Wildlife Conservation News



 
Wildlife and our last remaining wild places are being destroyed because of human action or inaction and because of our own short –term greed.

Peter Fearnhead, CEO, African Parks Network, South Africa


 

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  1. Save rainforest with World Land Trust

    There are some charities which really do strike a chord with you and make you sit up and think, "Wow".

    The World Land Trust does it for me.   I think it's an amazing charity.  It protects the world's most important and threatened wildlife habitats, acre by acre.

    In fact, you can sponsor or give the gift of an acre, which makes for a marvellous gift because it lasts.

    Since it was founded in 1989 - so not that long ago compared to other charities - the World Land Trust has funded partner organisations around the world to create reserves, and thereby give permanent protection to habitats and wildlife.

    Habitats are vital to wildlife.  They matter.  Without a healthy habitat to live in, wildlife can't survive. 

    The World Land Trust has just succeeded in raising funds for a wildlife corridor in India, linking two tiger reserves.   The animal who'll probably benefit most from this corridor is the Indian elephant.  Elephants needed a safe passage to travel between two Ghats mountain ranges for food and mates.  The funding is being used for land exchange:  the landowner can continue subsistence farming, but away from the passage.   The elephants have been raiding crops as they pass between villages which of course caused conflict between people and elephants.  Hence the appeal was called the Elephant Corridor Appeal

    The success of the World Land Trust's campaign is critical because it gives safe passage to Indian elephants passing through the Mudahalli corridor between the Eastern and Western Ghats, and that can now be secured.  On this occasion, the Trust worked with the Wildlife Trust of India

    So far, Barking Deer, Black-naped Hare, ChitalSambar DeerSloth Bear and Wild Boar have all been seen in the corridor forest and extension area, as well as tigers and elephants. 

    This is all thanks to the supporters of World Land Trust's campaign.   People (no doubt from all over the world, although the Trust is based in the UK.

    To me, news like this is fantastic.  This was an effort by a lot of people who were willing to put money into securing this wildlife corridor.   It reinforces what can be done by people coming together to make a difference.

    We can all create change by acting as individuals, but how much greater our power is when we come together!

    Elephants of India, enjoy your wildlife corridor.  Be safe. And thank you World Land Trust for the amazing work you and your partners do. 

     

  2. It’s great to hear about initiatives people can join in with - and better to hear that people are actually joining up and making a difference.

    This morning I discovered that Butterfly Conservation (who work to conserve butterflies) have an initiative called Plant Pots for Pollinators.

    It’s an amazing project.   Butterfly Conservation are asking people to plant a pot or pots for pollinators – butterflies and bees.

    Butterfly Conservation says the UK has 1,500 pollinating species – bumblebees, honeybees, hoverflies, beetles, wasps, butterflies and moths.  Changes in land use and the way it’s managed are destroying vital wildlife habitat on farms, woodlands, towns and cities.  We need to look after our pollinators. 

     

    Over 80% of EU crops and 80% of wildlflowers need insect pollination.   Pollinators can only look after us, if we look after them.   And if we provide habitat for them, they will come.   The sight of colourful butterflies fluttering around your garden thanks to your efforts is a truly lovely one.   There’s something very relaxing about listening to bees buzzing around flowers. 

    So the more plants we pot and grow for our pollinators, the better. 

    There’s a planting guide with suggestions of what butterflies like

    The Plant Pots for Pollinators scheme is sponsored by B&Q, so watch for Butterfly Conservation events at some B&Q stores. 

    And you can add your pot to Butterfly Conservation’s interactive map, which shows how many people have planted a pot and where in the country that pot is.     So far, 340 plant pots have been planted.  

    Go potty for pollinators this summer!

     

     

  3. Would you like plastic for dinner?

    What are you going to do this month?   If you’re looking for something to do that will challenge you and the members of your family, how about seeing how much plastic you can get rid of in your life?

    You may have seen the plastic which washed up on the beaches of Henderson Island in the Pacific.  There were an estimated 38 MILLION pieces of rubbish – and most of it was plastic.   Toothbrushes and  cigarette lighters were two of the most numerous items found on the beach.   

    However much plastic breaks down, it’s still there.  Seals, dolphins, orcas and turtles – they all eat the plastic in our oceans.   Fish do, too.  So we eat it as well.  Do you fancy plastic for dinner?  What do you think plastic and the toxins that come with it do to our health and wellbeing?  

    So why not take up the Plastic Challenge?

    The Marine Conservation Society is running its Plastic Challenge this month.  Right from the start, it admits that it’s practically impossible to get rid of every single bit of plastic – but it also points out that you CAN reduce your plastic footprint.

    1. Give up single-use plastic i.e. a plastic bag you use once, a plastic water bottle you use once, plastic straws etc.   Think before you use this stuff – do you really need it? 
    2. Do it for as long as you can.  The Plastic Challenge started on 1 June but never mind that date – start it today, even if you’re reading this way past that date.   They say it takes 21 days to change a habit, so a month is a good length of time to give this a go.  Don’t berate yourself if you slide back to your old ways for a day or so – just get back on track to reduced plastic usage…
    3. Make a note in your diary to join your nearest beach clean if you have one – you can find info here.  Their main Beach Clean event is in September but there are lots of others throughout the year – or why not organise your own?  Their website has information to help you do just that.
    4. Raise money for the Marine Conservation Society as you go and support their work to help marine life – you can sign up for a free fundraising pack to get you started
    5. Be inspired by others who are doing the challenge – Plastic Challengers – and get tips from the plastic community
    6. Use the month to find out more about how plastic is affecting marine life.   
    7. Reduce, reuse and recycle to prevent as much plastic as possible entering the environment. 

    People all over the world are working to make a difference and reduce plastic waste on beaches which will end up or come from the sea.   The more we can stop using plastic in any way to begin with, the better. 

    Finally, we can urge the UK government to BAN THE PLASTIC BAG completely.   In 2002, the Bangladesh government did this, and Rwanda, China, Taiwan and Macedonia have all done it too.   If they can do it, so can Britain!  

    #mcsuk  #plasticchallenge

     

  4. Go wild this June!

    Wildlife Trusts around the UK are encouraging us all to go wild every day this June, and they have plenty of ideas as to how you can do it.

    The idea is that we all do one  Random Act of Wildness each day, and connect with nature and the natural world around you, or do something small to help nature. This is a great opportunity to find out more about the wildlife local to you and appreciate the wonders of the natural world.  

    Each Random Act of Wildness doesn’t have to be particularly energetic, either.  Sitting under a tree listening to birdsong constitutes a wild act - which I did yesterday and I have to confess to having fallen asleep. Reading a nature book could be another.  Working out which bird is sitting on your fence could be another.  And of course helping nature could be another – putting a bird feeder up in your garden, creating a log pile, allocating an area where you’re going to let the weeds grow with abandon, or sow wildflowers. 

    Over 45,000 people have signed up so far to Go Wild in June 

    People of all ages can sign up so you can join in as a family – get the kids away from their ipads or smartphone thingies for once.    And it’s a chance to discover all about the wildlife your local Wildlife Trust is working to protect – and find out how you can help.

    There are 47 Wildlife Trusts in the UK, and they all have a range of activities you can get involved in, and lots of ways in which you can Go Wild this June.  You can sign up as yourself and family, or your class/school or your workplace.  There are posters you can download and pin up so that you can record your acts of wildness and there’s an app as well. 

    Click here to sign up

    Find your local Wildlife Trust here

    #Wildlife Trust  #wildlife  #endangeredspecies

     

     

  5. There's a saying, "what goes around, comes around" and you could apply that to rubbish.

    The problem is that when we let a balloon go, or chuck a plastic bag away, there's no telling where the wind will take it.  Bags are just taken with the wind, out of rubbish bins, land fill, rubbish trucks, and there's no way of knowing where it will come to land.

    Litter, litter, everywhere - who knows where it will end up?

    The Marine Conservation Society has the results of its 2016 Great British Beach Clean which took place in September.   Nearly 6,000 volunteers cleaned 364 beaches around the UK.  The litter they found was recorded.   268,384 pieces of rubbish were collected.   

    We're doing better with plastic bag use

    The good news is that this is slightly lower than the previous year.   And the number of plastic bags almost HALVED in a year - probably, the MCS thinks, due to the plastic bag charge which was introduced, where shoppers taking a plastic bag are charged 5p.  This shows that legislation CAN make a difference.  

    In China similarly, a limit on ultra-thin plastic bags significantly reduced bag-related polution.  According to Chinese government estimates, 40 BILLION bags were not used.  

    Many countries have also introduced bag limits in recent years.   And why wouldn't they?   Countries who really care about the health and wellbeing of ALL their citizens, people and animals, will take steps like this.  

    Plastic bags can take 100 years plus to decompose.   They gradually break down into small pieces over periods over time.   Eventually.  And they soak up toxins.  Fish, turtles and whales think they are food  They eat them and these toxins enter the food chain.   The Ocean Conservancy recently said that platic bags are the second most deadly threat to sea surtles, birds and marine mammals.  

    The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that the world's plastic rubbish and refuge kills about 1 million sea birds a year.  

    Getting rid of thin plastic bags will be easier than removing debris.   It will be cheaper, and save local and national governments and taxpayers everywhere paying for rubbish pick-ups.  

    One dead whale was discovered to have "enough plastic bags and fishing nets in its stomacy to fill an excavator bucket".  

    It's time to move to ban plastic bags full stop.   

    Another thing we need to change 

    And there's another thing.   Balloon rubbish is on the way up.   Please don't let go of balloons.   I often pick up balloons on walks with my dog - I spot them across a field and go to investigate.  I take them home and bin them.  But I still can't be sure of where they end up.

    The Marine Conservation Society found that balloon rubbish was up about 50% on our beaches.   Widllife think they are something to eat and they can get strangled by the string we use to hold on to balloons.  Balloons can block digestive systems, so animals starve. 

    If people can change their behaviour for the better and reduce their use of plastic bags, we can do the same for balloons.  The MCS's aim is to stop all intentional balloon and lantern releases around the UK and to get balloons and lanterns classed as litter and they have a Don't Let Go campaign.  Meantime, you can help put pressure on your council by encouraging them and nudging them to  ban the intentional release of balloons and sky lanterns on their land.  And you can use alternative ideas to balloons. 

    Click here to find out more about the Don't Let Go campaign.