Our March 2023 issue has a special focus on marine conservation, with four articles about Fauna & Flora and local partners’ marine conservation work in Myanmar, Turkey, Cabo Verde and Cambodia. The lead article by Saydam et al. documents the first construction of an artificial ledge in a cave for Endangered monk seals, with camera-trap images evidencing the use of this ledge by a juvenile seal. The cover feature by co-author Zafer Kızılkaya pictures a Mediterranean monk seal with an octopus catch in Turkey. In the Editorial, Church et al. emphasize the importance of putting communities at the heart of marine conservation. They highlight Fauna & Flora’s approach of supporting small-scale, community-led conservation projects to benefit marine ecosystems and the communities that rely on them, as demonstrated by the articles in the accompanying virtual issue. The issue also includes a host of interesting Briefly and Conservation News stories!

Find out more about this issue’s content, including our Editor’s picks, below:

Marine conservation

  • A novel approach for Mediterranean monk seal conservation: an artificial ledge in a marine cave – Saydam et al. (see blog post here)
  • Strategic nest site selection in one of the world’s largest loggerhead turtle nesting colonies, on Maio Island, Cabo Verde – Patino-Martinez et al.
  • An assessment of marine turtle population status and conservation in Cambodia – Duffy et al.
  • Strengthening small-scale fisheries management and conservation in Myanmar through locally managed marine areas – Thiha et al.

A special image of a monk seal and juvenile using an artificial ledge in a cave in Turkey. Photo: Mediterranean Conservation Society.

Behind the cover

The Endangered Mediterranean monk seal, with a population of 600–700 individuals in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and eastern Atlantic Ocean, is threatened in particular by degradation of its habitat. A significant factor hindering recovery of the monk seal population of the Turkish coast and the nearby Greek islands is the limited number of marine caves suitable for resting and/or pupping. In searching for potentially suitable caves, one cave was located that had all the essential features for seal usage except a ledge. An artificial ledge was built in this cave and seal usage monitored by camera trap. A juvenile seal used the cave four times for resting, predominantly nocturnally. This is the first construction of a dry ledge in a cave of this kind for monk seals. The camera recordings suggest this approach could provide habitat for this species in areas where there is insufficient dry protected area on land. For further details, see Saydam et al. (Photograph © Zafer Kızılkaya).

Mediterranean Monk Seal Monachus monachus with an octopus catch, Foca Izmir Turkey. Photo: Zafer Kizilkaya.

Editorial

Putting communities at the heart of marine conservation – Church, Benbow & Duffy

‘… if area-based conservation measures, such as marine protected areas, are to be more than ineffective paper parks, they need to be adapted to varied contexts, designed with and implemented alongside local stakeholders, and effectively managed and monitored to assess impact. The protection and restoration of nature will only be sustained if it is delivered by, or in close collaboration with, local communities and Indigenous Peoples. This is an approach that Fauna & Flora has found to be effective across a range of contexts, and we strongly advocate its continued adoption globally.’

Editor’s Picks

  1. A novel approach for Mediterranean monk seal conservation: an artificial ledge in a marine cave – Saydam et al.
  2. What’s in a name? Common name misuse potentially confounds the conservation of the wild camel Camelus ferusJemmett et al. (see blog post here)
  3. Rapid dung removal by beetles suggests higher duiker densities in Central African rainforests – Kamgaing et al.
  4. Surviving in a hostile landscape: Nothofagus alessandrii remnant forests threatened by mega-fires and exotic pine invasion in the coastal range of central Chile – González et al.

Wild camel Camelus ferus at the WCPF breeding centre in Mongolia. Photo: Anna Jemmett/WCPF. Read Anna Jemmet’s blog.

Other content

  • Phenotypical characterization of African savannah and forest elephants, with special emphasis on hybrids: the case of Kibale National Park, Uganda – Bonnald et al.
  • Drivers of predator-proof boma disrepair in the Amboseli Ecosystem, Kenya – Manoa et al.
  • Gazelle–livestock interactions and impact of water resource development in the Ouadi Rimé–Ouadi Achim Reserve, Chad – T. Wacher et al.
  • The bushmeat trade in northern Ghana: market dynamics, drivers of trade and implications for conservation – Sackey et al.
  • Evaluation of alternative conservation strategies for the blue-billed curassow Craz alberti in the Middle Magdalena Valley, Colombia – Valencia et al.
  • Updating the distribution range of the maned wolf Chrysocyon brachyurus in Argentina – Orozco et al. (see blog post here)
  • Ecology, occurrence and distribution of wild felids in Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo – Mohd-Azlan et al.
  • Anthropogenic pressure on large carnivores and their prey in the highly threatened forests of Tanintharyi, southern Myanmar – Shwe et al.

Maned wolf on a rural road, in a rice field and in Reserva El Mesias in Argentina. Photos: Victor Merlino (left), Fabian Gromenida (middle) and Leonardo Leiva (right). Read Marcela Orozco’s blog.

Conservation news

  • Participatory evaluations reveal positive impacts for small-scale fishing communities in Indonesia and Honduras – Church, Duffy & Akester
  • Dung beetle conservation now on the IUCN agenda – Leandro & Vaz-De-Mello
  • Important Shark and Ray Areas: a new tool to optimize spatial planning for sharks – Kyne et al.
  • Creating safety stock populations of two of the smallest threatened freshwater fishes of Europe – Kalogianni et al.
  • First record of the leopard Panthera pardus in Bui National Park, Ghana – Amponsah-Mensah et al.

Leopard Panthera pardus pardus captured by a camera trap in Bui National Park, Ghana. Read Amponsah-Mensah et al.’s Conservation News.

Book review

  • Birds and Us: A 12,000 Year History, from Cave Art to Conservation – Ben Jobson

Finally, discover our virtual issue on Fauna & Flora marine conservation:

  • Editorial Putting communities at the heart of marine conservation – Church, Benbow & Duffy
  • Avoiding conflicts and protecting coral reefs: customary management benefits marine habitats and fish biomass – Campbell et al.
  • An assessment of marine turtle population status and conservation in Cambodia – Duffy et al.
  • Community-based conservation: the key to protection of marine turtles on Maio Island, Cape Verde – Dutra & Koenen
  • Fauna & Flora International expands strategy on marine plastics – Entwistle et al.
  • Community-led management lays the foundation for coral reef recovery in Cambodian marine protected areas – Glue et al.
  • Linking coastal community livelihoods to marine conservation in Aceh, Indonesia – Novriyanto et al.
  • Globally important refuge for the loggerhead sea turtle: Maio Island, Cabo Verde – Patino-Martinez et al.
  • Strategic nest site selection in one of the world’s largest loggerhead turtle nesting colonies, on Maio Island, Cabo Verde – Patino-Martinez et al.
  • A novel approach for Mediterranean monk seal conservation: an artificial ledge in a marine cave – Saydam et al.
  • Towards ecological and social impact through collaborative governance of a seascape of marine protected areas in Honduras – Steadman
  • Ensuring local stakeholder support for marine conservation: Establishing a locally-managed marine area network in Aceh – Syakur et al.
  • Strengthening small-scale fisheries management and conservation in Myanmar through locally managed marine areas – Thiha et al.
  • The Panglima Laot of Aceh: a case study in large-scale community-based marine management after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami – Wilson & Linkie

Mediterranean Monk Seal looking at the camera. Photo: Zafer Kizilkaya.

Header photo: A Mediterranean monk seal in Turkey. Photograph © Zafer Kızılkaya.



Emma joined the Oryx team in 2022 after completing an MSc in wildlife conservation. She has a particular interest in African wildlife conservation and the wildlife trade, and carried out her MSc research on the impact of wild meat hunting on duiker populations in Central Africa. Prior to her MSc, Emma worked in finance before volunteering at conservation organizations and training as a field guide in South Africa.