Conservation News

Life's most persistent and urgent question is:  what are you doing for others?
Martin Luther King Jr 

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  1. The Supreme Court has ordered the TN (State of Tamil Nadu’s) government to track  down on elephant corridor encroachment.

    There are 400 resorts that are violating the corridor territory and elephant deaths in the state have gone up.  One report in The Times of India says elephant deaths in the state doubled from 61 in 2015-2016 to 125 over the past year.

    There’s been a long battle between conservationists and resrots owners in Tamil Nadu at the confluence of the Western and Eastern Ghats.

    Back in 2011, the Madras High Court ordered the creation of an elephant corridor.  Resort owners were to hand over or leave their lands falling within the corridor area.

    It also mandated that no new development activity was to occur in the area.  Private landowners quickly applied for and got a stay on the order a few months later.

    During the north east monsoons, the elephants move from Bandipur in Karnataka to Kerala and Tamil Nadu.  In the south west monsoons, they do the opposite journey.

    Lawyer and conservationist Elephant G Rajendran, said that the elephants’ abode is the forest where it has the food it needs.  They move along their traditional path.  This used to be rich forestry cover but private resorts have chosen to operate there, so the elephants are losing their path

    Wildlife corridors are vital to wildlife because they enable the animals to get from one essential piece of habitat to another so it is really important they are connected. 

    Source:  The News Minute 



  2. In the south west China’s Yunnan Province, environmental workers have opened some canteens for wild Asian elephants.

    The aim is to reduce conflicts between the elephants and people.

    Staff from the Xishuangbanna National Nature Reserve have created about 100 hectares of the elephant’s favourite food in three different sites.  Bamboo and paper mulberry are on the menu.

    On 5 July, a canteen had 20 Asian elephants who enjoyed their meal over two hours.

    In Pu'er City, over 253 hectares of sugarcane, bananas and maize have been planted for the elephants.

    The idea is that open-air canteens will help entice the elephants away from human settlements to prevent conflicts between the animals and people.  The elephants can munch on food plants far away from the villages so they are less likely to come in to conflict with them.  Fewer elephants are looking for food in the villages now.

    The wild Asian elephants are endangered animals.   In China their population has grown from over 170 in the 1990s to about 300 today.  They live mainly in Yunnan.



  3. This morning I was on the website of Polar Bears International.   They are the only organization dedicated to wild polar bears and they know a great deal about them – they are the true experts when it comes to these magnificent animals.

    The non-profit organisation exists to help secure a future for polar bears across the Arctic and they are based in the US and Canada.

    A news item on their website caught my attention about Arctic Sea Ice Day which takes place on 15th July.   Written by BJ Kirschhoffer, Director of Field Operations, it talks about sea ice.

    Kirschhoffer says sea ice is an essential habitat for polar bears – he describes it as "a frozen platform that allows an entire ecosystem to function".

    He goes on to explain that sea ice can take the form of large expanses of flat ice, with snow on top.  Or, it can be small pieces which float like ice pieces in a glass of water. 

    Scientists have been mapping the sea ice extent with satellites since 1979 and they’ve produced charts with its reach and coverage. 

    And this summer, Kirschhoffer was asked to join a Quark Expedition ship as a representative of Polar Bears International, to talk about polar bears and why sea ice is so important to them.

    Kirschhoffer says the trip was amazing and he saw a great deal of wildlife - the polar bear, the bowhead whale, ivory gull, walrus, ringed and bearded seal, reindeer, arctic fox, puffin, king eider, common eider, guillemot, auk, and geese.

    But he realized the trip was in early June.  The boat shouldn’t have been able to travel in and around Spitsbergen and the islands without having trouble with ice.   In the past, straits and fjords were packed with ice or totally frozen.  Travel would have been impossible. 

    This year however, the ship had near total freedom to sail.   The Svalbard Ice area was well below the 1981 to 2010 average for sea ice extent.  It was also well below the minimum sea ice ever recorded for 1981-2010, at just below 200,000 square kilometers.

    Almost all the wildlife Kirschhoffer saw on the trip requires sea ice for survival.  

    So Polar Bears International are asking us all to share their 10 facts about Arctic sea ice as widely as we can so that people understand why it matters and to get involved in their efforts and help reverse the trend.

    The most important fact for me is the one which says we can do something about the loss of sea ice.  Everyone can help.

    Polar Bears International says: "The key to getting the climate system back to functioning the way it should, and to preserving a future for polar bears across the Arctic, is to move away from using fossil fuels for energy altogether. "

    We need to use far less of the kind of energy that adds heat-trapping gases to our atmosphere and move towards renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.

    This will help reduce the carbon emissions that are causing the planet to warm and the sea ice to melt.

    Help save ice by:

    1. Find out about your local and regional renewable energy options and programs.  What can you tap into?

    2. Supporting a state/province/country-wide renewable energy program.
    Let local leaders know that you want efficiency standards and renewable energy sources for constructing, heating, cooling, and lighting the places where we all work and live.

    3. Sharing their new Arctic Sea Ice Day video filmed in Svalbard, and encourage others to join your efforts!  Share, share and share to show how we can all make a difference at home and influence decisions on where our energy comes from. 

    Please share Polar Bears International's information about the Arctic sea ice and how we can reverse the trend.

    It will help polar bears and an entire ecosystem and benefit all our wellbeing. 



  4. Greenpeace has announced some great news.

    The majority of the krill fishing industry has agreed to voluntarily stop fishing in sensitive Antarctic waters.  And it’s backing the campaign for ocean sanctuaries in the Antarctic.

    Penguins, whales and other Antarctic wildlife that feed on krill will be very relieved.

    And when the Antarctic Ocean Commission meet in October to decide on a massive Sanctuary, the influential krill industry won't be standing in the way.

    Greenpeace started campaigning on the krill industry back in April.   And the public piles on the pressure –

    • Over 45,000 emails went to Holland & Barrett calling on them to ditch krill oil products fished from areas that need protection.
    • Over 11,000 tweets and Facebook messages went to Boots, calling on them to stop sourcing krill oil products from sensitive Antarctic waters
    • Stickered krill products with the message on Holland and Barrett and Boots shelves nationwide,
    • Visited over 30 Boots shops with 'krill-o-meters' which asked people to choose between an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary and industrial krill fishing.

    More people contacted stores stocking dodgy krill products.  Superdrug, Morrisons, Nature’s Best and others listened to customer concerns.

    Greenpeace says, “This is a major step forward on the road to protecting the Antarctic. With many krill fishing companies now joining the 1.7 million people across the globe already calling for an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary, we are looking ahead with hope to the Antarctic Ocean Commission's meeting in October.”

    The British Retail Consortium is now calling on governments to act and protect the Antarctic this year.

    Do your bit and add your voice

    The UK Government is part of an Antarctic Ocean Commission which has pledged to protect the Antarctic, so you can urge it to stand up for ocean protection and support the creation of the world’s largest Antarctic ocean sanctuary. 

    Play a part and add your voice to get governments to act and protect the Antarctic.

    Sign the petition Greenpeace has got and add your voice.  Penguins, whales and marine life need you!