Conservation News

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

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Category: Help a species

  1. Ever heard of a canteen for elephants?

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    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.

    Source:  Xinhuanet.com

     

  2. Arctic Sea Ice Day is on 15th July....

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    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. 

     

     

  3. TUI Group Launch a new Global TUI Turtle Aid Programme

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    Travel group TUI is running a programme to protect turtles.  The travel group now has a target to save one million new-born turtles by 2020.

    The TUI Turtle Aid programme has been created to protect the welfare of one million new-born turtles by 2020.

    It is working with local organisations in Cape Verde, Turkey and Greece  -‘Project Biodiversity’ and BIOS.CV on the islands of Sal and Boa Vista, Archelon in Greece and DEKAMER in Turkey. The project is expected to expand to other countries in the months ahead.

    The project will pioneer innovative research and protection methods to help safeguard the endangered global sea turtle population.

    Experts estimate that only one in a thousand baby turtles survives to adulthood, and the projects TUI is supporting is aiming to protect turtle nests on beaches and increase hatchling survival rates.

    Out of the 7 species of marine turtle, 6 are considered critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable.

    Threats to turtles:

    • Suffocation because they’ve ingested plastic bags;
    • poachers;
    • irresponsible beach use which leads to the destruction of turtles nests
    • killing of hatchlings
    • coastal development
    • climate change
    • illegal trade

    Turtles in Cape Verde

    The third largest loggerhead nesting populations in the world resides here. Five of the seven existing marine turtle species are in the Cape Verdean waters.  The plan is to engage with the local community and local stakeholders.  Local tour guides are taught about best practices and they give advice to visitors to help them holiday responsibly. Hotel partner involvement is vital to foster responsible beach use and waste management, and sustainable outings for tourist.

    Turtles in Greece 

    Conservationists will work with local companies and the tourism industry on Crete anda in the Peloponnese to implement management measures on loggerhead nesting beaches.  It is hoped that 60,000 loggerhead hatchlings will be born every year.

    Turtles in Turkey

    On Turkish beaches there are efforts to involve national and regional government, local businesses and visitors in the turtle-protection activities. A rescue centre will help care for injured turtles along the coast.  The partnership will enable DEKAMER to develop international research and conservation porjects, including the satellite tracking of turtles, the sex ratio estimate of turtles under global warming and more.

    Well done, TUI!   Let's hope this really expands to other turtle sites.

     

  4. African Parks reporting from 2017

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    African Parks is responsible for the rehabilitation and long term management of national parks and protected areas.

    They do this in partnership with governments and local communities, and the goal is to make teach park ecologically, socially and financially sustainable in the long term.

    And at the end of 2017, they were responsible for managing 14 protected areas in 9 countries (it’s now 15).   The areas spanned 40,540 square miles covering 7 of the 11 ecological biomes on the continent.  They have a large counter-poaching force with 1,000 rangers and over 5,000 staff across the parks.

    They are undertaking various active management interventions:

    • Extreme species translocations and reintroductions
    • Providing security to create safer spaces for humans and wildlife
    • Ensuring that local people benefit

    Where security has been restored and governance established, they’ve seen the rise of civility and a better way of life has returned. 

    There is tremendous momentum to make this rehabilitation happen and to continue to build on successes that African Parks has so far achieved.  

    Founded in 2000, it’s a non-profit conservation organisation.

    Their Annual Report for 2017 Restoration:  Nature’s Return highlights:

    • The Chinko team achieved success on the ground keeping 10,000km2 free of cattle and giving wildlife a chance to return
    • 39 elephants were collared in one of the largest elephant collaring exercises in Africa, giving them better protection from armed poachers
    • The successful reintroduction of 18 black rhinos from South Africa to the Akagera Park in Rwanda, 10 years after they had locally become extinct.   7 years were spent making the park safe and reducing poaching to an all time low.  Singing children lined the route between Kigali and Akagera to celebrate their return.
    • The park received 37,000 tourists for the year, making it 75% self-sustaining
    • In August, 520 elephants were translocated from the Liwonde National Park and the Majete Wildlife Reserve to the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve.  Tourism is on the rise here, and back in Liwonde the human-wildlife conflict has dropped dramatically as a result
    • A long term agreement was signed with the Government of Benin for the Penjari National Park, the largest remaining intact ecosystem in all of West Africa, and a stronghold for the critically endangered West African lion and African elephant
    • In December, African Parks signed a 25 management agreement with the Government of Mozambique to manage the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park, the first marine reserve in its portfolio
    • And HRH Prince Harry joined African Parks as their President.


    African Parks’ model for its protected area management
     

    1. Law enforcement for the long term sustainability of the parks
    2. Biodiversity conservation, with active management of the wildlife and their habitats
    3. Community development – the process of building constituencies for conservation through economic development
    4. Tourism and enterprise – well managed parks contribute directly to the local and national economy
    5. Management and infrastructure – essential for governance and effective park management

    African Parks goal is to manage 20 African parks by 2020.    You can be a part of this journey and give your support.   

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