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Frog in the Amazon
Friends of Conservation support a number of forestry, conservation and fuel efficiency projects around the world. Here is a selection of their initiatives.
FOC work on a variety of fuel efficiency programmes in Kenya which help to replace carbon fuel sources. One key objective is to reduce the large amount of wood used daily by communities for cooking and heating. This leads to the depletion of woodland and the resulting loss of wildlife habitat as well as releasing additional amounts of carbon back into the atmosphere.
Audley assisted FOC on an alternative energy project which involved the setting up of a large bio-gas unit in the Talek area, on the edge of the Masai Mara Reserve. This relatively simple technology uses cow dung and water to produce methane gas which is piped to many of the houses in the village for cooking. The benefits of this are many as the women no longer need to venture into the bush to collect firewood, preventing deforestation and reducing the risk of animal attacks.
FOC are also committed to providing environmental education programmes for schools, and have set up conservation clubs in many local schools. These are designed to promote interest amongst young Maasai in future career opportunities in wildlife tourism and conservation and have resulted in a number of them becoming community scouts, naturalists and tour guides. FOC also deploys a mobile outreach programme, aimed at reaching the large numbers of Maasai children who have no access to formal education.
We have recently been working with a project through Friends of Conservation to provide solar stoves to a community on the edge of the Kruger National Park. These harness the sun’s heat to replace firewood for cooking. The project brings a number of benefits to the community and the environment including reducing deforestation and removing the risk of animal attacks while collecting firewood.
FOC works with NGO partners, VIDA, to support community based conservation programmes in the pristine environment of the Santa Elena Cloudforest Reserve, Costa Rica. Located at 5,000 feet (1,500 metres) on the continental divide of Costa Rica, this is one of the first community managed reserves in the country.
Audley have worked with VIDA and FOC to fund the purchase of over 500 seedlings for a new plantation of around seven hectares on the borders of the reserve. The programme focuses on two types of plant, one of which – the aguacatillo, or wild avocado, is a favourite food source of the resplendent quetzal, one of the area’s most well-known and now threatened species of bird.
Audley also supported VIDA’s research into whether jaguars are present in the Santa Elena area. The motion sensor cameras that were purchased as part of this project are enabling the research team to get an idea of whether there are any jaguars in the region, and their potential numbers.
Audley supports a NGO called the Prakratik Society, which operates in Ranthambhore, an internationally renowned National Tiger Reserve, located in Rajasthan. Much needed medical and education facilities are provided for the communities living in the villages on the borders of the reserve.
The area is under great pressure from the growing human population and their cattle, which increasingly are grazing freely in the reserve and causing severe environmental damage to the habitat. One solution to this has been to set up an artificial insemination programme which results in better breeding stock of cattle and milk yields. Cattle are stalled, vaccinated and generally looked after leading to improved health. This brings commercial benefits for the community and helps to reduce the number of cattle needed and the destruction they can do to the surrounding area.
Audley have recently partnered with Friends of Conservation on a bio-gas project in the area. The large rural community relies heavily on firewood so this was an ideal way to reduce deforestation at the same time as providing a smoke free atmosphere for cooking.
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