Hispaniolan solenodon (Solenodon paradoxus)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 142510195
Establishing a conservation evidence-base for Haiti’s last endemic mammal
The project will take place in the Key Biodiversity Area (KBA) of Massif de la Hotte, a mountainous area in the far south-west of Haiti, home to one of the few remnants of forest. This region has been highlighted by the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) as the highest global priority for urgent conservation action and is likely to represent the only part of the country where solenodons still persist. Whilst the Macaya National Park encompasses the majority of the Massif de la Hotte, there is huge pressure on the remaining forest patches for charcoal production and clearing to provide areas for pasture and for crops which will result in the forest habitat becoming smaller and increasingly fragmented; this leads both to destruction of solenodon habitat and potential escalation of human-animal conflict.
The Hispaniolan Solenodon is a high priority for global conservation due to its Endangered threat status and its evolutionary distinctiveness, and is ranked in the top 10 mammals to conserve by EDGE (http://www.edgeofexistence.org/mammals/). Effectively nothing is known about the species’ landscape-level distribution, surviving population size, habitat requirements or specific anthropogenic threats, which make it impossible to identify appropriate in situ or ex situ conservation management strategies.
The project will be managed by Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (http://www.durrell.org/) and will be undertaken in collaboration with the Haiti Audubon Society (http://audubonhaiti.org/).
1) Investigate distribution of solenodon in the region
To undertake the first quantitative ecological study of the species using previously-trialled survey methods for detecting and monitoring solenodons. This will allow us to inform future conservation management by providing baseline information on their landscape-level spatial distribution and habitat requirements.
2) Local Ecological Knowledge surveys
Using wide-scale community-based survey methods, which have been previously successfully tested, to determine local awareness and attitudes towards solenodons. This will enable us to identify and address key threats to the species, for example whether they are hunted in the area, and will help to form an optimal strategy for future work community engagement work.
3) To train local Haitians in key conservation fieldwork skills
There is a lack of appropriately trained individuals with the right combination of knowledge and experience to implement conservation and monitor threatened species. Intensive training proposed in this project will focus on different survey methods, use of hand held GPS units and map reading. Trainees will be able to use these highly transferable skills and knowledge to work with other species, thus strengthening in-country conservation capacity and leaving an important legacy for conservation in the Haiti.
Project 142510195 location - Haiti, North America