Audio: New CITES head on next COP, reining in online wildlife trafficking, and more

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored On this episode of the Mongabay Newscast we speak with Ivonne Higuero, secretary general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora — better known by its acronym, CITES.Signatories to CITES will meet later this summer for the eighteenth meeting of the Congress of the Parties (or COP). The meeting was originally to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka last May, but a series of terrorist bombings in the South Asian country during Easter services in April forced CITES officials to postpone the meeting until August and move it to Geneva, Switzerland.On today’s episode of the Mongabay Newscast, Huigero, the first woman to ever serve as CITES secretary general, discusses how her background as an environmental economist informs her approach to the job, how CITES can tackle challenges like lack of enforcement of CITES statutes at the national level and the online wildlife trade, and what she expects to accomplish at the eighteenth congress of the parties to CITES. On this episode of the Mongabay Newscast we speak with Ivonne Higuero, secretary general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora — better known by its acronym, CITES.Listen here: Just about every country on Earth has signed on to CITES, a multilateral treaty meant to ensure that international trade in wildlife does not threaten the survival of species in the wild. Trade in about 36,000 different species is currently regulated under CITES.Signatories to CITES will meet later this summer for the eighteenth meeting of the Congress of the Parties (or COP). The meeting was originally to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka last May, but a series of terrorist bombings in the South Asian country during Easter services in April forced CITES officials to postpone the meeting until August and move it to Geneva, Switzerland.Despite the setback, Ivonne Huigero hopes to see much progress made at this year’s COP. “We are approaching some very critical times in terms of species loss, if you have seen the IPBES report talking about a million-plus species that could be lost if we continue with business as usual,” she says. “We all have to really focus and concentrate on the work ahead of us to avoid that from happening, from having this major species loss. And for CITES it’s related, of course, to making sure that international trade is sustainable, and we have to do everything we can that that is the case.”On today’s episode of the Mongabay Newscast, Huigero, the first woman to ever serve as CITES secretary general, discusses how her background as an environmental economist informs her approach to the job, how CITES can tackle challenges like lack of enforcement of CITES statutes at the national level and the online wildlife trade, and what she expects to accomplish at the eighteenth congress of the parties to CITES.Here’s this episode’s top news:Arctic sea ice extent just hit a record low for early June; worse may comeNearly 600 plant species have gone extinct in last 250 yearsSumatran rhinos to get a new sanctuary in Leuser EcosystemWould you like to hear how Mongabay grew out of its founder’s childhood adventures in rainforests and a fascination with frogs? Or how a Mongabay editor reacted to meeting one of the world’s last Bornean rhinos? We now offer Insider Content that delivers behind-the-scenes reporting and stories like these from our team. For a small monthly donation, you’ll get exclusive access and support our work in a new way. Visit mongabay.com/insider to learn more and join the growing community of Mongabay readers on the inside track.If you enjoy the Mongabay Newscast, we ask that you please consider becoming a monthly sponsor via our Patreon page, at patreon.com/mongabay. Just a dollar per month will really help us offset the production costs and hosting fees, so if you’re a fan of our audio reports from nature’s frontline, please support the Mongabay Newscast at patreon.com/mongabay.You can subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on Android, the Google Podcasts app, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, TuneIn, RSS, Castbox, Pocket Casts, and via Spotify. Or listen to all our episodes via the Mongabay website here on the podcast homepage.An elephant in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. There are numerous proposals on the table to either up-list or down-list elephants at this year’s meeting of the Congress of the Parties, according to CITES Secretary General Ivonne Higuero. Photo by Rhett Butler.Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Mike Gaworecki China wildlife trade, conservation players, Economics, Endangered Species, Environment, Environmental Economics, Environmental Law, Global Trade, Illegal Timber Trade, Illegal Trade, International Trade, Interviews, Ivory Trade, Law Enforcement, Pet Trade, Podcast, Saving Species From Extinction, Timber Laws, timber trade, Trade, Wildlife Trade last_img read more

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What happens to an ecotourism town when the wildlife doesn’t show?

first_imgArticle published by Rebecca Kessler Animals, Biodiversity, Community-based Conservation, Conservation, Ecotourism, Endangered Species, Environment, Fish, Fishing, Marine Animals, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Conservation, Migration, Oceans, Sharks, Sharks And Rays, Tagging, Tourism, Whale Sharks, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Since the mid-1990s, the town of Donsol in the Philippines has based its economy around tourists viewing whale sharks.Whale sharks are migratory fish. And while they showed up in reliable numbers during the first decade of Donsol’s venture into shark tourism, their numbers have become highly unpredictable in the past decade for reasons still unknown.Tourism has declined as well, with 2018 registering the fewest visitor arrivals since whale shark tourism started. The local economy, which it had buoyed, is now flagging, although 2019 seems off to a strong start for both whale sharks and tourists.Wildlife tourism, by nature, is susceptible to biodiversity loss and changes in animal behavior; it places host communities on a thin line between profit and loss. DONSOL, Philippines — Omar Nepomuceno is looking for the whale sharks, as he has for over 20 years. Ask him what the odds are of finding one, and he’ll answer with “Swertehan”: a Filipino word for “a game of luck.”On the boat, it doesn’t present as luck, but as labor. He uses one forearm to protect his eyes from the sun, the other to level his vision. He peers through the sliver of space in between like binoculars. The whites of his eyes have darkened over the years, likely from sun damage.As a butanding (whale shark) interaction officer with the local government, Nepomuceno’s job is to guide tourists and protect the sharks, so that they can swim together in Donsol, a coastal town on Luzon, the Philippines’ main island.Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are only observed here during certain months of the year. But “swertehan” is always Nepomuceno’s answer, even when the sightings in his hometown take steep falls, affecting his — and the entire community’s — income. According to records from the Philippine office of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Philippines), sightings in Donsol fell from 1,790 in 2017 to 589 in 2018, a 68 percent drop. Whale sharks are highly mobile, so sightings tend to be erratic, but the discrepancies year on year (sometimes even month on month) have gotten increasingly unpredictable for Donsol, a town that in 1998 had more shark sightings than they could care to count.Omar Nepomuceno, a butanding (whale shark) interaction officer employed by the Donsol government. Image by Nina Unlay.The sharks can be seen by eye in silhouette when they are within 3 meters (10 feet) of the water’s surface. At tourist sites with more developed infrastructure, like Australia’s Ningaloo Reef, technology alleviates the hard labor of searching for them: scouts in planes spot sharks from above. Here, though, the roof of the boat is the highest viewing point, where a second spotter has fashioned a T-shirt into a mask protecting his head from the heat and wind. Only his eyes remain uncovered.On this day, luck isn’t present. A single shark comes and goes within the span of 10 minutes. Nine other boats, all carrying tourists, come swarming from all directions. The shark dives deeper than the eye can see.Wildlife tourism can be a lucrative industry, when it works as expected. Whale sharks make up around one-third of the $300 million global shark-viewing industry, which is growing globally. Even so, luck remains its mistress. There are fewer than 10,000 whale sharks in the world, with a declining population trend, and entire communities like Donsol depend on them to show up.Unpredictable whale sharksWWF-Philippines reports that at least 653 known individual whale sharks have been documented off Donsol since 2007, the largest concentration of the endangered animal in Southeast Asia.The town’s decline in sightings from 2017 was steep, but not a unique occurrence. Whereas whale sharks showed up in reliable numbers during the first decade of Donsol’s venture into shark tourism, which started in the mid-1990s, numbers have proven highly unpredictable in the past decade.In 2013, there were only 53 sightings the entire year, an anomaly that has yet to be explained. That started a steep decline in tourist arrivals, impacting the community’s then-steady stream of revenue: an estimated $300,000 annually from whale shark interactions alone, at its peak.A spotter looks out for whale sharks aboard a tourist boat in Donsol, the Philippines. Image by Nina Unlay.As a coastal town, fishing is a primary source of income in Donsol. But a fisherman’s daily wage ranges anywhere from a few dollars to nothing at all. An interaction officer can make $10 on a single three-hour boat trip, plus tips.“We had the highest number of tourists in 2012,” Desiree Abetria, the town’s tourism officer, told Mongabay. “But that was also when the decline in sightings started. So, the following year, the tourist arrivals declined as well. 2018 was our lowest record for arrivals.”The impact is felt throughout the town.“So many things changed because of tourism. It uplifted this town. Before the tourists, we had no roads. We rode boats to get to the city center. Now, even the wives of the fishermen have jobs,” said Imelda Montaño, who has lived in Donsol all her life. She works as a cook in a backpacker’s hostel. “Things have changed again,” she added, referring to the town’s economy.Those who previously shifted to tourism as a sole source of income have started going back to old jobs; they take on part-time work as fishermen, construction workers or drivers.Fishing boats at rest on a Donsol beach. Image by Nina Unlay.The whale shark capital of the Philippines“I don’t need to be a scientist to know that things are not right,” Nepomuceno said, referring to more than the day at hand. He claimed the water is much colder now than it was when they started two decades ago; the tide, not right for sharks.There isn’t a lot of scientific data to prove or disprove his observations. Back in 1998, when Donsol’s tourism industry was just starting, the whale sharks’ status on the IUCN Red List was “data deficient.” No one had reason to keep tabs on the sharks; only the fishermen, who considered the big fish pests for breaking their nets and ramming into their boats.WWF-Philippines, the sole NGO that has an official partnership with the local government, only began monitoring sightings in 2007.But the counting had begun, unofficially, in 1998. Carina Escudero, a marine cinematographer based in the Philippines, was pursuing a book project about Philippine marine life and received the tip about the large population of whale sharks in Donsol. She started calling the office of the local government every day to ask for the number of sightings, and kept a log of what she heard. According to Escudero, the numbers back then could go up to 23 sightings in a single day.“During that point in history, a whale shark was a really rare thing,” she said. “No one [in Donsol] believed me at the time, but I knew what I was seeing was earth-shattering. To them, it was just normal.”Escudero is credited with pushing the development of the tourism industry in Donsol; many interaction officers still refer to her as their “mother.” “It’s a miracle that the sharks even survived,” she said. “People were offering 600,000 Philippine pesos [$11,700 at current rates] for three dead sharks in a place where people are earning less than 100 pesos [$2] a day.”A mural in Donsol, the Philippines, shows some of the benefits of whale shark tourism. Photo taken in 2012. Image by 533338 via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).In 1998, a national ban on whale shark hunting took effect almost simultaneously with the burst of tourism in Donsol. Unlike the sudden ban, the transition on the ground was slow.“No one was interested in tourism,” Nepomuceno said. “They didn’t understand what it was.”But in time, through a partnership with WWF-Philippines and with support from other organizations, the local government trained the community to believe whale sharks were worth more to them alive than dead. Rules and guidelines, such as how close tourist boats could get to whale sharks or how many tourists could swim near them, were established to ensure the influx of visitors didn’t harm the sharks, and the interaction officers were charged with upholding them.Luck, gambles and guaranteesThe recent scarcity of whale shark sightings has had a profound, almost existential, effect on the community, one with a learned pride in its sharks. Most of those who work in tourism (vendors, tour officers, boatmen, and the like) gather in the mornings to send tourists off, promising to keep their fingers crossed for sharks or, in some instances, keep them in their prayers.But, like Nepomuceno with his principle of answering with “swertehan,” they make no guarantees. It’s a well-integrated standard, as dictated by the ethics of responsible wildlife tourism.“We can’t give an advisory that declares sharks are present in our waters, until such time that there have been sightings for three days straight,” said Abetria, the tourism officer. “That’s when we inform the Department of Tourism that they can start ‘advertising’ that our season is open. We don’t want to give a ‘false’ tourism, we don’t guarantee. It’s a wild animal.”Tourism dominates Donsol’s economy. Image by Nina Unlay.It’s when times are hard that the principles become blurry: “The interaction officers feel a sense of ownership over the sharks because they are the ones in the water with them every day,” said Alessandro Ponzo, executive director of the Large Marine Vertebrates Research Institute Philippines (LAMAVE). “It’s good, but it also means they regulate one another. And right now, the interaction officers are the ones pulling the tourists closer to see the shark.”Rules are broken more often when the sightings are scarce and the money thin. And not just by the interaction officers and boatmen; Sali Salahudin, 61, migrated with his son from a southern island to sell pearls to tourists. On average, he said, he makes roughly $14 a week, usually selling only one or two items. Salahudin said it’s not enough.He has started making guarantees, adapting to a system that no longer works for him, selling his intuition along with his wares. “Just make sure you go out the time I tell you to,” he said, “then there will be one.”Sali Salahudin, a migrant to Donsol, earns about $14 a week selling pearls to tourists. Image by Nina Unlay.These changes happened, not at once, but over time, in the face of a decline in income from tourism. But wildlife tourism, by nature, is susceptible to biodiversity loss and changes in animal behavior; it places host communities on a thin line between profit and loss. Though they make no guarantees, making apologies to tourists for these losses has become a part of their job.Donsol’s new normalNo one has figured out why the number of whale sharks in Donsol has been fluctuating so greatly of late. Researchers only have theories: the plankton they feed on may have been affected by changes in the water, luring them outside the designated interaction areas; they might also be lurking deeper underwater for some reason.The lapses in information are many, including where the sharks go when they’re not in Donsol. WWF uses a global archive of photos, Wildbook.org, to give the community some idea of where its sharks have been. Every time a shark is discovered or re-encountered, it’s registered. But the record is far from complete, because not all tourism sites participate. A shark can “disappear” for years if it migrates to an area where people aren’t looking; worse, to an area that still practices hunting.A whale shark in Mexico. Image by MarAlliance2018 via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).“You can’t just protect whale sharks from your backyard,” Escudero said. “You have to protect the whole world.”In Donsol, at least, they continue to be looked for, beloved, even prayed for. There’s too much at stake.“This should be a good year because sightings started early, but we never know for certain,” Abetria said. She’s working on a plan to entice tourists to stay even if there are no sharks. At the moment, the only other attraction is firefly watching and diving in waters much farther out.Tourist arrivals have begun to increase: this year’s number has already surpassed last year’s.It is impossible to say for certain if this will last. For better or worse, though, Nepomuceno refuses to leave Donsol, despite the offers he receives for better-paying jobs abroad. “I am happy here. In the beginning, people thought we were crazy for believing in tourism. But now, I make good money. I make people happy,” he said.He remains hopeful, as always, for the next year. In 2019, already 104 new sharks have been registered in the archive. It’s a strong start, but still a gamble, a game of luck.Formerly the features editor for travel magazine GRID in the Philippines, Nina Unlay is currently based in London as a business reporter for IntraFish Media. She tweets at @ninabiscuit.Banner image: A tourist boat in Donsol joins several others in search of whale sharks. Image by Nina Unlay. A tour boat crew member, left, on the look out for whale sharks. Image by Nina Unlay.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

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Indonesia agrees to attempt Sumatran rhino IVF with eggs from Malaysia

first_imgConservationists have welcomed a long-awaited agreement by Indonesia and Malaysia to move ahead with assisted reproductive technology for the captive breeding of the nearly extinct Sumatran rhino.Indonesia has long balked at sending rhino sperm to Malaysia for use in artificial insemination, but has now agreed to accept eggs from Malaysia to carry out in vitro fertilization.If successful, the program would give the species a much-needed boost in genetic diversity.Scientists in Germany last year used IVF to successfully produced embryos — though not a baby — of white rhinos, an African species. JAKARTA — The governments of Indonesia and Malaysia have agreed to carry out in vitro fertilization of Sumatran rhinos, heralding a breakthrough in a decades-long effort to breed the nearly extinct species in captivity.The procedure will take place in Indonesia, which has long balked at requests to send sperm to Malaysia for artificial insemination efforts there.Conservationists in both countries and abroad had been pushing for some kind of assisted reproductive technology for the species, whether through artificial insemination (introducing sperm taken from a male rhino into a female) or IVF, in which an egg extracted from a female is fertilized in a lab and implanted in a surrogate female.Indonesia is home to an estimated 30 to 80 Sumatran rhinos (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), at most, while Malaysia now has just one — a female — after its last male died in May. Under the newly announced plan, researchers hope to use sperm from one of Indonesia’s captive male rhinos to fertilize eggs sent from the lone female of the species in Malaysia.“Originally the plan was to bring sperm [of the rhinos in Indonesia] there [to Malaysia], but after discussions and negotiations, it’s eventually decided to bring the eggs here [to Indonesia],” Indra Exploitasia, the director of biodiversity conservation at Indonesia’s environment ministry, told reporters in Jakarta on July 31.“We have actually agreed on this at lower levels,” she said, adding that both Indonesian and Malaysian governments were completing the administrative process. These include requirements under the Nagoya Protocol, which governs the international sharing of genetic material.Zulfi Arsan, head veterinarian at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, hand feeds Andalas, the first Sumatran rhino bred and born in captivity in over a century. Image by Jeremy Hance/Mongabay.Indra said the IVF procedure would be performed by Indonesian experts, with funding from the Indonesian government.“We would pick the best sperm from all of the male rhinos we have here,” she said, referring to the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park.Should the procedure prove successful, resulting in a viable embryo, Indra said it would be implanted in the uterus of a surrogate mother from one of the captive female rhinos in Indonesia. Indra said Indonesia and Malaysia had not yet agreed on ownership of any offspring resulting from the IVF program.Despite this last sticking point, conservationists from both countries have welcomed the advance in this long-awaited collaboration, noting that producing a viable Sumatran rhino embryo through IVF would add much-needed diversity to the captive population.Four of the seven rhinos at the Indonesian SRS, including all of the males, are closely related. Iman, the Malaysian female, comes from a population in Borneo that was once considered a separate subspecies, and which has been genetically separated from the Sumatran populations for thousands of years.The journey toward collaboration between the two countries has been a fraught one, with Indonesia for years reluctant to heed Malaysian requests for a transfer of sperm to attempt artificial insemination in Malaysia. Last October, Indonesia’s conservation chief, Wiratno, said the IVF program had been postponed because Iman, who was being treated for a uterine tumor, had ceased to produce viable eggs.Officials from the Sabah Wildlife Department, in Malaysian Borneo, reported last December that Iman had suffered a ruptured tumor in her uterus, leading to massive bleeding. Since then, however, an intensive regimen of medical treatment and feeding has raised hopes about her prospects for recovery.The team caring for Iman, believed to still be fertile, says the rhino is recovering and produces viable oocytes with assistance.John Payne, the head of the Borne Rhino Alliance, said that collecting eggs from Iman would be very challenging and would require a highly skilled and coordinated team of veterinarians and anesthetists.“This is not a time for training or capacity building. It is a time to get on the best experts,” he told Mongabay in an email.Iman is the last Sumatran rhino left in Malaysia. A tumor in her uterus ruptured in 2017, and while scientists don’t believe she can carry a baby to term, they’re confident her eggs can still be used for in vitro fertilization. Image courtesy of the Sabah Wildlife Department.He said the rhino would be put under general anesthesia, which entailed some degree of risk, particularly inadvertent puncturing of a blood vessel if the animal moved slightly but suddenly during the egg extraction process.“This is even more dangerous in a rhino with large fibroids in the uterus, like Iman,” he said. “Great skill and rapid performance are both of the essence.”After the successful collection, Payne said the eggs had to be taken in a buffer solution, kept at the rhino’s body temperature, to where the IVF would be conducted.“Essentially, the quicker this is done the better, within a 24 hour time frame,” he said. “However, if the eggs are found to be still immature, they will need to be kept in a specialist laboratory for maturation, which could take up to a few days.”Payne suggested the collection be carried out by Thomas Hildebrandt, a professor from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin, who has successfully extracted eggs from Iman since 2014. He added that Zainal Zahari Zainuddin, Iman’s Malaysian veterinarian, should also be involved in the process.For the IVF, Payne suggested Arief Boediono, an Indonesian professor who is an expert in the practice.Widodo Ramono, the executive director of the Indonesian Rhino Foundation (YABI), said his team was ready to help with getting the sperm needed to fertilize the collected eggs. “This would be an opportunity for our experts to perform IVF,” he said.Payne said his pick for the best sperm donor would be Andalas, a male at the SRS who was born in a captive-breeding program at Cincinnati Zoo in 2001 and has since sired two calves.“[H]e is a proven father, and the spontaneous method should ideally be used” to collect the specimen, Payne said.Widodo said the experts needed to ensure the availability of a healthy surrogate rhino mother before performing the IVF. “Right now, there’s only one: Ratu, who is currently going under a natural breeding program,” he said noting that experts hoped she would achieve more natural pregnancies. (Ratu is the mother of the two calves conceived naturally with Andalas.)“If there is an embryo [resulting from the IVF], it should be kept until a surrogate mother is available,” Widodo said, suggesting that Ratu, a proven natural breeder, should be kept in that role.There’s a growing urgency to step up the captive-breeding program for the critically endangered species. With such a small population to draw from in Indonesia, the risk of genetic defects being passed on through captive breeding are high — which makes the need for the Indonesia-Malaysia collaboration all the more important.Scientists in Germany reported success in producing embryos — but not yet a baby — of an African species, the white rhino (Ceratotherium simum), through IVF. Before this, this form of assisted reproductive technology remained unproven in rhinos, and some experts were skeptical it could be perfected in time to stall the extinction of a species.Earlier this year, a 7-year-old greater one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis) gave birth following a combination of induced ovulation and artificial insemination.“This is the very first attempt at IVF using eggs from an aging and sick female with the sperm of an aging and fit male,” Payne said. “The chances of getting offspring at the first attempt is close to zero. What we are seeing here is the beginning of a process of refining techniques and protocols with a goal of success after several attempts.”Ratu, right, with her daughter, Delilah. Ratu and Andalas are parents to Andatu, a male born in 2012, and Delilah, a female born in 2016. Image by Jeremy Hance/Mongabay.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Animals, Biodiversity, Captive Breeding, Conservation, Critically Endangered Species, Environment, Ex-situ Conservation, Extinction, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Mammals, Megafauna, Rainforest Animals, Rhinos, Saving Species From Extinction, Sumatran Rhino, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Article published by Basten Gokkoncenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

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Wild orchid trade in China is huge, overlooked and ‘devastating,’ study finds

first_imgIn just one year of survey, researchers recorded more than 400 species of wild-caught orchids, involving 1.2 million individual plants worth potentially more than $14.6 million, being traded at markets in southern China.At least some of the trade is illegal and in breach of CITES regulations, the study found.Traders frequently sell non-native species of orchids. Moreover, native species that either have very small populations or have probably gone extinct in China also appear in the markets, suggesting they are likely being sourced from neighboring countries. If you’re looking to buy orchids from plant markets in southern China, chances are you’ll find plenty of orchids that have been collected from the wild, sometimes illegally. And these vibrant wild orchids are usually priced much cheaper than those grown in nurseries, according to a new study.Researchers have found trade in more than 400 species of orchids collected from the wild, involving more than 1.2 million individuals, potentially worth more than $14.6 million — all in just one year of survey.“The results of this study are devastating,” Jacob Phelps, a lecturer at Lancaster University and co-chair of the IUCN SSC Orchid Specialist Group – Global Trade Programme, who was not involved in the study, told Mongabay. “We already knew that there was illegal trade of wild orchids in China, but this is our first real insight into the huge scale and richness of that trade.”Orchids, popular as ornamental plants and used in traditional medicine and food, are traded widely across the world. They also represent the single largest group of flora or fauna for which international trade is regulated: all 29,000-odd species of known orchids have been listed on Appendix I or Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).According to official data reported to the CITES, nearly all global commercial orchid trade involves artificially propagated plants. However, a number of studies have revealed that the trade in wild-sourced orchids, mostly undeclared and undocumented, may in fact be much greater than currently estimated.Stephan W. Gale, an orchid specialist at the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden in Hong Kong, frequently came across orchids on sale in markets in China that he was sure had been collected from the wild.“Often, the plants that I can no longer find in the wild, I can see in the markets, so there is a huge imbalance,” Gale, the lead author of the study, told Mongabay. “There was also very little attention on this, either from policymakers or from scientists.”Southern China’s plant markets sell wild-sourced slipper orchids like Paphiopedilum hirsutissimum. Image by Orchi via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).So Gale and his colleagues decided to look into the scale of the wild orchid trade in China for the first time ever. They focused on southern China, a region that’s especially rich in orchids.Through field visits and by talking to experts, the researchers zeroed in on the major markets selling orchids in the provinces of Yunnan, Guangxi and Guangdong, as well as the special administrative region of Hong Kong. Then, over the course of one year from June 2015 to May 2016, they regularly surveyed stalls in five big markets that sold wild orchids, identifying species that were on sale, noting the prices they were being sold for, and estimating the weight and number of individuals of the species on display.The team could differentiate the wild orchids from the artificially grown ones from several subtle telltale signs.“Products coming from nurseries are usually very uniform in size, appearance, they’re all packaged in the same way, they’re potted in the same way, they’ve got a very standard medium in the pot. So they’re much more uniform,” Gale said. “Whereas plants coming from the wild are usually damaged because they’ve been pulled off trees, or they’ve been pulled out of the ground or rocks. They have damaged roots, they’ve often been subject to herbivory, so the leaves could be pockmarked, there will be lichens growing on the leaves, moss on the roots. To be honest, the average person would never even think [about] looking at these small telltale signs, and this is a problem because they don’t know what they’re buying.”In just one year, the researchers recorded nearly 140 stalls selling up to 440 species of wild orchids.Wild orchids in a market in southern China. Image courtesy of Stephan Gale.The study also uncovered some surprising trends.In the wild, the diversity of native orchid species in southern China declines from west to east, with Yunnan having the richest mix of species, followed by Guangxi, Guangdong and Hong Kong. Yet the team found that the diversity of orchids in the markets increased eastward, suggesting that traders were transporting orchids over large distances to sell. This, Gale said, could be because the markets in Yunnan may have a lower customer base with fewer people wanting to buy orchids.“I think the vendors know there’s more money to be made in the big cities, with the larger markets where there’s more money to be made there and people are willing to pay more money for more unusual things,” Gale said.The mean price of orchids per stem also increased eastward, the study found. But wild orchids in general were priced considerably lower than those coming from nurseries.This finding is alarming, Phelps said.“Many policy-makers, including within China, hope that the legal production of greenhouse-grown plants will provide a sustainable alternative to the illegal trade of wild plants,” he said in an email. “This study shows that this is unlikely to happen for most orchid species: many consumers are concerned with price, and wild plants are cheaper than the farmed ones. Unless farmed plants become dramatically cheaper, or enforcement against the trade in wild plants increases, this study anticipate a status quo for orchid exploitation.”Cheap pricing of wild orchids is not entirely surprising though, Gale said. Nurseries can have huge overheads in terms of business setup and infrastructure, which translates into higher sticker prices.While sourcing orchids from the wild would also require paying people to go into forests and collecting the plants, many of the orchids seem to be coming from countries like Laos and Myanmar, where labor is cheap, Gale said. “Traders go there, and they’ll pay villagers to climb up into the mountains, paying them extremely low labor costs for kilograms or tons of orchids. So the value of the wild orchids is still far too low, and doesn’t price in the ecological damage that’s being done,” he added.In fact, the researchers found that some 100 species of orchids being sold in the southern China markets were not native. There were also no declared imports in the CITES trade database for the majority of the species, which meant that the trade was in breach of CITES regulations.“Things are definitely coming from across the borders, and not being properly regulated,” Gale said. “Although we don’t have direct evidence, my co-authors and I are very confident that the numbers that we put in the paper are a vast underestimate, because it’s illegal trade and difficult to prove. But the kinds of species and amounts that we’re seeing suggest that a far greater proportion are coming from across the borders.”Even native species that appear in the markets could be coming from neighboring countries, Gale said, especially species that either have very small populations or have probably gone extinct in China, such as several species of Dendrobium and Paphiopedilum.Despite being traded widely, orchids aren’t protected by law in mainland China. And despite orchids making up more than 70 percent of all CITES-listed species, the trade of these plants rarely makes it onto the agenda of discussions on illegal trade, Gale said. This includes the ongoing 18th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP18) in Geneva.“Parties and the [CITES] Secretariat should be responding to research that documents such widespread, blatant non-compliance with the Convention,” Phelps said. “I am not suggesting that this is an easy challenge, particularly along porous international borders. But we cannot afford to simply ignore the problem.”Dendrobium aphyllum is a commonly sold orchid in southern China’s plant markets. Image by lienyuan lee via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)Citation:Gale, S. W., Kumar, P., Hinsley, A., Cheuk, M. L., Gao, J., Liu, H., … & Williams, S. J. (2019). Quantifying the trade in wild-collected ornamental orchids in South China: Diversity, volume and value gradients underscore the primacy of supply. Biological Conservation, 238, 108204. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2019.108204 Biodiversity, Conservation, Endangered Species, Environment, Forests, Green, Illegal Trade, Orchids, Plants, Research, Trade, Tropical Forests, Wildlife Article published by Shreya Dasguptacenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

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‘No place to hide’ for illegal fishing fleets as surveillance satellites prepare for lift-off

first_imgA low-cost satellite revolution is paving the way for real-time monitoring of fishing vessels using synthetic-aperture radar (SAR).SAR allows researchers to monitor ‘dark vessels’ that aren’t transmitting Automatic Identification Signals (AIS) location data.Disabling or manipulating AIS transmitters is a tactic commonly used by vessels engaged in illegal fishing activity. The prospect of monitoring every vessel at sea in real time has moved a step closer to reality as a new generation of surveillance satellites takes to the skies.The satellites are being launched by a small number of private companies with the potential to transform the monitoring of marine fisheries. One of those companies is Capella Space, which will launch a constellation of 36 surveillance satellites into orbit starting in December, following successful trials with a pilot satellite.A 2018 map of areas likely damaged from ash and lava flow from Fuego volcano in Guatemala derived from synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites, operated by the European Space Agency (ESA). Each pixel is 30 meters (99 feet) across. Radar images penetrate smoke, clouds and darkness to provide information on the structure of what is below. They can thus assess ground surface damage from volcanic activity (here, red color indicates more damage), as well as the presence of a large fishing vessel on the sea. Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/Copernicus/Google.Capella’s “minibar-sized satellites” are equipped with synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) sensors, which ping signals down to Earth and use the information bouncing back to generate radar images. Though radar pictures lack the detail of optical images and cannot currently be used to identify specific vessels, they can detect the presence of any ship in the ocean, day or night, whatever the weather.SAR’s greatest asset is that it can detect the presence of vessels that aren’t transmitting Automatic Identification Signals (AIS), so-called “dark ships”. Vessels weighing 300 gross tons or more are required to carry AIS transmitters, which broadcast a vessel’s name, country of origin, speed, and location. Crews engaging in illegal fishing activity often disable them or manipulate the data to give false coordinates.“It’s hard to quantify how widespread this practice is, but I think it’s pretty widespread,” said Peter Horn, who leads the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Ending Illegal Fishing Project.Paul Woods, cofounder and Chief Technology Officer at Global Fishing Watch, agrees. “There are a lot of vessels running around, particularly fishing vessels doing bad things, that don’t want to be tracked,” he said.Stacks of fish found in the hold of the Taiwanese-flagged fishing vessel Yu Feng from alleged illegal fishing activity off the coast of Sierra Leone.  Members of various security agencies of Sierra Leone and U.S. Coast Guard sailors found the illegal catch after conducting a joint boarding operation. Sierra Leone is patrolling the waters further from their shore to protect their economic zone. Image courtesy of United States Coast Guard.SAR is part of a suite of surveillance tools used by law enforcement agencies and environmental watchdogs, such as Skytruth, to check for the presence of “dark ships”. The technology is also widely used to identify oil spills and to observe changes in sea ice at the poles and forest cover in the Amazon.Now, a new breed of satellites, which are 20 times lighter than their outdated predecessors and therefore easier and cheaper to launch, promises to greatly expand the capabilities of SAR surveillance.Current drawbacks of SARSAR data are currently gathered by a handful of satellites, which are operated mainly by government agencies, such as NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), which gives its SAR data away for free. Airbus also has a SAR satellite system.The problem with these satellites is that they provide an incomplete picture of the world’s oceans because there aren’t enough of them. What’s more, because they are large—about the size of a trash dumpster—and power-hungry, they typically operate where it is light to allow for solar charging.“They only image a small portion of Earth every day,” said Woods. “So, we don’t have really good coverage of the oceans with SAR.”Huge school of fish off the Mexican coast. Image by Matthew T. Rader via Pexels.Although environmental watchdogs and enforcement agencies can task SAR satellites to take images of particular places where they suspect illegal fishing is taking place, such requests are expensive and time-consuming. Orders have to be placed many hours in advance, either over the phone or via fax, and there is always the possibility that requests will be deprioritized if the military wants to task the satellite at the same time.“It costs thousands of dollars to order an image, and we have to order it up to 72 hours in advance, because we have to wait for the satellite to get into position,” said Woods, highlighting SAR’s current shortcomings.This latency is the reason SAR data is mainly used for long-term strategic planning, such as deciding where to send patrols, rather than in live situations. “The guy who is doing illegal fishing will do it for six hours and then disappear,” said John Allan, Business Development Consultant for Capella Space. “If you’ve got to wait 24 hours to get an image, that’s useless.”The holy grail of real-time SARCapella claims its satellites will provide a much faster turnaround and that its customers will be able to order on-demand images online through an API. Inmarsat, a satellite telecommunications company, will then transmit the order to Capella’s nearest satellite in a matter of seconds.“It will do to satellite tasking what Amazon did to retail,” Allan said. “We’re going to make it so easy for people to task the satellites.”Capella’s network is due to be fully operational by 2022, though each satellite will start taking SAR images as soon as it is launched. When all 36 satellites are up, Allan said, the constellation will be able to provide a new image of a target every hour at the equator and even more frequently the closer you get to the poles. This is a significant step towards real-time SAR.Portuguese Navy Lt. Cmdr. Antonio Mourinha and Gabonese sailors inspect a holding bay for fish aboard an illegal fishing vessel during a fisheries engagement, part of a multinational partnership to enhance maritime security in Africa. Image by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class David Holmes, courtesy of United States Navy.“The exciting thing about low-cost satellites is that you can contemplate putting enough of them up there to have continuous SAR coverage every minute of the day, every square kilometer,” said Woods, who foresees a time when there is “no place left to hide” for illegal fishing vessels. “I don’t think we’re going to be there with Capella (by its own admission it doesn’t have enough satellites for this), but it’s a step in the right direction.”Capella is one of a handful of organisations that intends to launch SAR satellites. Europe-based ICEYE is another, having announced plans to build an 18-satellite constellation by 2020.Capella and ICEYE promise to capture high-resolution images, which could ultimately assist with vessel identification. Capella materials claim its pictures will cover an area up to 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) by 7 kilometers (4.4 miles) at 4-meter (13-foot) resolution, down to 5 km (3.1 mi) by 5 km at 50-centimeter (20-inch) resolution.“With higher-resolution images, we can profile the vessel, get a feel for it and put a high probability name on it,” said Allan. “It’s very different to current SAR.”Bjorn Bergman, Ocean Analyst at SkyTruth, a non-profit environmental watchdog, said the challenge lies in incorporating the SAR data into existing surveillance systems. This would theoretically allow real-time comparisons with data from AIS, VMS (Vessel Monitoring Systems) and other detection technology, such as NASA’s Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), which detects brightly-lit fishing vessels at night.“We need to think about how this data can be integrated automatically with other tracking systems,” he said. “That’s going to be really exciting. It will be the first layer that will detect all vessels regardless of whether they are using lights at night or transmitting AIS.”Global Fishing Watch claims such a system would help it achieve its ambition of monitoring all commercial fishing in the world every day.“We think it will help bring monitoring of industrial and commercial activity on the ocean into the same realm as it is on land, with all the activity visible to everybody all of the time,” said Woods. “That’s definitely possible, and we will get there.”FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Sue Palminteri Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img early warning, Fishing, Illegal Fishing, Law Enforcement, Marine Conservation, Monitoring, Oceans, Overfishing, real-time monitoring, Remote Sensing, Satellite Imagery, Sensors, Surveillance, Technology, Wildtech last_img read more

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Fires in Brazil’s Amazon have devastating consequences

first_imgAmazon Conservation, Amazon Rainforest, Climate Change, Deforestation, Featured, Fires, Forest Fires, Forests, Rainforests, Tropical Forests, Tropical Rivers Article published by Genevieve Belmaker Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img According to Brazil’s space agency, INPE, the number of fires between Jan. 1 and Aug. 20 of this year is up 85 percent from the same period last year.It will take from decades to centuries for the forests to recover, and the impact on wildlife specifically is uncertain.What’s clear, though, is that the region’s hydrological and climatic status will change drastically if the situation continues to worsen. A dense layer of pollution has plagued the Brazilian cities of São Paulo, Manaus and Cuiabá for days on end, rolling in from the large number of fires burning mainly in the southern Amazon.The country’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) revealed that this year has seen the most fires since measurements began in 2012. The institute recorded 74,155 fires between Jan. 1 and Aug. 20, 2019, an increase of 85 percent compared with the same period last year. The states most affected are Mato Grosso, with 14,000 fires, Pará (9,818), Amazonas (7,150), Tocantins (5,776) and Rondônia (5,604).Experts consulted by Mongabay Latam say that what is happening in Brazil is very serious and exceeds all forecasts, especially in a year that is not particularly atypical in terms of extreme weather events such as droughts. “This situation has been caused by humans who wanted to take advantage of the Amazon at any cost and it has got out of hand like never before,” said Dolors Armenteras, a biologist and professor at the National University of Colombia who has studied hotspots and fires in the Amazon biome for several years.DevastationIt took the blanketing of major urban centers before the world woke up to the gravity of what was happening in the Amazon, considered the lungs of the world and one of the most biodiverse regions on the planet.The cloud of pollution that covered the skies of cities such as São Paulo last week was the main trigger, when winds carried particulate matter from the Amazon jungle. Foster Brown, an environmental geochemist at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, said the high levels of PM2.5 (the smallest particulate matter which can cause serious health problems when trapped in airways) was most concerning.Using data from PurpleAir, a monitoring platform for particulate matter, he showed that along the Peru-Brazil-Bolivia border in the Brazilian state of Acre, the concentration of PM2.5 exceeded 600 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m³) on Aug. 16 and was close to 500 µg/m³ on Aug. 19. The maximum level recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is 25 µg/m³.“We have a high record of fire outbreaks and it’s taking up a large area of the Amazon. And not only there, but also in the Cerrado and Pantanal biomes,” said Carlos Durigan, the Brazil country director for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). According to Durigan, this is very serious as the dry season has only just started, and can last until early November. August and September are the most critical months.Concentrations of PM2.5 on the Peru-Brazil-Bolivia border for Aug. 22 at 3 p.m. Image courtesy of Purpleair.com.Durigan said that what is happening is not just due to heat. “It’s also due to a weakening of environmental policies and the crisis of government monitoring agencies. We’re going through a very tough period,” he said.Liliana Dávalos, a biologist and researcher at Stony Brook University in New York, agrees. “Environmental regulations are not being complied with, in some cases they have even been repealed, and regional and national guidelines have been pointed out as openly benefitting land speculation, livestock and industrial agriculture. Policy changes represent an opportunity to transform the rainforest.”Dávalos acknowledged that this phenomenon occurs every year during the dry season and immediately increases the frequency of fires thereafter. However, she said that this year the fires have increased disproportionately by more than 60 percent from last year. That’s well below INPE’s estimate of an 85 percent increase, yet still alarmingly high.Indices of particulate matter PM2.5 at one of the monitoring points for the state of Acre, Brazil. Image courtesy of Purpleair.com.Armenteras emphasized the gravity of the situation.“There have been about 10,000 active outbreaks [of fire] in the last week,” she said. “A very general approximation would show that an active hotspot could be associated with affecting 100 hectares,” or around a million hectares (2.5 million acres) in that week.“This means we are talking about 7.5 million hectares potentially affected so far this year in Brazil,” Armenteras said — an area greater than the size of Ireland.“This is outside the checks that had been completed in the country to reduce deforestation and associated fires,” she added. “It’s very serious. We will have to wait a long time to have official figures on the areas that have burned.”In addition to this, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased exponentially after Aug. 10 “in an exaggerated manner,” Armenteras said, which is why the high levels of air pollution have become evident in Brazil’s rural areas and large cities.Biodiversity on high alertDurigan said there is a criminal element to the fires being set to clear huge areas for expanding large-scale agriculture and livestock operations, mainly in the southern Amazon. There is a great arc of deforestation there where protected natural areas and indigenous territories are being impacted.An image of the Amazon from space, blanketed by pollution. Image courtesy of Lauren Dauphin/NASA Earth Observatory, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview and VIIRS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview, and the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership.Biodiversity is being hit hard. “We know that land-use change is one of the causes of biodiversity loss and that a million endangered species mentioned in the last IPBES report are at greater risk with events such as this,” Armenteras said, referring to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.Some species with low mobility, such as insects and vertebrates including turtles, lizards and amphibians, are unlikely to escape the fires. Armenteras said the consequences for fauna are yet to be well measured. In terms of vegetation, very old forests are being lost, which is generating more carbon emissions, which will be impossible to capture again.She said the huge problem is that much of the forests will not recover, even if they are not completely burned. “Scientific studies still don’t tell us how many years it will take to recover, but it takes decades, even centuries, for them to recover to just a little of what they were, so they won’t be the same again,” she said.Microbiota, soil microorganisms, are also lost, which is an issue that requires a lot more research, according to Armenteras.Winds carry ash to Brazilian cities far from the Amazon. Image courtesy of Lauren Dauphin/NASA Earth Observatory, using MODIS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview and VIIRS data from NASA EOSDIS/LANCE and GIBS/Worldview, and the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership.The increase in deforestation and the number of fires is something that should not be viewed in isolation from what may happen in the Amazon in the future. Dávalos said that that every fire dries up and exposes more soil, and leaves new areas of forest unprotected, making them easier to continue being cut down. “There are studies that show that the Amazon is entering a new regime of greater drought and will require more time for natural regeneration,” she said.Experts say that what is currently happening in Brazil should not be underestimated. If deforestation and fires continue, the effects will be devastating not only in Brazil, but in all Amazonian countries.Among other impacts, Dávalos said, the flow of water into the basins that comprise the Amazon will decline, affecting fishing and agriculture, deepening the threat crisis to species — from bromeliads and fungi to big cats and tapirs — and worsening regional and global climate change. “At this moment it is indispensable to grow the Amazon, to restore forests and jungles in order to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. By burning and cutting down forests, we are moving towards a near future of lower agricultural productivity, less food security and more social and economic instability,” she said.Satellite images show the displacement of pollution generated by fires in the Amazon. Image courtesy of NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS).Other organizations, including WWF, have also expressed concern about the fires in the Amazon. Ricardo Bosshard, director of WWF Chile, said this is not only a tragedy for the Amazon countries, but for the entire world, and that as the host country of the next climate change summit, he hopes Chile can “put the urgency of taking measures to strengthen policies against deforestation, as well as plans to reforest and restore native forests strongly on the agenda, as these are key issues for preventing forest fires and mitigating emissions.”Marina Silva, Brazil’s former environment minister, who participated in an event held in Bogotá on Aug. 22 by the Center for Sustainable Development Goals for Latin America and the Caribbean, said the environmental crisis is related to the ethical and political crisis in Brazil. “Principles and values must be clear so that policies are lasting,” she said.She added that the Amazon is being destroyed under a regressive government system that is ignoring the environment. “We have to mobilize for the Amazon. Resources of thousands of years cannot be sacrificed for the profit of a few decades. We need to think of a new model.”last_img read more

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Palm oil giant Korindo silences critical report with cease-and-desist letter

first_imgArticle published by Hans Nicholas Jong Korindo, a major palm oil operator in Indonesia’s Papua region, has sent a cease-and-desist letter to delay the publication of a report highlighting its various violations there.The report was to have been published Sept. 5 by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), but the organization says it’s had to postpone publication indefinitely.Mighty Earth, the campaign group whose focus on Korindo’s operations prompted the two-year FSC investigation, says Korindo effectively robbed local communities of hundreds of millions of dollars in land, natural resources and livelihoods.Korindo says it issued the letter to seek more time to address some points, and denies that it’s threatening litigation over the report. It also says it’s working to address the findings of violations. JAKARTA — The Forest Stewardship Council, the world’s foremost body certifying the sustainable forestry industry, has delayed the publication of its findings into a palm oil company’s operations in Indonesia, following a cease-and-desist letter.The FSC found earlier this year that subsidiaries of Korindo, an Indonesian-South Korean joint venture that’s an FSC associate, had violated the terms of that association by clearing valuable tracts of rainforest in the Papua region. It also found that the companies failed to properly consult local communities about plans to convert their land into oil palm plantations.The full findings of the two-year investigation, compiled into three investigative reports, had been set for publication on Sept. 5. However, Korindo, one of the biggest palm oil companies operating in Papua, sent a letter to the FSC ordering it not to publish further information specific to the findings, in a move perceived as a legal threat.As a result, the FSC has decided to postpone the release of the reports indefinitely, according to FSC Indonesia country manager Hartono Prabowo.“As a standard legal precautionary measure derived from cease-and-desist orders, FSC has postponed publication of further information concerning the Korindo PfA [policy for association] to allow time for our legal team to analyze in full detail the specific requirements included in the document,” he told Mongabay. Hartono added that the FSC’s international secretariat was currently discussing the matter with the organization’s board of directors.Despite the legal threat, he said the FSC remained committed to transparency, without specifying whether the organization would eventually release the reports.“FSC is committed to transparency and the timely release of relevant information on all of its PfA cases and will provide updated and relevant information on the Korindo PfA as soon as this is made possible,” Hartono said.Speakers from various NGOs and campaign organizations pose together with Papuan indigenous peoples during a press conference about Korindo’s cease-and-desist letter in Jakarta, Indonesia. Daniel Sim Ayomi (second from right), the spokesperson of Korindo Papua, takes issue with Mighty Earth’s claim about the company’s operation in Papua, saying that the organization should go to the field and ask all indigenous peoples, not just one or two people. Image courtesy of Mighty Earth.‘Something to hide’The investigation was prompted by a complaint filed by Mighty Earth, a campaign group that has highlighted Korindo’s practices in Papua. In response to the latest development, Mighty Earth lambasted Korindo for sending the cease-and-desist letter to the FSC.“Korindo is using the threat of legal action to bury the FSC’s findings and suppress evidence of its wrongdoing,” Mighty Earth senior campaign director Deborah Lapidus said. “These are not the actions of an innocent party. Korindo’s willing embrace of bullying tactics is proof they have something to hide.”Anselmus Amo, a pastor with the Papuan indigenous rights organization SKP-KAMe Merauke, which has been advocating for some of the communities affected by Korindo’s operations, said he was surprised about the letter to the FSC. He said the company had previously shown a willingness to remedy its mistakes.“I was surprised because why did the company threaten [the FSC] using the cease-and-desist letter?” he told Mongabay. “Actually this harms Korindo itself. The more these problems remain, the more harmful they are.”Luwy Leunufna, Korindo’s senior manager for resources management, denied that the company was threatening litigation against the FCS if it released the reports.“That’s the perception of Mighty Earth,” he said. “I don’t know that they have made a conclusion like that.”Luwy said the company had only asked the FSC to hold off on publishing the reports so that the company could clarify some points, without specifying what those points were.“We just want to be given space for us to clarify,” he said. “If FSC ended up publishing [the reports], we’re not in a position [to forbid them]. We just told [the FSC] that we needed time to clarify.”Luwy added that Korindo had nothing to hide. “We don’t close off any information. All information [that’s] needed, we’re open to submit them.”A pile of wood that has been prepared to be burned in land controlled by Korindo in Papua. Photo courtesy of Mighty EarthAdmission of ‘guilt’Following its investigation, the FSC announced in July that Korindo would continue to be associated with the certification body, but that it must “secure remedy” for the damage it had done in Papua or else face expulsion from the organization.It said it would “closely monitor Korindo’s progress of the measures and conditions stipulated by FSC. Failure to satisfactorily meet these conditions would be the basis for FSC to end its association with the company.”After the announcement, Korindo acknowledged that some of its activities were not in full compliance with the certification body’s policies, including the “destruction of high conservation values in forestry operations” and “significant conversion of forests to plantations or non-forest use.” Korindo also said that its practice of obtaining the free, prior and informed consent of local communities might not have met FSC standards. The company said it would fix its mistakes to meet those standards.“The Korindo Group agrees to collaborate in good faith and work with FSC in a constructive way and in a safe environment to implement appropriate measures and to take necessary actions in order to mitigate any past negative impacts,” the company said on its website.Mighty Earth campaign director Phil Aikman said Korindo’s statement was a sign that it had “accepted its guilt.” However, Korindo’s letter contradicts that good will, he said, which might lead to the termination of Korindo’s association with the FSC.“So on one hand, they want to work collaboratively with all stakeholders,” Aikman said. “On the other hand, they want to sue the investigators. So Korindo remains at risk of being disassociated and dispelled from FSC. If Korindo fails to solve these problems, then FSC executive board will cut ties [with Korindo].”As such, Aikman said, Korindo must “remove the legal threats against FSC, and support FSC in publishing these reports. They need to accept their responsibilities for their wrongdoings.”Aikman also urged Korindo to return customary lands, resolve social conflicts and grievances, and pay fair compensation to local communities for lost land, natural resources and livelihoods.“I will say that having foreknowledge of these reports, the amount that they had effectively robbed from the communities run [into] hundreds of millions of dollars,” he said. “They also need to restore areas equivalent to how much they destroyed. So if Korindo wants to remain with FSC, all of its operation has to comply with FSC standards.”An access road into one of Korindo’s concessions in Papua. Photo courtesy of Mighty EarthFixing the mistakesAmo said publishing the reports would be a key step toward resolving the problems.“It’s better to publish these investigative reports by FSC so that we can know where we have to solve,” he said.Responding to the activists’ demand, the FSC’s Hartono said stakeholders didn’t have to wait for the reports to be published to start making changes.“Tangible and meaningful progress in Korindo’s future operations can be achieved with or without publication of FSC’s investigation reports,” he said. “FSC is fully committed to continue the improvement process with Korindo for the benefit of Indonesia’s forests and its local Indigenous Communities as agreed by Korindo and presented by FSC in its conclusion on the case.”Hartono said Korindo had started taking steps to fix its mistakes, but it’s too early to say whether there’s been progress on the ground yet.“Apart from the disagreement on the publication of FSC’s investigation reports, Korindo are so far following the steps expected to prepare the improvements expected of them,” he said. “However, in terms of progress in the field, it is still too early in the process to expect specific progress. A roadmap, designed through a multi-stakeholder consultation, must first be designed and implemented for any initial progress to materialize.” Banner image: Forest in West Papua. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay. Clarification 9/27/2019:  The caption of the first photo in this article previously misidentified one of the people in the photo, and it has been updated to say he’s from Korindo.  Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Conservation, Deforestation, Environment, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Land Conflict, Land Rights, Palm Oil, Plantations, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Threats To Rainforests, Tropical Deforestation, Tropical Forests FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

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‘Vulture restaurants’ provide lifeline for critically endangered species

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Animals, Birds, Conservation Solutions, Critically Endangered Species, Ecotourism, Endangered Species, Human-wildlife Conflict, Vultures, Wildlife Rehabilitation Article published by Sue Palmintericenter_img After a crash in vulture populations in South Asia in the 1990s, several species are rebounding in Nepal thanks to a ban on the drug diclofenac along with community efforts.“Vulture restaurants” have been opened to save the birds from extinction by providing them with safe food and building awareness of their imperiled status.Conservationists say broader efforts, such as regular monitoring of the remaining population and conservation of their habitat, are needed to save vultures. PITHAULI, Nepal — A quiet cattle grazing ground on the fringes of the Chitwan National Park in southern Nepal suddenly burst into life. Tall trees wearing shades of green after overnight rain were abuzz with around 150 vultures of various species. And within a matter of minutes, almost all of them darted towards the ground to pounce on food literally laid on a platter.Vultures from surrounding areas, some of which are tagged, feed on a carcass provided at a vulture restaurant in southern Nepal. Image by Abhaya Raj Joshi for Mongabay.Around half a dozen tourists, university students and local researchers watched in awe as one of nature’s most prolific ‘cleaners’ devoured a dead cow.“The food we offer to them is free from diclofenac, and hence it is safe,” says Ankit Bilash Joshi, a field biologist. The drug diclofenac began killing vultures during the late 1990s. This drug relieved old or sick cattle of their discomfort, but it poisoned vultures.“Once a cow died,” said ornithologist Hem Sagar Baral, who is now the Country Representative of ZSL in Nepal, “herders would dump them next to a river, and vultures would eat the carcass. Food was super-abundant for vultures back then.”The introduction of diclofenac changed that. When an animal full of the pain-killing drug died, vultures fed on the carcass, ingesting the medicine, which remained in the body of cattle for up to a week.The drug spikes uric acid levels in the blood and develops visceral gout in vultures, which prevents the kidney from filtering uric acid and kills the bird. According to Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN), a contaminated carcass can kill around 350-800 individuals.Until this period, vultures lacked protected status because they were relatively common. “Those days, we had a vulture crisis in South Asia, including Nepal,” remembers Baral, who worked on campaigns to rid the region of the drug. Of the around 1-1.6 million vultures that roamed the sky in Nepal, only 20,000 survive at present, according to Bird Conservation Nepal.A critically endangered white-rumped vulture (Gyps bengalensis) showing some of its characteristic white ruff and leg feathers approaches the carcass. Image by Abhaya Raj Joshi for Mongabay.Vultures typically lay just one egg every year, so their populations could not keep up with the rapid loss of adults.  “The population of vultures (mainly the white-rumped [Gyps bengalensis] and slender-billed [Gyps tenuirostris], two species now categorized as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List) that remained was a decimated one,” Baral told Mongabay.While international scientists suggested that a ban on the killer drug could help the population recover (the government did ban the drug in 2006), Baral, who has been studying vultures in Nepal for two decades, had a hunch that changing cattle rearing practices in the sub-continent could have contributed to the crisis in many ways. “First, cows native to Nepal and other parts of South Asia are very unproductive. People had to raise a lot of cows, for a few litres of milk.”But as new hybrids were introduced, productivity shot up–one hybrid cow could produce more milk than 10 local cows. This led to a decline in the population of cattle, which had been a vital source of food for vultures, Baral explained. “To add to that, people started burying dead cattle because of changes in sanitary behavior, which further decreased the vultures’ food supply.A local solutionBaral, then CEO of BCN, wanted to provide safe food for vultures. He and DB Chaudhary, a local resident of Pithauli who was also monitoring vultures, came up with an idea that unwittingly resembled the ‘vulture restaurant’ model developed in Africa in the mid-1960s.But there was a caveat. “Vultures in India and Nepal are more reliant on dead livestock than their cousins in Africa that get plenty of dead wild ungulates to feed on,” Baral said.“The problem with cattle is that when they get old, they become a burden for farmers. They want to get rid of them, but due to religious reasons, they can’t do so—Hindus revere cows,” explained Chaudhary, who has been working in the field of conservation and biodiversity for over 25 years. “So we’d buy the old cattle from farmers and feed them to the vultures,” he added.Members of the community prepare a carcass to feed the vultures. The community manages the restaurant. Image by Abhaya Raj Joshi for Mongabay.With support from BCN, the idea finally broke ground and a ‘vulture feeding zone’ was established in 2006. Some of their early challenges included local perception of the project.Word soon spread that Chaudhary was killing cows and feeding them to vultures. “Rumors had it that I slaughtered cows—doing so is illegal in Nepal—and fed them to the vultures,” Chaudhary said. “One day, top army and police officers from the area came to visit and asked me to explain what I was doing. Everyone in the community was certain that I would be arrested,” he added. But the security officers loved his idea and asked him if he needed any support. “We don’t kill cows, we look after them. We feed them well,” said Chaudhary, a proud founder of the Jatayu Vulture Restaurant. “And when they die due to old age, we feed them to the vultures, who don’t eat living beings,” said Baral.There were skeptics who said that the feeding program would make vultures lazy and they would lose skills to look for food in the wild. Others argued that if vultures got better food in India, they would migrate south of the border and all activities designed around the restaurant would fail. “Fortunately, none of that has happened,” Chaudhary said. In fact, a satellite tagging project showed that vultures that ‘dined’ at the restaurant have traveled as far as Pakistan.To start the restaurant, BCN teamed with the local community forest user group. “This helped the cause a lot as the local people took ownership of the project,” Baral said. “When we came up with the idea, I didn’t know that vulture restaurants were already popular in different parts of the world,” said Chaudhary. “Vulture restaurants were already in operation in various parts of Africa and Europe when we started it in Nepal. But what sets our restaurant apart is that the local community, not a business, manages it.”Diclofenac poisoning killed thousands of vultures in South Asia in the late 1990s. A campaign to stop the use of the drug still goes on.There were other factors that led BCN and Chaudhary to choose the village of Pithauli, Nawalparasi for the restaurant. “We decided to base the safe feeding zone, which we renamed as ‘restaurant’ because it sounded more trendy, because the area had a remnant colony that could be revived Baral said. “The bonus for us was that the area was close to Chitwan National Park, which welcomes thousands of tourists every year. We did not have to ‘create’ new tourists to come visit the restaurant.”Baral and Chaudhary, along with the local community, decided to brand it as ‘Jatayu’, the most famous vulture in Hindu mythology. They also decided to build a shed from which tourists could watch the vultures safely and an information center where people could come to learn about vultures. Preparing funding proposal for the UNDP small grants program in 2007 helped them refine their idea.While the grant and support from other organizations such as the International Trust for Nature Conservation and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds would help set up the basic infrastructure for the restaurant, the community would run the restaurant using revenue generated by various means, including selling cattle skin and excreta (for compost), and potentially, homestay units for tourists and scientists coming to the restaurant. The restaurant would be managed by a sub-committee of the local community forest user group.Impacts of the programThirteen years after its establishment, the program exceeds expectations. While tourist numbers have been encouraging, selling of bones and hide has not yielded a lot of revenue as it takes time for the bones and the hide to pile up to a quantity that can be sold in bulk. A recent survey by BCN showed that 31 percent of the people in Pithauli agreed that ecotourism has brought changes to their economic status. Similarly, 83 percent of the respondents said their lives would be affected by a decline in vulture population. Around 97 percent agreed that use of chemical medicine for livestock treatment killed the vultures.A red-headed vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), also a critically endangered species, is seen along with the white-rumped vultures feeding on a carcass at the vulture restaurant in Nawalpur. Image by Abhaya Raj Joshi for Mongabay.“We saw that the restaurant’s location near the Chitwan National Park was critical, as it helped bring in tourists, who would not have otherwise gone there just for the restaurant,” said Baral. “Our experience has been similar in Ghachok, where we have established another vulture restaurant near the resort town of Pokhara,” he said. “Other vulture restaurants that lack the tourism angle have had limited success,” he explained.Nevertheless, there are now more than half a dozen vulture restaurants around Nepal that run on similar models. Around Pithauli, the number of vulture nests has increased exponentially. Recent vulture population estimates in Nepal are around 80 percent of the population recorded in 2002.A Google search of the term ‘vulture restaurant’ throws up results from more than 10 different countries where the idea is either being discussed or is already implemented. For example, the South Asia Vulture Recovery Action Plan (2006) stressed using vulture restaurants to provide safe food and augment existing food sources. In Cambodia, where diclofenac was banned only in July 2019, the Vulture Action Plan (2016-2025), recognizes the contribution of six vulture restaurants, first of which was established in 2004, and calls for sustainable finance to support such feeding sites.ChallengesChaudhary and his community members face a host of challenges running the restaurant. “We wanted to run a homestay facility here, but that did not work out well” he said. “In addition to that, diclofenac is still in use in various parts of India, and vultures that get safe food in Nepal may die across the border.” He added, “after the recent local elections in Nepal after more than two decades, new representatives have taken office, and it is difficult to explain to them why what we are doing is important.”But these are challenges that can be overcome with time, Chaudhary said. His advice for other projects looking to emulate the success of the restaurant: get the community on board. “The project would not have been this successful without community ownership,” he said. Linking conservation with means of livelihood (such as tourism) is important, added Baral because it gives people the incentive to conserve the species in question.After the vultures are done eating, they visit a pond nearby to quench their thirst. They then bask in the sun to warm their feathers. Image by Abhaya Raj Joshi for Mongabay.Meanwhile, the vultures finish their meal turn-by-turn. The ones that were satiated first return from a nearby lake, where they drink water and spread their wings in the sun. They don’t have to worry about food for at least a week.But for conservationists like Baral, the vultures are not out of the woods yet. “Measures such as vulture restaurants only provide a shot in the arm for conservation efforts, broader efforts are needed to save vultures from extinction.” Monitoring of the population and detection of new threats (such as power transmission lines where they are electrocuted) along with conservation of their habitat is important, he adds.last_img read more

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As wildfires roil Sumatra, some villages have abandoned the burning

first_imgAgriculture, Community Development, Community-based Conservation, Conservation, Environment, Farming, Fires, Fishing, Forest Fires, Forestry, Forests, Governance, Green, Haze, Indigenous Peoples, Mangroves, Plantations, Rainforests, Rivers, Southeast Asian Haze, Sustainable Development, Tourism, Tropical Forests Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Devastating fires and haze in 2015, as well as the threat of arrest, have prompted some villages in Sumatra to end the tradition of burning the land for planting.The villages of Upang Ceria and Gelebak Dalam also been fire-free since then, even as large swaths of forest elsewhere in Sumatra continue to burn.Village officials have plans to develop ecotourism as another source of revenue, as well as restore mangroves and invest in agricultural equipment that makes the farmers’ work easier. UPANG CERIA/GELEBAK DALAM, Indonesia — Boat drivers sometimes decide not to work when the smoke is thick on the Musi River out of fear of a dangerous collision. For the last three months wildfires here in South Sumatra have enveloped much of the province in a dense haze. The smoke sticks to your clothes and makes it difficult to see the way forward.“The fires make life hard for us,” Abdul Hamid, the head of Upang Ceria, a village on the Musi River outside Palembang, the provincial capital, told Mongabay in early September. “The haze makes us sick and it’s difficult for us to move around.”In September the national aviation authority rerouted scores of domestic and international flights as visibility fell to only a few hundred meters at the airport in Palembang. Schools closed for several days in the city, costing children class time soon after the beginning of the new school year.Satellite data on fires from the World Resources Institute (WRI) indicate there were more than 22,000 fire alerts in September in South Sumatra, 9.3 percent of the total number of alerts throughout the Indonesian archipelago. Fires here have burned on and off ever since the dry season began more than three months ago.The fires spread easily across Indonesia’s vast peat swamp zones, which have been widely drained and dried for agriculture. Many planters also use fire to clear and fertilize the land, though the practice is illegal.However, a handful of villages in the province have managed to stay free from fires since the catastrophic El Niño weather event in 2015, when more than half a million Indonesians were sickened by haze due to a prolonged dry season.“For three years we have been free from any fires,” said Abdul Hamid. “Almost everyone has given up burning grass and straw.“Now they compost it to make fertilizer.”Upang Ceria sits mostly on peat soil and its 2,500 inhabitants occupy an area of 25 square kilometers (10 square miles). The village is located on the banks of the Musi River, which flows out to sea toward the tin-mining island of Bangka off Sumatra’s eastern coast.Many people here used to set fires to clear land to replant crops and trees, but Addul says fear of arrest by the police or military has changed that behavior.One knock-on effect of wildfires is the pressure placed on local food supply chains. But the absence of fires near the Musi River in Upang Ceria means the community can still fish in mangrove swamps on the riverbanks.Residents of Upang Ceria fish in the mangroves by the Musi River. Image by Nopri Ismi for Mongabay.The village of Gelebak Dalam lies around 50 kilometers (31 miles) downstream of Upang Ceria. Its 2,000 or so inhabitants live surrounded by rice fields and rubber plantations.Hendri Sani, the village chief of Gelebak Dalam, also sees clear changes in the way the community perceives the risks caused by fires to clear land. Since the catastrophic 2015 Southeast Asia haze crisis, Hendri told Mongabay, people here have begun to warn their neighbors against any open burning.“We must turn our backs on this tradition because it is bad for the environment,” Hendri said. “Things are different now and it’s been banned by the government.”Hendri explains how fire was an ingrained practice among farmers in Gelebak Dalam until only relatively recently.However, better access to the heavy machinery required to work the land more productively means the community is increasingly able to bury grass, straw and other agricultural surplus into a makeshift landfill.“We just pile it all into a hole using an excavator,” he says.Upriver in Upang Ceria, the elders are drawing up plans to market the village as an ecotourism destination with support from the Banyuasin district government. Abdul Hamid wants to highlight to visitors the recent environmental initiatives, as well Upang Ceria’s history as one of the oldest continually inhabited places from the Srivijaya kingdom, which flourished here a millennium ago.“We’re going to focus on tours of the Demang Lebar Daun River as well as Sekoci Island,” Abdul says.Another idea is to restore mangrove trees along the Musi River.“Most of the mangroves here are gone, so we’re going to replant them with help from the Banyuasin district government,” Abdul says.The local government in Gelebak Dalam also wants to designate itself as an ecotourism destination — while continuing to make progress on reforming local agricultural practices.“Our agriculture will actually be more advanced and free from using fire if farmers can be helped with technology and science,” Hendri says. “Because of this I’m determined to buy an excavator on credit to help the community.”This story was first reported by Mongabay’s Indonesia team and published here on our Indonesian site on Sept. 25, 2019.Banner: A resident of Upang Ceria displays a shrimp he caught in the Demang Lebar Daun River, a tributary of the Musi. Locals hope to attract tourists to their villages via river tours and other activities. Image by Nopri Ismi for Mongabay Indonesia.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Article published by mongabayauthorlast_img read more

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Seeking justice against palm oil firms, victims call out banks behind them

first_imgIndividuals from Indonesia and Liberia embroiled in land disputes with oil palm plantations have visited the Netherlands to call on the Dutch banks facilitating these companies’ operations to take action.The companies in question are PT Astra Agro Lestari in Indonesia and Golden Veroleum Liberia, both of which are owned by conglomerates based in secrecy jurisdictions and which have financial links to Dutch banks ABN AMRO and Rabobank.The banks say their relationship with the companies is only indirect, and as such they say there is little they can do to influence them.Friends of the Earth, which arranged for the affected individuals to go to the Netherlands, is pushing for the European Union to adopt more stringent regulations that would disincentivize banks and other institutions from investing in environmentally and socially unsustainable businesses. AMSTERDAM — Hemsi has been in jail three times since 2006 and filed pleas with 13 government institutions in Indonesia during that period — all in an effort to fight off the oil palm company he alleges is stealing his land.A farmer from Indonesia’s Central Sulawesi province, Hemsi has also traveled to the capital, Jakarta, three times to call on the government to protect him and his family. Each time, his pleas have gone unanswered.His last arrest was in December, a day after his wife gave birth to their third child, when he was detained for allegedly stealing palm fruit from his own land — land that PT Mamuang, a subsidiary of plantation giant PT Astra Agro Lestari (AALI), claims as its own.“I’m terribly disappointed with the government because I’ve reported my case with complete evidence and yet they’ve ignored my case and I got sent to jail again,” Hemsi told Mongabay. “I’m frustrated but I’ll keep fighting for my rights because it’s my only hope to provide a livelihood for my family.”Hemsi’s remarks came during a trip to the Netherlands in early October, facilitated by the Dutch environmental NGO Milieudefensie, the Dutch chapter of Friends of the Earth. He reckons that since he can’t get justice back home, he’ll hit the company where it hurts: its funding. In AALI’s case, these would be the Dutch banks ABN AMRO and Rabobank, both of which have financial ties to the Indonesian company.ABN AMRO was the underwriter for AALI’s initial public offering in 1997. More recently, according to Milieudefensie, in 2018 the bank sold shares in PT Astra International, the parent company of AALI and the largest listed company in Indonesia. PT Astra International is in turn a subsidiary of Jardine Matheson Holdings Limited, a conglomerate based in the secrecy jurisdiction of Bermuda and listed on the Singapore exchange.Milieudefensie says Rabobank twice facilitated syndicated loans for PT Astra International in 2010 — loans provided by a group of lenders that Rabobank organized but may not necessarily have contributed to. Milieudefensie says the Dutch banks aren’t informing customers about all the companies whose operations they’re facilitating, with some of that activity labeled as “sustainable” despite benefiting companies with a track record of environmental and social violations.“I’m asking them to stop funding PT Astra Agro Lestari, which is operating in my village, because that company has criminalized me and sent me to prison three times,” Hemsi said. “The company has robbed me of my land, the only hope for my family. I hope my rights can be restored and there’s no more criminalization.” Activism, african palm oil, Conflict, Environment, Finance, Land Conflict, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Oil Palm, Palm Oil, Plantations, Social Conflict Banner image of  Hemsi, a farmer from Indonesia (right), and activists from Liberia embroiled in land disputes with oil palm plantations standing in front of ABN AMRO headquarters in Amsterdam before filing their complaints with the bank. Image by Hans Nicholas Jong/Mongabay.Editor’s note: The reporter traveled to the Netherlands as a guest of Milieudefensie. Milieudefensie does not have any editorial influence on this or any other story Mongabay produces.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Hemsi, a farmer from Central Sulawesi, accompanied by activists from the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), in front of ABN AMRO headquarters in Amsterdam. Image by Hans Nicholas Jong/Mongabay.‘Enough is enough’Hemsi isn’t the only one who feels aggrieved by the disruptions wrought by the Dutch banks’ links with a palm oil company. Also making the trip to the Netherlands were Terry Doegmah Panyonnoh and Harriet Sayee Saylee, Liberian activists who have also lodged complaints to ABN AMRO and Rabobank over their financial ties to Golden Veroleum Liberia (GVL). They allege the palm oil company is involved in land grabbing in the Liberian counties of Sinoe and Grand Kru.Their activism earned them the same fate as Hemsi: Panyonnoh and 16 other young members of his community were jailed for a year after they protested against GVL.“GVL came with big promises for development, but today we lost our land and we ended up in poverty,” Panyonnoh said. “Farming is difficult. Almost no jobs. The forest we used to find medicine, fish and clean water is destroyed. People are intimidated and harassed with the support from GVL.”GVL is owned by Verdant Fund, based in the Cayman Islands, another secrecy jurisdiction. The sole investor in the fund is Singapore-listed Golden Agri-Resources Limited (GAR), the world’s second-biggest palm oil producer, whose subsidiaries have received loans from both ABN AMRO and Rabobank in recent years.Evert Hassink, from Milieudefensie, told Mongabay that the decision to bring these community members over to the Netherlands to confront the banks directly was in response to a statement by ABN AMRO earlier this year.“ABN AMRO called on the victims of their clients this February to come and report about the abuses,” he said. “Well, here we are. Even though it is of course crazy that they have to come all the way to make their point.”Hassink added that, “After years of challenging and bringing complaints to the companies in Liberia and Indonesia, these land rights defenders say ‘enough is enough.’ Today, Terry, Harriet and Hemsi are here to confront the banks in the Netherlands and hear what they really do to get their clients to improve.”An area cleared of trees at the GVL concession in Tajuowon district. Photo by Jennifer O’Mahony for Mongabay.A responsibility to actThe banks say there’s little they can do about companies with which they’re not directly connected.“The link is often very, very indirect,” said Johan Verburg, an official in Rabobank’s sustainability department. “Where we can, we try to indirectly influence. There is a much, much higher leverage in a direct relation. Indirectly, we can talk, but there’s not much pressure we can put otherwise.”Verburg said Rabobank steers clear of directly financing any problematic companies. He added that Rabobank’s direct clients in the palm oil industry, of which there are around 20 worldwide, must be members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the leading certification body for the industry. (GAR is an RSPO member company; AALI is not.)“We would ensure that concern is on the radar of other stakeholders, companies, banks, roundtables, who can put direct pressure on that case,” Verburg said. “So in this particular case, and similar cases, we will monitor what the RSPO monitor panel is doing, and what the RSPO member in this case is doing. It’s typically a situation where we will be very cautious to have a direct investment relation at all.”Richard Kooloos, the head of sustainable banking at ABN AMRO, said he couldn’t immediately confirm Milieudefensie’s claim that the bank sold PT Astra International shares, but that even if true, it’s an indirect relationship. (ABN AMRO was the underwriter for PT Astra Agro Lestari’s initial public offering in 1997.)“I don’t know it by heart. The fact that they say the relationship with ABN AMRO is through stock, for me that indicates that there’s only this relationship,” Kooloos said.But if the finding is confirmed, and Hemsi’s case is deemed severe enough, then ABN AMRO will engage with the company, Kooloos said.“If we are aware of misdoing, not minor, but major misdoings over a long period of time, [and] if that happen from thousands of companies globally that our clients can invest in, then we will start engaging,” he said.“And if this is not addressed, then we can remove that company from our universe, that means that our clients cannot buy that stock anymore through us. That’s the ultimate step. But you usually see the issue is being addressed indeed and your influence has an impact.”Similar to Rabobank’s Verburg, Kooloos said ABN AMRO would have more influence in the matter if PT Astra International was a direct client of the bank, such as being a loan recipient.“It’s a different type of influence because we don’t have a relationship with this company. We don’t know the company, we haven’t analyzed the company,” Kooloos says. “But if a company is a client of us, we know everything. We also have private information. But if it’s through this stockholding, we only have public information. But nevertheless, we are linked in our value chain to that company, so we have a responsibility to act.”Protesters demand farmers from Polanto Jaya village in Donggala district, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, to be released from jail during a rally. The farmers were jailed after they were accused by PT Mamuang, a subsidiary of PT Astra Agro Lestari, of stealing palm fruit. Photo courtesy of Walhi Central Sulawesi.More stringent financing rulesBeyond the PT Astra Agro Lestari and Golden Veroleum Liberia cases, Milieudefensie wants rules in place that would prevent banks and investors from profiting off the destruction of forests, human rights violations, climate-polluting oil extraction, and child labor.The organization launched a petition three months ago calling on the Dutch finance minister to raise the issue before the new European Commission.The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), the country’s largest green group and an advocate for Hemsi, says the European Union should have a regulation that holds financial institutions such as banks accountable for the impact of their financing to palm oil companies.Walhi climate justice campaigner Yuyun Harmono, accompanying Hemsi to the Netherlands, said Dutch banks were far too reliant on existing sustainability certification schemes such as the RSPO, and also lack a mechanism to remedy the impact of companies whose operations have been facilitated, directly or indirectly, by the banks.He cited the case of Rabobank, which he said provided loans to PT Astra Agro Lestari at a time when the company was already embroiled in the land dispute with Hemsi.“These financial institutions seemingly wash their hands clean after these companies are no longer their clients,” Yuyun said. “There’s no accountability for their past mistakes.”He said the EU had a responsibility to better regulate its financial institutions in light of its decision to phase out palm oil-based biodiesel by 2030.“On one hand, they want to phase out palm oil because of climate change,” Yuyun said. “But on the other hand, they also keep investing in Indonesia’s palm oil industry. It’s a double standard.”Bas Eickhout, a member of the European Parliament for the Netherlands, said he was fully aware of this conundrum.“We have to make sure that that [financial] policy is consistent with what we are doing with our policies on palm oil for example,” he told reporters at the European Parliament in Brussels. “And that’s not fully consistent yet. I’m fully aware [of] that, so there’s work that needs to be done also on the financial rule. But that’s the next discussion we’re having, absolutely.”Yuyun said Walhi had approached Indonesia’s financial regulator, the OJK, to call for stronger regulations on sustainable financing. But progress has been slow, he said. Abdul Haris, the head of the Walhi chapter in Central Sulawesi, Hemsi’s home province, said he had filed a report on Hemsi’s case to the OJK in 2016.“But to date there hasn’t been any follow-up,” he said.As for Hemsi himself, the fight is far from over. While he was in the Netherlands, the Indonesian police questioned his family back home.“My parents were visited by the local police asking for information. My wife was also visited by police at night. She was asked to take them to the site where I was accused of stealing [palm fruit],” he said.He added he believed the police visits were linked to his trip to the Netherlands — an effort to “hinder the process of the filing of my complaints.”But Hemsi said he wouldn’t be intimidated into giving up.“Even if I have to go to jail again, I’ll do that, as long as my land rights are acknowledged,” Hemsi said. “I want to show other farmers who are criminalized that we can’t afford to stop fighting and that we should fight together.”center_img Article published by Hans Nicholas Jong Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

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