The Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (CAMP) process is intensive, interactive, and unique in its ability to facilitate objective and systematic prioritization of research and management actions needed for species conservation, both in situ and ex situ, if appropriate.
To date, more than 50 taxon-based CAMPs have been conducted, including boid and pythonid snakes, varanid and iguanid lizards, Falconiformes, Galliformes, hornbills, penguins, small carnivores, felids, equids, tapirs, rhinos, antelope and wild cattle. Although the majority of CAMPs have focused on vertebrates, the process has been successfully applied to invertebrates and plants (e.g., Partula snails, endemic invertebrates of St. Helena Island, endemic orchids of Costa Rica, Indian medicinal plants).
The CAMP process is one of prioritization, assembling 10 to 40 experts (e.g., wildlife managers, SSC Specialist Group members, representatives of the academic community or private sector, researchers and captive managers) to evaluate threat status of all taxa in a broad taxonomic group (e.g., penguins), geographical region or country (e.g., Costa Rica). William Conway (1995) stated that,"The CAMP's proven heuristic value and constant refinement and expansion have made it one of the most imaginative and productive organizing forces for species conservation today."
Information gathering is focused on the most recent available data, estimates, informed guesses and identification of needed knowledge that allow:
- assignment to IUCN Category of Threat;
- broad-based management recommendations;
- specific conservation-oriented research recommendations useful to generate the knowledge needed to develop more comprehensive management and recovery programs in situ and/or ex situ.
Workshop participants make all decisions and recommendations. CBSG's role is to facilitate organized discussion and, if necessary, provide access to expert advice.
Workshop participants develop the assessments of risks and formulate recommendations for action using a Microsoft Access-based data entry program (Williams & Byers, 1999) to develop a Taxon Data Sheet. The resulting document serves as a compendium of the data on the status of population and its habitat in the wild as well as recommendations for intensive conservation action. These Taxon Data Sheets provide documentation of reasoning behind recommendations, as well as details of other species-pertinent information. The database provides a systematic method of recording data and providing for reassessments as the status of species change and as new information becomes available.
The Review Process for CAMP Workshop Reports
The results of the initial CAMP workshops are reviewed: 1) by distribution of a preliminary draft to workshop participants who volunteer to serve as preliminary editors; 2) by distribution to all workshop participants as well as a broader audience which includes wildlife managers and regional zoo associations. CAMP workshops are part of a continuing and evolving process of developing conservation and recovery plans for the taxa involved. The CAMP review process allows extraction of information from experts worldwide. In many cases, follow-up workshops are required to consider particular issues in greater depth or on a regional basis. Moreover, some form of follow-up will always be necessary to monitor the implementation and effectiveness of the recommendations resulting from the workshop.
The CAMP process is unique in its ability to prioritize intensive management action for species conservation, providing a framework for intensive management in the wild and in captivity, if applicable to the conservation of the species. CAMP documents can be used as guidelines by national and regional wildlife agencies as well as regional captive breeding programs as they develop their own action plans. It is our intent that the CAMP process will ultimately contribute to the wise worldwide use of limited resources for species conservation.
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