Forestry authorities in China's north western Shaanxi Province have launched an ecological corridor programme.
The programme will connect fragmented giant panda habitat, making it easier for pandas to make their way across the region safely. Six such corridors will be built by 2027 using bridge construction and road culvert clearance.
In addition to building the corridors, bamboo trees are to be planted and vegetation restored along the route. This means that the pandas willl have plenty to eat along the way.
Human activities, road traffic and hydropower station construction meant that panda habitat was being divided into six parts in the Qinling area - it was hard for pandas to connect and move about.
Research shows that about 345 pandas live in the Qinling area. May there be many more!
The Environmental Investigation Agency fulfils a number of roles:
Its undercover investigations expose transnational wildlife crime, focusing on elephants, pangolins and tigers, as well as forest crimes e.g. illegal logging and deforestation for crops such as palm oil
It safeguards global marine ecosystems by addressed threats presented by plastic pollution, bycatch and commercial exploitation of whales, dolphins and purposes
It reduces the impact of climate change, campaigning to eliminate greenhouses gases, exposing related illicit trade and improving energy efficiency.
And it uses its findings in hard-hitting reports to campaign for new legislation, improved governance and crucially more effective enforcement.
Data is vital information; it shows the trends in the illegal trade and so is key for law enforcement and academics examining trends and for advocates of the international ban on the trade of all species of pangolins, which was secured in September 2016.
The Pangolin Project will enhance enforcement against the criminal syndiates trafficking pangolins. It gives actionable information to the authorities and ensures they have the capability to properly implement the protection of pangolins.
The data gathered on the criminal networks will help raise awareness of the pangolin trade amongst the judiciary; and provide training to a new intelligence unit in one of the key countries.
How you can help pangolins
You can help by making a donation and also by making sure that you never buy products containing pangolins, especially if you live in or travel to China or Vietnam.
Here’s the conservation journey Butterfly Conservation took:
1. Identify the problem
So by 2009, the Small Blue had become extinct in 4 counties in the West Midlands. In Warwickshire, it’s numbers had gone down by 87%. Here, recorders could only find 3 colonies left.
2. Research declines
The Small Blue lays its eggs on flowering Kidney Vetch. But site surveys for the Small Blue showed they were becoming too overgrown with scrub for new Kidney Vetch plants to establish themselves.
3. Determine Solutions
To remove scrub
To test methods of creating new habitat to encourage Kidney Vetch to germinate
To sow Kidney Vetch seed or plant plug plants
4. Take Action!
Since 2009, Butterfly Conservation has….. (drum roll please…)
Cleared 56 hectares of scrub
Created 27 butterfly banks
Dug 12 scrapes
Planted a whopping 13,000 Kidney Vetch plugs
Sowed 34kg of seeds over 60 sites
4. Do the next steps
The charity has recruited volunteers to monitor Small Blue numbers and help maintain and restore habitat. This will help wildflowers and butterflies to flourish.
5. Yippee!! This has all been successful
The Small Blue Butterfly liked the habitat improvements, colonizing restored habitat on occupied sites AND moving back to former sites. It even went into areas it hadn’t been before
By 2016, the Small Blue had spread to 19 sites. This was a six-fold increase in numbers in only 7 years!
But there's more. In this project, Butterfly Conservation says the Small Blue has been a ‘flagship’ or ‘umbrella’ species. The reasons for this is that other butterflies, moths and invertebrates have been helped by improvements to the habitat. The Grizzled Skipper, the Dingy Skipper, the Chalk Carpet moth and three of Warwickshire's rarest bumblebees all benefited. Which just goes to show that conservation projects don't just help one species - they can help a good many.
So now it’s hoped that other butterflies can be helped in the same way. Our changing climate is one factor, but research is taking place to find out why and then plan a way forward to reverse these declines.
You can help today by donating to help the High Brown Fritillary. It was once found in woodland clearings in much of England and Wales.