We are delighted to announce that the 3rd Virginia McKenna Award for Compassionate Conservation has been awarded to the Mad Dog Initiative, a project aiming to protect Madagascar’s rare and endemic wildlife through a targeted, compassionate program to control domestic and feral dogs in and around Ranomafana National Park, Madagascar.
The ultimate goal of the project is to understand and diminish the threat posed to endemic wildlife from domestic and feral dogs within rainforest habitat, employing spaying/neutering, vaccination and adoption programs for feral dogs, alongside wildlife monitoring, and extensive survey and educational programmes. The project will have wide-ranging impacts on conservation while also promoting and developing animal welfare across this biodiversity hotspot, benefitting wild animals such as carnivores, lemurs, and small mammals, the welfare of feral dogs, and the conservation and governmental organizations working towards wildlife conservation and improving the livelihoods of local people across this region.
Virginia McKenna OBE, founder of the Born Free Foundation, who met with Zoavina Randriana from the Mad Dog Initiative to present the Award, said: “I am so pleased that the Mad Dog Initiative has won this award. It embodies so much of what we regard as central to Compassionate Conservation. What I particularly admire about this project is that it is inclusive. It benefits wild animals, domestic dogs and people, and I hope will be an inspiration for others to follow.”
The award, sponsored by the Born Free Foundation, is intended to provide support and recognition for researchers, practitioners, organisations and projects that promote and develop the consideration of animal welfare in conservation practice. Previous recipients of the award include Shivani Bhalla, of the Ewaso Lions Project for her work on human / lion conflict and Prof. Anna Nekaris of Oxford Brookes University and the Little Fireface Project for her work on slow loris conservation and welfare.
The Born Free Foundation has, at its heart, the interface between animal welfare and conservation, and is keen to promote its agenda of Compassionate Conservation, where the welfare of individual animals is a central consideration in conservation actions.