Event Detail


Protecting the Great Cats from Africa to Brazil

Dr Mark Chandler
Thursday, 13 Sep 2012
Ming hua Theological College lectue Theatre, access off Gleneally , Central

ticket sales from 6.30 pm, lecture start 7.30 pm

RGS HK members HK$100 Non Members HK$150

Dr. Mark Chandler speaks on "Protecting the Great Cats from Africa to Brazil ", particualry the topic of developing largescale strategies to protect some of the world's large cats, in particular jaguars and leopards.

In this lecture, Dr. Chandler explores systems where large landowners, government agencies and nonprofit organisations work together to develop landscape level strategies to protect the world's big cats, in particular the leopards in southern Africa and the jaguars in the cerrado of Brazil. These efforts have required new relationships and perspectives between groups that traditionally have been in conflict, such as ranchers and predators, conservation organisations and farmers.

Large cats, including lions, tigers, jaguars and leopards, are some of the most awe inspiring but also threatened and persecuted animals on Earth. They have a widespread distribution across much of the planet, and play an important role in their local ecosystems as well as evoking both respect and fear among local communities and their cultures. Over the last 100 years, the numbers of most big cats have drastically declined due to competition and conflict with humans for habitat and predation of livestock.

International measures to protect them including the CITES convention, national parks and educational programmes have helped reduce the pressure on several species, but populations of most of the species remain under threat. One of the big challenges in maintaining healthy populations of these species in the wild is the need to ensure that large landscapes are in effect "big cat friendly ". Given the size and movement of these large predators, this means including not only the protected areas which can be managed by government agencies, but the landowners adjacent to protected areas, who often have livestock and human communities which can come into direct conflict with these large predators.

In this lecture, Dr. Chandler reviews systems where landscape level approach has been taken to conserve two of the world's big cats, the leopards in southern Africa and jaguars in the cerrado of Brazil. Despite initial conflict and opposition by many to efforts to maintain these species in community or private lands, novel approaches to working with landowners have led to significant increases in wildlife friendly habitat. Dr Chandler also discusses how efforts to include landowners in conservation efforts have had positive effects across other species including cheetahs in Namibia. The recognition of the need to include and recognise the needs of communities and ranchers in lands adjacent to the protected parks has been shown to be a key way to promote healthy populations of some of the world's largest cats.

Dr. Mark Chandler received his doctorate from McGill University. Dr. Chandler is a prominent conservation biologist with over 20 years experience conducting field research in Central and South America, East Africa and North America. He is International Director of Research at the Earthwatch Institute, an international environmental NGO headquartered in Boston and with an office in Hong Kong. Dr. Chandler oversees the development of a portfolio of research programmes run by Earthwatch in partnership with a wide network of researchers from academic institutes such as the University of Oxford and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

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