WildCRU / Living with Tigers Project

WildCRU / Living with Tigers Project



Thank you to everyone who has come on our recent day trips! We have donated to Oxford University's WildCRU to support the 'Living with Tigers project'. Here's more about their work and conservation research ........


Tiger populations in Nepal have increased by 63% since 2008 as a result of successful efforts to control illegal poaching. While it’s amazing news, it’s led to a new conservation challenge – protecting the tiger population and local communities from human-tiger conflict.

In the Terai lowlands of Nepal, a major initiative by the Nepal Government and conservation NGOs to enforce zero poaching of tigers has resulted in a recovery of tiger populations in Chitwan and Bardia National Parks.

However, the regions surrounding these parks also have some of Nepal’s most dense rural human population, composed mainly of very poor communities that rely heavily on forest resources. As a result, there has been an increase in human-tiger conflict, with people and livestock being attacked by tigers.

To help prevent Nepal’s success in tiger conservation being undermined by this conflict, WildCRU has teamed up with the Nepalese organisation 'Green Governance Nepal' to engage the communities around Chitwan and Bardia in devising participatory approaches to ensure their safety, improve their livelihoods, and prevent retaliatory killing of tigers.

To this end, WildCRU are working with around 1200 households across eight communities around these parks. Their work involves implementing practical measures to improve the safety of people and livestock; developing supplementary livelihood opportunities to reduce dependence on the forested areas where tigers live, and addressing behaviours which put both people and tigers at great risk.

If you are thinking how can I help 'save the tiger' and want to know more about WildCRU's work then read/donate to WildCRU HERE 

The Painted Dog Conservation

The Painted Dog Conservation

From our recent Secret Ruin Hike & Jimi Hendrix Tour, we have decided to help The Painted Dog Conservation again since these creatures are highly endangered and need all the help they can get! This money will go to help the work they do to support their conservation efforts. Read more HERE!

The African wild dog (also known as painted wolves) are one of the most endangered species in the whole of Africa. There is only an estimated 7,000 wild dog habitat left in entire continent.

They may not be as famous as their trunked, horned, or maned neighbors, but these painted dogs —also known as African wild or hunting dogs—are beautiful, unique, and fascinating social animals. 

You’d be forgiven for confusing these mottled, big-eared animals for hyenas—but they’re distinctly different creatures. While hyenas are more closely related to cats, painted dogs share a distant common ancestor with wolves and, as their name suggests, domestic dogs.

Heres some more African Wild Dog Information: They’re extremely social, have strong family bonds (as you may have seen on David Attenborough’s program “Dynasties”, they spend most of their time together, and take care of one another’s pups, take care of each other and if a painted dog becomes ill or injured, their pack-mates rally round to care for them. The African Wild Dog is a truly amazing creature!


Bornean Clouded Leopard Program

Bornean Clouded Leopard Program

Thank you to everyone who signed up to our E-Newsletter and came on our recent Secret Ruin Hike! We donated to WildCRU’s ‘The Bornean Clouded Leopard Program

Read more about how we have supported this cause below

The Bornean Clouded Leopard is a subspecies of the Sunda Clouded Leopard. It is native to the island of Borneo, and differs from the Batu-Sumatran Clouded Leopard in the shape and frequency of spots. 

The Clouded Leopard is Borneo’s most fearsome predator, it has the longest canine teeth of any feline. Fully-grown adults can have canines that are up to two-inches long. Furthermore, tails that equal their body length allow these secretive and solitary creatures to balance in trees, where they perch waiting to pounce on their prey. The exact numbers of this secretive cat are not known but they are believed to be in decline due to habitat loss and poaching.


What WildCRU are doing to help:

WildCRU are focussing their work in the Danum Valley in Malaysian Borneo and the Sabangau forest in Indonesian Borneo.

Their specific goals are to

  • Study the status, behaviour, ecology and conservation genetics of the five species of Bornean wild cat, with a focus on the clouded leopard

  • Investigate the effects of habitat alteration on Bornean wild cats

  • Raise capacity for field research in Malaysia and Indonesia through the continued training of a local ecologists

  • Increase awareness of the Bornean wild cats and their conservation needs, using the clouded leopard as a flagship species

  • Investigate threats to the Bornean wild cats from hunting and trade in Sabah and Kalimantan. 


If you would like to help the Bornean Clouded Leopard - Please follow this link to donate and read more: WildCRU/Bornean Clouded Leopard

The Himalayan Wolves Project

The Himalayan Wolves Project


Thank you to everyone who attended our Secret Ruin Hike and signed up to our E-Newsletter - We have donated to help the Himalayan Wolves Project. THANK YOU to all!

Through our support of WildCRU, we are supporting their project - The Himalayan Wolf. read more about how the project is run here:

The Himalayan wolf is found in the high altitude ecosystems of the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau. It is an old lineage of wolf. It has also been largely overlooked by science and only in recent years evidence is emerging to show that the Himalayan wolf is distinct from the Holarctic grey wolf found in Europe and North America.

Some of the exciting questions the Himalayan Wolves Project is attempting to answer are how many of these wolves are found in the wild today, what keeps them there and where does their distribution range lie. The project focuses on compiling landscape scale data to understand the Himalayan wolf distribution and phylogeny which means where this wolf is situated in the canid’s family tree.

The trophic ecology is also studied to understand the Himalayan wolf’s role in the ecosystem. Specifically, the project works to identify its main wild prey species and understand livestock depredation. This is significant for understanding the resources required by healthy Himalayan wolf populations. But also how the wolves interact with carnivores that share the habitat with them, such as foxes and snow leopards is of interest.

This genetic and ecological data is combined with insights into human-carnivore conflict to identify the best mitigation strategies together with the local mountain communities. An understanding of the main threats to the wolves such as depredation conflict, their role in illegal wildlife trade, and the perception of wolves with regards to medicinal and cultural traditions is gained through interviews with local people. The project works closely with scientists from the respective host countries and the local mountain communities to raise conservation awareness, conduct research expeditions, and motivate further studies.

If you would like to read how you can adventure with us and help wild animal conservation - Please click HERE to view our trips!

The Scottish Wildcat Project

The Scottish Wildcat Project

Thank you to everyone who signed up to our E-Newsletter! Through every sign up, we donated $2 per person to a cause we think is worth while. From the month of January - we donated to WildCRU’s ‘The Scottish Wildcat Project

Read more about how we have supported this cause below

The Scottish Wildcat is listed endangered. The Wildcat is actually a European wildcat, populated now only in Scotland. This population is estimated between 1000 and 4000 individuals. However, only around 400 pure individuals. The Scottish Wildcat population used to be wildly distributed across Britain, but has declined drastically since the turn of the 20th century due to habitat loss, persecution and hybridization. It is now limited to north and west Scotland only.


Extensive hybridization with the domestic cat is thought to be one of the main threats facing this species and has resulted in difficulties in distinguishing wildcats from wildcat x domestic cat hybrids and feral tabby domestic cats. The lack of clear cut identification has resulted in problems with collecting ecological data on genetically pure wildcats. There is a real risk that hybridization will result in the genetic extinction of the Scottish wildcat.

What WildCRU are doing to help:

WildCRU’s current project on the Scottish wildcat looks at the basic ecology of the wildcat and the role GPS collars can play in adaptive conservation management of the Scottish wildcat.

WildCRU works closely with the SWCAP (Scottish Wildcat Conservation Action Plan) and GPS collars will be placed on wildcats in several of the Priority Areas. Here are some of the following objectives outlined:

  • Determine how wildcats react to adverse weather conditions and what implications this has.

  • Identify den sites and the characteristics that could result in their use e.g. cover, prey availability.

  • Hybridization hotspots outside the Priority Areas that could be targeted for Trap Neuter Vaccinate Return.

  • Identify potential risks to individual wildcats that could be mitigated through targeted action e.g. reduction of road traffic accidents across regular crossing points through wildlife bridges/tunnels.

  • Identification of den sites for monitoring and protection from harmful activities.

  • Identify small scale habitat use and activity within different habitats and use this data to map potential wildcat corridors between different wildcat priority areas that could be prioritised for future conservation efforts.


If you would like to help the Scottish Wildcat - Please follow this link to donate and read more: WildCRU / Scottish Wildcat Project

Read more about our Scottish Adventure and make an impact!

The African Wild Dog

The African Wild Dog

This month we have decided to give to our friends - The Painted Dog Conservation in Africa.

Painted dog populations have been severely reduced from over half a million to only about 7,000 dogs. The Painted Dog Conservation is working to protect the African Dog from threats such as bushmeat snares and habitat loss—through research, education, and anti-poaching efforts. 


Unfortunately the African wild dog doesn't get as much attention as their other four-legged wild neighbors in Africa, but these painted dogs —also known as African wild or hunting dogs—are beautiful, unique, and fascinating social animals. 

Painted dogs are native to Africa, and aren’t found in the wild anywhere else on the planet. They live in small locations across a handful of countries including Zimbabwe, the home of The Painted Dogs Conservation. There are approximately 700 painted dogs at the conservation where they work with local populations of both humans and dogs, via conservation, education, and outreach programs—to help them not only survive here, but thrive.

If you would like to donate to help the Painted Dogs Conservation then please click here: PAINTED DOGS 

WildCRU / Lions and The Trans-Kalahari Predator Program

WildCRU / Lions and The Trans-Kalahari Predator Program


This month we are donating to WildCRU's 'Lions and the Trans-Kalahari Predator Program' 

Read all about what they do here.


African lion populations have suffered an estimated 75% range reduction in the last 100 years. Continent wide, there may be as few as 20,000 lions left in the wild with many isolated populations recently disappearing or facing imminent extinction, for which habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict have been identified as primary drivers. The Trans-Kalahari Predator Program is one of WildCRU’s largest projects, focused on the predators of southern Africa and their conservation and interactions with people. It was initiated in 1999 with the Hwange Lion Research Project in Zimbabwe and was extended into neighboring Botswana in 2013 to form the Trans-Kalahari Predator Program. The program encompasses ecological research with a focus on African lions (and increasingly other predators), ecologically sustainable transboundary land use management in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area and the promotion of coexistence of humans and predators to simultaneously improve human livelihoods and safeguard globally threatened lion populations.

Due to its vital role within an ecosystem, its unique biology and its combination of ecological needs, the African lion represents an important umbrella species for African landscapes. The apex predator roams home ranges of up to 2,000 km² and is essential for ecosystem function and health by controlling herbivore population sizes. Long-distance dispersal movements of mostly young males ensure genetic exchange between different lion populations, and dispersal distances of several hundred kilometres have been recorded. Due to their large area requirements many other smaller ranging species subsequently benefit indirectly from conservation efforts focused on the protection of African lion habitat, an effect which ecologists describe as holding an “umbrella” over additional species. In the face of a rapidly growing human population in Africa and the associated need for land and resources, there is limited time to prioritize effective conservation efforts that satisfy the needs of both humans and wildlife. Therefore, the umbrella species concept is a useful tool to manage landscape scale conservation and enable comprehensive habitat protection benefitting ecosystems as a whole.

More info, visit here WILDCRU If you would like to donate to the lion and the trans-kalahari predator program then please click here: TRANS-KALAHARI PREDATOR PROGRAM

Visit our trips page to see how you can travel and help mother nature TRIPS

WildCRU / Andean Bear Project

WildCRU / Andean Bear Project


This month we are donating to WildCRU's research 'Andean Bear Project' 

Read all about what they do here.


This conservation initiative is the first of its kind in Bolivia, and aims to study the population dynamics of bears and the drivers of human-bear conflict in the andean bear habitat, the dry forests of Bolivia.

andean bear.jpg

The dry forests of the Andes are being cut down to make way for agricultural land, oil extraction and the building of new roads. This development is pushing the species closer to extinction. The bear plays a vital role in the survival of these dry forests by dispersing seeds from the fruit that they eat. As a result of their homes shrinking they are wandering into agricultural land in the search for food. This has led to tension between local communities and the bears; they are being hunted and killed in retaliation for damaging crops and livestock.

This is a joint project between Chester Zoo and WildCRU that aims to study the population dynamics of bears and the drivers of human-bear conflict occurring in the Andean dry forests of Tarija, Bolivia; an ecosystem already identified as a priority for Andean bear research and conservation.

The species is currently listed by the IUCN as ‘Vulnerable’ across its range. The categorisation of the Andean bear is based on population trends, habitat models and levels of human-bear conflict. This project will generate the first population estimates in southern Bolivia, quantify the levels of human-bear conflict, and together with the communities, develop measures to reduce conflict.

More bear info, visit here WILDCRU If you would like to donate to the andean bear project then please click here: ANDEAN BEAR PROJECT

Visit our trips page to see how you can travel and help mother nature TRIPS

Critically Endangered Painted Dog Conservation

Critically Endangered Painted Dog Conservation

Heres why we have decided to support The Painted Dogs Conservation The African Wild Dog (otherwise known as the Painted Dog) unfortunately don't get as much publicity as their other four-legged wild neighbours in Africa. People rarely hear about these unique and loyal beings that are extremely endangered and near enough extinct with only 1% remain in the wild. Thats why we at BornWild had to step in and spread the word as well as support them as much as we can. Enjoy reading more.......

The Painted Dog Conservation's mission is to protect and increase the range and numbers of Painted Dogs in Zimbabwe and they do an amazing job. However, they need all the help they can get since the African Wild Dog is hugely endangered. Their main extinction threats are: in Poaching/Road kills and Diseases

PDC have got these areas covered and working around the clock employing local people to help carry out their programmes. Not only creating an environment where the dogs can survive but also working with the communities, creating the environment for the dogs to thrive.

Programmes include Anti-poaching Units, Rehabilitation Centre, Re-introduction Programme and an Education centre for young children to learn about the conservation of the Painted Dogs.

Every year a thousand children visit visit the Bush Camp - for less than $15 a day. They stay a week - and for the first time in their lives, they see the dogs and wildlife that live just miles from their villages.

The Rehabilitation Center in Zimbabwe, takes care of sick, injured and orphaned painted dogs. When the Animals are recovered, they are released back into the wild. 

They also have a brilliant research unit. By putting as many collars with transmitters as possible on the painted dogs, researchers of the project can collect data on the whereabouts of the dogs. In this way the animals can be located faster if they get into trouble. The collar also protects the dogs against snares. 

3000 snares get found and collected by the Anti-Poaching Unit each year. The snares are then taken to the Art Centre to create crafts. 20-30 local people at the art centre  gain employment from that. Here is some examples of what they make..

If you like what youve read and want to visit, be part or donate to the worthy Painted Dog visit Bush Camp then please follow the word here Painted Dogs

WildCRU / Wildlife Conservation Research Unit  'LION GUARDIAN' Programme

WildCRU / Wildlife Conservation Research Unit 'LION GUARDIAN' Programme

Improving the lives of Wild Animals and Human conflict in Africa. WildCRU set their sights on improving this conflict so that wild animals have a better chance of survival, being able to increase their numbers and living a more peaceful life alongside humans. We at BornWild think that this programme is not only innovative but essential in ensuring less human/carnivore conflict in the future years.

Here is a little more info about the 'Lion Guardian' programme: 

Conflict between carnivores and human communities poses a serious threat to the persistence of carnivores in the wild, as well as impacting the lives and livelihoods of impoverished people living in the vicinity of protected areas. WildCRU's project has gained a solid understanding of the magnitude and importance of conflict. Their approach is to work with the community to try to limit conflict incidents.


The programme uses locally employed villagers, known locally as ‘Long Shields’ to assist the community with livestock protection and to provide a liaison with wildlife management and conservation bodies. During the course of their day, the Long shields are on the ground amongst their people and actively patrolling their ‘territories’. They monitor animal movements (both domestic and wild) using regularly walked survey routes looking for tracks. They monitor and consult on the strength and maintenance of people’s bomas (livestock enclosures) and in many cases help repair or rebuild them.


WildCRU closely monitors lion prides, with GPS satellite collars, situated on the park boundary that they know from experience are likely to come into conflict with people and provide an early warning system to local people through their ‘lion guardian’ programme. Because of the improved communication now due to the issuing of 3G capable phones and through an app called “Whatsapp” the guardians are part of a live feed of information and react very quickly to potential problems. When a lion moves out of the protected area in to community lands the local Lion Shield is alerted and they in turn inform their community and the livestock are moved elsewhere. In some cases the Lion Shield physically chases the lion back into the protected area. Our lion watch early warning system has issued almost 200 warnings and averted livestock raiding directly on 35 occasions.


One important area that can be improved to mitigate losses of livestock to wild predators is husbandry of livestock. WILDCRU'S findings suggest that a common factor in many conflict incidents is that animals are left out of protective bomas (corrals) at night, or are poorly protected during the day. A potential solution that we are pioneering is to encourage villagers to communally and collaboratively herd cattle in the day and to keep them protected in a well-constructed communal boma during the night. WildCRU's ‘mobile bomas’ are constructed of portable materials (cable and PVC canvas sheets) rather than the traditional logs and brushwood.  The opaque nature of the boma material, compared to high visibility of traditional bomas, means that predators are unable to see into the enclosure and are unwilling to risk jumping the walls. This method of herding may also be beneficial for crop production; the cattle urinate and dung and break up the soil cap, fertilising the land needs for up to three years. The first communal boma was introduced in May 2013 and the use and benefits of the programme are being monitored by the project.


Since 2008, Hwange Lion Researchers have been involved in supporting and/or managing an anti-poaching unit (APU). The anti-poaching project aims to provide the man-power, logistical support and resources to assist Parks and Wildlife Management Authority Zimbabwe, to reduce levels of bushmeat and other poaching, in the boundary areas of Hwange National Park. The APU unit consists of fully equipped, professionally trained and uniformed anti-poaching scouts. They are paid, fed, equipped and housed by the project. WildCRU also provide transport for patrol deployments and transport of arrested poachers to police custody.


It is crucially important to engage the local community on important issues surrounding the problems of lion depredation on livestock. With this is mind WildCRU have written and produced a comic book that introduces important aspects of the project. The comic was distributed free of charge to schoolchildren in the area. They also visit local schools and spoke about lions and the work we do, including the history and importance of lions to our economy, our ecosystem and our cultures.

If you would like to read more or donate to WildCRU's amazing conservation unit then please head over to their website www.wildcru.org and Wildlife Conservation Research Unit www.ox.ac.uk (WildCRU) is the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford.