Archive for Conservation
www.independent.co.uk 2nd May 2011
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds have reported record sightings of Red Kites, which were one of Britain’s rarest species 20 years ago. Once a very common bird of prey, the species were gradually whittled down to a small population in the Welsh Cambrian Mountains. But a series of reintroductions since the 1990s have seen sightings rocket 130% since 2010 causing the Red Kite to move up to number 53 in the rankings of mostly commonly seen birds in gardens. 7% of the world’s Red Kite population is now believed to reside in the UK. The sighting statistics were gathered from the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, which had 600,000 participants. Although the Red Kite population in the UK seems to be recovering, the species is still experiencing problems in mainland Europe, where illegal poisoning of the birds is rife.
www.chinadaily.com.cn 8th November 2010
The Chinese government, together with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), has held a global competition for the chance to train as a ‘Pambassador’ Southwest China’s Sichuan province. 60,000 people applied worldwide with 12 finalists being picked to air an online video of themselves, which was then voted for by the general public. The six victors of the competition were an international bunch, coming from the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, Japan, the USA, France and Sweden. Their tasks now include tracking pandas through the dense southern Chinese forests, caring for pandas in the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, and raising awareness for the panda’s plight. Although nobody knows how many Giant Pandas there are left in the wild, official Chinese statistics put their number around 1,600 worldwide (down from 2,500 in the 1970s). Those left are distributed across the Chinese provinces of Sichuan (1,200 pandas), Shaanxi (300) and Gansu (100). A logging ban in 1998 has helped prevent the decline of the panda’s habitats but the construction of large scale infrastructure and an enormous earthquake in 2008 has damaged around 83% of the pandas’ habitat and also destroyed protection meassures. It is hoped that the premier of the new film ‘Kung Fu Panda 2′ will be shown in the area to raise awareness for the panda’s peril.
TED, the non-profit organisation that puts on global events for ‘ideas worth spreading’, is hosting a conference on the consequences of man-made plastics in the oceans. The event takes place today (Saturday 6th November) at 8.30am Pacific Time (4.30pm GMT). It will last the whole day and will ‘bring together global thought leaders from the fields of technology, science, arts and entertainment, design, community activism and business in a dialogue on the theme of “The Global Plastic Pollution Crisis”’. Speaker include British environmentalist David de Rothschild (founder of Plastiki), Ed Begley Jr. (American Actor and Environmentalist), and Captain Charles Moore (the discoverer of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch), and many more (see the full list here).
e360.yale.edu 25th October 2010
Quoted from source:
‘The Pacific Island nation of Palau has announced the establishment of a 230,000-square-mile marine mammal sanctuary that will protect whales, dolphins, and the endangered dugong — a relative of the manatee — from hunting and fishing. Harry Fritz, Palau’s Minister of the Environment, Natural Resources and Tourism, announced the creation of the Mongolia-sized sanctuary at a meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan. He said that the sanctuary will protect as many as 30 species of whales and dolphins that either breed inside Palau’s 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) or travel through it. In addition to protecting the rare dugong, the sanctuary also will promote whale-watching tourism in Palau’s waters, Fritz said. Last year, Palau declared a sanctuary for sharks inside its EEZ in an effort to slow the booming global trade in shark fins, used in soups in China and Asia. The Convention on Biological Diversity has set a goal of preserving 10 percent of the world’s oceans as marine sanctuaries by 2012. Currently, only 1.17 percent of marine waters are protected, according to the Nature Conservancy.
Image: a whale shark is left to die on a Philippino beach after having its fins remove by poachers for sale as a delicacy. A local woman mourns its death.
Quoted from source:
‘The Marine Photobank is a leading visual resource that has galvanized people from all over the planet to collect, share and download marine photos, images and graphics that shed light on how humans have affected life in the ocean. The Marine Photobank was founded in response to a lack of readily available, high quality underwater and above water ocean conservation images. These images are available at no cost for non-commercial purposes as well as for media use.’
www.telegraph.co.uk 28th September 2010
Research over the past 30 years by a collection of international and governmental projects has refute some previous misconceptions about one of the world’s most recognisable animals. The panda is a reclusive creature and has a reputation for having a diet of bamboo and being pretty poor in reproduction. However, a group of biologists back in the 1980s discovered that panda droppings containing the remains of both Golden Monkeys and Musk Deer. The discovery highlighted how the famous black and white bear supplemented its otherwise highly restrictive diet of bamboo. Furthermore, when the panda genome was fully mapped out in 2009, it was discovered that the species held an irregularity in its genetic code that meant that they could not taste meat. This goes part of the way in explaining why the panda moved away from the more carnivorous diet they shared with most other bears towards a fibre rich bamboo one. Bamboo was also a prevalent plant in the pandas’ habitat making a diet based on it a worthwhile survival trait.
The poor reproductive reputation the pandas’ have gained over the years may have something to do with the fact that the females of the species are only fertile one or two days of the year. Despite this it has been proved that pandas are remarkably good at finding a mate in this short time frame. The males spray a remarkably informative scent around their territory that not only tells a female the age and sex of the doer, but also how strong he is and what position he maintains in the social hierarchy. It may even be able to tell where the male panda is at that moment. Such research is good news for conservationists. Combined with China’s dedication to preventing logging and enlarging national parks, as well as panda population numbers in captivity experiencing a boon in recent years (numbers are now up to around 300), ‘the prospects for its long-term survival are probably better than they have been at any point during the past 50 years.’