Actions for Animals

 
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 February 2018

  1. Nature Ecology & Evolution have published research that shows the enormous value of Earth’s remaining intact forests on several levels:

    Climate Change
    Infact forests absorb about 25% of our carbon emissions from all human sources – if we destroy them, there will be far more carbon dioxide in the air which a) makes the climate warmer and b) can hardly be good for any of us to breathe in

    Water availability
    Intact forests ensure that local and regional weather remains stable, as they generate more rain than cleared forests which reduces the risk of drought.

    Biodiversity
    Intact forests have higher numbers of species who are dependent on forests and who have higher functional and genetic diversity

    Indigenous cultures
    Intact forests enable many indigenous groups to sustain their livelihoods and cultures

    Human health
    The loss of forest compromise the supply of species that millions of people rely on for medicinal purposes, and it drives the spread of many infectious diseases because humans come into closer contact with disease vectors.

    Professor James Watson of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Queensland says that not all forests are equal and forest conservation should be prioritised on their relative values. 

    The researchers say we need to act while we still have intact forests left to save, before mankind destroys them all.

    Global and national environmental strategies must retain the integrity of infact forest, and there must be more efforts to stabilise deforestation frontiers and stimulate restoration.

    Policy interventions the researchers recommend include;

    • Creating new standard metrics of intactness to raise awareness of the importance of forest quality and help target action to those areas most intact
    • Embedding the intact forests concept in the UN Frameowrk Convention on Climate and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Reports to ensure the Paris Agreement’s commitment includes the protections of intact forests
    • Supporting local and global policies which limit road expansion, regulate hunting, extraction and development on the one hand; and to help secure indigenous communities’ land tenure rights and invest in restoration and protected areas on the other
    • Support efforts which restore and make degraded forests more productive, and conserve the intact systems which are at risk, rather than opening them up to activity

    We need to start cherishing our forests and caring for them all.  They look after us; we need to look after them.

     

  2. There's good news from Bolivia.

    The World Land Trust and Nature and Culture International have jointly funded the creation of Heroes del Chaco Historical and Wildlife Municipal Reserve.

    This is protection a whopping 664,484 acres of Dry Chaco forest in Bolivia!

    The project was given community support, and on the ground, it's Natura Bolivia who run it.   

    World Land Trust says the plains of Gran Chaco extend from the base of hte Andes across Northern Argentina, western Paraguay and south east Bolivia.

    It is ihome to the largest Dry Forest in South America, and has swamps, savannahs, marshes, salt flats and scrubelands.

    It supports about 500 species of birds, 150 species of mammals, 120 species of reptiles and 100 species of amphibians, so it's a very important area for wildlife.  Threats to the area are deforestation, hunting and unsustainable cattle farming.  

    Natura is working with locals in the area to develop a conservation model which works for both wildlife and people in the area.   For instance, the govenrment has given support for conservation incentives.   

    This is very exciting, especially the work to develop conservation models which work for people and wildlife and it will be interesting to see how the project develops.  

    Meantime, it's great to think that over 664,000 acres are being protected. 

     

  3. There's great news from the Seychelles - they are to protect an area as large as Britain in the Indian Ocean.

    The island has agreed to protect 81,000 square miles of ocean in exchange for getting some of its national debt paid off.   The swap was agreed with the Nature Conservancy, a US charity, and several investors back in 2016.   Future national debt payments will be directed into the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust, which will offer lower interest rates on debt repayments.  Any savings will go to fund new projects to protect marine life and handle climate change effects.

    The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is just one of the investors which had worked on the deal.   The actor said the effort will serve as a model for future marine conservaiton projects world wide.   

    An important part of the agreement is that the Seychelles is raising the amount of its protected waters by 2020 to 30% (from 0.04%) so that's a huge increase. 

    The plan falls into two parts

    1. To create new marine parks covering the Aldabra islands - they are home to hundreds of thousand tortoises, nesting bird colonies, and the endangered dugong.   Only research and regulated tourism will be allowed.
    2. To limit fishing and tourism activities around the Seychelles main islands. 

    The hope is to introduce similar actions in the Caribbean and other ocean regions facing threats from climate change. 

     

  4. World Animal Protection sent an email today to give the great news that the last two known dancing bears in Nepal have been rescued.

    Sloth bears 19 year old Rangila and 17 year old Sridevi were extremely distressed when they were found.   They are now both recovering well in the temporary care of Parsa National Park in Nepal.  

     

    WAP worked with the Jane Goodall Institute of Nepal and Nepali police to rescue the two sloth bears last December.   Their noses had been pierced with a burning hot rod by their owner, who had also shoved a rope through so he could control them.   

    Bear dancing is very cruel animal abuse.  Cubs are trained by setting them on a hot sheet of metal while music plays.  The pads of their paws are constantly burned so they hop from one foot to another.   This is repeated until their response becomes automatic - they swap and hop when they hear the music.  So they are conditioned to do this by a terrible method of cruelty. 

    WAP is also working to end the bear bile and bear baiting industries.  About 22,000 Asiatic black bears are stuck in tiny cages, with permanent holes in their stomach.  They are constantly milked for bile. 

    Find out more about the work WAP does for bears here, and how you can help

     

  5. India is roaring off to conduct a tiger census which apparently is the largest survey of wildlife in the world.  

    The tiger study is done every 4 years, invovling a whopping 38,000 forestry officials and zoologists.  They cover an amazing 155,000 square miles of terrain.  And 14,000 camera traps across 18 states form a vital part of the effort.  India is home to about 70% of the world's wild tiger population. 

    For the first time, ground staff are being co-ordinated with a mobile app called M-STrIPES.   It records the staff's path through the forest and helps upload geo-tapped pictures into a central database.  So it will make the whole exercise faster and more accurate.  

    In 2006, the first census recorded 1,411 tigers;   by 2010 this had risen to 1,706;  by 2014, tiger numbers had gone up again to 2,226.  What's helped this rise?   Tougher anti-poaching laws, new conservation initiatives and improved counting techniques.  

    The 2018 census will last for several months, and also count other large cats.   In 2014, 11,000 leopards were counted by the census.  

    It gets more exciting:   the 2018 census will extend beyond Indian territory to try to avoid doulbe counting big cats that cross borders with Bhutan, Napal and Bangladesh.   It should also help establish the territorial spread of the animals in the sub-continent.  

    The whole process is being overseen by the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Wildlife Institute of India

    You can find out more about the 2014 results here

    Can't wait to see the results! 


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