Hoolock Gibbon Conservation Status Review Project
From 2008 to 2010, PRCF assessed the conservation status of Hoolock Gibbon in Myanmar and identified areas that are critical for conservation of the two Hoolock sub-species.
We partnered with organizations to conduct gibbon field research and provided them with technical training in survey methods. Through this activity we found that Hoolock Gibbon remain widespread throughout Myanmar, although often in increasingly isolated pockets of forest. It was noticeable that many high priority areas for conservation of Hoolock were not protected and often fell immediately outside protracted areas.
Gibbon threat assessment
To better understand needs for Hoolock Gibbon, we assessed their major conservation threats. This assessment showed gibbon in Myanmar are threatened by hunting and significant habitat loss due to the agricultural needs of local people. We believe community conservation approaches can mitigate the risks gibbon face due to these threats.
PRCF Myanmar has conducted training to local stakeholders, including staff of local civil society organisations, government officials, and local communities in researching the conservation status and assessing threats to the gibbon. Training has also included tracking and managing research and survey data for later interpretation and use for conservation action.
Khe Shor Ter Community Forest Support Project
Communities living in and near the Ker Shor Ter Forest have been engaging in conservation efforts for years without support or training from the international conservation community. PRCF Myanmar worked with these communities to designate a community forest area and coordinate conservation efforts towards the Eastern Hoolock Gibbon and its habitat at the site.
Community forest mapping and boundary marking
PRCF Myanmar engaged local community members to help map and mark boundaries of the Ker Shor Ter community forest area. This involved training on the use geographic positioning system devises (GPS) and compasses, interpretation and navigation with maps, and production of field sketch maps for later corroboration.
Thirty-eight community members were involved in the boundary marking and map training, which occurred over 12 days with classroom and field practice. Copies of the resulting maps were provided to all 32 Ker Shor Ter communities for their reference.
We worked with local villagers to increase their awareness of the community forest area and to advocate for gibbon and habitat conservation work. PRCF Myanmar initiated patrol teams to monitor and protect the community forest area and an advocacy team to travel to Ker Shor Ter villages to help raising awareness on gibbon and forest conservation.
More than 5,000 people from 15 local villages have been engaged in the Ker Shor Ter gibbon and forest conservation campaign, which aimed to engage multiple communities in village policy discussions and advocate against poaching, wild orchid gathering, and wildlife trading.
Forest management and training
When local communities agreed on community forest regulations, we supported the development of a community-based patrol process and schedule. Other than patrolling, this involves community committees meeting regularly to discuss theft of natural forest resources and wildlife.
PRCF Myanmar has also funded and facilitated a number of workshops for communities to support co-management and protection of the community forest area.
Natmataung National Park Fire Shelters Project
The Natmataung National Park is an important area for biodiversity conservation and its local village inhabitants. The park was seriously threatened by recurring uncontrolled wildfires accidentally started by locals traveling to markets. To address this threat, PRCF Myanmar worked with the national park staff to assess fire locations, draft a fire shelter design, and construct fire shelters.
We worked with the national park staff to design and construct fire shelters that would control campfires and increase safety of locals in the park area. PRCF assessed recent forest fire incidents and their locations in order to determine the areas most in need of fire shelters. We also conducted a field survey to ensure the fire shelter design would be effective for the users.
In order to ensure fire shelters would be used, PRCF conducted an awareness campaign that informed travelers of the fire shelters constructed and the importance of using these to prevent escape fires. This awareness campaign linked the community benefits of using fires shelters with other fire prevention measures and conservation activities in the national park landscape.
Kyauk Pantanung Chin Weavings Project
PRCF worked in the Kyauk Pantaung to support community-based natural resource conservation, empower socioeconomic development, and strengthen the local Chin weaving culture. These activities focused on increasing local access to cotton and other materials, ensuring weaving products have market availability, and identifying additional transportation opportunities to sell weaving products in other villages.