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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Category: Ocean & Sea Conservation

  1. Tell These Big US Banks That Arctic Drilling Is Bad Business!

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    The Sierra Club (a grassroots environmental organisation in the US) has announced that there’s big, exciting news from a bank!

    JPMorgan Chase have announced at its annual Investor Day that:

    • It will not finance oil and gas extraction in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
    • It will not continue financing many coal-related enterprises, including thermal coal mines and coal-fired power plants across the world.

    The bank is by far the leading US investor in fossil fuels, and environmentalists and indigenous peoples have put pressure on the bank for years trying to move away from projects which threaten the climate.

    They promised to stop investing in and providing services to companies which derive “the majority of their revenues from the extraction of coal” by 2024, and not to provide financing to offshore and onshore oil and gas extraction in the Arctic

    Goldman Sachs also made a similar commitment not to financial oil drilling in the Arctic two months ago.

    Now, it’s vital that we put the pressure on other big banks to follow suit. 

    I wonder...

    Could their executives and shareholders live with themselves if there was an accident drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic which they had agreed to finance?  It only takes ONE spill to do unrepairable damage.  As the Sierra Club say, “Clean air, safe drinking water, wildlife and wild places are under attack-and once they're gone, they're gone for good.” 

    Dive in and put pressure on the banks
    © istockphoto.com Mario Hoppmann


    Tell These Big US Banks That Arctic Drilling Is Bad Business!

    The Sierra Club say that banks worldwide are refusing to fund Arctic drilling.  Some US banks are dragging their feet.  But Goldman Sachs have done it;  they were the trail-finders who have ruled out financing Arctic oil and gas drilling, thermal coal mines and coal-fired power projects around the world.  Thank you, everyone at Goldman Sachs.

    Sierra Club

    Big banks don’t want to fall behind on industry trends.  

    The Sierra Club is asking us all to focus our efforts on the other US funders which, they say, are notorious for propping up dirty fuels:  Wells Fargo, Citi, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, and Morgan Stanley.

    The Sierra Club are asking everyone to:

    Send a message to the CEOs of the other major US banks, telling them that bankrolling Arctic drilling isn’t just bad business -- it’s a threat to Indigenous human rights and to the climate.

    Add your name here and you can send a message too, if you want to add power to it.

    Let’s all fight for wildlife and indigenous peoples and drill hard and deep for change in the right direction.  Let’s put pressure on. 

     

  2. World Wetlands Day is 2 February

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    Back in 1971 on 2 February, the Convention on Wetlands was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar which sits on the shores of the Caspian Sea

    Today, the 2nd February is a really important day for people and wildlife, because it’s a chance to highlight how important wetlands are to us all. They are where land meets sea.  The 2nd February is World Wetlands Day. 

    This year, the theme is “Wetlands and Biodiversity”, is an opportunity to highlight the importance of wetland biodiversity conservation.

    Where are wetlands?

    Wetlands cover areas such as shores, estuaries, mudflats, floodplains, coastal marshes, local ponds, the bog and pond in your garden, mangrove swamps, seagrass beds, and rivers.  They cover a very small of the earth’s surface – and yet they are one of the most important habitats on our planet. 


    "If rainforests are the lungs of the planet, then wetlands are the lifeblood.  As much as we need air to breathe, we need water to live.   The conservation of our wetlands is essential to all life on earth.”  WWT

    Why wetlands matter to people:

    • They provide us with drinking water
    • They store a third of the world’s carbon emissions
    • They buffer us from floods and droughts
    • They are important for our health and wellbeing

    Why do wetlands matter to wildlife?

    40% of all plant and animal species live or breed here.

    They are vital breeding and feeding grounds for migratory birds – stopover points, if you like. Banc d’Arguin National Park (Mauritania) is one of the most important zones in the world for nesting birds and Palearctic migratory waders, Migratory Bird Sanctuaries along the Coast of Yellow Sea-Bohai Gulf of China (Phase I) (China).  These birds use wetlands such as our coastlines to stop, moult, rest, winter or nest.  

    Pantanal Conservation Area (Brazil) is one of the world's largest freshwater wetland ecosystems.

    Sundarbans National Park (India) is formed of tidal rivers, creeks and canals and supports species such as the single largest population of tiger, and aquatic mammals such as the Irrawaddy and Ganges River dolphins, all under threat.

    So what’s happening to wetlands in our changing world?

     A recent global IPBES assessment identified wetlands as the most threatened ecosystem. This impacts 40% of the world’s plant and animal species that live or breed in wetlands.

    Our wetlands are threatened by:

    • Pollution
    • Climate change
    • Dams
    • Over-exploitation

    Beavering away to address these problems are organisations such as the World Heritage Centre. An example of its work is the Okavango Delta which has incredible biodiversity but is threatened thanks to development pressure.  It’s home to indigenous peoples and wildlife such as the cheetah, white rhinos, black rhinos, lion and the African  wild dog.  In 2019, the State Parties of Namibia, Botswana and Angola agreed a roadmap to explore the boundary extension of the World Heritage Site here to protect the river basin and the unique wetland system.

    In the UK, there’s the WWT –Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust but of course its work extends well beyond the UK.

    WWT say that:

    Between 1970 and 2014, populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians and reptile species declined by a dreadful 60%

    In the last 400 years, England has lost 90% of her wetlands

    30% of known fish species, many at risk amphibians and reptiles, migratory and resident water birds,, and thousands of plant species life here.

    However, the WWT is working hard to create, protect and restore – it believes we can reverse the decline and bring wetlands back to life. Its conservation projects strengthen the link between wetlands, wildlife and people, both in the UK and further afield.  Find out more about their plans for 2020

     At their Llanelli wetland centre, they created new islands, nest boxes, rafts, scrapes and pools.  This gave waterbirds such as the lapwing somewhere to breed.  Find out more here



    At Slimbridge, they have just had two spoon-billed sandpipers have just hatched (after 8 years of trying)!   This is really good news – breeding pairs worldwide are under 200.  The chicks are the size of bumblebees, so that gives you an idea of how small the birds are!

    So what can we all do to help wetland conservation?

     WWT can create new wetlands in a few months and years – so your support can really make a difference quickly.  But there’s something we can all do to help and you’ll find more links and further resources further down. 

    • Create a pond in your garden, local area or school
    • Visit a wetland close to you and spend time there.   Use your senses while you visit.  Listen to the sounds you can hear; look at the sights, smell the scents.
    • Support the conservation work of your local wetlands charity
    • Volunteer for local wetland charities
    • Donate to wetland charities – look out for their appeals
    • Become a member and find out more
    • Spread the word about wetlands and follow #WetlandBiodiversityMatters to see what’s happening
    • Adopt an animal as a gift – you can adopt a swan, duck, crane from the WWT




    Further Resources

    World Wetland Network – a collection of NGOs and Civil Society Groups all working for wetland conservation

    Wetland Link International – a support network for wetland education centres which deliver engagement activities on site.  The WWT in the UK lead it; it has 350 members over 6 continents!

    RAMSAR –  The Convention on Wetlands is an intergovernmental treaty which provides the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources. 

    World Wetlands Day – held every year on 2 February to raise awareness of the importance of wetlands and how we can all help

    WWT – the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust in the UK.   Visit one of their 10 sites around the UK and/or visit their website to see how you can get involved.

    The Global Wetland Outlook – take a look, it’s fascinating reading

     

  3. Basking Sharks in Scotland need your support

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    Basking sharks love Scotland (and who can blame them – it’s stunning).  

    They head to the rich waters off the west coast every summer and they take a long journey to take there, coming from as far away as the Canary Islands.

    There’s an opportunity to really make a difference to basking sharks.

    The Scottish Government has launched a consultation on Marine Protected Areas – including one specifically for Basking Sharks.



    They are now considered vulnerable.  Although they have been a protected species I Scotland since 1998, they face threats in Scottish seas from fishing gear, boat traffic and micro-plastics.

    Back in the 19th and 20th centuries, 100,000 basking sharks were hunted in the North Atlantic……   so there aren’t as many of them left as there used to be.

    The proposed Sea of the Hebrides Marine Protected Area will give extra protections to basking sharks and other species such as minke whales. 

    Currently, it is proposed that 4 new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) be added to Scotland’s exiting MPA areas.   These areas will protect important habitats and large mobile species such as Risso dolphins, Minke Whales and Basking Sharks.

    Find out more and give your support here.


  4. Slipped up with plastic? Donate your guilt!

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    So with the best will in the world, there will be times when we forget to bring along a re-usable bag, or we need to buy a plastic bottle of water.

    And we think, “Oh dear, I shouldn’t have done that.  I must be more organised next time,” or “Oh dear, that’s one more bottle to add to the millions that will end up in a whale’s stomach…” or “I must do better next time” or “Oh well, it doesn’t happen very often”  etc etc

    Slipped up with plastic?  Donate your guilt!

    Well, the Marine Conservation Society have come up with a way to help us all overcome those moments of guilt!

    Donate your guilt to the Marine Conservation Society!!  Yes, you can now donate your guilt and help the MCS continue its work to stem the plastic tide.

    You can donate in different ways:

    • Donate money
    • Donate your time – clean up a local beach, for instance
    • Donate a share online with this idea – let’s spread it about!

    Remember, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse Repurpose, Recycle.  I repurpose all the water we don’t use e.g. in water glasses – it goes straight onto the garden. 

    Donations will help the MCS organise more beach cleans and run more campaigns to encourage the UK government to bring in vital legislation.  It will also help them hold companies, industry and governments to account.

    Find out more here

    Make a donation here

     

     

  5. Touch down for two Beluga Whales, freed from captivity!

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    Hot on the news that the Greeks have created the world’s first dolphin sanctuary, two Beluga Whales from an aquarium in Shanghai have just arrived in Iceland 6,000 miles away to go to a whale sanctuary there.

    The whales – Little Grey & Little White – are 12 years old.  They’ve been in captivity since they were about 2 years old and performed in font of crowds as “entertainment”. 

    The British Firm that runs the aquarium – Merlin Entertainment – bought the Changfeng Ocean World Zoo in 2012.  And it started to look for a home for Little Grey & Little White.

    Head of the British Conservation Charity, Sea Life Trust, explained that preparations have been on-going for about 18 months to prepare the whales for their journey.


    They travelled by plane on a Cargolux freighter to Iceland, then, truck and a ferry from the mainland to the island where they will live.  Teams monoitored the whales to ensure they were safe and comfortable during the flight.  A Cargolux engineer and a team of global veterinary experts with experience in transporting marine mammals were also on board to check on the whales’ welfare.

    Their new home is the world’s first open water Beluga sanctuary – it will provide a more natural sub-Arctic environment for them, with wilder habitat.  The bay will be protected to protect the two female whites as it is thought they won’t survive on their own in the wild.  The Sanctuary is in a natural and beautiful sea inlet, in Klettsvik Bay.  There’s a landside care facility, and a visitor centre minutes away – so you can visit!

    The sanctuary was created in partnership with Whale and Dolphin Conservation.  It’s run by the SEA LIFE Trust with a donation from Merlin Entertainments.   

    Scientists are going to study Little Grey & Little White to see how they adapt to their new natural home.  And depending on how they get on, the sanctuary could become home to other Belugas as well.

    Find out more about the two Beluga Whales here

    Good luck in your new home, Little Grey & Little White and a big thank you to Cargolux Airlines for your help and role in moving Little Grey & Little White to sanctuary.  

    And if you're in the UK, why not check out The Cornish Seal Sanctuary, which rescues and rehabilitates grey seals pup from around the Cornish Coastline.