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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Newly described giant extinct penguin and parrot once lived in New Zealand

first_imgAnimals, Birds, Environment, Extinction, Forests, Fossils, Green, Research, Wildlife 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 Paleontologists have found fossils of two extinct giant birds in New Zealand: an enormous penguin that would have been nearly as tall as an average adult human, and the largest parrot ever known to have existed.The new species of extinct giant penguin, formally named Crossvallia waiparensis, was described from leg bones found at the Waipara Greensand fossil site in the North Canterbury region in 2018.The extinct parrot, Heracles inexpectatus, was likely double the size of the previously largest known parrot species, the kakapo. The fossils of the parrot were first recovered from near St. Bathans in Central Otago in 2008. Millions of years ago, giant birds roamed ancient New Zealand. There was the moa, an extinct flightless bird, thought to weigh up to 230 kilogram (510 pounds). Then there was the now-extinct Haast’s eagle, the largest eagle known to have ever lived, as well as several species of extinct giant penguins like the Kumimanu biceae.Now, paleontologists have found fossils of two more extinct giant birds in New Zealand: an enormous penguin that would have been nearly as tall as an average adult human, and a parrot that would have been the largest known parrot to have ever existed. Researchers have described both species in two separate studies published this month.Giant penguinThe new species of extinct giant penguin, formally named Crossvallia waiparensis, was described from leg bones found at the Waipara Greensand fossil site in the North Canterbury region in 2018. The penguin would have lived during the Paleocene epoch, or between 66 million and 56 million years ago, the researchers say in a new study.From the length of the leg bones, they also conclude that the bird would have been 1.6 meters (5 feet, 3 inches) tall and would have weighed around 80 kilograms (176 pounds). For comparison, an emperor penguin, the tallest and heaviest of living penguin species, can reach heights of up to 1.3 meters (4 feet, 3 inches) and weigh up to 45 kilograms (99 pounds).The extinct species of giant penguin Crossvallia waiparensis would have been nearly as tall as an average adult human. Image courtesy of Canterbury Museum.The closest relative of C. waiparensis is not another penguin from New Zealand, but a Paleocene penguin species C. unienwillia, described from a fossilized partial skeleton recovered from the Cross Valley in Antarctica in 2000, the researchers conclude.“When the Crossvallia species were alive, New Zealand and Antarctica were very different from today — Antarctica was covered in forest and both had much warmer climates,” Paul Scofield, co-author of the study and senior curator at Canterbury Museum, said in a statement.The Waipara Greensand site has been a gold mine for extinct penguin fossils. C. waiparensis is the fifth ancient penguin species to be described from fossils found there, and “there’s more to come, too,” said Gerald Mayr, co-author of the study and a paleontologist at the Senckenberg Natural History Museum in Frankfurt. “More fossils which we think represent new species are still awaiting description.”World’s largest known parrotUntil recently, the kakapo, a flightless, critically endangered parrot in New Zealand, was the largest known parrot in the world. But the newly described species of extinct parrot Heracles inexpectatus, named after the hero of Greek mythology, was likely double its size, researchers say in another study published earlier this month.H. inexpectatus would have weighed around 7 kilograms (15 pounds) and reached a height of about 1 meter (3 feet, 3 inches). It also likely had a massive beak that it may have used to “crack wide open anything it fancied … perhaps even other parrots,” Michael Archer, co-author of the study and paleontologist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, said in a statement.An artist’s rendering of the extinct species of giant parrot Heracles inexpectatus. Image by Brian Choo/Flinders University.The fossils of the giant parrot were first recovered from near St. Bathans in Central Otago, New Zealand, in 2008. For a long time, the researchers thought the bones belonged to an extinct species of eagle. But after further analysis, they concluded that the fossils were from a parrot species that had lived around 19 million years ago.“New Zealand is well known for its giant birds,” said Trevor Worthy, lead author of the study and an associate professor at Flinders University in Adelaide. “Not only moa dominated avifaunas, but giant geese and adzebills shared the forest floor, while a giant eagle ruled the skies. But until now, no-one has ever found an extinct giant parrot — anywhere.”Graphic showing the Heracles inexpectatus, right, in silhouette next to an average-height person and a common magpie. Image by Paul Scofield/Canterbury Museum.Citations:Mayr, G., De Pietri V. L., Love, L., Mannering, A., & Scofield, R. P. (2019) Leg bones of a new penguin species from the Waipara Greensand add to the diversity of very large-sized Sphenisciformes in the Paleocene of New Zealand. Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology. doi: 10.1080/03115518.2019.1641619Worthy, T. H., Hand, S. J., Archer, M., Scofield, R. P., & De Pietri, V. L. (2019). Evidence for a giant parrot from the Early Miocene of New Zealand. Biology letters, 15(8), 20190467. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2019.0467last_img read more

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Connecting an island: Traveling the Pan Borneo Highway

first_imgThe Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah are in the midst of building more than 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) of the Pan Borneo Highway.The goal is to boost the states’ economies and connect them with the Indonesian provinces on the island of Borneo as part of the Trans Borneo Highway.Advocates of the highway, including many politicians, say the upgraded, widened and in some places entirely new stretches of highway will link markets and provide a jolt to the promising tourism sector in Malaysian Borneo.But skeptics, including scientists and conservationists, argue that parts of the highway cut through ecologically sensitive areas and that planning prior to construction didn’t adequately account for the damage that construction could cause. This is the first article in our six-part series “Traveling the Pan Borneo Highway.”MIRI, Malaysia — Tucked under the sweep of green that blankets parts of Malaysian Borneo is a unique mix of nature, culture and outdoor adventures matched by few other places in the world. It’s true that in recent decades the country’s two states on the island, Sabah and Sarawak, have suffered significant deforestation, largely for timber and oil palm. But in a single week, a visitor can still scuba dive in the Celebes Sea, camp with Penan hunter-gatherers in the Baram River watershed, boat along the wildlife-rich Kinabatangan River, and trek through untouched primeval forests in Danum Valley and Maliau Basin.But despite those attractions, the tourism industry in these states “has not really flourished,” Malaysia’s federal works minister, Baru Bian, told Mongabay.A stork-billed kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis) along the Kinabatangan River in Sabah. Image by John C. Cannon/Mongabay.Baru sees the lack of “connectivity” between these sites as a brake on both the development of tourism and broader expansion of Borneo’s economies. And judging by the funding that politicians earmarked for the Pan Borneo Highway early in the project’s development — some 27 billion ringgit, or about $6.4 billion — Baru is not alone in his belief that the lack of roads is holding these states back.In 2013, Najib Razak, Malaysia’s prime minister at the time, revived a long-nurtured plan for a Pan Borneo Highway that would connect the two states. The goal at the time was to build more than 2,000 kilometers (1,200 miles) of mostly divided four-lane highway by 2021 to spur a scale-up of tourism and other economic activities. Current projections put the final completion date in 2025. It would also link up with the Trans Borneo Highway, connecting Malaysian Borneo to the Indonesian provinces and Brunei on the world’s third-largest island, with more than 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles) of roadway.last_img read more

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What’s in a name? For Sri Lanka’s newest geckos, a political firestorm

first_imgBiodiversity, Conservation, Endangered Species, Environment, Herps, Lizards, New Species, Research, Species Discovery Article published by dilrukshi Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Researchers recently described six new species of geckos, but the discovery has been overshadowed by controversy over their naming.Nationalist figures accuse the researchers of dishonoring historical heroes by naming the geckos after them, with one group even filing a complaint with the police.The scientific community has risen in support of the researchers, pointing out that naming a new species after an individual is universally considered a badge of honor.For their part, the researchers say the focus should be on the new species, which are so rare and their range so restricted that they should be considered critically endangered. COLOMBO — In 2017, herpetologist Sameera Suranjan Karunarathna and his team of researchers undertook a detailed study of lizards in more than 100 locations across Sri Lanka to record the distribution of different species and study their conservation status.What they didn’t bargain for was an ugly spat over the naming of six new species of geckos discovered as part of the study.The issue has become so politically contentious that an ultra-nationalist politician has challenged the naming exercise in parliament, while a group of Buddhist monks is demanding police action be taken against Karunarathna, who is now the target of an online hate campaign. In the process, little attention is being paid to the discovery of the new species or the threats they face.Cnemaspis gotaimbarai is named after another of in honor of another of Dutugamunu’s loyal warriors, Gotaimbara. The species was discovered from the forested hills of Kokagala in Ampara district, a region of immense archaeological and historical significance. Image courtesy of Majintha Madawala.The new research paper, published in the journal Vertebrate Zoology, records the discovery of six new endemic geckos of the genus Cnemaspis from little-known areas in Sri Lanka. It was expected to be welcome news as Sri Lanka petitions for the protection of its endemic lizards at a global wildlife trade summit taking place in Geneva. But instead of celebrating the latest additions to the island’s remarkable list of unique reptiles, the researchers are now dealing with massive hostility.Two of the new geckos, Cnemaspis nandimithrai and C. gotaimbarai, are named after Nandimithra and Gotaimbara, two legendary fighters from the Ten Giant Warriors who served the ancient Sinhala king Dutugamunu, the island’s ruler from 161 to 137 B.C.E.Cnemaspis nandimithrai is named in honor of Nandimithra, a warrior who served King Dutugamunu more than 2,000 years ago. Legend has it that he moved boulders to build a monastery for Buddhist monks. Image courtesy of Nimantha Abeyrathne.The four other geckos are named in honor of lesser-known heroes from the Uwa-Wellassa Rebellion of 1817-1818, when Sri Lankans rose up against the British colonial power: C. kohukumburai (after Kohukumbure Walawwe Rate Rala), C. hitihami (Meegahapitiye Walawwe Hitihami Mudiyanselage Rate Rala), C. butewai (Butewe Rate Rala), and C. kivulegedarai (Kivulegedara Mohottala).“The paper sought to highlight Sri Lanka as a top global hotspot for herpetofauna diversity and a local center of high endemism,” Karunarathna said. “The six additions we have made seek to underpin the fact that ours is an island of reptilian diversity and high endemism.”But some in the country’s political establishment have sought to seize on the issue to burnish their nationalist credentials ahead of elections later this year, by accusing Karunarathna and his team of dishonoring the historical heroes by naming geckos after them. Wimal Weerawansa, a member of parliament, called the naming decision disgraceful, while an ultra-conservative religious group has complained to the police chief in writing.Cnemaspis kohukumburai was discovered in a forest patch in Kadugannawa, in the central district of Kandy. Image courtesy of Majintha Madawala.Show of supportSri Lanka’s scientific community has rallied behind the researchers, pointing out that naming a new species after someone is a common practice meant to honor the latter. In the case of the six new gecko species, they say, naming them after national heroes is an attempt to perpetuate the memory of the latter and educate the public, and not an effort to undermine their legacy.“It is a well-established practice and there is nothing new in naming species after national heroes,” Mendis Wickramasinghe, a herpetologist who has helped describe more than a hundred new species, told Mongabay. “I have named a snake, Aspidura ravanai, to honor King Ravana and a shrub frog, Pseudophilautus puranappu, in the memory of a national hero, Veera Puran Appu. There is no question of attempting to insult their memory.”An isolated hill forest with scattered granite caves in Maragala, in Monaragala district, is the habitat of Cnemaspis hitihami. Image courtesy of Majintha Madawala.Environment lawyer and naturalist Jagath Gunawardane called the naming of a species after an individual the ultimate honor. In 2013, a shrub frog was named in his honor, Pseudophilautus jagathgunawardanai.In an attempt to quell the controversy, Anusha Gokula Fernando, the director of the department of cultural affairs, issued a statement reiterating that the practice of naming new species in honor of prominent personalities is established tradition.Karunarathna had previously named another species of gecko, Cnemaspis godagedarai, after Godagedara Rate Adikaram, a hero of the Uwa-Wellassa Rebellion. In all, he has described eight new gecko and four lizard species, and is in the process of describing a dozen more.The lush, cool and canopied forest of Bambarabotuwa in Ratnapura district is home to Cnemaspis butewei. Image courtesy of Majintha Madawala.Considered critically endangeredThe new Cnesmaspis species — all “point endemic,” or restricted to a very small geographic range — were recorded from cool, wet, spacious granite caves found within rock outcrops in forests largely undisturbed by human activity. These habitats are scattered in geographically isolated forested hills in the historical Uwa-Wellassa region and the central districts of Kandy and Ratnapura.The geckos, small or medium in size, aren’t just restricted in range but also have limited dispersal capabilities and niche specialization, Karunarathna told Mongabay. These factors, along with the relatively low abundance of the species, should qualify them for a conservation status of critically endangered, the researchers say. They also call for further study of Sri Lanka’s isolated forests, especially in the dry and intermediate zones, for both conservation and in-depth research to inform specific management activities.Kivulegedara Rate Rala played a significant role in the Uwa-Wellassa Rebellion of 1817-1818, for which the researchers chose to honor him by naming Cnemaspis kivulegedarai after him. Image courtesy of Sameera Suranjan Karunarathna.The new discoveries bring Sri Lanka’s Cnemaspis species, known as day geckos because they’re active in the daytime, to 32. The total number of known gecko species in the tropical island is 54, 44 of which are found nowhere else on Earth. Most are restricted to the wet zone; 20 species are considered critically endangered, nine endangered, five vulnerable and four are data deficient.Proposals for protection In April, a study highlighted how rare lizards found only in Sri Lanka are winding up in Europe as part of the illegal trade in exotic wildlife. The publication of the study by the wildlife trade monitoring NGO TRAFFIC came ahead of the 18th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Sri Lanka has put forward a proposal at the summit, currently underway in Geneva, to protect several endemic lizard species from international trade, although they don’t include any day geckos.At home, day geckos face growing pressure on their habitats. Sri Lanka’s forests are shrinking fast, whittled away by human encroachment, primarily for tea and crop farms, and settlements, Karunarathna said.“Other stresses include unplanned infrastructure development and granite mining, forest fires and logging that increase habitat degradation,” he said. “It’s best to fight against these causes than the nomenclature of geckos.”Herpetologist Sameera Suranjan Karunarathna has found himself at the center of a political firestorm after naming six new gecko species after historical figures. Fellow scientists say it’s the ultimate honor to name a species to perpetuate the memory of an individual. Image courtesy of Madhava Botejue.Citation Karunarathna, S. S., Poyarkov, N. A., De Silva, A., Madawala, M., Botejue, M., Gorin, V. A., & Bauer, A. M. (2019). Integrative taxonomy reveals six new species of day geckos of the genus Cnemaspis Strauch, 1887 (Reptilia: Squamata: Gekkonidae) from geographically-isolated hill forests in Sri Lanka. Vertebrate Zoology, 69(3), 247-298. doi:10.26049/VZ69-3-2019-02Image of the isolated rocky forest area of Kudumbigala in Ampara district, where Cnemaspis nandimithrai, one of the six new species of day gecko, was recently discovered. Image courtesy of Majintha Madawala.last_img read more

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‘A green desert’: Mammals take a hit in Colombia’s oil palm plantations

first_imgEditor’s note: William Laurance is a member of Mongabay’s advisory board.Citations:Pardo, L. E., Campbell, M. J., Edwards, W., Clements, G. R., & Laurance, W. F. (2018). Terrestrial mammal responses to oil palm dominated landscapes in Colombia. PLOS ONE, 13(5). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0197539Maddox, T., Priatna, D., Gemita, E., & Salampessy, A. (2007). The conservation of tigers and other wildlife in oil palm plantations. Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. ZSL Conservation Report No. 7. The Zoological Society of London, London. 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 Maria Salazar Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Environment, Interns, Mammals, Palm Oil, Plantations, Research, Tropical Forests, Wildlife Researchers studying oil palm plantations in Colombia found that mammal diversity dropped compared to nearby savanna.Some mammals used plantations for hunting and foraging, but none stayed permanently.With the Colombian government’s pledge to drastically increase its cropland, scientists fear savannas and wetlands could be at threat. As oil palm plantations expand across the world, razing swaths of tropical rainforests in their path, fears about their impact on the environment have also grown. In the plantations of Colombia, a new study has found yet another way they are altering global biodiversity: by impacting the diversity of mammals.“Some species do very well” in oil palm plantations, said Lain Pardo, one of the authors of the study published in the journal PLOS ONE. These include species such as the crab-eating fox (Cerdocyon thous), jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi) and giant anteater (Myrmecophaga tridactyla).“Our results suggest that even within the terrestrial mammals group there is a lot of variability,” Pardo said.Relatively common species, especially small- to medium-sized predators, likely feed on the rodents and other agricultural pests that abound in oil palm plantations. For giant anteaters, their main food source is also a common denizen of plantations. But most other mammals, including larger rodents such as the agouti (Dasyprocta fuliginosa), spiny rat (Proechimys spp.) and paca (Cuniculus paca) struggle to find food and shelter in the monoculture. Scientists found that these species were rarely present in plantations, if at all. And even those that were frequently found within the plantations were only there to forage, returning to the forests to sleep.Camera trap images of a fox, left, and two giant anteaters captured during the study. Image courtesy of Lain Pardo.The researchers undertook the study in oil palm plantations converted from former pasture in Colombia’s Llanos Orientales region, meaning sensitive species such as tapir (Tapirus spp.) and giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus), both listed as vulnerable by the IUCN, had been driven out long ago.The loss of such large mammals may have made the difference in species richness between the plantations and remaining forest fragments less stark than it would have been in a previously untouched area, according to the study. Scientists only detected puma (Puma concolor), tayra (Eira barbara), coati (Nasua nasua) and collared peccary (Pecari tajacu) — all ecologically important species — in oil palm areas bordering less disturbed savanna and the Meta-Casanare and Alto Rio Meta conservation corridors.The study’s results are supported by a 2007 paper by researchers at the Zoological Society of London, which focused on mammal species abundance in oil palm plantations in Southeast Asia. Researchers found that only four mammals — a mere 10 percent of the species known to exist within the landscape — made use of oil palm plantations. As with the Colombia study, none of the species found within the plantation were a conservation priority.Both studies came to similar conclusions.“These results show that some large-scale palm oil expansion generally has severe impacts on native mammals,” said William Laurance, a co-author of the Colombian study and professor at James Cook University in Australia.But he also acknowledged that maintaining adjacent forest corridors and allowing undergrowth in plantations could substantially increase species diversity.Palm oil plantation with undergrowth, left, and without. Image courtesy of Lain Pardo.“At all costs, we want to avoid ‘sterile’ plantations that have nothing but palm oil trees,” Laurance said. “These are little more than biological deserts.”The researchers chose to survey mammals due to their sensitivity to ecosystem quality and because they serve as an excellent indicator for overall biodiversity.“Vegetation inside the plantations helps to provide more complex environments and therefore promote the presence of other species such as spiders, butterflies, crustaceans, and even other vertebrates (snakes, birds), which attracts other mammals,” Pardo said in an email.The researchers also write that free-roaming cattle negatively impacted the biodiversity within the plantations, suggesting the importance of better livestock management and proper enclosures.An anaconda (Eunectes spp.) killed after the removal of understory vegetation on an oil palm plantation. Image courtesy of Lain Pardo.Palm oil has been a staple crop in West Africa for 5,000 years. But when European traders introduced it to Southeast Asia in the early 19th century, they found the humid climate so suitable that today, Indonesia and Malaysia produce 85 percent of the world’s palm oil.South America currently accounts for just 6 percent of all globally traded palm oil, but experts say this looks poised to change.The Colombian government has pledged to expand the land given over to plantations and other cash crops to 7 million hectares (17.3 million acres) by 2020 — an area almost the size of Ireland. The figure is nearly 14 times the 516,000 hectares (1.3 million acres) of land that Colombia devoted to palm oil in 2017, which in turn was a threefold increase from the 157,000 hectares (388,000 acres) dedicated to oil palm cultivation in 2000.Pardo warns that Colombia’s savannas and wetlands may bear the brunt of this expansion. He said savanna “could be under great pressure” from agriculture, including palm oil, and petroleum companies. It might not be the deforestation commonly associated with palm oil, but it could be just as ecologically devastating.Despite palm oil’s environmental impact, the commodity itself is so widely used that, according to WWF, it’s in almost 50 percent of packaged supermarket products. Odorless and flavorless, it’s a natural preservative, cheaper than other vegetable oils, and is found in products as diverse as instant noodles and toothpaste. Palm oil can be used as a biofuel, and even raises the melting point of ice cream. As a crop, it’s incredibly efficient: an acre of oil palms yields 10 times more vegetable oil than the same area of soybean or coconut crops.Worldwide, oil palm plantations cover a combined 27 million hectares (66.7 million acres). That’s a little larger than the area of New Zealand.Aerial view of monoculture oil palm plantation in Colombia. Image courtesy of Lain Pardo.In 2018, the IUCN concluded that palm oil is “here to stay.” But there are ways, as this study indicates, to reduce its negative impacts.last_img read more

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Can camera traps diagnose the severity of a mystery giraffe skin disease?

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 Article published by Shreya Dasgupta Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Diseases, Endangered Species, Environment, Giraffes, Green, Infectious Wildlife Disease, Mammals, Protected Areas, Research, Technology, Wildlife center_img Giraffe skin disease, a mystery condition that inflicts crusty lesions on the world’s tallest animal, has been recorded in 13 giraffe populations in seven African countries. It is particularly widespread in Tanzania.Researchers used camera trap images to quantify how severe the disease was among giraffe populations in Tanzania’s Serengeti and Ruaha national parks.They found that most cases of the infections that the camera traps detected were “mild” or “moderate” according to a scale they devised, suggesting that the disease, although widespread, is likely not life-threatening at the moment.The researchers have, however, observed that giraffes with more severe infections tend to move with difficulty, which could make them more vulnerable to lion predation — a hypothesis they are now investigating with data from Ruaha National Park. Giraffes have many problems to deal with. There’s habitat loss and poaching. Then there’s a mysterious skin disease that’s been recorded in 13 giraffe populations in seven African countries.The condition, termed simply the giraffe skin disease, starts off as small nodules on the animal’s skin. The nodules can develop into dry, scaly patches, which then turn into large crusty, grayish-brown lesions filled with blood or pus. Researchers are only beginning to wrap their heads around the little-understood disease. Arthur Muneza, a doctoral student at Michigan State University and East Africa coordinator of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, is one of them.Giraffe skin disease can start off as small nodules on the skin that turn into large crusty lesions. Images by Michael Brown, courtesy of Arthur Muneza.Muneza has been studying the disease in Tanzania, where it’s widespread, affecting the giraffe’s long limbs. About a quarter of the giraffes in Serengeti National Park show signs of the disease. In Tarangire National Park, some 63 percent of giraffes suffer from it, while in Ruaha National Park, around 86 percent of the giraffe population sport the characteristic skin lesions.“To go to an area and see almost all the animals with signs of this disease is quite surprising,” Muneza told Mongabay.The high prevalence of the disease in Tanzania sparked a question in Muneza’s mind. How severe is the infection among Tanzania’s giraffes?A few studies have tried to answer this question in the past, but their classifications of giraffe skin disease severity were very subjective, Muneza said. “There is no standard way of defining what a mild giraffe skin disease is, what moderate giraffe skin disease is, and what constitutes severe giraffe skin disease.”To develop a classification that’s less arbitrary, Muneza and his colleagues turned to camera traps in a new study published in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases.The researchers selected all giraffe photos that had been captured during extensive camera trap surveys in Ruaha and Serengeti, then whittled down the list to those that showed the full extent of all four legs of the giraffes, from shoulder joints to hooves.The team then used photogrammetry techniques on the final 405 photos to quantify giraffe skin disease in the animals. They measured the vertical length of both the lesions and the legs visible in the photos, determined the proportion of the leg that was affected by the lesions, then statistically grouped these numbers to get three different categories of lesion severity.Giraffes with less than 16 percent of their legs covered by lesions were classified as having mild giraffe skin disease, those with 16 to 25 percent of the legs covered had a moderate form of the disease, and individuals with more than a quarter of their leg covered by lesions had severe skin disease, according to the study.“At the moment, we know very little about the disease, so our assumption is that the external and physical manifestation of the disease is the indicator we can use to categorise the severity of the disease,” Muneza told Mongabay.While the cameras usually captured photos of giraffe limbs, it’s the animals’ upper bodies that have unique coat patterns. This meant that the researchers couldn’t identify individual animals from the camera trap photos alone. This could potentially bring in bias if the disease severity classifications had been estimated from multiple photos of just a few giraffes. To see if this was the case, the researchers compared the severity rates estimated by the camera trap images with those obtained from another technique: photographs of 305 individually recognized giraffes that the researchers had taken using digital cameras during vehicle-based surveys in both parks. Both techniques produced similar results.Giraffe with skin disease in Ruaha National Park. Image courtesy of Arthur Muneza.The photos revealed that lesions of giraffe skin disease were, in general, more common on the front legs of the animals than the back legs. Moreover, most cases of the disease that the camera traps in Ruaha and Serengeti detected were considered “mild,” followed by “moderate” forms.“What this means is that there’s no need to overreact at the moment, and that the disease is not as severe as we would like to think,” Muneza said. “Externally it looks uncomfortable, it looks bad. But it’s still the mild and moderate forms of the disease.”Previously, researchers relied on close observations of the animals to describe the severity of giraffe skin disease. But such a technique is not only laborious, it also limits the spatial extent one can cover, Muneza and his colleagues write in the paper. Camera traps, on the other hand, are “noninvasive, can be rapidly deployable, and are applicable to a variety of species,” they add.Miranda Sadar, an assistant professor at Colorado State University, who’s been investigating the cause of giraffe skin disease and was not involved in the study, said that photogrammetry is indeed becoming a more widely used tool “to monitor the size of injuries in animals in a non-invasive way.”Not everyone is convinced, however.“This was a laudable attempt to use camera trap images to quantify giraffe skin disease, but the method is significantly less useful than active observations,” Monica Bond, a wildlife biologist at the U.S.-based Wild Nature Institute who studies giraffes in Tanzania and was not involved in the study, told Mongabay.Observing giraffes directly is easy, she said, because the animals are calm and vehicles can drive up close to them, allowing easy examination using binoculars. This way, researchers can also identify giraffes individually, and inspect the animals’ bodies from multiple angles to understand how and where the disease has spread, Bond added. The camera trap images at the moment don’t allow for both individual identification and a thorough whole-body examination of the giraffes, she said.Muneza agreed that camera trap images have some challenges. For example, the data set would be more useful had the cameras been placed higher. “We could have used the camera trap data to identify individual giraffes, and that could have given us a more robust dataset to quantify the categories of giraffe skin disease,” he said. “We were able to use only use photos of the legs.”The lesions also don’t always appear on the legs. In Uganda, for example, giraffes more commonly get infections on their neck and shoulders.In Uganda, giraffe skin disease lesions more commonly appear on neck and shoulder, while in Tanzania, the disease mostly affects the animals’ legs. Image courtesy of Arthur Muneza.Muneza’s study, however, adds to the growing evidence that giraffe skin disease is probably not life-threatening for the animals in the studied parks — at least for now. Bond, too, in a study published in 2016, found that giraffes with lesions in Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park had similar survival rates as those without lesions.That doesn’t mean that researchers should stop studying the disease, Muneza said.His team has observed, for instance, that giraffes with more severe infections tend to move with difficulty, which could make them more vulnerable to lion predation. The researchers are now investigating this hypothesis with data from Ruaha National Park.Muneza’s team is also working with Tanzanian authorities to figure out what exactly causes giraffe skin disease. Some preliminary studies suggest that a filarial worm could be transmitting the disease, with secondary fungal infections worsening it. But researchers are yet to pin down the actual causative agent and how the disease spreads.“One of the biggest concerns is that if it is a filarial worm, then we need to see if it crosses over to cattle,” Muneza said. “Given that you have communities that live near parks, and some of them graze their cattle near and around the giraffe areas, there is potential for the disease to cross over to livestock. And if it does, that will then affect the perceptions that people have towards sharing landscapes with wildlife, which is a big challenge in East Africa.”Citation:Muneza, A. B., Ortiz-Calo, W., Packer, C., Cusack, J. J., Jones, T., Palmer, M. S., … Montgomery, R. A. (2019). Quantifying the severity of giraffe skin disease via photogrammetry analysis of camera trap data. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 55(4), 770-781. doi:10.7589/2018-06-149last_img read more

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A scramble for solutions as fall armyworm infestation sweeps Africa

first_imgAgriculture, Environment, Health, Insects, Pesticides Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda). Image courtesy G. Goergen/IITA via Flickr (CC-NC-SA-2.0) An infestation of fall armyworm has spread rapidly across Africa since it first appeared on the continent in 2016; it’s now been reported in 44 countries, with 80 different types of crops affected.For farmers and policymakers, the go-to solution has been to spray crops with pesticides, but researchers have warned of harm to farmers from unsafe use of the pesticides, as well as impacts on other insects that would otherwise keep the pests in check.Researchers have suggested a biocontrol solution — releasing large numbers of a wasp species known to infest fall armyworm eggs — but doubts remain about how effective it will be in a region with small farms and high crop diversity.There are also calls for better agronomic practices, such as more regular weeding of farms and crop rotation, to deny the pest a year-round supply of its preferred food. Early one morning in April 2017, Anne Anyole found strange caterpillars feeding on her maize crop. At first she thought it was stalk borer, a pest familiar to farmers in western Kenya’s Kakamega county, especially when the weather is dry.Maize is usually planted in March during the onset of the long rains that usually continue into August. But in 2017, it was still dry until early April, and the maize was still low to the ground, barely knee height.Anyole went to the local agrovet, as rural shops supplying agriculture and veterinary products are known in Kenya. They sold her a pesticide commonly used in spraying vegetable pests. Anyole doesn’t usually use pesticides on her farm. She plants maize in March and then weeds it diligently until it’s ready to harvest four or five months later.The caterpillars disappeared after she sprayed her field, but reappeared two or three days later. It was fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda).“I realized that the damage to the crops was increasing and more devastating than ever,” Anyole said. That year, farmers across Kakamega county turned desperately to every alternative, including spraying their crops with laundry detergent and painstakingly picking worms off their crops by hand and crushing them, but nothing proved effective.“Since 2017, I have been harvesting low yields,” Anyole says. “I cannot get surplus to sell and pay school fees for my kids as it is my main source of income.” Where she says she would have harvested 800 kilograms (1,760 pounds) of maize after each of Kenya’s two growing seasons, her fields have yielded barely 250 kilos (550 pounds) per season since the armyworm appeared. Article published by terna gyuse FAW made its first appearance in Africa in Nigeria in 2016. Scientists have not yet established how it reached the continent from Latin America, but once it arrived, it spread rapidly. S. frugiperda moths can migrate more than 500 kilometers (300 miles) before mating and laying their eggs — and can fly much longer distances with favorable winds.In an alarmingly short span of time, the pest spread from West Africa to Southern Africa and then into East Africa. It has now been reported in 44 countries with infestations affecting 80 different crops.“There was a lot of panic by farmers and governments,” says MaryLucy Oronje, a specialist in insects and crop production at the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI).An agricultural extension worker in Zambia demonstrating spraying pesticides against fall armyworm. Image by Tigana Chileshe via Wikimedia Commons (CC-SA-4.0)Across the continent, governments urged farmers to protect their crops by spraying them with insecticides. In Rwanda and Zambia, soldiers were deployed to spray maize fields in the fight against FAW.“Most of the insecticides that have been used against FAW are not specific to armyworm, but are broad spectrum chemicals,” Oronje told Mongabay. “They will also kill off bees and other beneficial insects, such as predators and parasitoids that reduce insect pest populations and benefit indirectly as they help reduce other insect pest populations.”Marc Kenis, head of risk analysis and invasion ecology at CABI, says that the problem of using insecticides is exacerbated by the fact that many smallholders do not protect themselves adequately when using insecticides, or else use banned insecticides.Kenis told Mongabay that insecticides could also affect natural enemies of the FAW and other pests on farm, which may favor the emergence of secondary pests and oblige farmers to use more and more insecticides.Oronje adds, “It’s possible that other animals are also affected and will continue to be affected by these insecticides. The extensive use of pesticides in Africa will later have impacts on biodiversity.”She told Mongabay that no studies have been carried out to evaluate the impact on farmers themselves of the heavy use of insecticides since FAW’s appearance, but she worries that few smallholders know how to use these toxic chemicals safely or have the right protective equipment.Kenis is among the researchers looking for ways to control fall armyworm that will be both cheaper and less risky to human health and the environment than hugely increased insecticide use. One such solution is what is known as biological control, in this case attacking fall armyworm with another species. This can be done either by introducing a new predatory species or by stimulating local populations of natural enemies.T. remus parasitizes fall armyworm eggs. Image courtesy CIMMYT via Flickr (CC-NC-SA-2.0)Earlier this year, Kenis was the lead author of a study published in the April 2019 issue of the journal Insects, which announced that at least one natural predator of fall armyworm is already present in Africa. Telenomus remus is a tiny black wasp with a shiny body less than a millimeter long. It injects its eggs into fall armyworm eggs, where they develop into tiny white larvae barely visible to the naked eye. These larvae may be small, but they have a big appetite: they eat their hosts, and an adult wasp emerges instead of an armyworm caterpillar.Kenis says deploying T. remus or another local parasitoid against fall armyworm poses hardly any risk.“There is no health risk since a parasitoid cannot harm humans. The environmental risk is also limited since T. remus already occurs in Africa and has already found its place in the ecosystem,” he says.There’s a catch, though: some predatory insects of this type naturally reach high levels of parasitism (sometimes above 50 percent), but studies of T. remus in the Americas have found the parasitoid is not an effective biocontrol agent by itself, says Kenis, because its natural parasitism rates are very low.Deploying the tiny wasps as an effective biological control would involve breeding batches of hundreds of thousands of them on cardboard trays of FAW eggs, and releasing them into afflicted fields as they hatch. In the Americas, this method has achieved parasitism rates of greater than 90 percent.“We can hope that in Africa, they may be able to do the same, thus inflicting high mortality in each FAW generation, which T. remus cannot do,” Kenis says.The main challenge for using T. remus will be to find cost-effective methods to deploy it in the field. It has been used successfully in large-scale commercial operations in Mexico and the Bahamas to protect high-value vegetable crops grown in relatively small areas. Effectively controlling fall armyworm across much larger areas will be difficult, says Kenis: “But we hope to find very cheap ways to produce T. remus which could make it affordable as well for smallholders.”Frederic Baudron, a senior scientist and systems agronomist from International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre-CIMMYT Zimbabwe, is skeptical. “When an exotic pest is introduced to a new continent, it generally comes without its suite of natural enemies (think of the massive rabbit problem in Australia for example). It takes time for local natural enemies to control the pest (and doesn’t always happen). In addition, compared to the Americas, African agriculture is characterized by its very low input use, small farms, high diversity and high heterogeneity. Most solutions are thus not transferable,” Baudron says.He tells Mongabay that biocontrol is not the focus of most interventions in Africa. There are calls for better agronomic practices such as more regular weeding of farms and crop rotation, to deny the pest a year-round supply of its preferred food, but as fall armyworm spreads rapidly, most interventions in the continent have turned to pesticides — for farmers and policymakers alike, it feels like a familiar and decisive intervention, despite the cost.Fall armyworm infestations leave crops looking devastated. Image by Peter Steward via Flickr (CC-NC-2.0)“This year, cases of FAW in Kenya, for example, are expected to be higher because of the delay in onset of rainfall, different planting times by farmers and high temperatures recorded this year,” Oronje says. The warmer the weather, the faster fall armyworm passes through its life cycle. Infestations have been recorded across the western part of the country where maize is a popular crop; the extent of the damage will only be assessed after September’s harvest has been tallied.“There is a need to make scientific decisions on the risks of biocontrols and ensure that it only kills FAW,” Oronje says. “African governments need to hasten trials because the increasing temperatures will escalate the reproduction of FAW.“We hope that this is something that can be upscaled after approvals from governments,” she adds.As research into biological controls and other environmentally friendly solutions continues, Oronje says there will need to be increased education for farmers and agricultural extension officers about which insecticides work best, and how to use them safely.“The consensus in the continent is that a combination of these three approaches — pesticides, biocontrol and agronomic practices — will be required to effectively control FAW,” Baudron says.Banner image: Field inspection for fall armyworm in Kakamega County, Kenya. Image by Gilbert Nakweya for Mongabay.CitationKenis, M., Du Plessis, H., Van den Berg, J., Ba, M. N., Goergen, G., Kwadjo, K. E., … Polaszek, A. (2019). Telenomus remus, a candidate parasitoid for the biological control of Spodoptera frugiperda in Africa, is already present on the continent. Insects, 10(4), 92. doi:10.3390/insects10040092 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 FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

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Deforestation preceded fires in ‘massive’ area of Amazon in 2019

first_imgDeforestation watchdog Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project found that 4,500 square kilometers (1,740 square miles) of the Brazilian Amazon was deforested between 2017 and 2019 and then burned.The team’s analysis revealed that 65 percent of that deforestation occurred in 2019 alone.The research points to the need for policymakers to address deforestation as well as fires. The prevailing narrative about the Brazilian Amazon this past summer was that the world’s largest rainforest was burning. A more accurate assessment would be that vast areas that used to be forest were burning, according to work by the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP), a program of the organization Amazon Conservation.In a study published Nov. 13, the deforestation monitoring group found that 4,500 square kilometers (1,740 square miles) of the Brazilian Amazon — about 1.8 times the size of Luxembourg — was deforested between 2017 and 2019 and then burned.“The key star of the fire season was still deforestation,” Matt Finer, senior research specialist and director of MAAP, said in an interview.Video Playerhttps://storage.googleapis.com/planet-t2/rondonia1-brazil-2019-1HVlWxpZR/movie.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The deforestation of 1,760 hectares (4,350 acres) in Mato Grosso state in 2019 (May to July), followed by fires in August. Video courtesy of MAAP/Planet.In September, MAAP scientists first revealed that much of the fire in the Amazon that had grabbed the world’s attention in August 2019 was occurring on recently deforested land, not in standing forests.“We’re not seeing too many examples of a fire just appearing out of nowhere,” Finer said. “All the examples we see are of fires burning a recently deforested area. Then they escaped into surrounding forest, but they never turned into this big uncontrolled fire.”Finer and his colleagues compared satellite forest loss data from Global Forest Watch and the University of Maryland with fire alert data from NASA. They also looked at fire data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) to tease out how much deforestation occurred in 2019. Known as DETER alerts, these points identify burn scars in the forest down to 30-meter (98-foot) resolution.Map showing deforestation and fires in 2019. Image courtesy of MAAP with data from UMD/GLAD, NASA (MODIS), PRODES and Hansen/UMD/Google/USGS/NASA.Surprisingly, 2,980 square kilometers (1,150 square miles) of forest was cleared and burned in 2019, about 65 percent of the 4,500-square-kilometer area deforested between 2017 and 2019.Their analysis also showed that more than 1,600 square kilometers (619 square miles) of primary forest burned in 2019. But Finer and his colleagues believe that most of these fires were started to clear vegetation for farms or pastures since they appear to spread outward from adjacent deforested land.University of Maryland ecologist Matt Hansen told the Washington Post in October that the recent fires in the Amazon are far from regions where crops like soy are leading to deforestation. He said he suspects that cattle ranchers are likely using the fires to expand their grazing land.“If you’re a big soy producer, there’s so much intensification around the larger agro-industrial farms,” Hansen told the Post, “you don’t want fire around.”Video Playerhttps://storage.googleapis.com/planet-t2/mato-grosso3-brazil-2019-tNSbHxtZg/movie.mp400:0000:0000:11Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.The deforestation of 650 hectares (1,600 acres) in Rondônia state in 2019 (April to July), followed by fire in August. Video courtesy of MAAP/Planet.Fires in South America’s drier forests bear a different signature compared to those in the rainforest. (MAAP’s current analysis centered on the Amazonian states of Amazonas, Rondônia, and Pará.) In October, MAAP demonstrated that fires in the drier Chiquitanía and Chaco regions of Bolivia were tearing through large swaths of natural ecosystems.However, that doesn’t mean that fires in the Amazon rainforest won’t ever rage out of control.In a severe drought, Finer said, “all of a sudden, those escape fires are going to start looking more and more like we saw in the dry forest in Bolivia.“If it’s a drier year, they could really light up the Amazon,” he added.Newly deforested land in the Amazon. Image by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.A recent study found that climate change and burning vegetation have caused the atmosphere over the Amazon to grow significantly drier in the past few decades, increasing the risk of fire.Finer’s team’s research points to the need for policymakers to address deforestation as well as fires.“[W]e need to recognize that many of the fires are in fact a lagging indicator of previous deforestation, thus to minimize fires we need to minimize deforestation,” they write.As the risk for fire grows, Finer pointed to the need to focus on deforestation with the same intensity leveled on fires in 2019.“How can we generate that global sense of urgency that we saw, as opposed to having hysteria every August?” he said.Banner image of a soy plantation next to transition forest in Brazil by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.John Cannon is a staff writer at Mongabay. Find him on Twitter: @johnccannonCitation:Finer, M. & Mamani, N. (2019). Satellites Reveal what Fueled Brazilian Amazon Fires. MAAP: 113.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. Amazon, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon Drought, Amazon Rainforest, Amazon Soy, Cattle, Cattle Pasture, Cattle Ranching, Conservation, Deforestation, Environment, Fires, Forest Fires, Forest People, Forests, Illegal Logging, Megafires, Rainforests, Saving Rainforests, Soy, Threats To Rainforests, Tropical Forests, wildfires Article published by John Cannoncenter_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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Lift-off for first African vulture safe zones

first_imgCoverdale, who works for Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, a South African government conservation body, stressed the vital roles that vultures play in ecosystems. By swiftly stripping the flesh from dead animals, they reduce the spread of disease as well as the number of animals scavenging at rotting carcasses.“We really can’t afford to lose them. In nine minutes they can clean up an entire carcass,” Coverdale said.There are several reasons for the decline of African vultures, but deliberate or accidental poisoning is the biggest peril.Gareth Tate, the Birds of Prey Programme manager for the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT), says poison accounts for about 60 percent of vulture deaths in the Southern Africa region.Some poisoned bait is laid by livestock owners to kill predators, like jackals. Vultures feeding off the carcasses subsequently die, often in significant numbers. Others are poisoned deliberately to harvest body parts for making muthi, traditional medicine potions.In one of the worst mass-poisoning cases on record, at least 540 vultures were killed near Botswana’s Chobe National Park earlier this year after feeding on elephant carcasses spiked with a potent poison by wildlife poachers, in an apparent effort to conceal illegal activities from rangers.In this case, the carcasses were not removed for two to three weeks, resulting in an extended cycle of death as more vultures and other scavengers arrived to feast.A dead vulture next to a dead elephant in southern Mozambique. The carcass had been laced with toxic farm poisons. Image courtesy Andre BothaVultures are also poisoned deliberately for the traditional medicine trade. The misconception that these carrion birds have psychic powers, or can ‘see into the future’ has led to a demand for vulture’s heads and other body parts.Andre Botha, EWT’s Vultures for Africa Programme manager, said that while it was hard to quantify the numbers of vultures killed for belief-based use, recent studies estimated that direct persecution of vultures either for muthi or food was about 29 percent of all vultures killed in Africa.While Botha was not at this year’s symposium, he said the  belief-based use of vultures was a significant and growing threat to  the continent’s vultures”. This, he said, needed to be openly discussed “with the same degree of vigour as is the misconceptions associated with the use of rhino horn” in Asia.“It is an inconvenient truth that must be addressed,” added Botha.Accidental drownings in farm water reservoirs have also been reported, and research has flagged lead bullet fragments in animal carcasses as an increasing concern.But BirdLife South Africa vulture project manager Linda van den Heever said many landowners and game ranch owners seemed resistant to halt the use of lead ammunition on their land, complaining that lead-free ammo is less effective and more expensive.At the symposium, several researchers outlined the results of recent partnerships to arrest the growing decline of vultures in Southern Africa.One initiative involves creating “vulture safe zones” — large areas where landowners commit to managing their land in ways that will provide safe havens for existing vulture populations.According to EWT, the emphasis of the vulture safe zones will be to encourage positive action, “focusing less on prohibition and negative messaging, and more on sound environmental practices that could provide landowners with reputational and economic benefits.”In support of the program, participating landowners have agreed to stop baiting carcasses with poison, and modify concrete water reservoirs to reduce the risk of accidental drowning. Africa’s vulture populations face the prospect of collapsing in much the same way as vulture species in Asia, experts warn, having already declined by an average 62 percent over the past three decades.Key threats include poisoning by ranchers and poachers and for belief-based use, as well as accidental drowning in farm water reservoirs and ingestion of lead ammunition.To address the threats, managers of conservation areas and private game reserves in South Africa have agreed to create “vulture safe zones” that will do away with these practices to provide safe havens for existing vulture populations.Conservationists say it’s also important for managers in South Africa to work with their counterparts in neighboring countries that are part of the vultures’ range, and to tackle the trade in vulture parts used in traditional medicine practices. Howick, SOUTH AFRICA – The first of at least five new “vulture safe zones” in Southern Africa are about to take off as private landowners and other partners join the battle to save Africa’s imperilled carrion clean-up birds.Africa’s vulture populations have declined by an average of 62 percent over the last three decades – with seven species crashing by 80 percent – mirroring the dramatic collapse of several Asian species.These were among findings of recent research presented by leading animal scientist Brent Coverdale at the Conservation Symposium, one of South Africa’s biggest annual gatherings of conservationists, environmental scientists and wildlife experts.“We need to think globally and act locally,” Coverdale told attendees at the event, held this year in the town of Howick from Nov. 4-8.“We all know of the Asian vulture crisis, where we had vulture declines of 90-95 percent in the early 1990s. It’s something that drives us. We do not want to be sitting in the same boat, where one day people will ask, so what were we doing when the crisis was happening?” Gyps genus at India’s Soheldev Wildlife Sanctuary. Image by Rajat Bhargava.Into the 1980s, there were large numbers of vultures across India and southern Asia. They played a particularly important role in the ecosystem, consuming the remains of the millions of cows in carcass dumps; India has 500 million cows raised for milk, but not eaten by the majority Hindu population. In the early 1990s, vultures started dropping dead. Hundreds of thousands died before scientists identified a culprit: diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory used by vets. Vultures feeding on carcasses containing the drug died swiftly of kidney failure. Conservation India says around 40 million vultures perished.last_img read more

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Mongabay editor has now been detained 6 weeks in Indonesia

first_imgMongabay editor Philip Jacobson was detained in Indonesia on December 17, 2019 over an alleged issue with his business visa.Jacobson was formally arrested on January 21 and was incarcerated in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan through January 24.Jacobson is currently under ‘city arrest’ without his passport and is prevented from leaving Palangkaraya.This is a press release from Mongabay about a developing situation and may be updated. Mongabay editor Philip Jacobson has now been detained for 42 days in Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan over an alleged violation of his business visa.“Phil is still under ‘city arrest’ in Palangkaraya, six weeks after immigration authorities seized his passport,” said Mongabay Founder and CEO Rhett A. Butler. “We’re eager to see this issue resolved and Phil allowed to leave the city.”Jacobson, 30, was first detained on December 17, 2019 after attending a hearing between the Central Kalimantan parliament and the local chapter of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), Indonesia’s largest indigenous rights advocacy group.He had travelled to the city shortly after entering Indonesia on a business visa for a series of meetings. The day he was due to leave, immigration authorities seized his passport, interrogated him for four hours and ordered him to remain in the city pending their investigation.On January 21, more than a month later, Jacobson was formally arrested and taken into custody. He was informed that he faces charges of violating the 2011 immigration law and a prison sentence of up to five years. Jacobson was held at Palangkaraya Class II detention center in a cell with six inmates for four days before being transferred back to ‘city detention’, allowing him to leave prison. He’s been prevented from leaving Palanglaraya until further notice.Philip Jacobson.The transfer from prison to city detention came after U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia Joseph R. Donovan met with the Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs (Kemenko Polhukam) Mohammad Mahfud MD, and a delegation from the U.S. embassy did a welfare check on Jacobson. Minister Mahfud MD was subsequently quoted in Indonesian media as saying he would order Jacobson to be deported from Indonesia “immediately.”“We are grateful that authorities have made this accommodation,” said Butler. “We have seen the media reports and stand ready to move forward on the appropriate next steps.”“We’re amazed by the outpouring of support we received from the public on Phil’s case,” added Butler. “Beyond the thousands of messages via social media, people ranging from top business leaders in Singapore and Europe to Indonesian-American investors and entrepreneurs to members of U.S. Congress have reached out to express their concern.”Sampling of some of the protest art that has emerged on social media since Jacobson’s arrest.Chronology of Jacobson’s caseSummary: Philip Jacobson is an employee of Mongabay, a non-profit environmental science and conservation news organization. Jacobson is an editor for Mongabay and splits his time between Indonesia and his native U.S. This document outlines events culminating in Jacobson’s detention in the Indonesian city of Palangkaraya, Central Kalimantan on the island of Borneo.December 14: Jacobson, traveling on a multiple-entry business visa, arrived in Palangkaraya, the capital city of Central Kalimantan province, to meet with the local chapter of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN), an indigenous rights advocacy group.December 16: Jacobson attended a dialogue at the parliament building between the Central Kalimantan parliament and the local chapter of AMAN.December 17: Jacobson was scheduled on a flight out of Palangkaraya, but before he could leave for the airport, immigration officers went to his guesthouse and confiscated his passport. The officials ordered Jacobson to come in the next day for questioning. It later became clear that someone had photographed Jacobson at the parliament building and reported him to immigration.December 18: Jacobson was interrogated at the immigration office about his activities. Authorities took an official statement, known as a BAP, and ordered Jacobson to remain in Palangkaraya while they continued their investigation.December 24: Jacobson missed his international flight out of Indonesia.January 9: Jacobson was summoned to the immigration office, where he received a formal letter saying he was suspected of committing a visa violation and was being investigated. Authorities stated that as long as Jacobson remained cooperative, he would remain under city arrest, rather than detained in an immigration cell.January 21: Immigration officers appeared at Jacobson’s guesthouse room and instructed him to pack his belongings and come with them. Following another round of questioning, he was taken into custody and transferred to a detention center.January 22: Jacobson and his colleagues were honored with the Fetisov Journalism Award for their work on an investigative report, produced in collaboration with Indonesia’s Tempo magazine, Malaysiakini and The Gecko Project, about a plan to create the world’s largest oil palm plantation on the island of New Guinea. Jacobson had been expected to attend the awards ceremony in Switzerland before he was barred from leaving Palangkaraya.January 24: Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Mahfud MD told reporters in Jakarta that he would order Jacobson to be deported from Indonesia “immediately.” Later that day, Jacobson’s local lawyers negotiated his transfer from prison back to “city arrest,” and he was allowed to return to a guesthouse.January 26: Jacobson, still prevented from leaving Palangkaraya, turns 31.Statements from Journalism NGOsCommittee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) [January 22]:  “The longer journalist Philip Jacobson remains held in detention, the more damage Indonesia does to its reputation as a democracy with a free press,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “Indonesian authorities should release Jacobson immediately and cease pursuing a criminal case against him.”Reporters Without Borders (RSF) [January 22]: “Phillip Jacobson’s totally disproportionate arrest clearly amounts to intimidation,” said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “The Central Kalimantan immigration officials have massively overstepped their powers. We call on the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, which oversees the Directorate General of Immigration, to ensure that this journalist is immediately released in accordance with the rule of law.”The International Press Institute (IPI) [January 22]: “Indonesia should immediately release Philip Jacobson and drop any travel restrictions against him”, IPI Director of Advocacy Ravi R. Prasad said. “The harassment of journalists is unacceptable in Indonesia, which claims to be a democracy that respects press freedom.”Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) [January 22]  “Employees of the news media should be free to work in Indonesia without fear of arbitrary detention,” SEJ President Meera Subramanian said. “Actions like those taken against Mr. Jacobson harm the health of Indonesian democracy and the country’s global reputation.”Komite Keselamatan Jurnalis [January 22]: Komite Keselamatan Jurnalis mengecam penahanan dan pemidanaan Philip Jacobson, editor Mongabay, atas masalah administrasi … Komite Keselamatan Jurnalis menilai penahanan dan penetapan status tersangka Philip Jacobson sangat berlebihan dan mencoreng demokrasi di Indonesia.Alliance of Independent Journalists (AJI) [January 23]: “The criminalisation of Jacobson is an excessive action . . . The immigration office had no authority to detain and treat him like a criminal offender following the allegation of violating an administrative matter.”International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) [January 23]: “The detention of Jacobson is unjust and excessive. This appears to be a retaliatory attempt to silence media reporting on sensitive topics. Journalism is not a crime and we strongly condemn attempts to criminalise journalists in Indonesia.”PEN America [January 25]: “While we are relieved that Philip has been temporarily released, we remain concerned that he is being targeted for his work in an attempt to send a warning signal to those journalists and news outlets who undertake investigative reporting on sensitive topics in Indonesia,” said Karin Karlekar, director of Free Expression at Risk Programs at PEN America. “Even if there is evidence of a visa-related violation, it should be handled as an administrative rather than a criminal matter and be resolved as quickly as possible, and we call on the authorities to allow both Indonesian and foreign journalists to work freely and without fear of retaliation.” Environment, Environmental Journalism, press release Article published by Rhett Butlercenter_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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