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Yushan National Park Headquarters (YSNPH) Signs the “Formosan Black Bear Rescue and Rehabilitation Cooperation Memorandum” with WildOne

2024-01-24
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Conserving the Formosan black bears, Achieving Sustainable Development Goals
Yushan National Park possesses a rich and unique high-mountain natural environment, not only making it one of the most abundant conservation areas for Taiwan's wildlife resources and habitats but also developing it into an area populated by endangered Formosan black bears. What’s more, this black bear population has even shown genetic diversity. The United Nations has advocated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which included 17 core goals and 169 specific targets specifically addressing global challenges such as extreme poverty, hunger, climate change and so forth since 2015. These goals align with the core values of the environmental conservation of national parks, particularly, with SDG 15 which emphasizes the “conservation and sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems to ensure biodiversity and prevent land degradation.” This goal represents one of the significant missions for Yushan National Park – Taiwan's largest terrestrial national park. Formosan black bears serve as a keystone species reflecting the health of the forest ecosystem and an umbrella species sheltering other species in the cohabitated environment. Conservation efforts for this species are precisely contributing to the achievement of SDG 15.
The Formosan black bears, with their extensive living space, require a conservation network spanning multiple organizations.
Committed to environmental conservation, the national park has conducted long-term field studies revealing a minimum of 139 individual Formosan black bears within the Yushan National Park area. These bears exhibit high genetic diversity, representing a core population of Formosan black bears. According to research commissioned by the YSNPH, results over the years indicate a growing population of Formosan black bears in the Park, with a tendency to expand into neighboring regions. This trend is particularly noticeable in the eastern part of the Park, suggesting a potential “rescue effect” that could mitigate the risk of extinction for neighboring Formosan black bear populations.
In recent years, the number of reports on Formosan black bear sightings has been increasing annually within Yushan National Park. The reported cases increased from 5 in the previous year to 34 in 2022. The data for the year 2023 accumulated a total of 25 reports, mainly related to tracking signs and sightings, with the majority occurring in the eastern region of the Park, totaling 16 report cases. Besides the growing number of reports, there is a sporadic record of rescue and capture in the surrounding areas near the Park, particularly in the neighboring Zhuoxi Township and Haiduan Township since 2017, accumulating 16 reports of Formosan black bear rescue and capture. Given the extensive living space of Formosan black bears and their frequent movement outside the Park, potential conflicts between humans and bears may gradually emerge. The establishment of a cross-agency conservation network and the enhancement of monitoring and response capabilities are therefore essential to building an effective network for Formosan black bear conservation.
Signing the Rehabilitation Cooperation Memorandum on Black Bear Rescue with the “WildOneTaiwan,” Establishing a Comprehensive Formosan Black Bears Rescue and Rehabilitation Mechanism
WildOneTaiwan (referred to as WildOne below), established in 2016, has been deeply involved in wildlife conservation and rescue work in eastern Taiwan since its inception. In 2020, it founded the first wildlife hospital in eastern Taiwan, the WildOne Wildlife Rescue Center. Over the years, WildOne has treated numerous injured and sick wildlife animals and helped them return to the wild, including Formosan black bears.
On January 9, 2024, the YSNPH signed the “Formosan Black Bear Rescue and Rehabilitation Cooperation Memorandum” with WildOneTaiwan at the Nan'an Visitor Center. The collaboration aims to promote cooperation in the conservation and rescue of Formosan black bears and other wildlife. Key aspects of the collaboration include enhancing the rescue capacity for injured and sick Formosan black bears in the eastern region of the Park, promoting the extension of conservation work, and fostering communication and skill development among frontline conservation personnel. Through this collaboration, both parties hope to strengthen the conservation network for Formosan black bears, thus contributing to the protection of the soul of our high-mountain forests – Formosan black bears.
Implementing SDGs, National Parks Hoping to Collaborate with Enterprises to Promote the Practice of ESG.
To strengthen local collaboration for the conservation of ecology and the development of indigenous industries, YSNP, partnered with the Zhuoxi Township Office and the Formosan Black Bear Conservation and Education Center, aims to establish an exchange platform for environmental education and scientific research on Formosan black bears in the eastern region of Yushan National Park. Currently, YSNPH plans to collaborate with other high-mountain national parks, conducting interdisciplinary research projects on Formosan black bears to comprehensively understand their genetic diversity. The Park aspires to achieve this through cross-agency collaboration with the Forestry and Nature Conservation Bureau's Hualien, Taitung, Taichung, Chiayi, and Nantou branches, ensuring the holistic protection of the Formosan black bear's habitat.
The national park hopes to have more participation and contribution in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Yushan National Park aims to ensure the sustainable use of natural resources through proper management, thus safeguarding the right of future generations to experience the natural environment. The park aligns with SDG 12, which focuses on responsible consumption and production, as well as SDG 10, which aims to promote community participation, economic development, social justice, and inclusive economic development. Through planning and guiding ecotourism, the park engages in natural education and the transmission of native traditional culture within the park and its surroundings. This aligns with SDG 4, which is related to sustainable education, SDG 8, where sustainable tourism is emphasized, and SDG 11, which focuses on cultural conservation. As a nature reserve, the protected natural environment by the national park contributes to addressing the impacts of climate change, enhancing the nation's resilience and meeting the goals of SDG 13, which pertains to climate action. With comprehensive management and collaborative efforts, the National Park aspires to become a key advocate for SDGs, simultaneously protecting the environment and promoting social fairness and economic development. In the future, the park hopes to collaborate with businesses, actively participating in and implementing SDGs by integrating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles such as reducing carbon footprint, enhancing social responsibility, and improving governance structures.