DR COONEY, CHAIR OF INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR CONSERVATION OF NATURE: SUSTAINABLE USE AND LIVELIHOODS SPECIALIST GROUP; FOCUSING ON BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION
Dr. Rosie Cooney’s work focuses on biodiversity conservation. She serves as Chair of The International Union for Conservation of Nature Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group, a global network of almost 300 leading experts in sustainable use of wild resources.
Her work focuses strongly on seeking approaches that both meet human needs and conserve biodiversity. Rosie holds first class Honors degrees in Zoology and in Law from the Australian National University, and a PhD in Zoology from Cambridge.
What’s Happened to Kenya’s Wildlife?
The situation in Kenya is really complex and the drivers of wildlife are really complex. But Kenya is seeing a really dramatic rate of loss of wildlife habitat. Some estimate this to be around 6-7% a year and this is set to continue to decline in coming years as the population grows in that country. The question of incentives is absolutely crucial. How do you incentivize maintaining that wildlife habitat, when there’s a clear, obvious return that can come from agriculture? See more of Dr. Cooney’s video series at DSCF.org.
What Happens to the Land When Governments Ban Hunting?
Countries have growing populations, they need to feed them. We’re already seeing this global movement of degazetting our protected areas. Political pressure is leading to governments taking chunks out of protected areas and using them to build roads, convert back to farmland, to mine whatever it is. So if you remove a whole revenue stream—which for a developing country government might be quite substantial—you just cut the legs out from the economic case for maintaining that area as a protected area. See more of Dr. Cooney’s video series at DSCF.org.
How Is Sustainable Use Working in Namibia?
In Namibia, hunting and tourism together have generated enormous support for wildlife. It’s led to dramatic recoveries for a variety of species, all of which would be massively jeopardized by a hunting ban. See more of Dr. Cooney’s video series at DSCF.org.
What Is the Effect of Poaching on Wildlife?
The poaching for the high-value illegal wildlife trade — rhino horn, ivory, etc. — is a massive problem which has really escalated since about 2011. But it’s important to know that even if that disappeared over night, those species would still be in trouble. So yes, it’s a problem, but it gets all the international attention which really overlooks the less dramatic but in the long term probably more damaging processes… from habitat loss and from local poaching. See more of Dr. Cooney’s video series at DSCF.org.
Success in Tajikistan
In Tajikistan, there are experiences that have developed in the last 5-10 years, where there’s a number of well-functioning of similarly run wildlife management organizations operating there now which are again, using trophy hunting to generate revenue to pay guards, to practice wildlife management, manage populations, and so forth. See more of Dr. Cooney’s video series at DSCF.org.
How Do You Explain Sustainable Use Conservation to People Who Don’t Understand?
There must be some benefit for people to cohabitate with wildlife, when there are numerous threats to their daily needs, their livelihoods and their existence.