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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Stylish jumping spider named after late fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld

first_imgResearchers have named a previously undescribed species of black-and-white jumping spider Jotus karllagerfeldi, after the late fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld, known for his signature black-and-white style.In addition to Karl Lagerfeld’s jumping spider, researchers have described four more new-to-science species of jumping spiders in the new paper, including J. albimanus, J. fortiniae, J. moonensis and J. newtoni.All five newly described species belong to a group of miniscule spiders called the brushed jumping spiders, males of which can be extremely colorful and are known to perform elaborate mating dances using a brush of long, colorful bristles on their legs to wave to the females.Despite being colorful and charismatic, very little is known about brushed jumping spiders, researchers say, urging amateurs who photograph these spiders to lodge their specimens with museums so that more new species can be described. If there’s an iconic image of the late Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director of Chanel and Fendi, it’s his signature black-and-white style: white ponytail, black sunglasses, black-and-white suit with high, detachable white-collared shirts.That’s also the look being sported by a tiny black-and-white jumping spider species from Australia, according to a new study.The arachnid, named Jotus karllagerfeldi after the style czar, has large black eyes that resemble sunglasses, and short black-and-white appendages called pedipalps next to its jaw, which resemble a Kent collar.“Karl Lagerfeld inspired us with his unique sense of design and this new spider with big black eyes and white kent collar reminds us of his later looks — a fashion icon in black and white,” researchers write in the paper.A newly described brushed jumping spider species, Jotus karllagerfeldi. Image by Mark Newton/CeNak.In addition to Karl Lagerfeld’s jumping spider, Barbara Baehr, an arachnologist at Queensland Museum, and her colleagues described four more new-to-science species of jumping spiders, including J. albimanus, J. fortiniae, J. moonensis and J. newtoni. The specimens of all five species were drawn from museum collections.All five newly described species belong to a group of miniscule spiders called brushed jumping spiders. The males of these spiders can be black-and-white or extremely colorful, with iridescent turquoise and orange patterns, and are known to perform elaborate mating dances using a brush of long, colorful bristles, known as setae, on their legs to wave to the females.“The males perform unique dance rituals with their brilliantly decorated first pair of legs to attract females,” co-author Joseph Schubert, a jumping-spider taxonomist at Monash University, said in a statement. “These five new species are close relatives of the Australian peacock spiders which also perform courtship dances for females. This courtship behaviour makes them a crowd favourite and has popularised jumping spiders worldwide.”Despite being colorful and charismatic, “almost nothing is known about their diversity and taxonomic identity,” Baehr said.The researchers add that while museum collections tend to have few specimens of brushed jumping spiders, these arachnids are often photographed and posted online by naturalists. “We make a first effort here by re-illustrating old species and revising the specimens available at the Queensland Museum but we urge amateurs to lodge their specimens with museums so that the countless new species that are already photographed and available online can be described,” the authors write. “This is also important because large series of specimens are needed to match males and females in these sexually dimorphic spiders.”Members of the jumping spider genus Jotus can be very colorful. Images by Robert Whyte (Jotus fortiniae sp. nov., top row) and Michael Doe (unidentified species, bottom row)/CeNak.Banner image of Jotus karllagerfeldi and late Karl Lagerfeld by Mark Newton, CeNak, and Siebbi (modification by CeNak), respectively.Citation:Baehr, B. C., Schubert, J., & Harms, D. (2019). The Brushed Jumping Spiders (Araneae, Salticidae, Jotus L. Koch, 1881) from Eastern Australia. Evolutionary Systematics, 3, 53. 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 Article published by Shreya Dasguptacenter_img Animals, Arachnids, Biodiversity, Conservation, Environment, Green, Happy-upbeat Environmental, New Species, Research, Species Discovery, Spiders, Wildlife last_img read more

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Simba’s future depends on putting communities at the forefront of lion conservation (commentary)

first_imgArticle published by Mike Gaworecki Animals, Big Cats, Charismatic Animals, Commentary, Community-based Conservation, Conservation, Editorials, Environment, Human-wildlife Conflict, Lions, Mammals, Researcher Perspective Series, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation While Simba and Mufasa’s return to the big screen is good news for Disney and summer movie fans, in the quarter-century since the original animated version of The Lion King was released, Africa’s lion population has declined by roughly half. With only about 20,000 lions remaining in Africa, and their historic range having contracted by over 80 percent, the lion’s future is increasingly uncertain.In the face of these challenges, lion conservation is becoming a more urgent priority, particularly given the important role that lions play in African economies through wildlife tourism. In Tanzania, for example, home to perhaps half of all the remaining wild lions left in the world, lions are a cornerstone of a national tourism industry that earns over $2 billion annually and accounts for roughly a quarter of all foreign exchange earnings.Fortunately, when conservation programs are able to provide people with reasons to support lion conservation, local communities can become key stewards of lions and other wildlife.This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. This past weekend, Disney’s newly released version of The Lion King shattered box office records by earning $544 million in theaters around the world. But while Simba and Mufasa’s return to the big screen is good news for Disney and summer movie fans, in the quarter-century since the original animated version of The Lion King was released, Africa’s lion population has declined by roughly half. With only about 20,000 lions remaining in Africa, and their historic range having contracted by over 80 percent, the lion’s future is increasingly uncertain.In the face of these challenges, lion conservation is becoming a more urgent priority, particularly given the important role that lions play in African economies through wildlife tourism. In Tanzania, for example, home to perhaps half of all the remaining wild lions left in the world, lions are a cornerstone of a national tourism industry that earns over $2 billion annually and accounts for roughly a quarter of all foreign exchange earnings.But, although lions bring economic value through tourism, these predators also impose significant costs on local communities living alongside wildlife in rural areas. The economic cost of livestock predation by lions on Kenyan ranchers in some areas is nearly $300 annually — which can amount to over a quarter of herders’ per capita annual income.Community conservancies, where resident people play the lead role in conservation, have played an important role in localized lion recoveries in places like Kenya and Namibia. Photo Credit: Kenya Wildlife Conservancies Association.This illustrates a fundamental challenge for the conservation of lions and other large mammals in Africa today: balancing the economic costs and trade-offs to local people of living with wildlife. When lions and other predators kill livestock, local communities often respond by shooting, spearing, or poisoning the offending animals. This is a central factor in the decline of lions in countries such as Kenya, where there are now probably less than 2,000 lions left. Even in large national parks, lion numbers often decline when animals wander out of parks and come into conflict with neighboring communities.Fortunately, when conservation programs are able to provide people with reasons to support lion conservation, local communities can become key stewards of lions and other wildlife. For example, in both Namibia and Kenya there are a growing number of community-managed ‘conservancies,’ where communities and rural landowners set up their own conservation areas. By entering into agreements with tourism companies, these conservancies generate revenue that creates economic value from lions at the local level. In Kenya’s Maasai Mara, for example, about 17 conservancies now help protect approximately 1,400 square kilometers (about 541 square miles) of some of the world’s best lion habitat. Lion numbers in some of these conservancies have recovered, and are now at higher densities than in nearby government reserves. Similarly, in Namibia, lion numbers increased six-fold in the country’s arid northwest after conservancies were established starting in the late 1990s. The key in both cases is that local communities are able to earn revenue from lions, and are empowered to run their own conservation programs on their lands through the conservancies.Indigenous customs and knowledge can also play a key role in these kinds of locally rooted conservation efforts and support co-existence of people and lions. In Kenya’s southern Rift Valley, traditional Maasai livestock management systems involve setting aside large areas of pasture for grazing only during the dry season and droughts. These customary seasonal restrictions on pasture access help protect wildlife habitat, bolstering prey for lions and other predators. Traditional communities such as the Maasai also have exceptional tolerance of wild carnivores as a result of unique cultural values. Recent research shows that despite lion densities that are some of the highest in Africa, more than 85 percent of residents in this area support lion conservation efforts designed to maintain these numbers.Lion Guardians employs a network of local Maasai warriors to monitor lions and reduce conflicts between lions and people. Photo Credit: Philip J. Briggs.Another initiative embracing indigenous customs to promote co-existence and reduce the costs of living alongside lions is Lion Guardians, also based in southern Kenya. By hiring local Maasai warriors — including those with past history of killing lions in their community — as ‘Guardians,’ they have been able to reduce lion mortalities caused by people by over 90 percent. This has helped the lion population in Kenya’s Amboseli ecosystem more than quadruple over the past decade. This kind of model of community-based conflict reduction has been adapted — and delivered similar results — in other key lion areas, such as Tanzania’s Ruaha ecosystem.For lions to thrive in modern Africa, where human populations, settlements, and infrastructure are all rapidly expanding, these are the kinds of locally driven conservation approaches that need to be supported and scaled up. This means increasing investment in strategies that promote tolerance of people towards lions by increasing local benefits and reducing local costs as a priority across their range.As the The Lion King returns to theaters this summer, it bears noting that one key species is missing from the film’s African landscape, as with many depictions of African wildlife: people. But it is the humans that live near and among lion populations all throughout Africa who hold the key to wildlife’s survival and recovery. Conservation efforts need to genuinely benefit local communities, by empowering them to make key decisions, capture the economic value of lions, and manage the costs of co-existence according to local interests. Only then will Simba’s domain persist and the lion’s future renew through the years ahead.In Kenya’s South Rift community, conservation initiatives have created a model for co-existence between resident communities and high densities of lions in areas such as Olkiramatian Group Ranch. Photo Credit: Guy Western/SORALO.CITATIONS• Elliot, Nicholas B., and Arjun M. Gopalaswamy. (2017). Toward accurate and precise estimates of lion density. Conservation Biology 31(4), 934-943. doi:10.1111/cobi.12878• Trinkel, M., & Angelici, F. M. (2016). The decline in the lion population in Africa and possible mitigation measures. In Problematic Wildlife (pp. 45-68). Springer, Cham. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-22246-2_3• Western, G., Macdonald, D. W., Loveridge, A. J., & Dickman, A. J. (2019). Creating Landscapes of Coexistence: Do Conservation Interventions Promote Tolerance of Lions in Human-dominated Landscapes?. Conservation & Society 17(2), 204-217. doi:10.4103/cs.cs_18_29Fred Nelson is Executive Director of Maliasili, a US-based organization that supports leading African conservation organizations to increase their impact and effectiveness.John Kamanga is Executive Director of the South Rift Association of Land Owners (SORALO), a community association that works across over one million hectares of Maasai land in southern Kenya.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 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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Orangutan habitats being cleared in areas near palm oil mills, report finds

first_imgArticle published by mongabayauthor Agriculture, Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Deforestation, Endangered Species, Environment, Forestry, Forests, Green, Logging, Mammals, Orangutans, Palm Oil, Plantations, Rainforests, Tropical Forests, Wildlife A new study identifies the palm oil mills in Indonesia with the most clearance of orangutan habitat happening around them.The top 10 mills are all on the island of Borneo and are producing palm oil that makes its way into the supply chains of consumer goods giants such as Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Kellogg’s, General Mills, Avon, Mars, Mondelēz and more ⁠— companies that promised long ago to stop buying palm oil linked to deforestation.Just because deforestation is happening around a palm oil mill does not mean it is being done by an entity supplying that mill with palm fruits. But it is a strong red flag that this may be the case.Several of the consumer goods giants contacted by Mongabay said they were either actively investigating the deforestation or suspending trading with the mills. Others were more vague in their responses. Rainforest clearance during the month of May destroyed orangutan habitat near 144 different palm oil mills in Indonesia, according to a report by MapHubs, an open-data platform and technology company that monitors natural resources.The top 10 mills, all located on the island of Borneo, lost an average of 104 hectares (257 acres) each. Among the companies that source their palm oil from these mills are household names such as Avon, Colgate-Palmolive, General Mills, Hershey, Kellogg’s, Mars, Mondelēz, Nestlé, Pepsico, Procter & Gamble, PZ Cussons, Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever.“The report is a risk analysis,” said Leo Bottrill, the founder and CEO of MapHubs. It’s intended to “highlight that both major traders and buyers with NDPE [no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation] policies, are buying from mills located in high risk areas for orangutan habitat clearance.”The 10 palm oil mills in Indonesia with the most orangutan habitat being destroyed around them are circled in red. Image courtesy of MapHubs.Just because the forest clearance takes place near a palm oil mill doesn’t mean it is being done in order to supply that mill, or even to plant oil palm. While some major buyers of palm oil have mapped out their supply chains to the mill level, untangling the ever-shifting networks of farms, plantations and brokers that sell to third-party mills is something no large firm has yet managed to do. But achieving this “full traceability” is critical if palm oil users are to prove their supply chains are free of deforestation and other ills.While some of the deforestation identified in the report occurred on lands licensed out to oil palm planters, others are happening in the surrounding forests, making it difficult to track who is responsible. Many mills process palm fruits sourced from smallholder plantations where ownership and land management agreements are often unclear.However, given that palm fruits begin to spoil within 24 hours of harvest, most are processed by mills within a 25-to-50-kilometer (15-to-30-mile) radius. Therefore, there is a high degree of probability that those responsible for clearing the forest, if they are doing so to plant oil palm, are banking on being able to sell their product to nearby mills. By identifying those mills now, the entities engaged in deforestation will learn that there is no nearby market for their crop, since most major consumers purchasing from those mills have established strongly worded zero-deforestation commitments that apply to their entire supply chain.In practical application, however, the level of engagement in the process — and response to allegations — varies significantly among the companies buying palm oil from these mills. While some rely on third-party certifications, other companies have signed on with monitoring systems that give them direct oversight of their entire supply chain. This additional step, they say, allows them respond more quickly and effectively to reports like this one.A palm oil mill in Indonesia. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.Colgate-Palmolive, Nestlé, PZ Cussons and Reckitt Benckiser have each signed on with Starling, a service that uses satellites and remote sensing to monitor a company’s supply chain. Each of these companies told Mongabay they were actively investigating the deforestation, using their own satellite data to directly engage suppliers and clarify what actions will be taken.Nestlé said it had suspended trading with two of the mills, and was investigating the others named in the MapHubs report. PZ Cussons said it had already stopped sourcing from two mills, and was speaking with its suppliers about the others. Both Colgate-Palmolive and Reckitt Benkiser also said they were verifying the reports, and would terminate business with any company falling short of their no-deforestation commitments.While several other companies may not have the benefit of live monitoring, they did indicate they were actively responding to the MapHubs report. Unilever said it had already suspended one of the mills as a supplier due to previous violations, and was conducting further investigations to ensure the other mills are complying with its zero-deforestation commitment. Procter & Gamble also previously ended trading with three of the mills identified by MapHubs, but said it would look more closely at the others it still deals with. PepsiCo said it would thoroughly investigate the issue.Meanwhile, Kellogg’s responded to the report by simply reaffirming its commitment to sustainable palm oil, while General Mills said that since it had no evidence that the mills it sources from owned the concessions where deforestation was occurring, it did not consider the problem to be part of its supply chain.Avon, Mars and Mondelēz did not respond to Mongabay’s inquiries, while Hershey said it needed time to look into the issue.Palm oil producers Bunge, Musim Mas and Fuji Oil confirmed they were actively investigating the areas of deforestation identified in the report, and a few had entered the concerns into their formal grievance processes.Sime Darby, Bunge and Archer Daniels Midland each told Mongabay that while they had already suspended some of the mills for previous violations, they would make sure that those in proximity to these deforestation areas were not trading with third-party suppliers who were not in their tracking systems.An adult male Sumatran orangutan in Mount Leuser National Park. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.Palm oil giant Wilmar said that any deforestation activities occurring on land directly within its supply chain were already being addressed as part of Wilmar’s grievance procedure, but that the firm could not be reasonably expected to investigate deforestation occurring near its mills without a clear understanding of land ownership and management oversight of an area.“As there continues to be a leakage market,” a spokesperson for Wilmar said, “where there is no scrutiny on those purchasing these excluded volumes, we will continue to see deforestation happening. This is not something that Wilmar alone can influence or stop.”Wilmar also said MapHubs’ reliance on mill proximity was “highly erroneous and misleading,” differing from its own monitoring program provided by Aidenvironment, a nonprofit consultancy that works with large firms.Golden Agri-Resources was also skeptical of the “guilty by proximity” link, pointing out that an area with a 25-kilometer radius was nearly three times the area of Singapore.“The result is predictable,” a spokesperson for Golden Agri said, “numerous incidents of deforestation will be detected around these mills. Investigating every single incident detected is neither practical nor a productive exercise.”While this sentiment may not be shared by every company, it gets at the heart of the issue: tracing the supply chain to just the mills is not sufficient. The web of middlemen, smallholders and interconnected companies makes it difficult but vital that palm oil consumers ensure accountability for the product from seed to shelf. And although mill proximity is a useful indicator for high risk of non-certified product leaking in, using proxies can shift focus from achieving true accountability.For example, PT Jabontara Eka Karsa (PT JEK), a mill located in Indonesian Borneo that supplies nearly all of the companies named above with palm oil, has the greatest amount of orangutan habitat in its vicinity. The MapHubs report flagged PT JEK due to the 442 hectares (1,092 acres) of forest that have been cleared this year by a nearby plantation owned by the Palma Serasih Group. PT JEK’s parent company, Kuala Lumpur Kepong, stringently denies that it sources palm oil from anyone but its own concessions, which finished their forest clearing in 2015. This leaves open the question of who Palma Serasih intends to sell its fruits to.Although there are limitations to using proximity as a proxy for responsibility, Bottrill said that since some 40 percent of oil palm fruits are supplied by smallholders, establishing direct links can be virtually impossible. However, he said he wishes that more companies with source data would be transparent about where their oil palm is being grown.“Companies and their consultants such as Aidenvironment have accurate concession data,” Bottrill said, yet “few, if any, have made this concession data publicly available, citing [intellectual property] concerns.” Palm oil producers Socfin and Neste have both publicly released concession maps, a trend Bottrill hopes catches on.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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Venezuelan crisis: Caring for priceless botanical treasures in a failed state

first_imgBotany, Conservation, data collection, Drought, Earth Science, Economics, Environmental Economics, Global Environmental Crisis, Orchids, Plants, Rainforest Conservation, Research, Science, Trees, Tropical Conservation Science, Tropical Forests Article published by Glenn Scherer Venezuela’s Botanical Garden of Caracas was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Its 70-hectare (173-acre) garden, National Herbarium and Henri Pittier Library are considered a national, and international treasure, and a vital repository of Latin American and global natural history utilized frequently by researchers.But a devastating drought that started two years ago, plus massive thefts of equipment (ranging from air conditioners to computers, plumbing and even electrical wiring), plus a failed electrical and public water supply, have all combined to threaten the Garden’s priceless collections.The annual botanical garden budget has been slashed to a mere $500 per year, which has forced staff to rely on innovative conservation solutions which include crowd funding to pay for rainwater cisterns, as well as volunteer programs in which participants contribute not only labor, but irrigation water they bring from home.As Venezuela’s government grows increasingly corrupt and incompetent, and as the national economy spirals out of control with hyperinflation topping 1.7 million percent in 2018, the botanical garden’s curators have no ready answers as to how to go about preserving the rare plants they tend on into the future. The Botanical Garden of Caracas, past and present: Seen in the glowing-green banner image at the top of this webpage as it once appeared, and above dry and desiccated as it looks today, is a portion of the Palmetum collection, formerly renowned for its 4,000 specimens and 250 species of palm and orchid, mostly from Latin America. Image by Jeanfreddy Gutiérrez Torres. Banner image by Alejandro Matheus CC BY-SA 3.0.Without water, life itself is impossible: the staff of the Botanical Garden of Caracas has labored against this natural edict for more than two years, as the UNESCO World Heritage Site struggles to keep its precious international plant collection alive against severe drought, a failed city electrical and water supply, and amidst one of the worst humanitarian emergencies ever endured by a Latin American nation.The Garden, in Spanish known as the Jardín Botánico de Caracas, is part of the Universidad Central de Venezuela, Central University of Venezuela, campus, and was declared a World Heritage Site in 2000. At its height, the Garden conserved more than 2,500 species corresponding to roughly 200 botanical families, of which 50 percent were endemic to Venezuela, with the rest coming from Central America, Africa, India and other parts of Asia and South America. Its Palmetum was renowned for having one of the finest collections of palms in Latin America, housing some 4,000 specimens of about 250 species.But year-by-year, day-by-day, this natural treasure house has become increasingly impoverished, with many exotic plants, dozens of native and endemic species such as orchids and palms dead or dying due to a lack of irrigation, or overrun by grasses.The gardens’ largest lake, constructed in the shape of Venezuela and covered in immense flowering water lilies, was half emptied by July of 2018, according to Reuters. Dead is one of the lake’s most prized and celebrated species, the giant 2.4-meter (8 feet) wide, Santa Cruz water lily (Victoria amazonica), so big and buoyant it can support a child’s weight.Thousands of liters of water are regularly transported, typically by hand, to keep lagoon plants alive, though many have died. Image by Jeanfreddy Gutiérrez Torres.A portion of the Venezuela Lagoon as it appeared before the nation’s economic crisis, and before the Jardín Botanico de la Caracas fell on hard times. Image by Warairarepano & Guaicaipuro CC0.A long, grinding crisisThe garden’s decline began well before the current Venezuelan economic crisis. The El Niño drought of 2010 and the invasion of the giant African snail seriously impacted this urban oasis, located near the center of the city of Caracas beside the Francisco Fajardo Highway. But those crises were a mere prequel to the current dysfunctionality now suffered by the facility according to its director, Jan Tillett, a Venezuelan agronomist who has worked at the Garden for 16 years.Founded in 1945 and opened to the public in 1958, the Botanical Garden of Caracas occupies 70 hectares (173 acres), with its value greatly enhanced by the Henri Pittier Library with its 6,000 volumes, and by the National Herbarium — all of these holdings are administered by the National Botanical Institute of Venezuela Foundation.These day, the staff of all three entities are crammed into common spaces because their office complexes lack basic services. As the Venezuelan economic crisis deepened in 2017, a wave of robberies deprived the Garden’s facilities of their air conditioners, water pumps, refrigerators, computers and other important tools, leaving the institution’s infrastructure in a precarious condition. That year the Venezuelan National Guard was ordered to withdraw its protection from the Garden and many surrounding Caracas neighborhoods in order to face the massive citizen protests against the controversial and notoriously corrupt government of Nicolás Maduro who was elected president in 2013.At the time, Garden officials made 21 formal complaints to authorities and pleaded for help, to no avail. “Everything was stolen,” Tillett laments. “Bilge pumps, clippers, hoses, a power plant, and even the ceilings, but the police did nothing.” Petty thefts have continued to occur daily.There is virtually no money available with which to replace the losses. The Garden received an operating budget for 2019 totaling 3 million bolivars, the equivalent of 500 dollars. Meanwhile, bureaucratic breakdowns have become so severe that the elapsed time between the approval of building permits and the execution of maintenance can be so long that Venezuela’s hyperinflation (1.7 million percent during 2018), can consume all the money before a hand is raised to accomplish a task.Then there are the issues surrounding water. “The last time water entered the [facilities’] pipelines was between January 14 and 16 this year,” laments Tillett.That drastic lack spawned a social media campaign to raise funds to pay for 200 water cisterns to supply vital water to aquatic plant lagoons and to perform manual irrigation. A volunteer program was also created and is coordinated by the garden’s chief researcher, Yaroslavi Espinoza. Volunteers not only do maintenance, they bring water from home in bottles to irrigate plants.As trees have died due to water scarcity, the Garden’s staff have chopped them down, leaving stumps. Image by Jeanfreddy Gutiérrez Torres.The lush Jardin Botanico Caracas grounds as they once appeared before being ravaged by drought and the deepening Venezuelan economic crisis. Image by ruurmo CC BY-SA 2.0.Lack of water takes its tollDespite these heroic efforts, a visit to the once magnificent Garden is cause for gloom. Near its entrance a large lagoon now sits dry and empty. Nearby, numerous stumps are a reminder of tropical tees felled at death. Other water-stressed trees stand with bare branches, or festooned with dying leaves, surrounded by yellowing grass.The ethnobotanical garden area, which should exhibit plants with medicinal and gastronomic uses, looks like an abandoned farm with dead fruit trees, a common sight these days in the Venezuelan countryside. One small lagoon has been filled up from cisterns and boasts a few aquatic species, but several others stand empty, damaged by recent earth tremors in Caracas. “The scientist in charge of these species has reproduced some of them and taken them to other places so that they do not get lost,” explains the Gardens’ director.But such efforts continue to be undermined. “We lost all the seedlings that were in the main nursery outside the exhibition area, where [thieves] stole the roof, so having their [water] tank full was worthless,” says Tillett. The plants died under a baking tropical sun. The staff tried to reactivate a fifty-year-old deep well, but could raise no water, probably due to the long drought and the theft of electrical wiring that operated water pumps. Since the wave of countrywide blackouts in March of this year, many city pumping stations have stopped working, making water supply problems even more intractable.Still, all is not lost. Tillett’s team has been able to conserve several species of palms of the genus Cicadas, and pines in the so-called Paleozoic Garden and the Arboretum, where trees tens of meters tall have stayed green thanks to the moist microclimate they themselves generate. Despite everything, the Garden still attracts visitors and lots of birds. “There are parrots, macaws, guacharacas (Ortallis genus) and white herons,” the director says.Daily work in the National Herbarium is ongoing as its curators strive to preserve invaluable botanical samples. Image by Jeanfreddy Gutiérrez Torres.Twenty years of samples waiting to be prepared and filed within the Caracas Botanical Garden herbarium. Image by Jeanfreddy Gutiérrez Torres.Plagued herbarium The National Herbarium has its own unique problems. Its immense botanical collection is being devoured by ladybugs. The lack of a cooling system has imperiled the samples of 450,000 plant species once well protected within the herbarium. As a result, a pest, the cigarette beetle (Lasioderma serricona) now infests almost all the samples of Venezuela’s lichens, fungi, algae and other vegetal biodiversity.The theft of nine air conditioners, dehumidifiers, furniture, shelves and computers forced Dr. Neida Avendaño, Herbarium director since 2017, to get creative. In order to protect samples from infestation, he ordered the storage of each in a plastic bag. At first, paradichlorobenzene mothballs were added to each container, but cheaper naphthalene was later substituted. Unfortunately for the plants, tropical heat and drought evaporate the mothballs quickly, forcing Avendaño and researcher Dr. Omaira Hokche to check and replenish the bags often, in a tedious and frustrating daily routine.Avendaño underscores the critical importance of protecting the museum research collection’s 750 typus and paratypus (a specimen of an organism that helps define the scientific name of a species and other taxon characteristics), along with 520 historical samples, some from the 17th century.The collection “has historical, genetic and scientific importance,” says Avendaño. “I worked here twenty years ago in research. Botanists, doctors and chefs come [to the herbarium] to request samples to investigate.” But even with the help of a private donation from a German researcher, there are still 20 years-worth of stacked samples awaiting protection.In the failed state of Venezuela, getting outside help for one of the world’s great botanical collections has been complicated and slowed by the nation’s cumbersome bureaucratic processes. Avendaño waits patiently in hope of assistance from the international scientific community, but she worries that help will not come. “I think they really do not believe that we work without water, without electricity, without toilets, building a database [working from home] with our [own personal] computers,” she concludes.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.Neida Avendaño, director of the National Herbarium, checks precious botanical samples every day. Image by Jeanfreddy Gutiérrez Torres.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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Microplastic waste fouls up beaches on Sri Lanka’s southern tourism coast

first_imgMicroplastics Beaches along Sri Lanka’s southern coast, a tourism hotspot, are increasingly being contaminated with microplastic pollution, a survey has found.The study found that 60 percent of sand samples and 70 percent of surface water samples from 10 survey sites contained an abundance of microplastics up to 4.5 millimeters (0.18 inches) in size.The researchers have called for meticulous waste management initiatives, regulating the use of plastics, and further studies to ascertain the magnitude of the pollution caused by plastic waste. Sri Lanka’s southern coastline is dotted with popular resorts and beaches, but this once pristine landscape hasn’t been spared by the global plastic waste crisis, a study finds.The authors of the paper, published in the Marine Pollution Bulletin, studied 10 locations along a 91-kilometer (57-mile) stretch of the Indian Ocean island’s southern coast to assess the magnitude of the problem.They found that 60 percent of the sand samples and 70 percent of the surface water samples they collected contained an abundance of microplastics, or MPs, compounding the environmental pressure on a coastline ravaged by the 2004 tsunami and constantly battling against coastal erosion.The problem is just the tip of the iceberg, says lead author J.  Bimali Koongolla, a marine scientist at the  University of Ruhuna in Sri Lanka.“Microplastic waste is becoming a serious environmental problem in Sri Lanka, once considered an island state with unblemished pristine beaches,” she told Mongabay. “The seas are getting contaminated, and beyond environmental, this poses a severe health hazard as it impacts food chains.”She attributed the rising levels of microplastics in the seas and beaches to be poor waste management and an inability to break away from age-old littering practices.“The use of plastics is increasing non-biodegradable waste production. These plastics eventually get washed into the seas, polluting the very environment [local communities] depend on for sustenance,” Koongolla said.The sand sampling sites for the study on the southern coast of Sri Lanka. Image by Earth View Maps.Recreational beaches under threatThe sites worst affected by plastic pollution were Dondra, Weligama and Ambalangoda, all in Southern province, due to significant recreational activity as well as fishing.While recreational beaches had high levels of MPs, more remote beaches and fishing ports also exhibited large amounts of microplastic pollution as well as plastic debris, the researchers found.The size of MPs in surface water and beaches ranged from 1.5 to 2.5 millimeters (0.06 to 0.1 inches) and 3 to 4.5 millimeters (0.12 to 0.18 inches), respectively. Most were identified as polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), with some polystyrene (PS) foam being also being discovered at a few sites.Researchers found an overall higher abundance of MPs on the beaches than in the waters, while samples from the ports indicated higher levels of MP pollution in the surface water.When sediments were analyzed, the popular and congested recreational beaches appeared to have more microplastic litter. The busy public beach of Weligama was the most polluted by count (157 microplastic items per square meter) as well as weight (5.98 grams per square meter).Though busy recreational beaches like Weligama are cleaned routinely, the process only removes the larger debris and risks burying microplastics even deeper in the sand.The fishing ports in Dondra and Ambalangoda also showed high concentration of MPs by count and weight in the surface water. “This is due to high levels of gear handling and other activities,” Koongolla said.She added that at the three sites classified as remote beaches, there was little or no polystyrene found, and only one of them yielded high counts of MPs in the sand. “This is largely due to storm activity depositing water-borne and land-based debris via runoff,” Koongolla said.Researcher J. Bimali Koongolla conducts a beach survey near the Dondra Harbor. Image courtesy of Kasun Indika.Role of riversKoongolla said that while tourism had flourished in Sri Lanka’s south, good waste management practices have not been introduced.“South has traditionally had a high density of tourist activity, along its coast,” she said. “While we cannot confirm if any MP samples we collected originated in the sea from fisheries or commercial vessels or on land, we can confirm that these beaches are used heavily due to increased tourist activity and tend to leave a lot of visible plastic debris.”Researchers also say there is a dire need to identify the sources of microplastic pollution. This includes determining the role of rivers in transporting MPs into the ocean. “Once we narrow down the localities that are particularly polluting, it is easier to introduce waste management initiatives and to take other preventive action. These can vary from restriction of single-use plastics to having better recycling centers,” Koongolla said.The study came out just before findings from a 2018 survey — commissioned by the National Aquatic Resources Agency (NARA) and supported by Norway’s Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and carried out on the Norwegian research vessel Fridtjof Nansen — were published in January.The survey, the first of its kind in 40 years, found that nearly four-fifths of small pieces of the plastic waste in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters arrived via rivers and canals, said Terney Pradeep Kumara, general manager of the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA).“This means only about one fifth of waste is sea-originated microsplastic wastage, caused by fishermen dumping plastic in mid-sea and oil spills from ships,” said Kumara, also a co-author of the southern coastal study.Following the Nansen survey, Kumara called for collective and effective waste management mechanisms and stricter laws to prevent extensive marine pollution.The polluted Dondra Harbor, a place that converges communities and faiths, but now also microplastic waste. Image courtesy of J. Bimali Koongolla.Further studies neededThe team of researchers point to the absence of sufficient coastal studies as a key reason for selecting the south, a top tourist destination.So far, only two studies have looked at microplastic pollution in the island’s coastal regions. A 2018 study looked at three beaches in Western province, while a 2016 study focused on the north coast.Koongolla said this new study offers only a glimpse of the microplastic problem in Sri Lanka. Ideally, she said, research should be conducted over different seasons and across several years. Sampling volumes should also be much larger to improve the quality of the data, she said.Banner image of a harbor in southern Sri Lanka studded with microplastics, an emerging environmental problem in the Indian Ocean island, once known for its pristine beaches, courtesy of J. Bimali Koongolla.Citation:Koongolla, J. B., Andrady, A. L, Terney Pradeep Kumara, P. B., & Gangabadage, C. S. (2018). Evidence of microplastics pollution in coastal beaches and waters in southern Sri Lanka. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 137, 277-284. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2018.10.031 Article published by dilrukshicenter_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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New toolkit identifies multiple species from environmental DNA

first_imgResearchers have developed a DNA analysis toolkit designed to speed the identification of the multiple species in a biological community by analyzing environmental DNA from a sample of water or soil.To confirm the presence of a species at a site, the tool compares its genetic barcode (short DNA sequence) to barcodes of known species in one of several reference databases.The toolkit’s advantage is its ability to quickly process many barcode sequences, at multiple analysis locations on the gene, that enable it to identify the species of the DNA sequences of many organisms at the same time. Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and CALeDNA have developed a toolkit designed to quickly identify the species in a biological community by simultaneously analyzing the environmental DNA (eDNA) from multiple species from a single analysis of a sample of water or soil. Their aim is to eliminate the need for researchers to sort and process multiple eDNA sequences independently, thus saving time and money.They published a description of the open-source software tool, called the Anacapa Toolkit, as well as results of a field test in the kelp forests off southern California.Kelp forest at Anacapa Island off southern California. Image by Dana Roeber Murray via Flickr. CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0.eDNA is the genetic material shed by animals and plants into the surrounding ecosystem, usually water or soil, through their skin, scales, feces or pollen. eDNA has proved increasingly useful for identifying particularly aquatic species found at a given site. A single one-liter (one quart) sample of water can contain eDNA for many species and is a non-invasive means of collecting data.The software toolkit is a series of modules that can analyze DNA sequences from multiple locations (loci) on the genes extracted from the eDNA in the sample and compare them to a customized reference database of sequences of known species. It produces a spreadsheet of all the species found in the sample for which it has a known reference sequence.Lead author Emily Curd said the outputs of eDNA research in the Anacapa toolkit are standardized and eliminate many of the human steps and potential missteps that previous tools include. “When you compare our results against previous studies, we do a lot better capturing the biodiversity that’s out there,” Curd said in a statement.Scientists use genetic barcoding, analyses of short DNA sequences from a specific point on the gene, to identify a species by comparing its barcode to a database of known barcodes. Research teams have since developed metabarcording analyses that allow them to analyze the barcodes of many species at the same time and determine which species are present in the sample.A treefish, a California native, at Anacapa Island. eDNA from water samples allow researchers to detect the presence of individual species from the scales or skin they leave behind, even if the animal is no longer in the area. Image by Dana Roeber Murray via Flickr. CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0.In developing the new tool, the researchers recognized three main challenges to accurately and reliably identifying species using eDNA:eDNA studies often sequence multiple loci on the genes of a given sample because plants, fungi, and various animal species are each best detected using different loci, but researchers currently must process each of these independently;a lack of curated reference databases for all of the loci the researchers want to analyze for all the potential species in a water or soil sample of a given site hinders identification;current metabarcode pipelines (a series of steps, or workflow) often discard large portions of sequence data that are potentially useful for identifying the taxon (e.g. species) of a sequence that doesn’t fully align with reference sequences.To use the toolkit, a research team first collects a water or soil sample and extracts DNA from it using standard techniques that produce genetic sequences of the various life forms in the sample.Marine invertebrates of California’s Channel Islands. The toolkit analyzes the eDNA collected in water samples of the multiple organisms that form a biological community. Image by Ed Bierman, CC 2.0.“It’s amazing how sensitive this technique is,” said co-author Zack Gold, referring to the team’s experience that DNA from fewer than a few dozen cells is enough to detect an organism’s presence in a sample.The users upload these genetic sequences of yet-unknown species to the toolkit, which compares them to a genetic reference library of sequences with known identities. This comparison allows the tool to process the barcode sequences from the eDNA in the sample and identify the species associated with each barcode.The tool customizes the reference database for each analysis using information that the research team provides on the organisms that might be in their sample.The researchers do this by inputting primers for species or higher taxa of interest. A primer is a short nucleic acid (DNA or RNA) sequence from a particular location on the gene that provides a starting point for DNA amplification and synthesis. Synthesis of this existing strand of nucleotides primes, or provides a foundation for, synthesizing the DNA collected in the study sample.The toolkit’s Creating Reference libraries Using eXisting tools (CRUX) module generates custom reference databases based on these user-defined primers by querying public databases, such as GenBank and the European Molecular Biology Lab (EMBL) nucleotide database, to find known sequences for the organisms associated with the user’s selected primers.The toolkit, which is freely available, offers access to several reference databases to complement the user-customized reference database, and users can add their own sequences to their database.The toolkit’s advantage is its ability to quickly process the many barcode sequences, at multiple analysis locations on the gene (multiple loci), that allow it to identify the species of the DNA sequences of many organisms at the same time.Environmental DNA is often dilute or partially degraded, so the toolkit trims and processes sequences, eliminating poor-quality sections and separating sequence files from the various loci within each sample. It categorizes the sequence files by quality, and its classifier identifies the species associated with each sequence by comparing them to the sequences with known identities in the reference database. It produces a spreadsheet of sequences and species, plus reports on the identification.The researchers tested the toolkit on 30 samples of seawater from southern California’s kelp forests and found it captured a greater diversity of sequences and species than published reference databases.The taxonomic assignments (identifications) from the research team’s test samples collected from seawater off southern California, highlighting the Anacapa Island kelp forest vertebrate families identified from the 12S metabarcodes (primers). Families in bold are featured in the photographs. Image is Figure 2 of Curd et al (2019).Although all components of the toolkit are open and available to the public, researchers wanting to use the toolkit must have sufficient DNA analysis experience to select appropriate primers for their research site and to use standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) techniques to copy and extract DNA to produce the sequences that they input into the toolkit.Gold called the new tool a “really big game-changer,” though he recognized it has limitations.Using eDNA, it cannot, for example, determine how many individuals of a particular species are in a certain area, just that a species is present. “It’s not going to replace all of the surveys and monitoring efforts,” Gold said, “but doing an eDNA survey is the most sensitive method to find where species are living.”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 Animals, DNA, Fungi, Monitoring, Oceans, Open-source, Plants, Research, Software, surveys, Technology, Wildtech 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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Amazon indigenous groups feel deserted by Brazil’s public health service

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 Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon People, Controversial, Environment, Environmental Politics, Featured, Forests, Green, Health, Indigenous Culture, Indigenous Cultures, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Public Health, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Rivers, Saving The Amazon, Social Justice, Threats To The Amazon Article published by Glenn Scherercenter_img Until recently, hundreds of Cuban doctors staffed many remote indigenous health facilities in the Brazilian Amazon and around the nation, an initiative funded by the More Doctors program set up by President Dilma Rousseff in 2013.But far-right President Jair Bolsonaro radically restructured the program, and Cuba — calling Bolsonaro’s demands unreasonable — pulled its doctors out.That withdrawal heavily impacted indigenous groups. Of the 372 doctors working within indigenous communities, 301 were Cuban. The Ministry of Health says 354 vacancies have since been filled by Brazilian doctors, but indigenous communities say many new doctors are unwilling to stay long in the remote posts.Bolsonaro has hindered rural health care in other ways: 13,000 indigenous health workers have remained unpaid since February or April, depending on the region, after the Brazilian Minister of Health stopped providing resources to the 8 NGOs contracted to provide health services to 34 Special Sanitary Indigenous Districts. A deadly Amazon bushmaster (Lachesis muta) showing its fangs. Poisonous snakes present one of the greatest health hazards in the Brazilian Amazon, and yet some remote indigenous health centers lack the doctors and antivenom needed to treat snakebite. Image by Dick Culbert licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.Last February, a Mongabay reporting team travelled to the Brazilian Amazon, spending time with the remote Sateré-Mawé, documenting their culture and long-time conflict with mining companies and land grabbers. This series looks at new threats imposed on the Sateré and indigenous groups across Brazil as they’re threatened by the ruralist-friendly policies of President Jair Bolsonaro. The trip was funded by the Rainforest Journalism Fund in association with the Pulitzer Center and Mongabay. It was 10 o’clock in the morning when he felt the bite. Now, 20 minutes later, Raimundo, a Sateré indigenous man, lies ill at the foot of a copaiba tree and realizes the great danger he is in. Incapacitated within the vastness of the Amazon rainforest, medical help is many miles and hours away.“He saw [the snake] out of the corner of his eye, not long enough to see it properly, but thought it was a pit viper,” a deadly venomous snake, says his father-in-law.Raimundo lives in the indigenous village of Kuruatuba, within the Andirá-Marau indigenous reserve, on the banks of the Andirá River bordering Pará and Amazonas states. Most days Raimundo is up early, awaiting the first rays of sunlight before immersing himself in the forest, carrying on his back a jamanxim, a woven straw basket.He only returns home after filling the containers in his pack-basket with amapá milk and copaiba oil — fluids tapped from trees native to the Amazon basin, Copaifera and Brosimum, respectively. Copaiba oil is used by the perfume industry as a fixative, and in alternative medicine due to its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Amapá milk is widely utilized regionally to treat gastritis and respiratory problems.But now Raimundo is in trouble, and could soon be dead.A boat used by an Amazon health care team. Image by Matheus Manfredini.Disappearing indigenous rural healthcareThe snakebite incident occurs deep in the forest, just as Raimundo is about to start work. The poison spreads rapidly throughout his body, making it difficult to walk. He realizes that, all alone in the forest, he may die. But, staggering down the path toward home, he is found by a relative. Together they get to the village by late afternoon.Kuruatuba is one of five villages possessing health centers along the upper reaches of the Andirá River. Cuban doctors used to staff these facilities, funded by the More Doctors program set up by the Dilma Rousseff government in 2013.But the program was radically restructured by President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in January, and Cuba pulled its doctors out.Now the only facility staff are nurses and nursing assistants. The center is also short of drugs and doesn’t have snake antivenoms, as these have to be kept refrigerated, and the energy supplied by a diesel generator is intermittent. This is the reality, despite the fact that snakebite is one of the great risks of living in the remote Amazon.The nurses treat Raimundo as best they can. Then he sets off at dark with his father-in-law, a nursing assistant, and a pilot in a fast, motorized canoe on a 10-hour trip downriver to the nearest hospital at the port of Parintins on the Amazon River.He knows he could die on the way.Passengers aboard the ambulancha transporting Raimundo downriver were forced into the water to help move the boat past a fallen tree. Image by Matheus Manfredini.A dangerous journeyThe trip doesn’t go as planned. It’s dangerous to travel at night along Amazon rivers, something only done in emergencies.The boat hits a submerged obstacle, capsizes and sinks. The men struggle ashore. While the pilot and nursing assistant set out for help in Vila Nova, the nearest village, Raimundo and his father-in-law wait in the dark on the riverbank. They’re cold, bitten by mosquitoes and fearful of further encounters with poisonous snakes.“At this time of year, when the river is in flood, snakes generally stay on river banks at night,” explains the father-in-law. Raimundo feels his odds of survival sinking.Meanwhile, the pilot and nursing assistant make slow progress. There’s no path by the river, so they tread through the shallows, and swim when the water gets too deep. They spot another pit viper, this one in the water, but luckily escape without accident.They reach Vila Nova at 6am, then rush upstream by motorized canoe to rescue Raimundo. He’s still alive. They take him to another health center, where he’s transferred to a faster boat, an ambulancha, for transport to Parintins. But even then, the journey isn’t easy; passengers must at one point jump in the water and push the boat over a fallen tree.Finally, the ambulancha arrives at the hospital. It is mid-afternoon, almost 30 hours since Raimundo was bitten.Raimundo arrived at the hospital after a harrowing journey by boat through the Brazilian Amazon. It remains to be seen if the long delay before treatment will leave him permanently disabled. Image by Matheus Manfredini.Lack of healthcare can lead to disability — and self-sufficiencyRaimundo survives, but his chances of making a full recovery are remote. “In these cases, even when patients don’t die, they usually have to have a limb amputated or lose the use of a limb,” explains Daniel dos Santos, the pilot of the motorized canoe that took Raimundo on the first leg of his journey from Vila Nova to Parintins.This is what happened to Sônia Miquiles, who lives in Campo Branco, a small village on the banks of the Mariaquã River outside the boundaries of the Andirá-Marau indigenous reserve. While working away from her village at a subsistence farm plot, Sonia was bitten by a bushmaster, one of the Amazon’s deadliest snakes. She spent two months in hospital in Parintins. Against the odds, she survived, but her right hand was permanently paralysed.In the face of her daunting disability, Sonia taught herself ingenious methods for carrying out daily activities with one hand.Midwife Sonia Miquiles shows her hand, which was paralyzed due to a bushmaster snakebite. Image by Matheus Manfredini.It was with this hand that she personally birthed Christopher, the youngest of her children. As she worked the village’s plot early one morning, the infant’s time to be born arrived. When her contractions intensified, Sonia crouched down, and pulled the baby out of her own womb, cut the umbilical cord, then walked back to the village — her sixth child in her arms.Sonia’s mother had helped her when her first child was born, and she taught Sonia indigenous tricks for facilitating childbirth. Employing this ancient knowledge, Sonia was able to deliver her other children on her own.Her fame as a midwife grew and over the years she helped many other babies — the children of nieces, neighbors, daughters-in-law and others — to enter the world. Sonia explains a few techniques: sometimes she needs to invert the baby in the womb so that its head faces down, ready to arrive. She uses warm water to gently massage a pregnant woman’s belly, then it’s just a matter of waiting, she says. “Doctors don’t know any more how to turn a baby in the womb and they don’t like waiting.” This is why so many women must have C-sections, she maintains.Sonia doesn’t need doctors for childbirth, but she fears her children will die in a health emergency.“There is no health post here, no transport.… If someone gets seriously ill or has an accident, all that can save them is good luck,” she laments.Erasmo Batista de Oliveira, president of an indigenous health association active in the upper Andirá River basin. Image by Matheus Manfredini.Bolsonaro policies impacting indigenous medical careAccording to Erasmo Batista de Oliveira, president of an indigenous health association active in the upper Andirá River, the dire healthcare situation in rural areas isn’t much different in the five villages that possess heath centers. “With the withdrawal of the Cuban doctors, it’s become very difficult to help patients,” he says.The Cubans left the More Doctors program in November of last year when president-elect Bolsonaro proposed changes to the healthcare program that Cuba refused to accept. The ending of the program was widely expected, because Bolosnaro had frequently declared during his presidential campaign that he would “expel” the doctors, whom he denounced as “communist propaganda agents.” The Cuban health ministry says that, once in office, Bolsonaro questioned the qualifications of their doctors, demanding that they all acquire Brazilian diplomas and then be contracted individually — conditions that he must have known would be unacceptable to Havana.Indigenous villages felt the impact immediately. Of the 372 doctors working within indigenous communities, 301 were Cuban. According to the Ministry of Health, 354 vacancies have now been filled by Brazilians. But the Sateré-Mawé of the upper Andirá River say this isn’t their experience, as no doctors have filled their vacant health posts.Even when Brazilian doctors take up the jobs, they find it hard to adapt to the tough Amazonian way of life. As a result, many indigenous people say that the availability of care has declined. “The Brazilian doctors who replace the Cubans won’t stay here,” says Batista de Oliveira.“The Cubans came and spent 15 to 20 days here, without leaving,” explains Daniel dos Santos, who has provided transport for patients and health professionals for eight years. The Cubans “would go out of their way, at any time of day or night, to help a sick person. The Brazilian doctors who came to replace them spend two or three days here and became desperate to leave.”Daniel is one of 13,000 indigenous health workers who have remained unpaid since February or April, depending on the region, after the Brazilian Minister of Health, Luiz Henrique Mendetta, stopped providing resources to the eight civil society organizations contracted to provide health services to 34 Special Sanitary Indigenous Districts (DSEIs). For a few health workers, the budget freeze occurred back in October 2018.According to the health workers, along with their inability to pay their employees’ wages, some DSEIs don’t have the money for medication, fuel, medical tests, vaccinations and patient transport.The minister justified the drastic step of freezing resources by making vague unsubstantiated references to “corruption,” claiming that a great deal of money was spent on indigenous health, compared with the outlay on the rest of the Brazilian population, and that the system had to be restructured.As a result, it is alleged that at least three children died in the space of 11 days in April due to a lack of adequate care inside the Xingu Indigenous Park, located in Mato Grosso state, according to Repórter Brasil. In a press release, the Catholic Church’s Indigenous Council (CIMI) blamed Bolsonaro directly for the deaths, saying that it was unacceptable, in the name of policy reformulation, to allow more indigenous people to die — this being the minority group who, throughout the country’s history, had suffered most from the Brazilian state’s genocidal policies.On 1 August, the health ministry finally launched a new program to replace More Doctors; the ministry says it will be contracting 18,000 doctors,13,000 of whom will be sent to inaccessible municipal districts.Some analysts say the loss of the Cuban doctors and freezing of funds are part of a government plan to dismantle existing federal indigenous healthcare programs, and point to several pieces of evidence:Since taking office, minister Mandetta has pressed for the decentralization of indigenous healthcare. As part of that process, he initially planned to shut down SESAI (The Special Secretariat for Indigenous Health), forcing municipalities to take on the responsibility for indigenous healthcare in their areas.However, he withdrew this plan after more than 30 indigenous protests erupted in different parts of the country. But, to date, Mandetta has only partly fulfilled his promise to keep SESAI alive. Decree 9,795, issued by Bolsonaro in May, restructured the body, abolishing its democratic and participatory nature.Mandetta critics note that he is a ruralist, part of the lobbying group that has historically pushed for rural elites to take over indigenous lands in order to profit from expanded agribusiness and mining. Those critics point out that the loss of healthcare services weakens indigenous communities, potentially forcing them to rely on favors from companies and landowners for services that they should have as a right.“What we are seeing is a return to the policies of assimilation of the 1960s and 1970s, when the policy was to dismantle services, leaving these people in an extremely vulnerable situation, to make it easier to open up indigenous territory to mining,” says Roberto Liebgott, CIMI’s Southern Region coordinator.Dézio Barros operates a commercial boat service running between the town of Parintins and the Sateré-Mawé reserve. Image by Matheus Manfredini.Reshuffling healthcare agencies and prioritiesCurrently, Bolsonaro adiminstration officials are touting the “integration” of SESAI with the SUS, Brazil’s national health system. As part of this integration, the responsibilities of the federal indigenous health service would potentially be handed over to municipal governments, which, according to many analysts, would cause indigenous needs to be deprioritized over other populations.The Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (Apib), one of Brazil’s leading indigenous rights organizations, believes that placing SESAI under SUS, is a government strategy for forcing municipalization of healthcare.As policy attacks by the president and minister against the indigenous health service continue, the quality of already precarious medical assistance provided to indigenous people appears to be worsening.Dézio Barros, who runs a commercial boat service from Parintins to the Sateré-Mawé reserve, is in daily contact with indigenous people. He says he has witnessed desperate situations in recent months: “Imagine what it means to remove doctors from areas like this one, where a patient has to travel in a tiny riverboat, sitting in the sun and rain for 15 hours, until he or she reaches us and then has to face a journey of at least another 15 hours to get to a city.”So it is that Raimundo’s ordeal — requiring nearly 30 hours to reach a hospital for critical care — is by no means exceptional. Instead it appears to be emblematic of unfolding Bolsonaro government policies.Health center in Vila Nova village. Remote medical facilities that serve indigenous communities were once staffed by Cuban doctors, but the far-right Bolsonaro administration was suspicious of their “Communist” influence and revamped the system causing Cuba to withdraw its physicians. Image by Matheus Manfredini.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. 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Germany cuts $39.5 million in environmental funding to Brazil

first_imgGermany has announced plans to withdraw some €35 million (US $39.5 million) to Brazil due to the country’s lack of commitment to curbing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest shown by the administration of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.The funding loss will impact environmental projects in the Amazon, Atlantic Forest and Cerrado biomes.The cut will not, however, impact the Amazon Fund — a pool of some $87 million provided to Brazil each year by developed nations, especially Norway and Germany — to finance a variety of programs aimed at halting deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.Some experts have expressed concern that Germany’s $39.5 million cut could cause other developed nations to withdraw Brazil funding, and even threaten the Amazon Fund, or the ratification of the recently concluded EU/Mercosur Latin American trade agreement. A wide range of environmental and conservation projects in Brazil are at stake after the government of Germany suspended funds to the country amid the report of alarming rises in monthly Amazon deforestation rates and controversial policies adopted by the administration of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.On August 10, German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze reportedly announced Germany’s plans to withdraw some €35 million (US $39.5 million) to Brazil due to the Latin American country’s lack of commitment to curbing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest.“The policy of the Brazilian government in the Amazon raises doubts as to whether a consistent reduction of deforestation rates is still being pursued,” Schulze told the Tagesspiegel newspaper.Germany’s move came a week after the head of the Brazilian National Institute of Space Research (INPE), Ricardo Magnus Osório Galvão, was fired, raising concerns over the future of an institution recognized nationally and internationally for its cutting-edge satellite-imaging and deforestation monitoring program.The Bolsonaro administration has intensely criticized deforestation data released by INPE showing a 2019 spike in cleared area. In July, INPE issued an alert identifying deforestation and degradation totaling some 2,072 square kilometers (800 square miles) for the month of June in Legal Amazonia — a federal designation that includes all or parts of nine Brazilian states — detected by DETER, its real-time detection system. A 2018-2019 month-to-month comparison showed Brazil’s Amazonian deforestation in June 2019 was 88 percent greater than for the same month in 2018, while deforestation in July 2019 was 278 percent higher than July 2018.Bolsonaro immediately reacted to Germany’s announcement of funding cuts, saying that Brazil doesn’t need German funding to finance conservation projects in the country. “They can use this money as they see fit. Brazil doesn’t need it,” Bolsonaro told journalists in Brasilia on Sunday.But experts contacted for this story told Mongabay that Bolsonaro’s statements are not accurate, as Brazil has relied for decades on funding from Germany and other countries to finance environmental projects, given the South American country’s budget shortfalls.Giant waterlily (Victoria amazonica). Deforestation threatens terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.The lost German funding not only helped protect the Amazon region, but also financed conservation projects in the Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Forest) and Cerrado savanna biomes, as well as other environmental initiatives such as promoting carbon markets and curbing carbon emissions, in addition to projects supporting indigenous peoples and traditional communities.“Germany’s decision shows that they are really concerned about environmental policies… They do not want to contribute to a government that does not have a clear and objective policy and does not show itself to be committed to reducing deforestation and to good environmental management,” Adriana Ramos, coordinator of the policy program for the Brazilian NGO Socio-environmental Institute (ISA), told Mongabay.“Public budget resources for the implementation of environmental public policies are very scarce. So many programs and initiatives lose out [due to the loss of] these [German] resources, including programs that benefit the Atlantic Forest and Cerrado [biomes] and this will certainly contribute to an environmental vulnerability, illegal actions, and to halting the country’s progress in environmental policies,” explained Ramos, who also represents The Climate Observatory, an NGO.Aerial view of Brazilian Cerrado savanna showing the line where deforestation meets native vegetation. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.Knock-on effects?In addition to the lost $39.5 million, the German government currently contributes annually to the Amazon Fund — a pool of some $87 million provided to Brazil each year by developed nations, especially Norway and Germany — to finance a variety of programs aimed at halting deforestation. The Amazon Fund won’t be affected by the just announced cuts, according to the German Environment Ministry.However, the future of the Amazon Fund was recently put in play after Brazilian Environment Minister, Ricardo Salles, on 17 May, unilaterally announced an overhaul of the Fund’s administrative rules due to alleged irregularities amounting to $1.2 billion in spending by NGOs in past years; Salles provided no evidence to back up his charges. His statements were denied by European nations; both Germany and Norway complained that their governments were not notified of the rule changes, nor have they approved them.Brazil’s Ministry of Environment did not respond to requests for comment regarding the future of projects affected by Germany’s cuts and also about the Amazon Fund as of the time of publication.Paulo Barreto, a senior researcher at Brazilian NGO Imazon, said that Germany’s $39.5 million cut could trigger a knock-on effect, leading not only to a potential reduction in Germany’s contributions to the Amazon Fund, but also possibly influencing the funding flowing from other countries, including Norway.“The situation worsened a lot with INPE’s head being sacked and [due to] other issues. Germany’s decision itself is an indication that things got worse. In addition to specific projects, it also further degrades the image and reputation of Brazil in this area, and this may have consequences for the Amazon Fund and other things that Brazil is willing to do, including the EU-Mercosur [Latin American economic bloc] trade agreement [ratification],” Barreto said.“Brazil signed the EU-Mercosur Agreement and Germany was one of the main supporters of that agreement. This type of Brazilian behavior will make it difficult to approve the [trade] agreement… given the increase of representatives in the European Parliament with environmental concerns,” Barreto concluded.Banner image caption: Satellite image from Google Earth of Brazilian Amazon rainforest in the state of Amazonas.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. 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 Article published by Karla Mendescenter_img Amazon Biodiversity, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon Logging, Controversial, Corruption, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Featured, Forests, Green, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforest Logging, Rainforests, Saving The Amazon, Threats To The Amazon, Tropical Deforestation last_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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