Good gnus: Ruminating on conservation in Africa... 'til the cows come home

October 12, 2005

NEW YORK (October 12, 2005) Experts from East and Southern Africa have some grass roots ideas for tackling the immense challenges Africa faces at the wildlife / domestic animal / human health interface-- and they hope the West is listening. A new book, Conservation and Development Interventions at the Wildlife/Livestock Interface: Implications for Wildlife, Livestock and Human Health, features some of the most innovative conservation thinking in Africa today and provides real-world examples of the critical role animal health plays in both environmental conservation and economic development. The book, and the related initiative the Wildlife Conservation Society, the IUCN Species Survival Commission Veterinary Specialist Group, and partners have helped launch (Animal Health for the Environment And Development or AHEAD), focus on several themes of critical importance to the future of wildlife, animal agriculture and, of course, people: competition over grazing and water resources, disease transmission, local and global food security, zoonoses, and other potential sources of conflict related to land-use decision-making and the reality of resource constraints. Addressing these issues is of critical importance to Africa's people, to Africa's wildlife heritage, and to Africa's global trading partners. Clearly, animal health issues, and their implications for human health and livelihoods, must be addressed by any regional development or conservation strategies -- including those involving transboundary 'peace parks'-- if they are to succeed. Few cross-sectoral solutions have been offered until the publication of this book.

Around the world, impacts from interactions between livestock and wildlife (and habitat) are often profound. The issues at this interface represent an unfortunately all-too-often neglected sector of critical importance to the long-term ecological and sociopolitical security of national parks and other protected areas and grazing lands worldwide. Whether we are talking about the ongoing tuberculosis crisis impacting South Africa's Kruger National Park, or Yellowstone National Park's brucellosis saga costing U.S. authorities millions of dollars to manage, these issues merit more proactive attention than they have received to date.

"We hope that conservation and development colleagues from within and, as importantly, outside of the health science professions will find this volume thought-provoking, insightful, practical, and applicable to their daily work," notes Dr. Steve Osofsky, Senior Policy Advisor for Wildlife Health for the Wildlife Conservation Society, long-time member of the World Conservation Union's Veterinary Specialist Group, and the book's editor. "As socioeconomic progress demands sustained improvements in health for humans, their domestic animals, and the environment, we hope we've been successful in drawing attention to the need to move towards a 'one health' perspective-- an approach that is the foundation of our conservation work, and a theme pervading this unique volume."

Osofsky, S. A., Cleaveland, S., Karesh, W. B., Kock, M. D., Nyhus, P. J., Starr, L., and A. Yang, (eds.). 2005. Conservation and Development Interventions at the Wildlife/Livestock Interface: Implications for Wildlife, Livestock and Human Health. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK. xxxiii and 220 pp. is available in hard copy through the IUCN Publications Services Unit, 219c Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, United Kingdom Tel: +44 1223 277894; Fax: +44 1223 277175 E-mail: Additional information (including the book as a free downloadable PDF) is also available at and and

Wildlife Conservation Society

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