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Although not without its disappointments my recent camping safari trip to Kenya and Tanzania had many highlights. While observing two male cheetahs nervously eating their recent kill while hyenas and vultures were sinewing their way to pounce on the remains, it was amazing to watch the interaction between these great predators and the scavengers. Once the hyenas approached, the cheetahs left and then a frenzied rush ensued for what was left of the kill. The hyenas were having a hard time warding off the vultures, so the jackals came in to cooperate. They were justly rewarded with some of the legs. Within 1 hour, almost nothing was left.


Hyenas chasing off the vultures. Photo Credit: Dr. Isabelle-Anne Bisson


Safaris

The word "safari" is derived from the Arabic verb "safar," which means "travel"; in Swahili, it means "journey." The safaris in Africa have changed a lot since the European colonial era. Sadly, in East Africa today, there is still a pursuit of hunting the giant beasts of Africa among members of the elite classes in Europe and America. Fortunately, for the most part, the modern safari is not what it once was.



Cape buffalo Photo Credit: Dr. Isabelle-Anne Bisson


Today, the prevailing safari is where tourists now participate in wildlife gazing in the African savannah, woodlands, and rivers, photographing Africa's magnificent creatures with cameras, and displaying images on their walls. Through the power of ecotourism, Africa's tourism industry generates numerous jobs for local people and allows them to sustain their families and communities and thus circles back to the conservation of wildlife. The advantage of ecotourism in Africa is there is now a zero-tolerance policy on poaching in Kenya and other African countries.


Photo Credit: Dr. Isabelle-Anne Bisson


While tourism is necessary to fuel the required conservation efforts in terms of dollars, safaris must be conducted respectfully and with the animals' welfare in mind. For example, in Samburu Park in Kenya, we were 10 vehicles chasing one leopard who had unsuccessfully tried to catch a baby zebra. Exhausted by the chase and the subsequent chase by the vehicles, he hid and rested under a bush. And there, some jeeps remained, hoping it would come out. So we have replaced hunting with guns with chasing with off-road vehicles, which have no doubt a more cryptic and long-term effect on the health of these beautiful cats. Here are just a few studies showing tourism's negative impacts on cheetahs: https://www.cabi.org/leisuretourism/news/65270 and elephants https://zslpublications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jzo.12661. These studies add to a limited but growing body of literature on the effects of non-consumptive wildlife tourism on wild animals.



Photo Credit: Dr. Isabelle-Anne Bisson


Development impeding natural spaces

Furthermore, we learned that Kenya and Tanzania have issues with development in parks, which are destroying the corridors that once existed between the parks and are essential for genetic diversity, and animal migration. Our guide told us that Kenya's Masai Mara park has shrunk in the last few years, yielding to population demands for more land. Sadly, the same here is true in the developed world as well. In Canada, we also see development destroying wild habitats and impeding animal movements. One solution which is proving to be successful across the planet is to empower local communities and integrate them into the conservation measures. Because, after all, they are often the knowledge keepers.



Masai Mara in a red cape. Photo Credit: Dr. Isabelle-Anne Bisson


About TerraHumana Solutions

TerraHumana Solutions is a consulting firm which specializes in helping community and business leaders to find sustainable solutions to environmental and social issues. Our approach is simple - we listen. Bringing 20 years of international experience in natural resource sciences, strategy, project conception, and management, we can find the right strategic approach for you. At TerraHumana Solutions, we contribute to informed decision-making on community and business engagement projects, and conservation projects with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.


For more information, please contact:

Isabelle-Anne Bisson, Ph.D.

President

TerraHumana Solutions

+1 514 654-7835

ibisson@terrahumanasolutions.com

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to Université de Montréal (U of M) students




Dr. Isabelle-Anne Bisson met with 11 students from U of M’s Faculté de l’aménagement, École d’urbanisme et d’architecture on October 19th at the Pines Forest in Kanesatake and introduced the Environmental Contaminants Health and Impact Project (ECHIP) and IPCA (Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas). Dr. Bisson gave a demonstration on soil and water sampling for contaminant testing (heavy metals), while emphasizing the broader importance of this work for the Kanien'kéha:ka community of Kanesatake. The students worked in five groups to sample soil and water along the Ruisseau Raizenne in the forest for heavy metal contaminants. In total, 15 soil samples and five water samples were taken.


This field survey was, in part, an extension of the work conducted this summer by Dr. Niladri Basu of McGill University’s Center for Indigenous Peoples' Nutrition and Environment at the Macdonald Campus. Dr. Basu is our academic partner on ECHIP - he and his colleague, Dr. Jessica Head, collected samples along the stream to test for pesticides. The samples collected by the U of M students will be analyzed in Dr. Basu's lab.


Dr. Bisson conducted this specific science incubator project in collaboration with Dr. Heather Braiden, adjunct professor of the Faculté de l'aménagement at U of M. They agreed that students would help sample in order to learn more about the environmental contamination issue in the Kanien'kéha:ka community of Kanesatake. "The students showed a lot of enthusiasm and interest, asking many good questions on how environmental contaminants move through our environment from the source, especially through a body of water like the Raizenne stream," said Dr. Bisson. The students also created a short video using a drone, which they will post later.

"We want to thank Dr. Heather Braiden and all her students for their assistance in this important matter," said Dr. Isabelle-Anne Bisson.


About TerraHumana Solutions

TerraHumana Solutions is a consulting firm which specializes in helping community and business leaders to find sustainable solutions to environmental and social issues. Our approach is simple - we listen. Bringing 20 years of international experience in natural resource sciences, strategy, project conception, and management, we can find the right strategic approach for you. At TerraHumana Solutions, we contribute to informed decision-making on community and business engagement projects, and conservation projects with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.


For more information, please contact:

Isabelle-Anne Bisson, Ph.D.

President

TerraHumana Solutions

+1 514 654-7835

ibisson@terrahumanasolutions.com


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The autumn season is upon us - a time when we celebrate the harvest and bounty of nature. In alignment with the celebrations of this year's fall harvest, we want to be a part of and celebrate the abundance of animal and plant life brought to us by natural spaces. TerraHumana Solutions is pleased to share that a lucky few natural spaces in municipalities near Montreal have been protected with the help of dedicated citizens’ groups.


Our work with grassroots organizations began with Pincourt Vert in 2018, a grassroots citizens’ organization in Pincourt Québec which was seeking to protect a local forest targeted for development. This led to our collaboration with Nature Hudson in 2019. Most recently, we have joined forces with The Legacy Fund for the Environment, which provides legal counsel for citizens seeking to save natural spaces from development. This summer, a small group from Châteauguay was directed to TerraHumana Solutions in order to assist in the fight to protect land. Our network is growing every year.


Over the last four years, we have helped to protect over 15 acres of natural forest and wetlands through the provisions of ecological assessment reports. Some groups have successfully saved these natural spaces in their municipalities, while some are still currently in mediation. “Natural spaces are one of our best mitigation measures for climate crisis consequences, mental health for humans, and general biodiversity health,” says Dr. Isabelle Bisson. This is a win-win-win situation - for humanity, nature, and our planet.


The crucial pieces necessary for the successful protection of undeveloped land is the dedicated work of the citizens’ groups, the biological assessments, the legal defence, and the availability of funds. In the case of Pincourt, citizens worked hard to save Rousseau Forest from being destroyed. According to Carole Reed, a member of Pincourt Vert, "the trails of the Rousseau Forest are more known now than ever, they are very well used, and even the daycares have begun using it." The ripple effect is also being felt across the region by other citizens’ groups. “There is a momentum that is changing the economic narrative and having science make headway. There is an opportunity for us to make these projects economically unfeasible and more environmentally responsible”, says J. J. Corker, a member of Nature Hudson. For a more in-depth view of the story involving protecting Sandy Beach in Hudson, Quebec, check out this video link.


With a new project underway to protect a small but biodiverse forest near Montreal, “we are working with more and more dedicated citizens that wish to see our natural heritage protected for generations to come”, says Dr. Isabelle-Anne Bisson.


About TerraHumana Solutions


TerraHumana Solutions is a consulting firm, which specializes in helping community and business leaders to find sustainable solutions to environmental and social issues. Our approach is simple - we listen. Bringing 20 years of international experience in natural resource sciences, strategy, project conception, and management, we can find the right strategic approach for you. At TerraHumana Solutions, we contribute to informed decision-making on community and business engagement projects, and conservation projects with Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.


For more information, please contact:

Isabelle-Anne Bisson, PhD.

President

TerraHumana Solutions

+1 514 654-7835

ibisson@terrahumanasolutions.com



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