interfaces is important for the sustainable management of protected areas and wildlife conservation. We investigated the drivers of domestic and wild herbivore habitat selection at the edge of an unfenced protected area adjacent to Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe. We used GPS data to quantify the movement patterns of elephant bulls, buffalo and cattle at multiple scales and according to seasonal changes of surface water availability. Cattle, elephant and buffalo prefer open grassland habitats found close to water but elephant and buffalo avoid cattle differently. During the rainy season, cattle enter the protected area daily; buffalo avoid cattle completely at the home range scale whereas elephant bulls avoid cattle at finer scales by favouring temporal niche shift. Elephant bulls avoid direct encounters with cattle (or people) during the day but come closer to the boundary and to water at night when cattle are kept in enclosures close to the homesteads. During the dry season, when cattle range further into the protected area in search of forage, buffalo and cattle spatial overlap increases as water dependence takes precedence over avoidance. Elephant bulls range closer to the boundary at night and increase the number of excursions into the Communal Area. Hence, cattle herding creates a buffer zone between wildlife areas and human settlements because wild herbivores strongly avoid livestock and people. However, avoidance only lasts as long as resources are abundant. Our study suggests that long term planning of both artificial water provisioning and traditional cattle herding practices could help maintaining spatial segregation and thus mitigate conservation conflicts such as pathogen transmission, crop raiding or livestock depredation.

* Drivers of Foot-and-Mouth Disease in Cattle at Wild / Domestic Interface: Insights from Farmers, Buffalo and Lions (2017) Miguel E, Grosbois V, Fritz H, Caron A, de Garine-Wichatitsky M, Nicod F, Loveridge A, Stapelkamp B, MacDonald DW and Valeix M, Diversity and Distributions, 23 (9): 1018-1030. http://doi.org/10.1111/ddi.12585Humans live increasingly in the proximity of natural areas, leading to increased interactions between people, their livestock and wildlife. The authors explore the role of these interactions in the risk of foot-and-mouth disease transmission between cattle and the African buffalo (the maintenance host) and how a top predator, the lion, may modulate these interactions in an area adjacent to Hwange National Park (HNP). They conclude that during the rainy season, traditional herding practices push cattle away from crops growing near villages into the HNP but not during the dry season, suggesting that cattle owners may decide to rely on lower quality resources in the adjacent communal land in the dry season to avoid the risks of infection and/or predation in the HNP.

* My Cattle and Your Park: Codesigning a Role-Playing Game with Rural Communities to Promote Multistakeholder Dialogue at the Edge of Protected Areas (2017) Perrotton A, de Garine-Wichatitsky M, Valls-Fox H and Le Page C, Ecology and Society, 22 (1): 35. https://doi.org/10.5751/ES-08962-220135Protected areas are often burdened with conflicts between environmental managers and neighboring rural communities. Unsuccessful top-down approaches for conservation may be replaced by alternative forms of systemic management involving local actors in the design and implementation of conservation management. Although theoretically sound and appealing, the involvement of local residents in the management of protected areas is often impaired in practice by scale mismatches, conflicting values and interests, power imbalance, and a lack of trust among actors. In this paper, we describe a process initiated in Zimbabwe to create a fair and balanced locally designed arena where local communities and protected area managers may collaborate to produce effective management plans. Adopting the Companion Modeling approach, we conducted a participatory modeling experiment to codesign a role-playing game that simulates the interactions between farming activities, livestock herding practices, and wildlife in a virtual landscape reproducing local social–ecological dynamics. After 18 months of intensive ethnographical fieldwork to gain knowledge and legitimacy, we spent one year codesigning the first version of the game with a group of volunteer villagers. The game, called Kulayijana (teaching each other), was tested and validated by other members of the rural communities and subsequently presented to protected area managers. We show how this approach allowed the negotiation of uncertainties and their inclusion in a model that constitutes a shared representation of farmers’ interactions with the protected area. We emphasize the fact that working with marginalized actors first increased participation, appropriation, and confidence of rural communities to engage in a multistakeholder debate, thus reducing power imbalance among actors. We conclude by discussing the next phase of our work: the necessary involvement of conservation actors in the Kulayijana team, and the implementation of Kulayijana with higher hierarchical levels.


* Wildlife Disease Association (WDA) 67th Annual International Conference, St. Augustine, Florida, USA, August 5-10, 2018 – This conference provides an interdisciplinary setting for wildlife health, conservation and management practitioners from around the world to exchange ideas, share best practices and give formal presentations on the latest in wildlife health. WDA includes many different professional specialties and you do not need to be a WDA member to participate. All interested individuals are invited to attend. Students also play a prominent role in the conference, with an entire day dedicated exclusively to student presentations. WDA encourages student participation, sponsoring several conference travel grants and student awards including two scholarships, a research recognition travel award, a best student presentation award, and a best student poster award.  For more information, including how to register, see http://www.conference.ifas.ufl.edu/wda2018/index.html or contact kzupancic@ufl.edu.

* Planetary Health Alliance 2nd Annual Meeting, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, May 29-31, 2018 – Building on the successful 2017 inaugural Planetary Health Meeting in Boston, the goal of the second Planetary Health Annual Meeting in Edinburgh is to bring together new communities around the world to stimulate interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaboration towards ground-breaking solutions to major planetary health challenges. Our objective is to examine how the health impacts of various global environmental changes manifest in regional settings, and to highlight emerging responses to planetary health issues. We aim to engage with researchers, policy makers, planners and local communities who experience these planetary health impacts to progress tailored policies built on action-focused research and innovations across sectors. For more information, including how to register, see https://planetaryhealthannualmeeting.org/ or contact pha@harvard.edu.

Again, if you have items for the next AHEAD Update, please just let us know – thanks.

"What is AHEAD?" Animal & Human Health for the Environment And Development was launched at the 2003 IUCN World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa. By assembling a ‘dream team’ of veterinarians, ecologists, biologists, social and economic scientists, agriculturists, wildlife managers, public health specialists and others from across East and southern Africa, we were fortunate to have tapped into some of the most innovative conservation and development thinking on the African continent – and AHEAD was born. Since then, a range of programs addressing conservation, health, and concomitant development challenges have been launched with the support of a growing list of implementing partners and donors who see the intrinsic value of the One World, One Health approach. AHEAD is a convening, facilitative mechanism, working to create enabling environments that allow different and often competing sectors to literally come to the same table and find collaborative ways forward to address challenges at the interface of wildlife health, livestock health, and human health and livelihoods. We convene stakeholders; help delineate conceptual frameworks to underpin planning, management and research; and provide technical support and resources for projects stakeholders identify as priorities. AHEAD recognizes the need to look at health and disease not in isolation but within a given region's environmental and socioeconomic context.

All the best,

Steve & Shirley