The Karen Wildlife Conservation Initiative

The Karen Wildlife Conservation Initiative is a front line conservation program focused on defending some of the last remaining fragments of pristine biodiversity in Asia. The initiative was developed to formalise a partnership between the Karen National Union, Karen Forestry Department and local and international NGOs and provide a framework for implementing scientifically sound and immediately effective conservation strategies in the region.

Insatiable demand for wildlife and pressure from illegal logging continues to increase as black markets in Asia expand. Myanmar and Thailand are major regional hubs that facilitate both the extraction and trade of endangered wildlife to supply these markets. To counter these threats and effectively secure protected areas in Karen State, two highly trained teams of rangers were deployed in December 2013. Operating under the Karen Forestry Department (KFD), these teams conduct continual monitoring and surveillance operations to ensure local and National Conservation Laws are effectively enforced.

Current conservation programs are focused on:

  • Monitoring, evaluation and assessment of wildlife through the implementation of on going surveys in priority areas. This project will provide the first assessments of species richness in regions of Karen State.
  • Training and deployment of Wildlife Protection Units (WPU). Currently two teams of 10 members are deployed in the area to monitor for illegal activities and ensure protection of wildlife populations in the area.
  • Capacity Building- building of local teams through the facilitation of training activities for field based and administrative staff.

Copyright 2015 © Adam Oswell/KWCI