WoodPile: Wildlife face `Armageddon` as forests shrink


WOOD PILE

Wildlife face ‘Armageddon‘ as forests shrink by Staff Writers Singapore (SPX) Oct 02, 2013


File image.

Species living in rainforest fragments could be far more likely to disappear than was previously thought, says an international team of scientists. In a study spanning two decades, the researchers witnessed the near-complete extinction of native small mammals on forest islands created by a large hydroelectric reservoir in Thailand.

“It was like ecological Armageddon,” said Luke Gibson from the National University of Singapore, who led the study. “Nobody imagined we’d see such catastrophic local extinctions.”

The study, just published in the leading journal Science today, is considered important because forests around the world are being rapidly felled and chopped up into small island-like fragments.

“It’s vital that we understand what happens to species in forest fragments,” said Antony Lynam of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

“The fate of much of the world’s biodiversity is going to depend on it.”

The study was motivated by a desire to understand how long species can live in forest fragments. If they persist for many decades, this gives conservationists a window of time to create wildlife corridors or restore surrounding forests to reduce the harmful effects of forest isolation.

However, the researchers saw native small mammals vanish with alarming speed, with just a handful remaining – on average, less than one individual per island – after 25 years. “There seemed to be two culprits,” said William Laurance of James Cook University in Australia.

“Native mammals suffered the harmful effects of population isolation, and they also had to deal with a devastating invader – the Malayan field rat.”

In just a few years, the invading rat grew so abundant on the islands that it virtually displaced all native small mammals. The field rat normally favors villages and agricultural lands, but will also invade disturbed forests.

“This tells us that the double whammy of habitat fragmentation and invading species can be fatal for native wildlife,” said Lynam.

“And that’s frightening because invaders are increasing in disturbed and fragmented habitats around the world.”

“The bottom line is that we must conserve large, intact habitats for nature,” said Gibson. “That’s the only way we can ensure biodiversity will survive.”

‘Near-complete extinction of native small mammal fauna 25 years after forest fragmentation’ by Luke Gibson, Antony J. Lynam, Corey J. A. Bradshaw, Fangliang He, David P. Bickford, David S. Woodruff, Sara Bumrungsri and William F. Laurance was published on 27 September 2013 in Science and is available at http://www.sciencemag.org (doi: 10.1126/science.1240495).

I am a non-Profit Person Blogging here….

woodpile: Wildlife face ´Armageddon` as forests shrink


WOOD PILE

Wildlife face ‘Armageddon‘ as forests shrink by Staff Writers Singapore (SPX) Oct 02, 2013


File image.

Species living in rainforest fragments could be far more likely to disappear than was previously thought, says an international team of scientists. In a study spanning two decades, the researchers witnessed the near-complete extinction of native small mammals on forest islands created by a large hydroelectric reservoir in Thailand.

“It was like ecological Armageddon,” said Luke Gibson from the National University of Singapore, who led the study. “Nobody imagined we’d see such catastrophic local extinctions.”

The study, just published in the leading journal Science today, is considered important because forests around the world are being rapidly felled and chopped up into small island-like fragments.

“It’s vital that we understand what happens to species in forest fragments,” said Antony Lynam of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

“The fate of much of the world’s biodiversity is going to depend on it.”

The study was motivated by a desire to understand how long species can live in forest fragments. If they persist for many decades, this gives conservationists a window of time to create wildlife corridors or restore surrounding forests to reduce the harmful effects of forest isolation.

However, the researchers saw native small mammals vanish with alarming speed, with just a handful remaining – on average, less than one individual per island – after 25 years. “There seemed to be two culprits,” said William Laurance of James Cook University in Australia.

“Native mammals suffered the harmful effects of population isolation, and they also had to deal with a devastating invader – the Malayan field rat.”

In just a few years, the invading rat grew so abundant on the islands that it virtually displaced all native small mammals. The field rat normally favors villages and agricultural lands, but will also invade disturbed forests.

“This tells us that the double whammy of habitat fragmentation and invading species can be fatal for native wildlife,” said Lynam.

“And that’s frightening because invaders are increasing in disturbed and fragmented habitats around the world.”

“The bottom line is that we must conserve large, intact habitats for nature,” said Gibson. “That’s the only way we can ensure biodiversity will survive.”

‘Near-complete extinction of native small mammal fauna 25 years after forest fragmentation’ by Luke Gibson, Antony J. Lynam, Corey J. A. Bradshaw, Fangliang He, David P. Bickford, David S. Woodruff, Sara Bumrungsri and William F. Laurance was published on 27 September 2013 in Science and is available at http://www.sciencemag.org (doi: 10.1126/science.1240495).

HOPE FOR ELEPHANTS! GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP formed to save AFRICAN ELEPHANTS in protected areas!


Global partnership formed to save African elephants in protected areas by Staff Writers New York (UPI) Sep 27, 2013


disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Conservation groups and six African countries committed to protect African elephants, reduce trafficking and lower consumer demand for ivory, organizers said.

The commitment is backed by an $80 million action plan from the United States to strengthen security for elephants in their range while investing more in intelligence networks, customs inspections and consumer education, National Geographic said Thursday in a release.

The Partnership to Save Africa’s Elephants was announced during an event hosted by the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. The partnership is led by five “Commitment Makers” — the Wildlife Conservation Society the African Wildlife Foundation, Conservation International, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, and World Wildlife Fund — with “Commitment Partners” support by the National Geographic Society, African Parks Network, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Frankfurt Zoological Society, Freeland Foundation, Howard Buffett Foundation, International Conservation Caucus Foundation, Save the Elephants, TRAFFIC, WildAid and WildLifeDirect.

Nations joining in commitment include Botswana, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Kenya, South Sudan, Malawi and Uganda.

These funds will be used to support national governments to ramp up anti-poaching enforcement at the 50 priority elephant sites, including hiring and supporting 3,100 more park guards, organizers said. In addition, anti-trafficking efforts will be strengthened by growing intelligence networks, raising penalties for violations, and adding training and sniffer dog teams at 10 key transit points.

Efforts to try to reduce ivory demands will be implemented in 10 consumer markets over the next three years, officials said.

Leaders from African nations also have called upon countries to adopt moratoriums on commercial ivory imports, exports and domestic sales of ivory products until African elephant populations no longer are threatened by poaching.

                         I AM PERSONALLY GLAD ABOUT THIS MESSAGE! I LOVE ELEPHANTS SO MUCH (yes, I love bees, pigs, …..too)

BLOODY IVORY Seventeen Poachers Armed with Kalashnikov Rifles Entered Dzanga-Ndoki National Park with ONE motivation: GREED


By Denise Chow, LiveScience Staff Writer:  From that mentioned article in the GUARDIAN:
At least 26 elephants were killed in Central Africa after a group of armed poachers raided a protected sanctuary on Monday (May 6), according to wildlife officials.

Seventeen poachers armed with Kalashnikov rifles entered Dzanga-Ndoki National Park in the Central African Republic earlier this week, representatives from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said in a statement. The poachers made their way to the Dzanga Bai, an open area where anywhere from 50 to 200 elephants gather daily to drink nutrients and mineral salts in the sands.

SCROLL DOWN FOR GRAPHIC PHOTOS

At least 26 elephant carcasses, including four calves, were counted in and around the Dzanga Bai on Thursday (May 9), WWF officials said. All had had their tusks removed, Jules Caron, head of communications for the WWF’s anti-poaching program in Central Africa, confirmed to LiveScience.

Wildlife representatives described the Dzanga Bai scene as an “elephant mortuary,” and it was evident that local villagers had started taking meat from the remains of the dead animals, they added. [Elephant Images: The Biggest Beasts on Land]

“The killing has started,” Jim Leape, WWF’s international director general, said in a statement. “The Central African Republic must act immediately to secure this unique [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization] World Heritage site. The brutal violence we are witnessing in Dzanga Bai threatens to destroy one of the world’s great natural treasures, and to jeopardize the future of the people who live there.”

Poachers continue to kill elephants and strip them of their ivory tusks to sell on global markets, despite a ban on ivory poaching that was instituted in Africa in 1989. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, some 25,000 African elephants are killed every year.

MADNESS in the VILLAGE of ELEPHANTS: 26 PACHYDERMS SLAUGHTERED!


Madness in the Village of Elephants: 26 Pachyderms Slaughtered

Poachers shot the animals from an elephant-observation tower used by scientists and visitors for decades.
May 10, 2013
elephant poaching - central africa republic

Two pachyderms walk through a mud puddle in the Central African Republic‘s Village of Elephants. (Photo: Wildlife Conservation Society)

In the forest clearing locals call the “Village of Elephants,” or Dzanga Bai, 17 heavily armed men arrived on Wednesday, May 8, with AK-47s. They were bound for the observation tower where tourists in the Central African Republic have often come to admire the forest elephants, and where researchers have worked to decipher the language of elephants for more than 20 years.

“I’m used to being around carcasses and I know what people are capable of.”

It was over in a few horrific minutes.

When guards who had previously been disarmed by rebel forces went back yesterday, May 9, they counted the butchered carcasses of 26 elephants killed for their ivory, including four babies.

The killing happened in the Dzanga-Sangha Protected Area,in the southwest corner of the country, on the border with Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Dzanga Bai itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2010, the CBS show 60 Minutes described it as “one of the most magical places on Earth.”

 

 

At least for the moment, Seleka rebel forces have ordered the poachers out of the area, according to Anna Feistner of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), who worked there until a few weeks ago. The rebels now control the government in the Central African Republic (or CAR). But they do not necessarily control their own forces in the field, she said. “Many of them come in from other countries and do not recognize the hierarchy or the government.”

A consortium of concerned groups, including UNESCO, WWF, and the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), together with various national governments, is now pressuring the government in Banqui, the capital, to send a military force to the Dzanga-Sangha area and bring rebel gangs under control. But no one knows if the poachers at Dzanga Bai were themselves part of a rebel group, said Feistner, or if they belong to the Sudanese poaching gangs that have worked in the area in recent years. She plans to head back to the Cameroon border on May 14 to keep up political pressure to protect the elephants.

The bloody tusks themselves will almost certainly end up in China, where a seemingly insatiable demand for ivory knickknacks has recently driven the price for ivory to $1,300 a pound. The fear is that rising Chinese demand, together with the continuing violence and political chaos in the CAR, will enable wholesale poaching to resume, possibly on the scale of last year’s killing of 300 elephants in a nearby national park in Cameroon.

The good news, and the tragedy, is that the surviving elephants are unlikely to return to Dzanga Bai any time soon. “One of the reasons it’s been possible to watch the elephants there is that they felt protected and safe,” said Feister. “So this is awful, really, especially since a lot of the shooting happened from the platform where Andrea Turkalo has been studying them for years, and that tourists have visited. The animals will probably have dispersed” into the forest of Dzanga-Ndoki National Park to the south.

Turkalo, a Massachusetts biologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, also left the area a few weeks ago because of the escalating violence. She has been studying elephant behavior and communication at Dzanga Bai since 1991, and over the years has identified more than 4,000 elephants there—with about 1,400 individual elephants using the Bai in any given year. She knows many of the regulars by name.

Reached by phone on May 9, Turkalo recalled a brief return visit to her research camp in April 2013, just before she left for the United States. “The first thing I noticed was the look in peoples’ eyes. They were demoralized and frightened. I’m the lucky one. I get to leave. They have to stay, it’s their country.”

Turkalo said she has been hardening herself for what happened this week. “I’ve worked in the Central African Republic for 30 years on the ground. I was in the north when the Sudanese poachers hammered all the savannah elephants along the Chadian border. I’m used to being around carcasses, and I know what people are capable of. I knew the situation was deteriorating. When you work with a known population of animals, you’ve really got to prepare yourself for the inevitable. I’m pretty good about handling death and other emotional issues. You have to be that way, or it’s just too rough.”

Like many in the environmental community, she reserved her outrage mainly for the Chinese customers who regard ivory trinkets as a symbol of status rather than shame and who are now rapidly driving elephant populations across Africa to extinction.

Shortly before she left the CAR, a Chinese company had arrived in the area with a permit to mine gold and diamonds in the Dzanga-Sangha Protected Area. The mining company also evacuated the area briefly, but “they, came back a week ago with the Seleka protecting them. It’s the typical situation.  You see this over and over in Africa. When the chaos starts, that’s the time for moving commodities—things like diamonds and ivory, and this is what’s happening now. We can’t protect the elephants, but we can protect the Chinese taking out the diamonds.”

Turkalo does not know when she will be able to get back to Dzanga Bai. But she recalled her last ordinary day there, on March 23, 2013.  “The weather was perfect. There was a slight breeze. The light was magnificent. In the late afternoon, you get these long rays and a golden aura. I think there were about 80 elephants, and there was a new calf that day with a female I’d known for 20 years, named Delta.  If I had to have a last day anywhere, that was the day I would have chosen.”

Related Stories on TakePart:

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• Potential to Spark a Global Pandemic’: Wild Animals in Botswana Found Resistant to Antibiotics


Richard Conniff is the author of seven books, including his latest, The Species Seekers:  Heroes, Fools, and the Mad Pursuit of Life on Earth. He has won a National Magazine Award, a Gerald Loeb Award, and a 2007 Guggenheim Fellowship. His articles have appeared in Time, Smithsonian, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, and other publications. He has written and presented television shows for networks including the National Geographic Channel, TBS, and the BBC. TakePart.com

Whale Meat Isn´t a Culinary Delicacy, It´s a Federal Offense


One California chef could face up to 67 years in prison for allegedly selling the endangered animal to patrons.
February 2, 2013

In 2010, the activist-filmmakers behind The Cove, the award-winning documentary exposing the brutal dolphin killings in Taiji, Japan, decided that even after worldwide acclaim and an Oscar win, they weren’t finished protecting the ocean’s endangered mammals. Setting up an undercover sting operation, they revealed that a popular Santa Monica sushi restaurant, named “The Hump,” was illegally selling endangered whale meat to diners.

Their efforts initially resulted in misdemeanor charges brought against The Hump’s parent company, Typhoon Restaurant Inc., as well two of its chefs, Kiyoshiro Yamamoto and Susumu Ueda. But The Los Angeles Times reports that following a further investigation, those charges were bumped up this week to nine felony counts of importing and selling endangered sei whale meat, a violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

As a result, chef Yamamoto in particular could face up to 67 years in prison.

Louie Psihoyos, The Cove’s Oscar-winning filmmaker and the executive director of The Oceanic Preservation Society, tells TakePart, “Today we are giving this animal and other endangered animals a voice that will be heard around the world—it’s a warning that to traffic these animals in America, the second biggest market in the world for endangered species…and you do it at the risk of becoming a caged animal.”

Though the Japanese commercial whaling industry is permitted to hunt the animals for scientific research purposes, they cannot legally kill them to sell for human consumption. Nonetheless, there exists a long-standing international outcry against the scientific research loophole; opponents state it’s simply a thinly-veiled excuse used by the industry to carry on the illegal fishing practices responsible for decimating whale populations. Stateside, the import or sale of whale meat for any purpose is banned.

In a series of visits spanning from late 2009 to 2010, members of The Cove team armed themselves with hidden video equipment, and posing­­ as diners, ordered whale meat from The Hump’s dinner menu. The New York Times reports they collected samples of their meals and through DNA tracing, were able to confirm that a sample of that meat did in fact come from a sei whale sold in Japan.

Heather Rally was instrumental in that operation. She posed as one of the diners and tells TakePart, “This case represents so much more than just a sushi restaurant selling whale meat…we are fighting the fate of an entire species and ultimately the fate of the planet. The case demonstrated a blatant disregard for animal and environmental protection laws in this country at a time when entire ecosystems are being threatened by human activities. This is an unacceptable sacrifice for the sake of human indulgence.”

photos there!

After its illegal whale-meat operation was exposed, The Hump promptly shuttered its doors. In addition to chef Yamamoto’s possible 67-year prison sentence, chef Susumu Ueda faces up to 10 years in prison. Typhoon Restaurant Inc. could pay up to $1.2 million in fines.

The Los Angeles Times reports that in reaction to the indictment, chef Ueda’s attorney, James W. Spertus, said, “It’s very unfortunate that the U.S. attorney’s office has decided to charge my client after years of doing nothing. The case was charged initially as a misdemeanor.”

But Rally doesn’t see it that way. She explains, “This indictment is a defining one. It represents a shift in our attitude towards the environment…We have reached a critical time in history when species are disappearing before our eyes and yet the global trade in endangered animal products is flourishing. In my opinion, this case is a victory for the future of the planet.” 

The defendants are due back in court in the coming weeks, but until then, Psihoyos says this fight is far from over. “The Hump is just one sting in a long series of busts my organization has been involved in, very soon I hope to see a parade of these traffickers going to jail.”

And another article there with wonderful photos!

7 Things About Wild Killer Whales You’ll Never Learn at SeaWorld

Orcas are among the most intelligent species in the world, making them particularly unsuitable to captivity.
December 12, 2012