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 increase capacity.
Since the inception of PICA staff have been able to utilise existing relationships to help 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 (PCWG) 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 have also been delighted to add the chairs of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Cat Specialist Group as a key project partner. The specialist group chairs 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 two key partners from the Zoological community that provide additional funding support and expertise. Hellabrunn Zoo (Germany) and La Torbiera (Italy) are the first key partners based on funding support and along with other zoological collections have helped open new doors for continued field research.
As existing relationships continue to develop, and as new relationships are made the ability for PICA to become more effective in supporting and implementing long term conservation strategies will increase. Thankfully this has already started to happen with one of the biggest successes to date for PICA being the delivery of the 1st Global Action Planning Workshop for the species, held in Nordens Ark in 2018. This meeting brought together many of the world’s leading specialists in Pallas’s cat research and conservation and was a key step in the conservation planning process. During the meeting, which was facilitated by the IUCN Cat Specialist Group chairs, attendees participated in conservation planning workshops resulting in the development of the 1st Global Conservation Strategy for Pallas’s cats. Following this workshop many attendees contributed to a Pallas’s cat “Status review” publication issued as an IUCN Cat News “Special Issue”. This Status review publication is the most extensive assessment of the species and another important step in the process for strategic planning. The Global conservation strategy, developed during the workshop, is presented in the Status review as the final chapter and will act as a catalyst for prioritising and implanting future conservation action.