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2024 (No. 1)

AHEAD Update

Dear AHEAD Colleagues,

Welcome to the next issue of the AHEAD Update. We've included a couple of compelling short videos, news on new initiatives, and a compilation of other habitat connectivity-related resources, followed by other recent One Health pieces we thought you'd find useful. As always, if you would like to post an item in the next Update, please just send it to us – thanks.

KAZA Heads of State Summit Reinforces Importance of Connectivity

The official May 31, 2024 Communiqué included an emphasis on implementing "the SADC Guidelines on Commodity Based Trade of Beef (CBT) in foot and mouth disease endemic areas to support improved livestock husbandry practices, rangeland restoration and to enable farmers to access beef markets, foster human wildlife co-existence and re-evaluation of fences" and to "embed conservation connectivity in development and area management plans."

New Connectivity Videos

Animals Move to Survive

This short animated film produced by Wildlife Connect explains what ecological connectivity is and what losing it means for the future of the planet.

Connecting Habitats for a Healthy Planet

Many species need to reach habitat well beyond the boundaries of protected areas to survive. Parks Canada emphasizes the importance of working with diverse partners to find solutions.

New Initiatives

Cornell K. Lisa Yang Center for Wildlife Health

We are very pleased to share the news that Cornell University has received a $35 million gift to endow the Cornell K. Lisa Yang Center for Wildlife Health. This extraordinary gift will expand our efforts to address key challenges at the intersection of wildlife health, domestic animal health, human health and livelihoods, and the environment that supports us all.

Wildlife Pathology Fellow Sought

The Cornell K. Lisa Yang Center for Wildlife Health is seeking a Wildlife Pathology Fellow with specific strengths in international wildlife mortality investigation.

Wildlife Health Fellows Program Launched

The Cornell K. Lisa Yang Center for Wildlife Health is excited to announce what we hope will be an amazing opportunity for our next generation of wildlife health / One Health leaders. We anticipate that these three-year postdoctoral fellowships (for DVMs or equivalents, PhDs and/or DVM/PhDs) will be highly competitive, with up to 6 positions potentially being awarded this cycle.

Threat Reduction for the Environment, People, and Animals (TREPA)

This 5-year project is working to mitigate biosecurity risks associated with zoonotic diseases and illegal wildlife trade. More information on TREPA and their 2023 co-design Indaba held in South Africa can be found here.

Featured AHEAD Video

Beyond Fences: Policy Options for Wildlife, Livelihoods and Transboundary Animal Disease Management in Southern Africa

An invited AHEAD presentation at the National Academy of Sciences Board on Animal Health Sciences, Conservation, and Research Fall 2023 Board Meeting, Washington, D.C.

Habitat Connectivity Publications

Kamath, V et al. (2023) Identifying Opportunities for Transboundary Conservation in Africa.
Frontiers in Conservation Science

New research has mapped Africa's existing transboundary conservation areas (TBCAs) and identified other areas with high connectivity potential that could benefit from the establishment of TBCAs – to ensure positive outcomes for nature and people.

Huang, RM et al. (2024) Protecting and Connecting Landscapes Stabilizes Populations of the Endangered Savannah Elephant.
Science Advances

Results from a new study suggest that well-protected and connected areas provide the best solution to conserving elephants and their landscapes.

Taylor, R et al. (2024) Count, Connect, Conserve: Southern Africa Elephant Survey Points the Way.

Now that KAZA's elephants have been counted, the landscape's key wildlife areas must be connected, so that elephants and other species can be better conserved.

UN Meeting Concludes with Major Set of Actions for Migratory Species.
Convention on Migratory Species Secretariat

A host of new measures to safeguard migratory wildlife were adopted at the 14th Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS COP14). Resolutions and session documents are available here.

UNEP WCMC (2024) State of the World's Migratory Species.
UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre

The UN launched its first-ever report on the "State of the World's Migratory Species" during CMS COP14. The report provides a global overview of the status and population trends of migratory animals, combined with the latest information on their main threats and actions needed to save them.

IUCN WCPA (2023) Ecological Connectivity: Guidance for Revised National Biodiversity Strategies and Actions Plans (NBSAPs).
IUCN WCPA Connectivity Conservation & Transboundary Conservation Specialist Groups

New guidance provides both general and specific approaches, actions, and tools for integrating considerations for ecological connectivity into revised NBSAPs.

Other Recent Resources

Foggin, C et al. (2023) Pasteurella sp. Associated with Fatal Septicaemia in Six African Elephants.
Nature Communications

The sudden mortality of African elephants in Botswana and Zimbabwe in 2020 provoked considerable public concern. A team of scientists led by Dr. Chris Foggin from the Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust presents evidence that the mortalities in Zimbabwe were due to a close relative of Pasteurella multocida.

Rosen, L (2023) Unravelling the Mystery of Elephant Mortalities in Zimbabwe to Find an Unexpected Culprit – a Close Relative of Pasteurella multocida.
Nature Communications Research Communities

In a 'behind the paper' piece, co-author Dr. Laura Rosen provides further insights into unravelling the cause of the elephant mortalities in Zimbabwe, and what the findings might mean for elephants in the region.

Caron, A et al. (2023) Ecology and Management of the African Buffalo.
Cambridge University Press

Edited by four experts, this book provides a compilation of knowledge on a species that stands out as ecologically and societally important across its range. The book is available free of charge as a download.

Banda, F et al. (2023) The Immunogenicity of a Foot and Mouth Disease Virus Serotype O Vaccine in Commercial and Subsistence Cattle Herds in Zambia.

The recent introduction of FMD virus serotype O in southern Africa has changed the epidemiology of the disease and vaccine requirements of the region.

Mashinagu, MM et al. (2024) Challenges of Controlling Foot-and-Mouth Disease in Pastoral Settings in Africa.
Transboundary and Emerging Diseases

Strategies used to control FMD in Africa are typically fragmented, national-level activities with relatively poor outcomes. Regionally coordinated initiatives are needed to improve the situation, along with ongoing adoption of commodity-based trade of beef.

Launch of Wildlife Forensic Laboratory in Kasane.
US Embassy in Botswana

A new laboratory, scheduled to open in mid-2024, will help Botswana strengthen its forensic science capabilities to better investigate and prosecute wildlife crimes.

Upcoming Meetings

World One Health Congress (WOHC)
20-23 Sep 2024, Cape Town, South Africa

With the support of the Quadripartite Collaboration on One Health, the 8th WOHC will provide an opportunity to look at global One Health science and policy through an African lens.

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

Yours in One Health,

Steve & Shirley

Steve Osofsky, DVM
Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine
Jay Hyman Professor of Wildlife Health & Health Policy
Director, AHEAD Program
Director, Cornell K. Lisa Yang Center for Wildlife Health

Shirley Atkinson, MSc
Cornell University, College of Veterinary Medicine
AHEAD Program Coordinator
Assistant Director, Cornell K. Lisa Yang Center for Wildlife Health

What is AHEAD?

AHEAD works 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 and provide technical support and resources for projects locally identified as priorities. AHEAD, one of the first applied One Health programs, recognizes the need to look at health, disease, and the environment together, while always taking a given region's socioeconomic, political, and policy context into account.

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Beauty and the Beef
AHEAD book
Osofsky, S.A., Cleaveland, S., Karesh, W.B., Kock, M.D., Nyhus, P.J., Starr, L., and A. Yang, (eds.). 2005. Conservation and Development Interventions at the Wildlife/Livestock Interface: Implications for Wildlife, Livestock and Human Health. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. xxxiii and 220 pp.

Downloadable PDFs of whole book/each section available by visiting the AHEAD Launch Proceedings page. Hard copies can be ordered by e-mailing books@iucn.org
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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 socioeconomic and environmental context.

In short, AHEAD recognizes the importance of animal and human health to both conservation and development interests. Around the world, domestic and wild animals are coming into ever-more-intimate contact, and without adequate scientific knowledge and planning, the consequences can be detrimental on one or both sides of the proverbial fence. But armed with the tools that the health sciences provide, conservation and development objectives have a much greater chance of being realized – particularly at the critical wildlife/livestock interface, where conservation and agricultural interests meet head-on. AHEAD efforts focus on several themes of critical importance to the future of animal agriculture, human health, and wildlife health (including zoonoses, competition over grazing and water resources, disease mitigation, local and global food security, and other potential sources of conflict related to land-use decision-making in the face of resource limitations). Historically, neither governments, nongovernmental organizations, the aid community, nor academia have holistically addressed the landscape-level nexus represented by the triangle of wildlife health, domestic animal health, and human health and livelihoods as underpinned by environmental stewardship.


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