One photo – One story

Protecting wildlife from poachers

Morgan Mupenda is a police officer in Zambia. He heads the Rhino Monitoring Group at the Zambia Wildlife Authority in the North Luangwa National Park. He is using his hand-held antenna to locate black rhinos tagged with a transmitter, to track their movements and help protect them from poachers.

Rhinos and medicine

There were once 12,000 of these splendid animals in Zambia. Today they have virtually been wiped out, chiefly through poaching. The demand for rhino horn is particularly strong in Asia, where ground horn is used among other things as a status symbol and supposedly to cure cancer – even though there is no proof that it has any effect.

Together with the Frankfurt Zoological Society, Germany has for many years been supporting the protection of rhinos in the national park. Although the animals had virtually been wiped out, it has since been possible to establish over two dozen rhinoceroses once again. In this setting infrastructure development, reforestation and burgeoning tourism are also creating job opportunities and prospects for the local population. Since leaving school nine years ago, Morgan Mupenda has been working to protect these animals.

To complement this Germany is supporting measures to reduce the demand for poached horn. More horn is bought In Viet Nam than in any other country. Through the GIZ and the non-governmental wildlife monitoring network TRAFFIC, the German government is in dialogue with the agency responsible for traditional medicine at the Vietnamese Ministry of Health. These activities aim to jointly raise public awareness of poaching and the threat posed to rhinos, as well as alternative treatment methods.

Preserving our forests

One of the most crucial functions of forests is their ability to store carbon dioxide, which curbs climate change. For this reason forestry student Shofan Nasrullah is measuring the circumference of a tree in East Kalimantan in Indonesia, to calculate just how much carbon dioxide the forest is capable of storing.

A new source of income from sustainable forest management

Here the aim is to place a financial value on stored carbon dioxide. To achieve this, local inhabitants are being given an opportunity to earn additional income by protecting and sustainably managing the forest.

The Indonesian government’s actions to mitigate climate change include comprehensive reforms in the Indonesian forestry sector, such as the introduction of forestry offices to organise land rights and deliver services to the local population. The offices will also regulate access to the forest and its resources fairly, and at the same time monitor the forest in order to prevent illegal activities.

These reforms are the outcome of the German government's cooperation with Indonesia in the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) programme under the Framework Convention on Climate Change. The programme is designed to change the way people think. Forests that are not cleared and remain intact possess financial value for mitigating climate change. They are also able to continue performing their manifold tasks, which include preventing erosion, storing water, preserving biological diversity, and providing their inhabitants with both a place to live and livelihoods.

Sustainable ocean use

Moulaye Wagne is a researcher from the Mauritanian Institute for Oceanography and Fisheries (IMROP). Together with a team from the Banc d’Arguin National Park, he is examining a shellfish for changes caused by pollutants.

Preserving the abundance of natural resources

In a programme in Mauritania supported by the German government, Moulaye is studying how to demonstrate the presence of toxic substances in living organisms. Since mussels filter a very large amount of water they respond particularly sensitively to changes, and are a very good indicator of pollutants contained in water.

Moulaye's research forms part of the first early warning system in Africa to monitor the negative impacts on marine organisms of oil and gas extraction off the cost of Mauritania. The project can also demonstrate indirectly whether industry is taking sufficient measures to protect against pollution and damage to the marine ecosystem.

One million people – a third of the country's population – live along the coast of Mauritania. Preserving fisheries is key to feeding these people. Like the sustainable management of natural resources, protecting the ocean against pollutants is crucial to the country's future. As well as this research project, the German government is therefore also supporting the sustainable management of natural resources and sustainable fisheries.

Benefits for all

Since the 13th century, the Berber women in Morocco have been cultivating the Argan tree. They gather the fruit, remove the flesh and from the small seeds they press a high grade oil which is used in traditional medicine and the cosmetic industry.

Progress from ancient knowledge

This oil is now in increasing demand in Europe too, not least since the latest research results show that it might prevent both cardiovascular diseases and wrinkles.

The Access and Benefit-sharing approach was developed to enable the Berber women, other indigenous peoples and local communities worldwide to share in the profits from marketing their countries’ natural genetic resources, and their knowledge on how to exploit them. It aims to create legislation that will regulate access to natural resources, while at the same time enabling the local population to participate in the profits generated and the knowledge gained from further research. By doing so the ABS approach also aims to create paths out of poverty.

The women in Morocco have also succeeded in marketing the argan oil in Europe. Germany is supporting the women's cooperatives by providing further training, and at the national level is supporting the drafting of legislation to regulate access to these resources.