Namibia, March 21, 2018 — At a vital time in the global conservation debate, international non-profit Eco Defense Group (EDGE) begins a new project between Namibia and South Africa to study the effects of big game hunting on the populations of large African species via genetic mapping.
This is a radical program which involves international coordination and both field and lab work. EDGE geneticist Millie C., already on the ground says “Reducing regulations on the import of certain species that are of conservation concern will not only increase consumer demand for wildlife products, but also impact genetic diversity of already vulnerable populations like elephant and rhino.”
Trophy hunters often target the largest and strongest males, creating a weaker, more vulnerable population. Hunting, selective breeding and other programs alter the natural development, diversity and genetics of these species. EDGE works with the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism to design and implement large scale sampling and analysis of populations in collaboration with trophy hunting organizations to better understand the issue and find ideal solutions. EDGE seeks funding to continue and expand this international research project.
No data set or initiative like this exists in these areas where elephant, rhino and other endangered animals still thrive. The EDGE program involves tagging elephants and other big game, taking DNA samples, storing and processing those samples and then building a database and creating a multi-national “genetic map.” This data will be coordinated between two countries, with hopes to expand that coordination continent-wide.
Nathan Edmondson, representative for EDGE says “Conservation means first and foremost understanding both the natural state and the impact of human development. This project is innovative step in that direction that could help inform how we think about preserving the world’s most vulnerable species.” Edmondson says there may be species “the world doesn’t even know are at risk.” Additionally, large carnivores, such as lions, play an integral role in maintaining ecosystem balance.
Reducing the populations of lions and other carnivores can have cascading effects that impact development, nutrition, and child welfare. Elephants are of course in the news right now with the Trump Administration’s reversal on the ban against the importation of big game trophies. The Eco Defense Group’s program can inform public discourse.
Eco Defense Group (EDGE) is an ambitious conservation and counter-poaching profit founded to bring innovation to conservation and insure a future for Africa’s most vulnerable species.
Find out more at www.ecodefensegroup.org
Media Contact: Isabel Hayes, EDGE, 919-617-1990, firstname.lastname@example.org
ECO Defense Group (EDGE)
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