Wildlife Connect is a joint initiative between WWF, CLLC, CCSG, and CMS that aims to maintain or increase ecological connectivity of landscapes, ensuring viable wildlife populations, ecosystem services, resilience to climate change, and human well-being. Let´s see why and how!
Wildlife are what bring our planet to life- the amazing array of animals and their habitats that we all depend on.
But what do wildlife need to thrive? In part, the ability to move...
Animals need to travel between the different areas they need during their life cycles. The places they find their food are often different from the places where they gather to mate or spawn, which in turn may be different from the places where young are reared, or where reliable water can be found.
Thus for wildlife to thrive, habitats must be connected.
Connected landscapes enable wildlife to move to meet their basic needs – to disperse and mix to breed, preventing the genetic deterioration that occurs when small isolated populations are forced to breed with relatives. Connected landscapes enable healthy wildlife populations.
Connectivity is not just important to wildlife, but to humans, too.
Connected landscapes underpin the services upon which we depend for food and wellbeing, including pollination, water flow and healthy soils. In the aquatic world, the fish that billions of people depend on for nutrition and livelihoods need to move between nursery and feeding habitats, which for species like salmon, can be very far apart. Well connected landscapes also reduce the conflict that can arise when wildlife habitats become fragmented, forcing wildlife to comes into contact with people, their farms or livestock.
Climate change means that…
connectivity is more important than ever. Wildlife is being forced to move to new areas in search of food and water. These movements will increase as the climate changes progresses.
But the planet’s connections are increasingly under threat as our human footprint grows.
Wildlife habitats are converted and fragmented for commercial and subsistence agriculture, mining and other extractive industries, and further segmented by fencing of private lands and borders.
The construction of roads and other linear infrastructure
is creating additional barriers to wildlife movement, and is expected to more than double in the next 25 years.
Protected and conserved areas are increasingly becoming isolated from each other.
separated by built features and land uses that do not allow wildlife to move through them. They are becoming ‘islands’ which are simply not large enough on their own to sustain many wildlife species, or to provide the ecosystem services that people depend on.
We can change this together, and secure connected landscapes with thriving wildlife that provide the ecosystem services on which we all depend.
This is Wildlife Connect’s mission.
Wildlife Connect aims to protect, manage, and restore the ecological connectivity of landscapes, enabling large-scale wildlife movement and linking wildlife and people.
1 PROTECT linkages
2 MANAGE for wildlife flow
3 RESTORE what we have lost
Theory of change
We will combat the fragmentation of natural habitats, promote the management of agricultural lands to enable wildlife to move through them, promote improved land use planning, create and conserve wildlife corridors, and eliminate barriers to wildlife movement. By ensuring movement is possible, we will enable wildlife to adapt to a changing climate, and thus contribute to the long term viability of wildlife and people on earth.
We are not starting from zero. There has been fantastic progress in connectivity conservation to build from
In Sabah, Malaysia, a plantation company is reforesting a 14km wildlife corridor to enable orangutans and elephants to move safely between previously isolated forest blocks.
In the KAZA landscape in southern Africa, communities are managing their lands in wildlife dispersal areas
To allow large scale movement of megafauna across the landscape, whilst benefiting from the wildlife economy.
In the Terai Arc landscape, critical corridors between forest patches are restored
and managed by community groups in ways that enable wildlife movement as well as increasing community livelihoods and wellbeing. Communities become citizen scientists, monitoring wildlife use of the corridor with camera traps.
Wildlife Connect aims to build on these successes in 4 additional landscapes, one on each continent
Global change driving local impact
Wildlife Connect also aims change the mind-sets of decision-makers within the three sectors most able to drive connectivity conservation on the ground – governments, corporates and financial institutions.
Momentum is building:
The UN General Assembly recently adopted its first ever resolution focused on connectivity.
At least one major multinational requires all farms it sources from to ‘maintain or establish wildlife corridors’.
The Inter-American Development Bank requires projects that it invests in to have “project design for maximum ecological connectivity”.
We need to make the shift from these cases being the exception, to being the rule.
What can you do?
Connecting wildlife can not be achieved by any person or entity alone. It needs all of us to play our part. Wherever you are you can help ensure wildlife has the room to roam, and create a healthier planet.
Use your voice! Eg, sign a petition calling for connectivity for jaguars. Tell your friends that connectivity is important.
Buy products that do not destroy or fragment wildlife habitats (Forest Stewardship Council and FairWild are good examples)
¡Every little bit helpsDo you have a garden, balcony or even window box? Turn it into a ‘stepping stone’ for urban wildlife connectivity!!