To ensure viable populations of African lions are maintained as an integral part of functional ecosystems.
The African Lion and Environmental Research Trust (ALERT) is dedicated to a multi-disciplinary approach for the facilitation and promotion of sound conservation and management plans for the African lion (Panthera leo) and the ecosystems on which the species relies.
Through responsible development we aim to realize the species’ potential to provide substantial social, cultural, ecological and economic benefits, that are distributed equitably amongst stakeholders to promote sustainable motivation in them for the protection of Africa’s natural heritage.
A RESPONSIBLE DEVELOPMENT APPROACH
Responsible [ri-spon-suh-buhl] adj: answerable or accountable, as for something within one's power, control, or management
Development [di-vel-uhp-muhnt] noun: the act or process of developing; growth; progress
Unless the people of Africa want to conserve lions by benefitting from their presence, the species will continue to decline until they are all gone.
In most cases the challenges facing Africa’s wildlife and its people are too great and too complex, and they require too many resources, for any one organization to address. We believe these challenges can most effectively be met by uniting community and policy makers with conservation managers, researchers and business leaders. In doing so, the best decisions can be proposed for Africa’s people, its environment and its wildlife whilst creating benefits for stakeholder groups that generate sustainable motivation for sound conservation management. This union ensures both present and future generations are able to enjoy the benefits of Africa’s environmental services by integrating the protection of natural processes with economic and social development in a process we term responsible development.
By acting collectively the stakeholders of Africa can combine expertise, knowledge and funding to generate real, long-lasting, cost efficient and responsible solutions that are reflected in policy of national governments all the way through the structure of society to the actions of the individual. Benefits equitably distributed from conservation activities can generate sustainable motivation for sound conservation management.
Too often conservation efforts have been implemented using a broad brush approach. A particular solution may have been relevant to the location in which it was developed, but elsewhere a seemingly similar challenge can be fundamentally different in origin and require an adapted response. Responsible development promotes the implementation of locally conceived solutions that benefit from the experience of schemes successfully implemented in other locations.
Systems based & cooperative solutions
In nature each environment acts as a complex system comprised of many parts. Air, soil, water, plants, animals, and, of course, people are all part of an inter-connected system. Using a systems thinking based decision making framework allows us to consider the impacts of our actions on the whole system. Such decision making can only be undertaken through co-operation between all stakeholders with their varied view points, and understanding, of the system.
Unless conservation solutions are relevant to the needs and aspirations of communities who live on the land they will have little reason to support them, and the solutions will ultimately falter. Programs are often donor driven and research often only meets the requirements of a PhD thesis. Responsible development promotes community involvement in all aspects of conservation from design and implementation to ongoing reviews of the success of the program – an element often given little heed.
Long term solutions
Responsible development seeks to promote the appreciation of the need for long-term, sustainable solutions
Our environment is shaped not just by geography and bio-physical factors, but also by socio-economic, cultural, legal and political ones. ALERT acts holistically by recognizing that our actions must address all these factors if our programs are to succeed. To that end our efforts are channelled through three entities:
ALERT implements sound conservation and management plans for the African lion, fostering African solutions to African challenges
CCWA focuses on the diversity of Africa’s wildlife in recognition of the symbiotic relationship between the lion and the delicate ecosystems on which it relies.
ACT promotes community action in support of conservation by empowering people to protect and restore their environment and improving livelihoods through benefit sharing and social development programs.