Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network

WFEN Gives Seminar on Conservation through Economic Empowerment

USAID Biodiversity and Forestry seminar series, partnered with TRANSLINKS and Certified Wildlife Friendly™, held the Conservation Certification and Product Branding- The Case of Wildlife Friendly Certification seminar and Q&A. The seminar was held at the USAID Info Center on May 12, 2010 in Washington, D.C.

Ann Koontz of Relief international– Enterprise Works/Vita and the private sector marketing guru Steven Dupuis of the Dupuis Group led the seminar.  Koontz and Dupuis discussed the certification criteria for Certified Wildlife Friendly™’s eco-label and compared the criteria to other eco-labels such as Green Seal and Bird Friendly. Certified Wildlife Friendly™ is “The only certification label that conserves threatened wildlife and their habitats while contributing to the economic vitality of rural communities.” Wildlife Friendly’s certification label criteria follows Wildlife Friendly’s principles of “Wildlife Conservation, Economic Well Being, and Accountability.”

“Accountability” means producers must monitor their production practices in order to measure their environmental consequences (good or bad) and to measure the conservation of key wildlife and their habitat. The integration of local producers with scientific practices and conservation scientists allows for numerous, innovative,and grassroots monitoring practices. Wildlife Friendly, through its education program, shares these monitoring practices with others who want to become Certified Wildlife Friendly™ but struggle with cost-effective conservation monitoring. Because the producers use methods tailored to the local conditions, monitoring is community orientedand cost effective.

Koontz discussed three examples of Certified Wildlife Friendly™ producers that monitor their own production and environmental results. All Things Alpaca Ecuador (ATAE) protects the endangered Andean Bear and other species that roam the forest around the land that ATAE’s Alpaca graze. ATAE uses motion-sensitive cameras to capture bears, while community parabiologists work as park guards specializing in wildlife monitoring with a focus on the Andean Bear. ATAE’s improved Alpaca management conserves the unique upper altitude habitats of the bear and other species.

Koontz also provided a case study of the company Elephant Pepper which monitors key African wildlife and their habitat by training farmers in wildlife monitoring and farming methods that reduce human-wildlife conflict. The integration of chilies (elepahnts are repelled by the chemical capsaican, which makes the pepper hot) gives farmers a lucrative cash crop while co-existing with wildlife. Elephant Pepper purchases the chilies from the farmers and produces an export line of chili sauces and spice blends.

Lastly, Koontz discussed Ibis Rice. Ibis Rice works with farmers to not expand rice growing into the sensitive Ibis habitat by integrating the community into the active role of monitoring bird counts and nest protection. Satellite analysis is also used to monitor the conservation of the forest and wetlands habitat that are critical to the Ibis and other endangered birds. All three products have found success while remaining wildlife friendly.

To watch the video of this seminar or see the PowerPoint used in the seminar go to frameweb.org.