Event Report

Expert Talk: Working with rural and indigenous communities to understand wildlife use and zoonotic disease.

In November 2023, the Alliance hosted an Expert Talk featuring Prof Julia Fa from CIFOR (Center for International Forestry Research), Indonesia, and Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. CIFOR is a non-profit scientific research organization specialising in research on the use and management of tropical forests and wildlife in developing countries. Julia Fa, a senior research associate at CIFOR, shared her extensive experience in conservation science during this insightful presentation.

The focus of Julia Fa’s presentation was the vital collaboration between researchers and local as well as indigenous communities. She highlighted the importance of developing inclusive collaborations with these rural communities. Together, scientists and communities can join forces in gathering crucial data to understand levels of wildlife use, to generate ways of promoting sustainable hunting practices. Access to robust data enables the generation of indicators of overexploitation and impacts on ecosystems, human health, and livelihoods. By generating such information, including relevant biological metrics of game species, will strengthen our understanding of sustainable practices. Moreover, recognizing the interconnected nature of overexploitation, ecosystem health, human well-being, and livelihoods is fundamental. By actively engaging with scientists, participating communities can share their age-old experience and traditional ecological knowledge and together generate practical approaches for the sustainable management of wild meat, addressing both rural supply and urban demand. This necessitates interventions covering the entire trade chain, involving local hunting communities, middlemen, traders, consumers, and broader society. Julia later elaborated on the expansion and replication of tried and tested methods that can be applied to other areas of the world, especially in the context of promoting a South-South exchange promoted by CIFOR. As an example, knowledge and experiences gained by colleagues in the Amazon were shared with colleagues from the Congo Basin.

The presentation underscored the invaluable role of community-driven partnerships in safeguarding the delicate balance between human and environmental health.

The presentation underscored the invaluable role of community-driven partnerships in maintaining the delicate balance between human and environmental health. Julia also delved into the health risks associated with handling game meat and shared initial results of sample analyses within the Alliance-funded project in Cameroon and Congo. A 6-step plan for community-based monitoring was outlined.

Lastly, Julia discussed the health risks involved in handling game meat and the initial results of the sample analyses in the context of the Alliance-funded project in Cameroon and Congo.

The subsequent open Q&A session provided an opportunity for in-depth questions, fostering potential further collaborations on the horizon. The entire presentation is available for viewing in our members area.