31 African countries have launched the African Carnivore Initiative to ensure the conservation painted wolves, lion, cheetah and leopard. The range States met on this topic for the first time in Germany at the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species in early November 2018.
Although they are all very different, the four species share habitat and face many similar threats. Their habitat is being degraded and slowly converted into farms, fields for livestock, and cities. Their food sources are slowly being killed by poachers or by competition with livestock. The carnivores of Africa are often victims of snares set for bushmeat. Conflict with people is common, and the animals are usually the losers.
With all these threats, these beleaguered animals need concerted action to save them. Collaboration between countries and organisations is absolutely critical. The African Carnivore Initiative is an important first step. It will :
- develop conservation strategies and work to secure connectivity between populations – they need room to roam!
- promote coexistence with local communities and innovative approaches that deliver benefits to those who bear the cost of living with dangerous wildlife.
- standardize monitoring protocols and promote educational outreach.
And most importantly, it will provide a platform for countries to collaborate to ensure the future for predators, based on the existing Range Wide Conservation Programme for Cheetah and Wild Dog.