Chianti Cashmere Goat Farm is the First Wildlife Friendly® Enterprise in Italy/Europe

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Chianti Cashmere Goat Farm earns Wildlife Friendly® Certification for Coexisting with Wolves

Radda in Chianti, Italy: – 02 Dec 2014 – The Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN), a global community dedicated to supporting products that conserve threatened wildlife and contribute to economic vitality in rural landscapes, is pleased to announce the awarding of Wildlife Friendly® Certification to Chianti Cashmere Goat Farm a sustainable luxury cashmere operation in the Tuscany region of Italy which raises cashmere goats while using predator-friendly tools to coexist with wolves.

“We applaud the patience, hard work and investment that producers like Chianti Cashmere have made in order to coexist with a keystone predator like wolves. By awarding our certification label which recognizes the use of non-lethal farming and herdinggoats & dogs practices we give global consumers the opportunity to vote their values with their pocketbooks. In this way consumers are able to reward producers for their extra expense and effort and help to ensure and sustain wild populations of native carnivores even on private lands in places like Tuscany,” said WFEN Executive Director Julie Stein.   “We are thrilled to not only welcome our first certified operation in Italy, but also in Europe, as wolves continue to expand there.”

Predator-friendly practices used by Chianti Cashmere include employing a dozen Abruzzo guard dogs for their herd of 250 Cashmere Goats, an ancient breed of shepherd dog raised for centuries in southern Italy, to protect against wolves and bears.

Dr. Nora Kravis, the founder and owner of Chianti Cashmere, is also working with Dr. Duccio Berzi, a technical advisor for the non-profit Italian group Canislupus Italia, towards the selection and implementation of preventative and non-lethal anti-predator solutions with the goal of making the farm a model for Best Management Practices (BMP) to spread predator-friendly know-how and certification to other Italian herders.

Canis lupus Italicus, photo © Dr. Duccio Berzi

Canis lupus Italicus, photo © Dr. Duccio Berzi

In addition, Dr. Kravis is an expert on pastoralism and cashmere goat genetics, with degrees in both  Veterinary Medicine and Textile Design, and is a regular participant and convener of workshops on related subjects internationally, and on the farm itself which is an agritourism destination for tourists as well as a center for the transfer of best practices to breeders and herders.

Chianti’s goat herd, which produces the raw material for a unique line of exclusive, locally processed Italian cashmere yarn, accessories and home textiles, originated in 1995 with the importing of the first cashmere goats into Italy, and improved over time by careful cross-breeding with local goats to create an Italian cashmere goat.

“We are delighted to have earned Wildlife Friendly® certification and to be recognized for our sustainability practices as well as to connect with consumers and companies who appreciate our efforts to coexist with wolves and other wildlife here in Italy” said Dr. Kravis.

Dr. Luigi Boitani, Professor of Conservation Biology at the University of Rome and widely considered to be one of the world’s leading authorities on wolves, explains “Wolves are recovering and expanding in many European countries and conflicts with humans are widespread and often difficult to manage. As a consequence wolves are vulnerable. This Wildlife Friendly® certification is extremely important for farmers across Europe showing them that coexistence is possible and recognizing and showcasing success stories for farmers using predator-friendly practices.” Continue reading

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Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network Joins Great Ape Survival Partnership (GRASP)

Guhonda, Silverback of the Sabyinyo Group, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda  ©Julie Stein

Guhonda, Silverback of the Sabyinyo Group, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda ©Julie Stein

New GRASP Partner Offers Sustainable Development and Conservation Skills

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Nairobi, Kenya – 31-Oct-14 - The Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) fortified its capacity in key areas such as eco-tourism, and increased global impact with the addition of the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network following a vote by the GRASP Executive Committee, bringing the partnership to 98.

“As GRASP continues to grow, our focus is to add strategic partners that bring skills and expertise to help us address key issues,” said GRASP programme coordinator Doug Cress. “Adding the expertise of the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network as our latest partner gives GRASP the ability to be more effective going forward.”

GRASP is a unique alliance of national governments, research institutions, conservation organizations, United Nations agencies, and private companies committed to ensuring the long-term survival of great apes and their habitat in Africa and Asia. Each GRASP partner receives a vote in the GRASP Council, and is represented through delegates to the GRASP Executive Committee.

The Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN) is an international consortium dedicated to the development and marketing of products and services that conserve threatened wildlife while contributing to the economic vitality of rural communities. WFEN includes conservationists, businesses, artisans, producers and harvesters, and recently launched the Gorilla Friendly™ Pledge eco-tourism campaign to promote best practices for gorilla tourism and to minimize the risk of disease transmission from humans to gorillas in East Africa. For more, visit www.wildlifefriendly.org.

“We are very excited to help advance the mission of GRASP in partnership with the GRASP membership in the months and years ahead — there is much work to do,” said Julie Stein, Executive Director and co-founder of WFEN.

For more information, please visit www.un-grasp.org or contact grasp@unep.org.

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Madrone Coast Farm First in California to Achieve Certified Wildlife Friendly® Status

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Madrone Coast Farm First in California to Achieve Certified Wildlife Friendly® Status for coexistence with Mountain Lions

Madrone Coast Farm of Felton, CA Provides Habitat for Pumas

FELTON, CA (October 28 2014) Madrone Coast Farm is the first farm in California to achieve Certified Wildlife Friendly® status in recognition of its wildlife stewardship practices, following an ISO-compliant third-party audit process. “We feel that coexistence with wildlife, including mountain lions, is very important to the health of the local ecosystem.  Farmers and ranchers can successfully use proactive practices to coexist with predators,” says farmer Alison Charter-Smith.

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Alison Charter-Smith of Madrone Coast Farm, holding an heritage breed piglet

Charter-Smith and her husband, Tony Jaehnichen, raise heritage chickens, ducks, goats, sheep, and pigs, and offer pasture-raised chicken and duck-eggs, pork and wool at 4 farmer’s markets throughout the Santa Cruz area. The vast majority of their farm is wooded and accessible to wildlife, including 3 juvenile mountain lions seen on the farm this past summer. In addition to maintaining ponds to provide water, Charter-Smith and Jaehnichen are working to increase the habitat value of their land for terrestrial and avian visitors alike. The farm has nesting boxes for swallows, bats, owls and bees. Black-tailed deer, coyotes and bobcats are also in the vicinity.

To keep stock safe, Madrone Coast Farm keeps a close eye on its animals, especially at vulnerable periods, such as lambing, corrals stock at night, and engages the help of a pair of Maremma livestock guardian dogs. “I feel great knowing my food purchases support wildlife,” says Madrone Coast customer Bonnie Doran. “It’s important to me to know the food I’m eating is not adversely impacting the ecosystem. I was raised to respect the wildlife that have always been here and belong. We need to coexist with native species, not to kill them off.”

“The Certified Wildlife Friendly® label helps consumers to vote with their pocketbooks. Consumers can now support free-ranging wildlife as they buy from local farms,” says Julie Stein, Executive Director of the global Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network. Certified Wildlife Friendly® farms and ranches support wildlife, biodiversity, and a host of ecosystem services. Continue reading

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WFEN Welcomes Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour Guide Association Inc

 

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Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour Guide Association: Discover the Harmony in Nature

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The first Certified Wildlife Friendly® Enterprise in the Philippines

Palawan, Philippines – July 17, 2014 – The Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN), a global community dedicated to supporting products that conserve threatened wildlife and contribute to economic vitality in rural landscapes, is pleased to announce the awarding of Wildlife Friendly® Certification to Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour Guide Association Inc. located in Sabang, Puerto Princesa, Palawan.

The old growth mangrove forests of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) are one of the most important biodiversity conservation areas of the Philippines. Mangroves are highly significant in supporting the rich marine life in the St. Paul Bay where smaller fish feed and reproduce. The mangroves are home to reptiles (Phyton sp., Mangrove snake (Bioga dendrophila), and Water Monitor lizard (Varanus palawanensis), as well as breeding site for endangered avian species such as the Palawan Peacock Pheasant (Polyplectron emphanum), White-collared Kingfisher (Halcyon chloris), Stork-billed Kingfisher (Halcoyn capensis), Eastern Reef Egret (Egretta sacra), and Pale Spiderhunter (Arachnothera dilutior).

Sabang Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour provides a unique eco-tourism experience by hosting guided canoe trips and boardwalk access to this unique, centuries old forest and its wildlife. But they also take an active role in protecting its wildlife and educating Filipinos and visitors about the importance of conserving this important ecosystem and the endangered species that need the mangroves to breed, migrate through and call home.

Human pressures on coastal ecosystem of Palawan are high, with land competition for aquaculture, agriculture, infrastructure, and tourism. The delicate balance of the mangrove ecosystem is vital to the health and vitality of the mangrove itself and the overall biodiversity of marine, freshwater and terrestrial endangered species.

“Our product is the beauty and service of the mangroves to the environment; protection of wildlife in the area is very much our concern” – notes Sabang community member and paddle boat guide, Crisanto. The Mangrove Paddle Boat Tours have increased community and visitors’ awareness on the significance the mangrove ecosystem and serve as patrols to protect the wildlife and habitat.

“WFEN is thrilled to have our first Certified Wildlife Friendly® enterprise in the Philippines. The Mangrove Paddle Boat Tour Guide Association is doing such wonderful work to protect endangered species and the unique Mangrove habitat of Palawan. The eco-tourism product they provide is truly an experience that visitors will remember for a lifetime.” says says Ann Koontz, WFEN board, vice president who was on hand in Palawan to award the association their Wildlife Friendly Certification. Continue reading

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Gorilla Friendly™ Pledge to Safeguard Wild Gorillas

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Online Pledge Makes Tourists Partners in Conservation of Gorillas in the Wild

Kigali, Rwanda, 20 June 2014 – The International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) and Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN) announce the launch of the Gorilla Friendly Pledge, an awareness raising campaign developed to minimize the risk of disease transmission from human to gorilla, during treks to see these magnificent great apes in the wild.

Launched to coincide with the peak gorilla trekking tourist season and Kwita Izina, the annual baby gorilla naming ceremony which takes place in Rwanda on July 1, Gorilla Friendly Pledge will serve to safeguard gorillas by minimizing the risk of disease transmission or behavioral change as a result of exposure to people.

“Conscientious mountain gorilla tourism has contributed to one of the world’s true conservation success stories. By demonstrating that gorillas and their forest habitat can provide real and lasting benefits to people and economies, people living around the parks have become their guardians,” states Anna Behm Masozera, Director of the coalition International Gorilla Conservation Programme. “But we cannot be complacent and now is the time to better equip tourists with the tools to become gorilla guardians as well. This Pledge aims to empower tourists visiting any of the gorilla subspecies in the wild across Africa with information as to the regulations in place for gorilla tourism to make these often once-in-a-lifetime experiences even more valuable – to their experience and to the gorillas.”

The Pledge outlines ten simple things that incoming gorilla tourists can do before, during and after their visit, including providing feedback on their experience.

The content of the Pledge originates from existing visitation rules and regulations defined by the leading experts on great apes and outlined in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Best Practice Guidelines for Great Ape Tourism and has been endorsed by a wide range of institutions and organizations.

“We are very excited to be part of this innovative effort to engage tourists as active participants in the conservation of one of the world’s most iconic endangered species, the mountain gorilla,” said Julie Stein, Executive Director of the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network. “We believe consumers, in this case tourists, can be empowered to support global conservation efforts and, through the Gorilla Friendly Pledge, enable them to make a significant contribution towards safeguarding mountain gorillas for future generations.”

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