Archive for Tradition
www.latimes.com 24th November 2010
The important Russian Tiger Summit, described by many as the last chance to save tigers from extinction, has ended in apparent success. 13 nations, including Russia and China, have agreed to double tiger populations by 2022, the next Chinese year of the Tiger. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who played an instrumental part in attracting so much support for the summit, said, “everybody understands full well that we are talking not just about a concrete representative of the live nature, a tiger, but we are talking about the state-level understanding with which we begin to address the environmental issues.” Although all the countries that still host tiger populations are in Asia, several others have pledged financial support. Germany will donate $30 million and the US Agency for International Development $350,000 (or just over 1% of the total German donation). There just over 3,000 tigers left in the wild due to poaching and habitat loss. It is believed that 20 to 30 are killed for furs and body parts (which invariably end up on the Chinese traditional medicine market) in Russia alone. Fines are minimal though (around $33), a problem that Mr Putin promises to tackle. However, Russian environmentalist Alexei Yablokov, an advisor to the Academy of Sciences, has warned that only a small amount of the money raised will go towards tiger conservation, such is the problem of corruption in the country.
Sources: http://www.suntimes.com 2nd September 2010
The acclaimed director of ‘The Cove’, a documentary on dolphin hunting in Taiji in Japan, has had to call off his protest to the annual slaughter due to threats from a Japanese ultra-nationalist group. The hunt, which begins every year on September 1st, consists of a small number of fishermen herding pods of dolphins into a cove then stabbing them to death. The whole event was caught on camera by Ric O’Barry, the 70 year old ex-dolphin trainer who worked on the Flipper TV series in the 1960s. The resulting documentary, ‘The Cove’, received international acclaim and won an Academy Award for best documentary.However, due to the threats received to his person, Mr. O’Barry is instead holding a reception in his Tokyo hotel for a hundred followers followed by a trip to the US Embassy to deliver a petition with 1.7 millions signatures demanding the halt of the slaughter.
The Japanese government declare that the killing of whales and dolphins is no different than the killing of cows and pigs (although each dolphin carcass can fetch as much as $150,000). A similar event occurs in the Faroe Islands between Scotland and Iceland where the local population (most of which are not trained fishermen) annually slaughter pilot whales in the name of tradition. The same argument is used by the people of Taiji and the ultra-nationalists who threatened Mr. O’Barry. But is barbarism really a tradition to be proud of?