In a world – and world media – dominated by crises, it is important to remember that not all is bad. Indeed, if there were not solid evidence that where the correct resources (not just money, but personnel, expertise and public support) are brought to bear to protected highly threatened species in the field, then the value of directing further resources to that aim would be questionable. The projects listed below profile a few of the successful conservation projects for highly threatened species in ASEAN. Others could have been chosen, but the aim here was to involve a broad range of animals and countries.
One thing almost all these projects have in common is that they are never ending. Animals with high trade value are attractive to the selfish, criminal, element of humanity who would help themselves to society’s common resources, to their own gain and society’s loss, if systems are not in place to prevent them. In this, just as with other crimes such as those involving drugs, armaments and human trafficking require effective counter-measures years (indeed, centuries) after they are recognised as problems, it is unrealistic to expect the problem to be ‘solved’.
This realism is not always required in the development world. Here, the negative sides of challenges such as illiteracy, infectious diseases and hunger, benefit no-one, so there is no continued pervasive force to retain them. Thus, while smallpox has been eradicated and the case is closed, comparable closure is rare in field conservation with large animals in South-east Asia. Indeed, we were not able to come up with a single case that can truly be considered finished, in a positive sense.
Examples of conservation project succes stories in Southeast Asia are listed below:
- Cat Ba Langur Conservation Project, Vietnam
- Tonkin Snub-nosed Monkey Conservation Programme, Vietnam
- Philippine Cockatoo Conservation Programme, Philippines
- Prek Toal colonial water bird conservation, Cambodia
- Ang Trapeang Thmor Wetland Conservation Area, Cambodia
- Black-shanked Douc conservation at Seima Protection Forest, Cambodia
- Saving Nantu Forest, Sulawesi, Indonesia
- Myanmar roof turtle (Batagur trivittata), Myanmar
- The Annam leaf turtle recovery project, Vietnam