There are thousands of species (from elephants to insects) that benefit when the human communities nearby make efforts to protect them.

But these four are the primary targets of our grassroots conservation work for the first few months of 2020.

Read on to learn a bit about pangolins, Bengal tigers, mountain tapirs, and Andean bears.

Chinese Pangolin

(Manis pentadactyla)

Critically Endangered (IUCN)

Lives in woodland and shrubland, digs burrows, and eats mostly ants and termites.

What are we doing to help? Our project in Nepal (teaching community forestry groups how to monitor their local wildlife populations – with the long-term goal of establishing a community-protected wildlife corridor across the landscape) has always been a potential benefit to both Chinese and Indian pangolins. However, in 2020 the community trainings will have content specifically about pangolins.

Three bengal tigers walking

Bengal Tiger

(Panthera tigris tigris)

Endangered (IUCN)

Live alone, hunting and defending large territories. They eat pigs, buffalo, deer, and other mammals. No two tigers have the exact same pattern of stripes.

What are we doing to help? The tiger population in Nepal is split into three isolated sub-populations, separated by areas that are settled densely by humans. The long-term goal of our project in Nepal with community forestry groups is to establish a community-protected wildlife corridor so that tigers can travel more freely across the landscape.

Mountain tapir standing in stream with vegetation

Mountain tapir

(Tapirus pinchaque)

Endangered (IUCN)

Live alone in forests, wetlands and scrubland. They eat mainly plants, are important dispersers of seeds, and are considered important “keystone” species.

What are we doing to help? The mountain tapir lives in northern South America, including the eastern slope of the Andes Mountains, near Quito, Ecuador. We are working with villages there located directly between three large protected areas – we hope to help them prevent further human expansion onto the forested slopes where the tapirs live.

Andean Bear

Andean Bear

(Tremarctos ornatus)

Vulnerable (IUCN)

Live primarily in humid mountain forests, alone, but are not territorial. They eat very little meat compared to other bear species, mostly fruit, vegetation, and even bark. They are the only bears native to South America.

What are we doing to help? The Andean bear (also known as the “spectacled” bear) can also benefit from our project in Ecuador. Using our experience with other communities (like our flagship project, the Community Baboon Sanctuary) we are connecting the people who live in the area with all the information and tools they’ll need as they explore conservation-based tourism – a possible new community-based wildlife sanctuary. Ultimately, we hope to help the local people make a plan to manage their lands in ways that allow wildlife to travel through their farms and villages easily.

Chinese pangolin photo (C) Sarita Jnawali. Bengal tiger photo (C) Brian Gratwicke. Mountain tapir photo (C) IUCN RedList. Andean bear photo (C) Josh More.