From deserts to steppe grasslands, from mountains to alpine meadows and forests, the region features a complex mix of ecosystems and a confluence of biological realms. This has led to unique endemic species and surprising biodiversity. Afghanistan, for instance, is home to nine wild felids, the same number as all of sub-saharan Africa. The region also contains some of the world's last spectacular migrations and nomadic movements, involving millions of animals, from Mongolian gazelles to saiga to Tibetan antelope.
The region has some of the lowest human population densities on the planet. But threats from extractive industries, particularly mining, the development of roads and railroads that block animal movements, not to mention overgrazing, poaching and climate change, all loom large.
Maintain connectivity for the region's migratory and nomadic wildlife and ensure that entire landscapes continue to function as effective and complete wild places, with the full array of wildlife endemic to the region.
How Will We Get There?
Our strategies include:
- Filling in the knowledge gaps on species and populations with research and long-term monitoring.
- Working with local communities, in coordination with government, to build or enhance new community governance institutions and strengthen capacity to ensure sustainable management of natural resources.
- Providing the science, strategies, and policies to ensure connectivity that permits large-scale wildlife movements across these enormous, last-of-the-wild landscapes.
- Implementing community ranger monitoring, SMART law enforcement, and multi-agency anti-poaching task forces to improve enforcement and combat poaching.
- Collaborating with industry, government, communities, and international lenders and conventions to find 'win-win' solutions—cutting-edge methods to monitor and mitigate development impacts on wildlife and ensure that roads and other infrastructure provide "net positive impacts" in these landscapes.
- Aiding the efforts of communities and government to cope with the impact of climate change and decrease the vulnerability of wildlife.
WCS has worked on Mongolian gazelle conservation and management since 1998, conducting ground-breaking ecological and disease research, working on public education, helping to strengthen the country’s laws on hunting and wildlife trade, and training Mongolian authorities in enforcement techniques to address the unsustainable and illegal wildlife trade.
In Afghanistan, WCS has helped create the country's first two protected areas—Band-e-Amir National Park and Wakhan National Park, which now protects over 70% of the country's snow leopard population.
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