Sir Peter Scott Fund project: Domestic animals & wildlife health, Bolivia
- To build local capacity to prevent infectious disease transmission amongst domestic animals, wildlife and humans
- To improve the health and husbandry of domestic animals as a tool for conservation
- To reduce hunting pressure by improving domestic animal rearing practices
- To improve community livelihoods
The project focuses on the Takana Indigenous Communal Land and Apolobamba National Integral Management Natural Area, a location of immense value to global biodiversity.
Improving community livelihoods, whilst protecting the important wildlife of the region, is the aim of this project. To achieve this it seeks to build local capacity for preventing transmission of infectious diseases amongst domestic animals, wildlife and humans.
(April 2008) The project facilitated the training of 19 indigenous Takana students as communal veterinary assistants.
The graduates will now take part in improving the health and husbandry of domestic animals as a tool for conservation.
The newly trained veterinary staff come from six different takana communities and will join 22 previous trainees from five other communities.
(April 2009) During the first six months of the grant the activities were concentrated in the Takana lowland Amazonia communities. In Apolobamba, this included the monitoring of cattle losses caused by predation and the promotion of animal husbandry techniques to reduce the impact of predators on cattle. From November, the project will continue with the planned activities in the Apolobamba Andean communities.
(September 2009) This project has now been successfully completed. Information on the diseases affecting domestic animal species has been collected and is available in twelve Takana communities. Dissemination of these results has enabled the communities to understand the health problems they face, and work towards the implementation of preventative measures applicable to the area. Members of the community are now trained in domestic animal health care and husbandry, as well as wildlife disease surveillance. The quantification of livestock losses according to their causes was useful to show that diseases are more important than predators as causes of livestock mortality.
Andean foxes were identified as the main predators of livestock in the area, thus aiding to reduce negative perception of, and persecution towards, other predatory species such as pumas and condors. The implementation of non-lethal measures (such as neck-bells) to reduce predation events has proven to be successful, and community members are keen to continue using these methods.
Trials of natural de-worming treatments using Ficus glabrata have shown positive effects, and courses on sustainable livestock and improved health practices have been implemented in schools.