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The Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust has launched a new conservation strategy.

The document focuses on seven Regional Programmes in the UK and overseas. It will take the charity, based at Paignton Zoo, to the year 2020.

Dr Amy Plowman, Head of Field Conservation and Research, said: "We plan to focus on a few regions in which there may be several projects, rather than a large number of projects scattered around the world. We will be more specific about roles and responsibilities and about monitoring and evaluation. From now on, all projects will be managed in accordance with the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation."

The seven Regional Programmes will be South West England, the Kenyan coast, Tanzanian highlands, South West Nigeria, South West Zimbabwe, Northern Vietnam and Northern Sulawesi.

The new plan replaces the Trust's previous strategy, in use since 2004. It will run to 2020 to give staff time to change from the current system.

Amy: "When we first started, projects were chosen on a largely ad hoc basis without systematic evaluation of criteria, goals and activities. Today, conservation organisations are operating projects on a more professional basis following internationally recognised standards of planning, implementation and evaluation."

The Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation were created by conservation NGOs including the Wildlife Conservation Society, the World Conservation Union and the Nature Conservancy and published in 2007.

From now on the Trust, named after Herbert Whitley, the founder of Paignton Zoo, will have two types of project. WWCT-operated projects will be managed directly by staff, while WWCT - supported projects will be run by other organisations and supported by the Trust through financial contributions, technical advice or time.

"The regional approach takes advantage of existing knowledge and contacts, is cost effective and builds capacity in-country through employment and training of local staff. A permanent conservation presence will increase the WWCT's conservation profile locally, nationally and globally.

"We have identified seven Regional Programmes based on our current projects and other criteria listed in the strategy. Projects outside these areas can continue as supported projects and may in time develop into Regional Programmes or reach a natural end point."

The charity spends nearly a quarter of a million pounds a year on conservation work.

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