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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» Listings for January 2018

  1. There’s amazing news from Chile.

    It’s officially designated a national park network, including land which has been privately donated by a couple from the US.


    The government signed a deal with Kristine McDivitt Tompkins.  She and her late husband Doug worked for years to protect areas of Patagonia. They relocated to Chile in 1994 to work on conservation, and they bought up land to preserve as wilderness. He founded North Face clothing label and died in a kayaking accident back in 2015 in Chile.

    The couple set up a not-for-profit organisation, Tompkins Conservation.  The area being protected is about the size of Switzerland, and it’s thought to be the biggest donation of land by private owners to a country.

    The move will create 5 new national parks and expand 3 others.  Plus is adds about 10 million acres of land – about 10% of this was donated by the Tompkins.

    The Chilean government wants the national parks to span a tourist route of over 1,500 miles across the country.

    This is the most recent act of natural protection by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.   Back in 2017, an area off the coast of Easter Island was designated as one of the largest marine protection zones. 

    Keep going, Chile, and may other countries follow your example.  Nature needs it.

     

  2. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists mountain gorillas as critically endangered.   

    Mountain gorillas are only found in the Virunga Massive and in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda.  They are one of the four great apes living in Africa and are the only great age which is increasing in population. 

    The Mountain Gorilla needs more habitat to thrive©  Craig Sholley

    The Government of Rwanda, says the African Wildlife Foundation, has distinguished itself as a leader in conservation after the amazing recovery of the ape numbers.

    The 2010 cenuses of mountain gorillas in the Virunga Massife showed there were about 880 individuals - 480 in the Virunga Massive and 400 in Bwindi.  This means they had increased about 26% over the previous 7 years. 

    Visit the African Wildlife Foundation's website for more info
    Visit the African Wildlife Foundation's website for more info

    This success led to a key challenge:  enough habitat for the mountain gorillas.

    In 2017, the African Wildlife Foundation bought a 27.8 hectare property right next to the park.  

    However, the increase in mountain gorillas has led to a key challenge: adequate habitat.

    So in 2017, the African Wildlife Foundation bought a 27.8-hectare property next to the park.  

    In January, the Rwanda Development Board received a property that will help increase the size of Volcanoes National Park, vital habitat for the mountain gorillas.  The park was established in 1925 and it's home to mountain gorillas.  It is sited in the north of Rwanda bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda and it hoped that the handover of land from the African Wildlife Foundation to the Rwanda Development Board will help address the issue of adequate habitat.

    Visitor numbers have risen 82% since 2007, showing that more and more people want to see mountain gorillas.  Visitor numbers will help ensure their long term survival, provided that the gorillas are treated with respect and given the right habitat they need to survive and thrive.

    Responsible Travel is an ethical travel directory and it lists a number of gorilla safaris - click here for more information. 

     

  3. I do love receiving Born Free's magazine, Wildlife Times.   There is always lots of interesting news and information in it, and amongst the pages to delve into is their "Business Friends" page.

    So I was very interested and delighted to read that the Hotel Cafe Royal in London made Born Free their charity partner to celebrate the festive season.

    Their fundrasiing activities included a voluntary £1 donation on all guest bills during the period, and every child who stayed on the 25th December received an Adopt a Polar Bear gift pack.

    Adopt a polar bear from Born Free today
    Adopt a Polar Bear from Born Free here

    Apart from raising funds, this must have been a great way to raise awareness amongst guests and hotel staff of the vital work Born Free does.

    The Born Free Foundation is an international wildlife charity.  It works around the world to stop  stop individual wild animal suffering and protect threatened species in the wild.  Actors Bill Travers MBE and Virginia McKenna OBE founded the charity, whilst their son Will Travers OBE is the charity's President.

    Thank you, Hotel Cafe Royal!  It's good to see business working to help wildlife.  They also hosted an evening with Sir David Attenborough back in November 2017, which involved discussion followed by dinner. 

    For more information on Born Free, visit their website

    If you want to adopt an animal (which would make a great gift for an animal lover), click here.  They have a wide range of animals to adopt, from big cats to pangolins!

     

  4. In the middle of all the news about plastic, Iceland has announced that it is working to be plastic free across its own label range by 2023.

    It's going to use technology to create a range of packaging of paper and pulp trays, along with paper bags, which are recyclable via domestic waste collection or in-store recycling facilities.

    Iceland has removed plastic disposable straws from its own label range already - and its new food ranges will have paper-based as opposed to plastic food trays.

    I think this is an important move.  The Plastics Market Situation Report in the spring of 2016 said that one million tonnes of plastic are generated by supermarkets in the UK every year.

    And it looks like Iceland will have a lot of consumer support.   In a survey of 5,000 consumers by OnePoll back in December 2017, there was a clear interest from the public in reducing plastic.

    • 80% of those surveyed said they would  endorse a supermarket's move to go plastic free
    • 91% said they would be more likely to encourage friends and family to shop there 
    • Nearly 68% think other supermarkets should follow Iceland's lead.

    Plastic entering the world's oceans not only puts the world's marine life at risk;  it also enters the food chain through the sea food we eat.   

    We need to stop the rot and reduce our use of plastic before it's too late.   Iceland are making a good start - so what will other supermarkets do to follow suit?