1 Tahrcountry Musings: November 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

US Supreme Court To Hear Global Warming Case

Even though the US, with 5 per cent of the world’s population, is responsible for 25 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions and accounts for 37 per cent of the world’s vehicles the administration has repeatedly refused to agree to limits on emissions, saying it would damage the economy. Now resorting to a piece of legislation enacted during the Nixon years, twelve states led by Massachusetts and 13 campaign groups have brought a case against the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the supreme court. The EPA says the 1970 Act does not give it the powers to impose limits because CO2 is not deemed to be a pollutant. Industry groups go with the view of EPA that hat CO2 is a naturally occurring gas, thereby falling outside the purview of the law. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case, known as Massachusetts verses EPA, in June 2007.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Big Boost For The Protection Of Rare Song Bird

Protection strategies for Europe's rarest songbird, the aquatic warbler (Acrocephalus paludicola), is getting a shot in the arm following a deal to protect a key breeding site. UK's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) part-funded the purchase of land in Poland's Biebrza Marshes which support 80% of the European Union's population. It is the first time in the society's 117-year history that it has secured land outside of the UK.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Snow leopard fitted with GPS tag

For the first time, a team 0f scientist from the Snow Leopard Trust, the Northwest Frontier Province Wildlife Department of Pakistan and WWF-Pakistan has fitted a snow leopard with a Global Positioning System (GPS) collar to track the secretive creature's movements. The 35kg (75lb) female was captured on the Purdum Mali ridge in Pakistan in the Chitral Gol National Park in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The collar will stay attached to the animal for 14 months. The best spin off from this project is that it will tell us how much space a snow leopard needs. This will aid in devising suitable conservation strategies. The scientists hope to to tag more animals in the days to come.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Shocking-Zoo Poisons Lions

Ethiopia’s Lion Zoo is poisoning lion cubs and selling the corpses to be stuffed because it cannot afford to feed them. The dead cubs are sold to taxidermists for $175 each. The zoo costs about $4000 a month to run, but receives only $3500 as total revenues from entrance fees. Ethiopia's lions, which are smaller than other lions, are famous for their black manes. Less than 1000 are believed to exist in the wild now. Kenya-based International Fund for Animal Welfare said this is cruel and the zoo should prevent the animals from breeding if it could not care for them.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Threat For Barn Swallows.

Three million barn swallows (Hirundo rustica) are under threat of losing valuable roosting habitat in South Africa. The numbers represent more than 1% of the global population of Barn Swallows. A proposed airport development in South Africa is threatening the winter roosting sites of three million Barn Swallows that journey there after spending breeding months in countries across Europe and other parts of the world. The developments are meant to meet the demands of hosting World Cup 2010. Bird Life South Africa is objecting to the development and propose that the site be turned into a protected area.

SARS-Civet Cat Link Proved

A joint China-Hong Kong research team has discovered a genetic link between SARS in civet cats and humans. The research project was jointly conducted by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the Guangzhou Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, and Hong Kong University. The research has conclusively proved that SARS coronavirus found in human victims is the same as the SARS coronavirus found in civet cats. The civet cat is a delicacy in Southern China.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Return Of Dormice Brings Cheer To Conservationists

The loss of habitat had led to steep drop of Dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius) in Britain. The efforts to stem this tide are coming to fruition. Reintroduction trials in Linconshire are on way to success. Dormice are good indicators of the environment's health. Common dormice may spend up to three quarters of their life asleep. They hibernate to conserve energy when food is scarce. . Dormice breed once or twice a year, with four being the typical size of a litter. They can live for as long as five years. Little is known about their social behaviour.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel Makes Headway

The first meeting of the new Western Gray Whale Advisory Panel and Sakhalin Energy Investment Company, which was convened by IUCN the World Conservation Union, recently, has come up with some firm proposals. Decisions on how to tackle oil spill prevention and response and the way ahead with a photographic identification programme for the Western Gray Whale are amongst the outcomes of the first meeting. In addition to the panel members, IUCN representatives, and officials from Sakhalin Energy, observers from financial institutions and environmental NGOs attended the meeting.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Indonesia To Curb Illegal Logging –Good News For Orangutans

Indonesia and United States has signed a pact to help stop illegal logging in Indonesia, habitat for most of the world's orangutans and many other endangered species. About 70 to 80 percent of logging in Indonesia is done illegally. United States has committed an initial US$1 million to fund supporting projects to stop illegal timber harvests. The projects include remote sensing of illegal logging activities and working with conservation groups. An estimated 7,000 to 7,500 orangutans living on the Indonesian island of Sumatra have been identified as critically endangered by IUCN the World Conservation Union. The island of Borneo, which is shared by Indonesia and Malaysia, is home to more than three-quarters of the world's remaining 50,000 to 60,000 orangutan

Saturday, November 18, 2006

World's Rarest Big Cat Captured

Scientists have captured what is believed to be the rarest big cat on Earth, the Far Eastern leopard(Panthera pardus orientalis) in the remote forests of southeastern Russia. The bonanza occurred while the scientists of the New York based Wildlife Conservation Society were studying Siberian Tigers. Only 30 animals are thought to survive in the wild. The scientists did a thorough series of tests on the leopard, from studying its teeth to collecting sperm samples, before releasing the animal back into the wild. Scientists hope that the information gained will help them to devise appropriate conservation measures.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

2006 Reuters-IUCN Media Award Presented

The 2006 Reuters-IUCN Media Award for Excellence in Environmental Reporting goes to Marina Walker Guevara of Argentina for her story “The children of lead” (Los ni?os del plomo). The Awards Ceremony was held at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Nairobi; Kenya.Walker Guevara was presented with the USD 5,000 prize. The reporting brings to life the moving story of Mischell Barzola, a six year-old girl from La Oroya, Peru, who has stopped growing because of lead contamination. "Los NiƱos del Plomo" also highlights the dilemma of the 4,000 families whose livelihoods depend on the lead industry, even though it threatens the health of their own children. Walker Guevara currently works as a reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, an investigative reporting organization in Washington, DC.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Orangutans In Dire Straits After Indonesian Bush Fires

Fires on the island of Borneo have killed up to 1,000 orangutans. The fires have been raging across central Borneo for months. There has been severe erosion of Orangutans habitat in recent years for making oil palm plantations. This means there are few places for them to go to avoid the fires. Local people have killed several animal that entered oil palm plantations. This is a Very sorry state of affairs for one of the world’s most adorable animal. Environmentalists have blamed farmers and logging companies clearing land for oil palm plantations for this predicament

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Balkan lynx Needs Urgent Attention

According to conservationists, urgent attention is needed to save the reclusive Balkan lynx. Only around 100 of the big cats are thought to remain in existence. The largest numbers are found in the remote hills of western FYR Macedonia, where they are considered a national symbol. They are also found in Albania, Serbia and Greece. The main problem according to conservationists is that major chunk of Albania's formerly dense forests, the lynx's preferred habitat, had been cut down for firewood and were now used for grazing. Efforts are on to reverse this trend.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Maligned Dingo Has Vital Ecosystem Role

The Dingo (Canis lupus dingo) is a much-maligned animal in Australia particularly in sheep rearing areas. Sheep farmers attempt to completely eliminate them as they prey on sheep. Poison is the most common method of controlling dingo populations. Now research carried out by Professor Chris Johnson of James Cook University in Queensland shows that Australia's last native "top predator" perform an essential role in maintaining biodiversity He has found that marsupial populations have a much better chance in areas that also have stable populations of dingoes. In cattle country, by and large, dingoes will hunt kangaroos or rabbits. They also keep fox and feral cat numbers in check, say researchers. The findings are reported in the latest issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society