Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Kent conservationist improving chances for striped hyaena in war-torn Lebanon

13.12.2006
University of Kent conservationist Mounir Abi-Said is the first Lebanese to complete his PhD on native wildlife in his home country. This has led to widespread recognition of his efforts to change public perceptions of striped hyaenas, which have long been reviled as grave robbers.

Until Mounir began his research at Kent’s Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology (DICE), striped hyaenas living in the human-dominated landscapes of Lebanon were subject to hatred and superstition. This resulted in their ongoing persecution, and has caused them to become near threatened throughout their range.

Mounir has shown that the striped hyaena – the largest species of carnivore remaining in Lebanon – prevents the spread of contagious diseases by scavenging on dead and infested animals. Equally, striped hyaenas can easily adapt their lifestyle to co-exist with people. However, before people and striped hyaenas can happily co-exist, it is essential that the old superstitions and prejudices about striped hyaenas are shown to be unfounded.

‘For example,’ Mounir said, ‘over 64% of the people I surveyed believe that hyaenas ‘mesmerise’ people with their eyes, and 36% believe that the hyaena uses supernatural powers to hypnotise people. Also, village and town elders related some 14 different themes of traditional and mythical stories about the striped hyaena, 11 of which portrayed the species in a negative light. These stories are still widely known among local people, and largely underpin the negative attitudes that 82% of local people hold towards striped hyaenas. Thus, 28% of respondents claimed to know of reported attacks by striped hyaenas on people, but such reports only arose because the bad reputation of striped hyaenas remains enshrined in stories told by elders.’

Consequently, Mounir – who is also director and owner of The Animal Encounter, an educational centre for wildlife conservation in Aley, Lebanon – established an awareness programme that comprised a seminar and an information leaflet, and which afforded local people the chance to interact with conservationists or guides. So far, this programme has proved successful in changing the views of more than 80% of zoo visitors towards striped hyaenas. Consequently, Mounir expects that ongoing conservation education will further reduce the poor perceptions that people hold of striped hyaenas.

Mounir’s research and work have been recognised and supported by the Gerald Durrell Memorial Fund, UNESCO-MAB, Ford Motor Company Conservation and Environmental Grants, Idea Wild, Wildlife Trust and Quebec Labrador Foundation, the Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research and the Karim Rida Said Foundation.

Now that Mounir has completed his PhD research, he hopes that the experience he has gained from DICE will enable him to continue conserving Lebanese wildlife. This will require reintroducing what has been lost and disseminating the knowledge and experience he has gained to local institutions and other researchers, both in Lebanon and elsewhere in the region.

Professor Nigel Leader-Williams, Director of DICE and Mounir’s PhD supervisor said, ‘Mounir has broken new ground in Lebanon with his approach of integrating ecology and conservation education. It is a testament to his determination that he has seen his research through to its conclusion in such troubled circumstances. I expect Mounir to become a beacon for much needed conservation efforts in the Middle East.’

Gary Hughes | alfa
Further information:
http://www.kent.ac.uk/news

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>