AHEAD Update – January / February / March 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.

Proceedings Now Available – Wildlife-Friendly Beef: Working towards a Win-Win Solution for Livestock Agriculture & Wildlife Conservation in Ngamiland

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

In November 2017, Botswana’s Department of Veterinary Services (DVS), in collaboration with Cornell University’s AHEAD Program, hosted the above-mentioned workshop, with the support of The Rockefeller Foundation, Cornell University’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future and UNDP.

The invited forum participants included technical experts from both the wildlife and livestock sectors, farmers and farmers’ association representatives, and stakeholders from the private sector and civil society organizations based in Botswana and further afield. The aim of this inception workshop was to begin to evaluate what would be needed to implement commodity-based trade (CBT) of beef – a value chain-focused approach for producing beef that can be sold in regional and international markets. CBT, an approach largely compatible with wildlife conservation, offers real prospects for improved market access for small-scale cattle producers living in FMD-endemic zones such as Ngamiland, as well as a genuine opportunity to alleviate long-standing tensions at the livestock / wildlife interface.

The Proceedings are now downloadable at

The complete agenda and PDFs of presentations are available at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/dvs_ahead_maun_workshop_2017/agenda.html.

The photo gallery is at http://www.wcs-ahead.org/dvs_ahead_maun_workshop_2017/photo_gallery.html.


* Living on the Edge: Characteristics of Human–Wildlife Conflict in a Traditional Livestock Community in Botswana (2017) McNutt JW, Stein AB, Boggs McNutt L and Jordan NR, Wildlife Research, 44(7): 546-557. https://doi.org/10.1071/WR16160 The authors investigate the perceptions and actions of a livestock farming community outside (but surrounded by) wildlife-management (WMAs) in northern Botswana, especially in relation to predator management. Their findings challenge the assumption that deriving financial benefit from wildlife increases tolerance. A measurable disconnect also exists between the willingness of a household to employ lethal control and their experience with predation, suggesting that lethal control was used pre-emptively rather than reactively. The authors emphasize that efforts must be made to connect the financial costs incurred during farming alongside wildlife with the financial benefits derived from wildlife. Where compensation schemes exist, timely payments may reduce retaliatory killing.

* Local Perceptions of Trophy Hunting on Communal Lands in Namibia (2018) Angula HN, Stuart-Hill G, Ward D, Matongo G, Diggle RW and Naidoo R, Biological Conservation, 218: 26-31. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biocon.2017.11.033 Trophy hunting in Africa is currently under pressure as some countries explore various policies that aim to put a halt to an activity that many people in the Western developed world view as unpalatable or unethical. However, in the debate over trophy hunting policy the voices of local communities, who in many instances allow wildlife to persist on the lands they control because of the tangible benefits they derive from it, have been largely unheard. Here, we report on an opportunistic survey of 160 rural residents of Namibia from 32 communal conservancies that generate varying levels of livelihood benefits from wildlife uses, including trophy hunting. About three quarters of these community members were employed in some manner by the conservancy. We used a mixed methods approach to assess community members' perceptions on trophy hunting, the benefits it generates, whether it was “good” or “bad,” and how they would respond if trophy hunting were halted. 91% stated they were not in favour of a ban on trophy hunting, and only 11% of respondents would support wildlife on communal lands if a ban were in fact enacted. Most respondents (90%) were happy with trophy hunting occurring on communal lands due to the benefits it provides. These responses were consistent across respondent demographic categories, although those who stand to lose the most (i.e., those employed by or managing a conservancy) viewed trophy hunting in an even more favourable light. Our results suggest that in Namibia, a trophy hunting ban would be viewed very poorly by conservancy residents, and would seriously weaken their support for wildlife conservation. The imposition of trophy hunting policies by countries far from where rural land managers are conserving wildlife would not only restrict communities' livelihood options, but may have perverse, negative impacts on wildlife conservation.

* Announcing Wildlife Health Cornell, A College of Veterinary Medicine Center of Excellence – Wildlife Health Cornell represents an unprecedented approach to the health challenges wild animals face in the northeast U.S. and around the world – a comprehensive, science-based response with an emphasis on the types of interdisciplinary collaboration often required to foster real progress along the science to policy and action continuum. Wildlife Health Cornell has grown out of a sense of genuine urgency regarding the fate of our planet's wildlife, an increasing understanding of our own dependence on the planet's natural systems, and a recognition that it will take a new generation of colleagues to halt and reverse the trends we face. For more details, see wildlifehealthcornell.org, including the opportunity to subscribe to our e-newsletter. For more information, contact s.osofsky@cornell.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.


* The International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID) Seeks EpiCorp Volunteers – EpiCore is looking for volunteer health professionals with formal education and training in animal, human, and environmental health with knowledge of basic principles of epidemiology, infectious disease or related fields to join our network of over 2,000 members from 142 countries! EpiCore is a virtual community of health professionals using innovative surveillance methods to verify outbreaks of infectious diseases. This innovative surveillance system detects and confirms outbreaks more quickly so communities can respond faster, curb epidemics, and save lives. As an EpiCore member you would use your skills and knowledge to speed-up early detection of outbreaks and help save lives by responding to requests for information (RFIs) from experts in the field of infectious diseases who find evidence of a possible outbreak. EpiCore uses a secure online platform that allows members to easily and quickly provide local expertise that speeds outbreak verification. For more information and to apply to become a member visit http://www.epicore.org/. Questions can be emailed to info@epicore.org.

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