Capacity Building & Strategic Planning
Although the PICA team has a wide range of skills, expertise and experience in species conservation it is important that further relationships are established with other key specialists and organisations to obtain new skills, knowledge, techniques, observations and perspectives. Since the inception of PICA staff have been able to utilise existing relationships to develop new collaborations that ultimately support global efforts in the conservation and research of the species. One key relationship has been with the Pallas’s cat working group with which PICA staff are currently members of. The working group not only connects field researchers from across the range but also connects small cat specialists passionate about Pallas’s cat conservation. PICA is also collaborating closely with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Cat Specialist Group that bring a vast range of experience with global planning of cat conservation projects that aid in the wider political issues surrounding conservation. The project has also added a number of key partners from the Zoological community that provide additional funding support and specialists skills and tools. Hellabrunn Zoo of Germany are the first key partner based on funding support and along with other zoological collections have helped open new doors for continued field research. PICA is also proud to have the support and specialist skills of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). With one of ZSL’s Senior wildlife biologists as Technical data advisor to PICA we have not only gained a range of valuable skills and experience but new tools that are enhancing our capacity for understanding the behaviour and distribution of the species.
As existing relationships continue to develop and as new relationships are made the ability for PICA to become more effective in creating long term conservation strategies will increase. With one of the four key objectives of PICA being to develop strategies for global conservation it is clear that having input from as many specialists and organisations will be needed. Working closely with the IUCN cat specialist group PICA aims to develop a “Pallas’s cat status report” as an IUCN cat news special issue. This document, involving multiple co-authors from across the species range will not only provide the most current and detailed assessment of the species distribution, ecology, threats, politics, protection status and current conservation action but will allow for a new line in the sand to be drawn giving a greater foundation for conservation strategies. Following this publication PICA will fund and host the first Pallas’s cat global conservation action planning meeting pulling together key personnel from across the range with the aim of developing a targeted conservation action plan.