The Project

What is the goal of this project?

The Calgary Zoo’s Conservation Team is spearheading a collaborative effort to conduct a community-based conservation horizon scan to identify emerging opportunities and risk to support development and strategy for effective community conservation over the next 15 years. In this case, ‘effective’ community-based conservation is seen as contributing to positive conservation and livelihood outcomes for both local people and wild species.

What is a Horizon Scan?

 A horizon scan is a methodology aimed to foresee the future of a discipline based on the opinion of as many members of that discipline as possible. This information is then analyzed and ranged by a group of experts using an approach based on the anonymity and the consensus.

Every person with experience in community conservation is encouraged to complete the survey. This survey was designed to be completed either individually or in a group. Once completed, we ask all respondents to disseminate the survey across their contacts. The survey will take about 18 minutes to completed, if one idea for each obstacle and opportunity is submitted, and approximately 3 more minutes per additional idea added.

The Calgary Zoo’s Conservation Research

The Calgary Zoo’s Conservation Research is focused in two areas – reintroduction and community conservation. Community conservation empowers local communities to benefit from and protect wild species. These initiatives protect nature while improving the livelihoods of local people by building capacity, increasing ecological awareness and creating employment opportunities. The Calgary Zoo has been involved community-based conservation for over two decades, with current initiatives in Ghana, Kenya and Madagascar supporting imperiled species while also improving local livelihoods. To aid nature and people beyond the locale of specific initiatives, the Calgary Zoo strives to also broadly advance science and application of community-based conservation. It is in this spirit that we hope to garner your support and expertise in exploring emerging risks and opportunities in this area.

How does this project work?

Your responses will be anonymous, but if you wish your participation to be acknowledged, you can provide your name at the end of the survey. The survey involves the following steps:

  • Answer a few questions about your experience with community-based conservation and your vision for success.
  • Indicate observed or anticipated impacts of the current COVID-19 pandemic on community-based conservation efforts so these can be distinguished from longer-term challenges and opportunities. (optional)
  • Name and describe 1 – 5 obstacles that you perceive as potential hindering effective community-based conservation within the next 15 years. (100-250 words each)
  • Name and describe 1-5 opportunities that you perceive as potentially facilitating effective community-based conservation within the next 15 years. (100-250 words each)

All submissions will be ranked and refined by a group of experts to produce a short-list of key threats and opportunities for policy-makers, practitioners or researchers, and publish this in a respectable peer-reviewed scientific journal. If you wish to be notified when this is published, you can provide a contact email on the last page. Your answers to all other survey questions will nonetheless remain anonymous.

Your participation is voluntary and indicates your consent for the expert group to utilize your submissions in the horizon scanning exercise. Your contribution is greatly appreciated!, and will help broaden the perspectives captured in this horizon scan. Please invite your peers in the field of community-based conservation to also take part in this survey by sharing the link you can find in:

You can move through the survey using the NEXT and PREVIOUS buttons at the bottom of each page, and will be able to edit responses on any page until you press DONE at the end of the survey.

To participate, we ask you to identify and describe one or more critical factors that you foresee hindering or helping community-based conservation in making a meaningful contribution to conservation and livelihoods. These factors could be current, emerging, or likely to occur within the next 15 years, with emphasis on factors at the margins of current thinking and planning, i.e. threats or opportunities that may be poorly recognized to date. Because it can be difficult to judge the potential significance of emerging and anticipated issues, we encourage you to err on the side of inclusion; we would rather receive a few suggestions that turn out irrelevant than miss any critical pieces.

The survey begins with a few questions about your experience with community-based conservation and your vision for success. You are then given the opportunity to describe the impacts of the current COVID-19 pandemic on community conservation initiatives you are familiar with, but you can skip this section if you prefer. We felt that first noting down COVID-19 impacts may help to then think about challenges and opportunities beyond the pandemic. Questions about such challenges and opportunities come next. We ask you to name and describe in 100-250 words first a potential hindrance and then a potential opportunity for community-based conservation. You are welcome to take inspiration from your own experience or the literature, or reach out to colleagues and your wider network for ideas. Indeed, please feel free to invite your peers in the field of community-based conservation to also take part in this survey by sharing the link that was sent to you. You can propose up to 5 obstacles and 5 opportunities, but can also easily exit the survey after submitting just one or a few.