1 Tahrcountry Musings: June 2006

Friday, June 30, 2006

New Discoveries In Juruena National Park, Brazil

Scientists from Brazil's National Institute for Amazon Research and the Amazonas Secretariat for the Environment and Sustainable Development have discovered two new frogs, fish and bird species, one tree species and one primate. Covering 1.9 million hectares, the establishment of the Juruena National Park is part of ongoing efforts by the Amazon Region Protected Areas (ARPA) Programme, a large-scale conservation programme aimed at creating and supporting a system of well-managed protected areas and sustainable natural resource management reserves in the Amazon.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Efforts on To Rescue Yangtze River dolphin From The Brink

Yangtze River dolphin ( Lipotes vexillifer) in China is probably the world's most endangered mammal. Recent surveys found only 17 living individuals.Efforts are on to rescue this dolphin from the brink. It's been suggested that the only way to save them from dying out is to set up a closely monitored breeding population under semi-natural breeding conditions. A reserve will be set up in oxbow lake. Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has mooted the plan. It is going to be a very expensive proposition. ZSL and its collaborating organisations anticipate the endorsement of their plan, and have started to look for funds. The rescue plan speaks of conducting five dolphin capture operations in the Yangtze within the next three years. Once enough stock has been established the Yangtze River will be restocked.

Monday, June 26, 2006

New National Park Established In Georgia

A new National Park named Mtirala National Park, covering 15,806 ha, has been established in the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia.The area harbours important species like lynx brown bear, Caucasian salamander, golden eagle, black vulture and falcon.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Exciting Bird Rediscovery In Manas National Park

The Manipur Bush- Quail last sighted 99 years ago has been rediscovered in Manas National Park,Assam,India.The rediscovery was made ornithologist Anwaruddin Chaudhary and the Park Dy Director Ritesh Bhattacharjee. The authentic reords of the last sighting was from Morni, Assam in 1905.An intensive survey has ben planned to obtain more details

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Three New Lemurs Discovered In Madagascar

Madagascar is famous for its well over 70 species of lemurs, primitive primates which are distant relations to humanity. The formal announcement regarding the discovery of the three new species was made at a conservation conference on Wednesday in the Malagasy capital. The species have been named Microcebus mittermeieri, after Russell A. Mittermeier, the president of green group Conservation International and a renowned field primatologist, Microcebus jollyae, after Alison Jolly, a pioneering lemur researcher from Princeton University, and Microcebus simmonsi, after Dr. Lee Simmons, director of the Omaha Henry Doorly Zoo in Nebraska.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sad day for the whales

20 Jun 2006
St Kitts and Nevis – Japan’s recruitment drive to bring pro-whaling, anti-conservation countries into the International Whaling Commission (IWC) has finally succeeded.

Pro-whaling countries obtained a narrow majority — 33 to 32, with one abstention from China — showing an abdication of responsibility by the global community, WWF said today at the 58th IWC meeting.

The vote for the so called “St Kitts and Nevis Declaration”, a non-legally binding statement asks for a “normalization” of the IWC — which according to Japan and its supporters — means it should return to its original 1946 mandate to regulate whaling, rather than concentrate also on conservation issues.

The St Kitts and Nevis Declaration also attempts to bring into question the scientific rationale for the global ban on whale hunting in 1986 and also slams non-governmental organizations. It also purports to give legitimacy to the scientifically invalid claim that whale populations are responsible for the decline of the world’s fisheries.

“We are saddened and disappointed that instead of building consensus on difficult issues, this declaration has brought both sides to the brink of open conflict," said Dr Susan Lieberman, Director of WWF’s Global Species Programme.

"WWF agrees that the IWC has serious deficiencies and needs modernization and reform, but this declaration takes the IWC in the wrong direction.”

This is the first time in decades that there has been a pro-whaling majority at the IWC.

"This is a shallow political victory for the whaling countries and their allies, and we hope this will be a wake up call to conservation-minded countries and peoples of the world, " added Dr Lieberman.

“At a critical juncture in conservation globally, when whales and other marine species are threatened by a range of threats, including climate change, bycatch, ship strikes, and other threats, it is sad to see the IWC moving backwards. We hope this is only temporary.”

Many of the countries that opposed the resolution stated for the record that they disassociated themselves from the declaration. Of the 17 European Union members to the IWC, only Denmark voted for the proposal.

There is no guarantee that other critical votes will be lost. The moratorium on whaling will stay in place as it needs a three-quarter majority to be overturned.

"Despite the moratorium staying in place for the time being, the IWC is poised on a knife edge between conserving whales and dolphins and returning to becoming a whalers' club," Lieberman said.

For further information:
Joanna Benn, Communications Manager
WWF Global Species Programme
Tel: +39 348 726 7313
(C)WWF - the environmental conservation organisation

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Japan defeated in new whaling bid

Japan was narrowly defeated in its attempt to lift the whaling ban. The tabled resolution at the International Whaling Commission's annual meeting in St Kitts was defeated by one vote. Certain delegates could not reach the site in time. There is a widespread view that the future of whales and dolphins should not be a political game of numbers.

World’s largest marine sanctuary

On the 15th of this month a chain of Hawaiian Islands became the largest marine sanctuary in the world. Total extent is 362,580-square-kilometer. The move follows a long campaign by Hawaiians and conservation groups. The area is home to Hawaiian monk seal, one of the world's rarest marine mammals. About 7,000 marine species live here, a quarter of which are found nowhere else.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

New Protected Areas Formed In Brazil

Brazilian government has announced the creation of new protected areas in the Amazon region totaling approximately 2.5 million ha. Amazon has the world's highest diversity of birds and freshwater fish, as well as the planet's largest rainforest, which is home to more than one third of all species. For an area that is severely threatened by illegal logging, slash-and-burn agriculture and other human activities this is a great boon. Environmentalist are rejoiced

Saturday, June 10, 2006

New Species of Hammerhead Shark Discovered

A new type of hammerhead shark has been discovered in US waters off the South Carolina coast. The shark has not yet been classified or named. Dr Joe Quattro, a biology professor at the University of South Carolina, discovered the shark. With only 454 recorded species of shark in the wild, this is an exciting discovery.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Herring Threatened In North Sea

Due to over fishing by Europe's trawler men, juvenile herring are not maturing properly in North Sea. International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) said serious reductions were needed in next year's catch. Herring populations form a continuous chain extending from the North Sea to the northernmost parts of the Baltic Sea.

Rare Species Of Millipede Thought To Be Extinct Makes Reappearance

The animal that has the most number of legs (Nearly1,000 legs) of any animal on the planet, thought to be extinct has made a comeback. This is the millipede Illacme plenipes. The species had not been seen since it was first spotted in a biodiversity hotspot in California in 1926. Paul Marek and Professor Jason Bond of East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina made the rediscovery. Full details can be accessed in the latest issue of Journal Nature

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Trigger for locust swarming identified

Researchers have identified the trigger that turns a motley assembly of locusts into a coordinated army capable of devastating vast expanses of crops and natural vegetation. The study by James Buhl and colleagues appear in the latest issue of Science Today. The crucial factor is a particular population density at which the insects fall into line with each other and begin to walk in the same direction. The researchers are now expanding their computer models to simulate the environments that the locusts live in and predict the behaviour of much larger swarms. This could help in predicting future attacks.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Albatrosses Being Pushed To The Brink Of Extinction

Research by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and BirdLife International has come up with the alarming finding that three species of Albatrosses on islands in the South Atlantic are being pushed to the brink of extinction. The species are the wandering, or great albatross, the black-browed albatross and the grey-headed albatross. The islands are critically important - for the wandering albatross. The main cause is mortality due to longline fishing on waters off South Africa and South America where the birds travel to feed. Up to 100,000 albatrosses a year drown on longline fishing hooks. RSPB and Birdlife International has called for urgent international intervention.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Poaching On The Increase In Nepal

The strife in Nepal has taken a heavy toll of wildlife. Field visits by WWF Nepal and park staff to sites inside the Bardia National Park found evidence of only three rhinos in the area, despite the translocation of more than 70 to the area since 1986. During the rhino survey, the team apprehended two armed poachers. The survey team confirmed the presence of three tigers in the Babai Valley, down from an estimate of 13 in 2001. Good news is that the ecosystem is still intact and if strong protection is given the wildlife will bounce back. Urgent protection strategies with emphasis on community involvement in protection is on the anvil

Ibrahim Thiaw Takes Over As Acting Director General of the World Conservation Union

Ibrahim Thiaw, the Director of the Union’s West Africa Office has been appointed as acting Director General of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) after the departure of Achim Steiner on 31 May 2006. Achim Steiner stepped down from the position of Director General to take up the post of Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya on 15 June 2006.