The wildlife of Southeast Asia is beautiful and mysterious but under threat. To help raise awareness and conservation funds for selected threatened animals in Southeast Asia, the International Union for Conservation of Nature Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) have teamed up to launch a new campaign.
The EAZA-IUCN SSC Southeast Asia campaign was initiated by EAZA in response to findings from IUCN that large animals (over 1kg) in Southeast Asia are at particular risk of decline and extinction due to illegal trade and habitat loss. The campaign will run until September 2012 and hopes to raise €750,000 for conservation projects to protect a number of different species in Southeast Asia.
Along with raising awareness and funds, the campaign also aims to help reduce the trade and hunting of animals in Southeast Asia, a major threat to many species as they are hunted for food and used in traditional medicines. A fourth aim of the campaign is to influence European consumer behaviour and demonstrate how this can positively benefit biodiversity.
So far there are six projects that the EAZA-IUCN SSC Southeast Asia campaign will support across the Southeast Asia region. Three involve specific species; the Rufous-headed hornbill (Aceros waldeni), the Saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis) and the Sumatran Rhino (Dicerorhinos sumatrensis). The remaining three projects support conservation work being done in the Hukaung Valley Wildlife Sanctuary, the Mekong River Basin and the Mesangat Wetland.
Co-chairs of the new campaign are Gary Betton, who works at Banham Zoo and is chair of the EAZA Camel and Camelid Taxonomic Group (TAG) and Will Duckworth who is the IUCN Red List Authority for the IUCN SSC Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group. Both offer a great wealth of experience and enthusiasm.
You can find out more about the EAZA-IUCN SSC Southeast Asia campaign and the incredible animals it is supporting by visiting the campaign website.