1 Tahrcountry Musings: 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Frontiers For Tigers In Thailand

Thailand right now has a population of 720 tigers. Wildlife experts say this could go up to 2000 with sagacious planning. The basis for this enthusiastic forecast is based on a study by Thailand's Department of National Park, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation and the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society. The authors of the study conducted intensive surveys of tigers in Huai Kha Khaeng reserve, using camera traps. According to the scientists the primary thrust should be curtailing of habitat loss and strict enforcement of antipoaching activities. Thailand has some of the most notorious poachers in South East Asia. Another stumbling bock was the fact that until now the courts have refused to jail tiger traffickers, choosing instead to hand down small fines. December issue of the journal Oryx has all the details of this fascinating study which opens the door of hope for the Tiger enthusiasists against a global decline in population. The global estmate right now is around 500 tigers.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Driving Out Large Mammals – The Human Angle

The fact that human beings, in their inexorable desire for development, drive out large mammals from their habitat is an accepted fact. Now scientist have come out with facts and figures. The research was carried out by a team of scientists from Princeton University and WWF-US. Researchers found that at least 35% of mammals over 20kg had seen their range cut by more than half. The researchers compared the current ranges of the world's largest 263 land mammals with their distribution 500 years ago. Tigers, leopards, lions, American bison, elk and wolves have suffered the most. The details appear in the Journal of Mammalogy.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Return of the Beaver

Returning of locally extinct wildlife back to original habitat is music to the ears of conservationists. Here is some music from Scotland. Beavers were hunted to extinction in Scotland in the 16th Century. Now the the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland are planning to release beavers into the Scottish wild for the first time in 500 years. The first beavers could be reintroduced to Mid-Argyll in Scotland in spring 2009. Beavers play an important role in aquatic and wetland eco-systems. In Scotland it is expected to give a boost to tourism also.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

New National Park for Russian Tigers

Here is some happy news from Russia. The Russian Government is constitituting a new national park for the endangered Amur Tigers. Christened Anyuiskii national park this is in Khabarovsk province, located in the Russian Far East. The formal declaration came on December 15. Anyuiskii Park serves as an ecological corridor in the region and will become a link in the chain of ‘the tiger econet’, a network of protected areas, which is now being created. Tiger enthusiasists all over the world are elated at this initiative by Russian Government. Hats off to the conservationists who have worked hard to bring this dream to fruition.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Apes and Facial Mimicry

Another ability once thought to be exclusively human,mimicking expressions of others, has been breached. Research by behavioural scientist Marina Davila Ross and colleagues from University of veterinary medicine, Hanover,Germany has proved that Apes share this ability with us. In Apes mimicry was more prevalent in juveniles and adolescents. The findings suggests that this ability precedes the origin of our species. Full details appear in the latest issue of Biology letters.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Kicking the CO2 Habit

The United Nations is chipping in with its mite for worldwide effort to become climate neutral. Members of the UN attending the crucial climate convention meeting in Bali announced that they are offsetting their greenhouse gas emissions linked with travel to and from the event. The move also includes the Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, and his team. This is around 3,370 tonnes of carbon dioxide worth approximately $100,000 at current carbon prices. UN bodies have jointly agreed to invest in credits accumulating in the adaptation fund of the Kyoto Protocol. Norway, one of four countries that have pledged to go climate neutral nationally, reconfirmed that it is backing the UN system-wide work towards climate neutrality with an initial investment of $820,000 for the UNEP-hosted Environmental Management Group.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Long-Eared Jerboa caught on Film

The mysterious long-eared jerboa (Euchoreutes naso ) which hops like a kangaroo,has been caught on camera for the first time.The animal was flmed in the Gobi desert during an expedition led by Dr Jonathan Baillie of Zoological Society of London (ZSL). The distribution of this rare animal is restricted to deserts of China (Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang) and South of Mangolia(Trans-Altai Gobi). The species is classified as endangered on the IUCN Red list

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Building of Mental Maps by Elephants

Royal Society journal, Biology Letters has some interesting facts about elephants in the latest issue. Accounts of how Elephants build mental map of absent relatives by sniffing out their scent are fascinating. Elephants keep track on up to 30 absent relatives. The research was undertaken by the University of St Andrews. They studied 36 family groups of elephants living in Amboseli National Park. One of the ploys used was to collect samples of female elephant urine from the ground and present it to relatives to trick them into believing that the elephant had recently passed by. Elephants showed surprise when they encountered the scent. This and a host of other details will keep you riveted to the pages.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Photographic Memory of Chimps

Researchers of Kyoto University have come up with some amazing facts. In memory tests devised by Japanese scientists, young chimps outperformed university students. Dr Matsuzawa the lead scientist and colleagues tested three pairs of mother and baby chimpanzees against university students in a memory task involving numbers. Each subject was presented with various numerals from one to nine on a touch screen monitor. The numbers were then replaced with blank squares and the subjects had to remember which number appeared in which location, then touch the appropriate square. Young chimps outsmarted University students. The research is published in Current Biology.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Aggressive Sexual Pursuit of Males by Female Topi Antelope in Kenya.

Sexual attitude of Topi Antelope( Damaliscus lunatus jimela) in Kenya is a reversal from our usual idea about sexuality. Here aggressive females pursue the males. Lead scientist Dr Jakob Bro-Jorgensen who did the research says “some pushy females were so aggressive in their pursuit of the male that he actually had to physically to attack them to rebuff their advances." Most males refuse the advances of previous partners. This increases the chances of fatherhood with the widest possible number of partners. Each female would mate, on average, with four males, while some reached 12 different partners. These findings are contrary to conventional sexual selection theory. The research was undertaken in the Masai Mara area of Kenya. Full details appear in the journal Current Biology.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

You Can Cut Down Your CO2 Emission by up to 80%

A study by Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute has indicated that carbon emissions from UK homes could be reduced by up to 80% by 2050. Financial incentives for home owners and tighter energy efficiency standards were among the study's recommendations. Cavity wall insulation, double glazing,more efficient boilers and lighting, solar panels and ground source heat pumps are in the scheme of things. One technology that could deliver sizeable saving is micro combined heat and power (CHP). Micro CHP systems generate both heat and electricity locally, and reduce costs and emissions A new legislation that will be tabled shortly will require CO2 to be cut by 60% from 1990 levels by 2050.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fake Snakes to Scare Australian Birds

Plastic snakes are being deployed in an effort to scare away tens of thousands of starlings that have descended on Tamworth in Australia. Pungent droppings of birds have created lot of problems for the authoritities. Pink, orange, green and black plastic snakes, will be tied to branches of trees. This is a desperate attempt by the Tamworth council even though there is no firm scientific basis for the operation.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Queen Bees Control Sex of Young

A new study shows that queen honey bees can choose the sex of their offspring. The young queen goes on a flight spree and stores the sperm she collects from multiple mating for the rest of her life. She uses it up bit by bit as she lays eggs. It has been shown that if the queen adds sperm to an egg, it will produce a female and if she withholds sperm, the egg will produce a male. But the workers control the type of eggs the queen lays. The queen lays eggs in a particular cell only if the cell is big enough to accommodate a male larva, which is bigger than a female one. So depending on the cells they build of each size, the workers can limit how many male offspring the queen produces. Katie Wharton and her team of entomologists at Michigan State University in East Lansing says that in spite of this drawback the queen can still tip the balance of the sex.If you are keen about details please refer to November/December issue of behavioural ecology.

Grooming Reciprocation Among Female Primates: A Meta-Analysis

Among primates, grooming is one of the most common altruistic behaviours. Interesting facts have come put of a recent study regarding grooming.The results of this meta-analysis showed that female primates groom preferentially those group mates that groom them most. T

For more details refer to

  • Content Type Journal Article
  • Category Animal behaviour
  • DOI 10.1098/rsbl.2007.0506
  • Authors
    • Gabriele Schino, Istituto di Scienze e Tecnologie della Cognizione, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, 00197 Roma, Italy
    • Filippo Aureli, Research Centre in Evolutionary Anthropology and Palaeoecology, School of Biological and Earth Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool L3 3AF, UK

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Extinction Stares In The Face Of Seventy-five Percent of Bear Species

According to recent assessments by the IUCN Bear Specialist Groups which has concluded a meeting in Monterrey, Mexico, on November 10, six out of the world’s eight species of bears are threatened with extinction. Serous concern has been expressed about the world’s smallest species of bear, the sun bear (Helarctos malayanus), which has been classed as Vulnerable. It has been estimated that sun bears have declined by at least 30% over the past 30 years. Vulnerable species include Asiatic black bears and sloth bears, both inhabitants of Asia, and Andean bears from the Andes Mountains of South America. The IUCN Bear Specialist Group indicated that Sloth Bears might have disappeared entirely from Bangladesh during the past decade. Brown bears, the most widespread Ursid, are not listed as threatened globally because large numbers still inhabit Russia, Canada, Alaska and some parts of Europe. At 900,000 strong, only the American black bear is secure throughout its range, which encompasses Canada, the United States and Mexico.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Angela Cropper of Trinidad and Tobago Named New UNEP Deputy Executive Director

Ms Angela Cropper of Trinidad and Tobago has been named as the Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The announcement was made by Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General. Ms Cropper will succeed Mr Shafqat Kakakhel who in December steps down after nine years of distinguished service.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Ancestor Of All Primates.

A new comprehensive genetic analysis shows that flying lemurs known as colugos is our closest nonprimate cousin. This is the result of a two-pronged molecular study by Jan Janecka, a postdoctoral fellow working with evolutionary genomicist William Murphy at Texas A&M University. Both analyses brought flying lemurs closer to primates than they had ever been before. The new study shows that the ancestors of tree shrews split off first, and then the primate and colugo lineages diverged. The new evolutionary study also shows that the pentail tree shrew is the sole survivor of an ancient lineage long separated from other tree shrew species.
For more details refer to

Molecular and Genomic Data Identify the Closest Living Relative of Primates
Jan E. Janecka,Webb Miller,Thomas H. Pringle,Frank Wiens, Annette Zitzmann, Kristofer M. Helgen,Mark S. Springer,William J. Murphy

Science 2 November 2007:
Vol. 318. no. 5851, pp. 792 - 794
DOI: 10.1126/science.1147555

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Iguanas Listen To Birds To Avoid Predation

Iguana the world’s only sea-feeding lizard has come up with a surprise for researchers. Scientists have noted that Iguanas recognizes and utilizes the alarm call of the Galapagos Mockingbird. This is the first instance of a non-vocal species utilizing the calls of another species. Galapagos Hawk prey on both Iguanas and Mocking Bird. Scientists are trying to ascertain whether the eavesdropping on mockingbirds is a learned behavior or ingrained.
For more details refer to Maren N. Vitousek, James S. Adelman, Nathan C. Gregory, and James J. H. St Clair (2007).
Biology Letters, Heterospecific alarm call recognition in a non-vocal reptile.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ecological Vandalism In Cyprus

In what could be termed only as ecological vandalism Fifty-eight endangered Red footed Falcons (Falco vespertinus) have been shot dead in Cyprus. The red-footed falcon, nests in Europe and winters in Africa. Environmentalists the world over have condemned this irresponsible act and called for greater vigil.Cyprus is an important migratory route for birds.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Warning - From International Primatological Society

The International Primatological Society is ringing the alarm bell for primates. The report says Almost a third of the world's primates are in danger of extinction because of destruction of their habitat. 60 experts in the field led by the World Conservation Union prepared this report. Fate of Hainan gibbon from China and Miss Waldron's red colobus monkey from Ivory Coast hangs in balance. Scientist say as the primates are the closest living relatives of humans much more attention need to be paid to them.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New lynx population discovered in Spain

A previously unknown population of Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus ) has been discovered in Spain.Iberian lynx is considered to be the world’s most endangered cat species. The new population was discovered in previously unsurveyed estates in the Castilla-La Mancha region in central Spain. Conservationists are keen to find out whether this population is genetically distinct from the larger and more stable population of lynx found in Andujar in the south. The main threats faced by Iberian lynx are a lack of prey, accidental deaths from cars and trucks on Spanish roads, and new construction work destroying habitats.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Succour To The Birds Of Prey

Experts from 60 countries will gather for a conference at Loch Lomond , Scotland, United Kingdom from 22-25 October 2007, devising ways to save rare birds of prey. It is hoped that funds will be raised for future conservation activity. UK has chipped in with an initial £10,000 for conservation works. An agreement that will give teeth to the conservation initiatives will be finalised at a meeting in the United Arab Emirates in 2008 as a follow up to the present meeting.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mediterranean Monk Seal To Get More Protection

A new Memorandum of Understanding for the protection of the Eastern Atlantic Populations of the Mediterranean Monk Seal has been inked. The Islamic Republic of Mauritania, the Kingdom of Morocco, the Republic of Portugal and the Kingdom of Spain are the signatories. Monk Seal is classified as critically endangered by IUCN the World Conservation Union. No more than 500 seals remain in the Mediterranean and along the Eastern Atlantic coastline The Mediterranean Monk Seal plays an important role in coastal and marine ecosystems and is one of the most threatened marine mammals in the world. The MOU will help to stop the decline and promote recovery.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ancient reptile tracks unearthed

315 million-year-old fossilised tracks of a reptile have been unearthed in Canada. The most likely track-maker was the Hylonomus lyelli reptile according to scientists. The footprints suggest reptiles evolved between one and three million years earlier than previously thought. Dr Falcon-Lang,University of Bristol, Professor Mike Benton, University of Bristol and colleagues from Britain and Canada were behind this path breaking discovery. Scientists believe that the reptiles gathering around a watering hole left the tracks preserved in sandstone. Look up the details in Journal of the Geological Society of London.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

Today is blog action day.Bloggers world wide will be writing about environmental issues. Here is a small piece from me.

One thing that bothers me as a wildlifer is the increasing rate of human-wildlife conflict. This is bound to happen where the population is burgeoning. But the time has come to plan and put in to place schemes that take care of the needs of the people in and around wildlife reserves. There have been attempts in some areas. One of the finest examples is the scheme being implemented in Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala. Eco development committees of the local stakeholders have a say in running the affairs of the Park. Eco tourism related ventures bring in money to .the local community. It is truly a participatory approach in conservation. Other reserves also have to emulate this. One thing that puts off people is the delay in getting compensation for damages caused by wildlife attacks. This is one area that needs to be spruced up Compensation has to be adequate and it needs to be dispensed immediately. Delay brings in bad blood. The future of conservation in thickly populated countries lie in participatory approach. The local people have to be sensitized and brought in as partners of conservation.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

China – Rare South China Tiger Observed In The Wild

China's official Xinhua news agency reports that a rare South China tiger has been seen in the wild for the first time in decades. Chinese scientists had thought the tiger was extinct. It was a Chinese farmer in Shaanxi province who took the photograph and scientists had a close look at it before they confirmed it. The tiger is critically endangered and was last sighted in the wild in 1964. South China tiger is the smallest tiger subspecies.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Blog Action Day: One issue, thousands of voices

Thousands of voices will speak out for the environment for the first-ever Blog Action Day on 15 October. This non-profit event, partnered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is an unprecedented call for bloggers around the planet to write about environmental issues on the same day.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wildlife – Use Of Human Shield

New research findings indicate that mammals use humans to shield against carnivores. This raise the possibility that redistribution has occurred in other mammalian taxa due to anthropogenic influences in ways we are yet to determine. This calls for new look at indirect anthropogenic effects on species distributions and behaviour. The new study was based in Yellowstone and demonstrated a substantive change in how Moose avoid predator brown bears, shifts birth sites shift away from traffic-averse brown bears and towards paved roads.If you are keen about more details look below.

  • Content Type Journal Article
  • Category Animal behaviour
  • DOI 10.1098/rsbl.2007.0415
  • Authors
    • Joel Berger, North America Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, Teton Valley, ID 83455, USA

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Wanna Make Elephants Run? Turn To Bees

African elephants are wary of bees. They have instinctive fear of the stings. The insects are able to inflict painful stings inside the animals' trunks. Researchers are using this information to drive away marauding elephants. Oxford University researchers found that elephants would quickly vacate a spot after hearing recordings of bees. The Oxford team set up concealed loudspeakers in trees where elephants regularly came. Ninety-four percent of the elephant families left the tree within 80 seconds of hearing bee sounds. More information can be accessed from the journal Current Biology.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Kouprey Is Real

The general belief to this day is that Kouprey, Cambodia’s national animal is a hybrid between Banteng and Zebu. Alexandre Hassanin and Anne Ropiquet from the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, France have turned this belief topsy turvy. Their DNA analysis has conclusively proved that kouprey is a real wild species, different from all other wild oxen. November issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. will carry the full details.

The world moves into "ecological overdraft"

The Economic Foundation UK says that the world as a whole is going into ecological debt driven by over-consumption. 'Ecological debt day' is the date when, in effect, humanity uses-up the resources the earth has available for the year, and begins eating into its stock of natural resources. Ecological Debt Day this year is three days earlier than in 2006 which itself was three days earlier than in 2005. This is just one of the findings of a new report from nef, Chinadependence: the second UK Interdependence report, published in association with the Open University. The report says the world's biggest carbon polluter is the United States. If everyone in the world had the same consumption rates as in the United States it would take 5.3 planet earths to support them. The figure was 3.1 for France and Britain, 3.0 for Spain, 2.5 for Germany and 2.4 for Japan. Green house emissions of Burgeoning economies like China and India are a fraction of those in Europe and the United States

Saturday, October 06, 2007

UNEP and Google On Clean Up Drive

People across the planet will be cleaning up their area and sharing the result with millions of people on the Internet in an innovative programme launched by Google and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). During International Cleanup Weekend on 13 and 14 October, community groups and individuals on every continent will be heading out in small groups with friends and family to clean up their local parks, beaches, streets and neighbourhoods. Under this new initiative, their activities and results will make history by being posted as photos and videos onto Google Map. This will give a global platform to every local initiative. Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP's Executive Director, said: "The power of local community action is being matched by the power of the World Wide Web. This should make a formidable partnership uniting and empowering groups from Bangalore to Bermuda and Berlin to Beijing in common cause." UNEP and Google encourage everyone to plan their own cleanup close to home, wherever they think there is the biggest need for it. To get started, go to: http://maps.google.com/help/maps/cleanup/

The inputs for this entry has comwe from UNEP

Friday, October 05, 2007

Crow Facts

The latest issue of journal science has some interesting facts about crows, to be specific, about New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides). New Caledonian crows are found on the South Pacific island of New Caledonia. The birds are renowned for their sophisticated tool using ability, but until now, observing them in their natural habitat has not been successful. This species of crow is the only non-primate animal known to create and use new tools. Now scientists using miniature cameras have unraveled intricacies of how New Caledonian crows behave in the wild. They can use their bills to whittle twigs and leaves into bug-grabbing implements. The crows were also observed to be using grass stems on the forest floor for probing the leaf litter. Dr Christian Rutz, lead author of the paper is from the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford, UK.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Indonesia – Plan To Plant 79 Million Trees in One Day

Indonesia, which is facing flak from world community for deforestation at alarming rate, has decided to bow to the demands from environmentalists or at least it seems to be so. Indonesia will plant 79 million trees in a single day on November 28th ahead of the U.N. climate change summit in Bali in December. This is part of a global campaign to plant one billion trees launched at U.N. climate change talks in Nairobi last year. Palm oil plantations have done irreparable damage to rain forests and the endangered Orangutans in Indonesia and this has earned the ire of the environmentalists.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tragedy- 10000 Wildebeest Drowned

10,000 Wildebeest have drowned while attempting to cross Kenya's Mara River. They were swept away by the current at a deep crossing and drowned. Wildebeest make their annual migration from Serengeti Plain of Tanzania to greener pastures in Kenya covering a distance of 3,200 kilometers. One percent of the total species population has been wiped out in this tragedy.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

New protected Areas In Papua New Guinea

Three new protected areas have been created in Papua New Guinea. The new wildlife reserves are the new Aramba, Tonda extension and Weriaver areas covering about 710,000 hectares in Papua New Guinea’s Western Province . The area is home to unique wildlife like marsupial cats, endemic flying possums and birds of paradise. Local community leaders, politicians and wildlife officials form the synergy for this new venture. Local landowner committees will manage the areas with assistance from wildlife officials and agencies like WWF.

Friday, September 28, 2007

New Wildlife Reserves In Vietnam

In an effort to protect critically endangered wild ox saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), the central Vietnamese provinces of Thua Thien Hue and Quang Nam will create two new wildlife reserves. The extent of each reserve will be 121km2.The reserves will link up with the Bach Ma National Park to cover a continuous protected landscape covering approximately 2,920km2 . Saola is found only in the Annamite Mountains of Vietnam and Laos. Very little is known about the species. The total population is thought to be no more than 250 individuals

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Vietnam – New Discoveries

Scientists have discovered 11 new species of animals and plants in the Thua Thien Hue Province of Vietnam, a region known as the Green Corridor . The discovery includes three plants , five orchids two butterflies and a snake . Ten other plant species, including four orchids, are still under examination but also appear to be new species. All these species are at risk from illegal logging, hunting, unsustainable extraction of natural resources and conflicting development interests. The area is also home to Vietnam’s greatest number of white-cheeked crested gibbons, one of the world’s most endangered primates.

If you are keen about more information please contact

Dr Chris Dickinson, Chief Technical Adviser
WWF Vietnam
Tel: +84 54 887 341
E-mail: chris.dickinson@wwfgreatermekong.org

Olivier van Bogaert, Senior Press Officer
WWF International
Tel: + 41 22 364 9554
E-mail: ovanbogaert@wwfint.org

Monday, September 24, 2007

Global Warming – World Leaders To Meet In New York

150 countries are expected to attend a special UN meeting convened by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York on 24th September to discuss the effects of global warming and the ways to combat it. The highlight is the presence of 80 heads of state. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and former US Vice President Al Gore will attend the meeting.The secretary general will deliver the keynote address at Monday's summit, entitled "The Future in Our Hands: Addressing the Leadership Challenge of Climate Change." According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, if no action is taken on greenhouse gases, the Earth’s temperature could rise by 4.50°C (8.1°F) or more. Climate change will hit the poorest and most vulnerable the hardest

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bluefin Tuna – Good News

In a move to conserve endangered Bluefin Tuna the European Commission has banned the fishing of Bluefin Tuna in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean for the rest of the year. The ban is in force in Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Portugal and Spain. Italy and France. EU and international rules have provisions to punish the offenders.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Australia - Call to protect Coral Sea

The Conservationists around the world are urging the Australian government to protect the Coral Sea, which has abundant shark populations. The area is a "predator diversity hotspot" and one of Australia’s last tropical marine wildernesses area, comprising an area of 780,000sq km. Environmentalists want the government to give the area full-scale protection by giving legal status of protected area. If the proposal is accepted this would be the world's largest marine park. Illegal fishing for sharks for their fin is posing a serious threat to the area and the threat is increasing.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Virunga National Park – WWF Chips In With Help

Created in 1925, Virunga National Park in Democratic Republic of Congo is the oldest national park in Africa and also the richest in biodiversity, with over 700 species of birds and 200 species of mammals. It is also World Heritage-listed. The Park is passing through difficult times due to civil unrest in the area. WWF is working closely with UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, to prevent encroachment into Virunga National Park by people displaced by civil unrest in the area. About 35,000 people have been affected. Three camps have been set up by the displaced people in Mugunga, a small town next to Virunga National Park. One of them,the Lac Vert Camp,is partly located within the park. The main challenge is to avert a fuel wood crisis that will erode Virunga National Park. WWF is working closely with UNHCR and ICCN (Institut Congolais pour la Conservation de la Nature) to find solutions to the problem, under a programme funded by the European Union. UNHCR is urging the displaced people to move from the Lac Vert Camp to a new camp that could accommodate up to 5,000 families.

Threat of Extinction At The Door For Many Species

2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species is an indicator of the alarming rate at which some species are being pushed to the brink. There are now 41,415 species on the IUCN Red List and 16,306 of them are threatened with extinction, up from 16,118 last year. The total number of extinct species has reached 785 and a further 65 are only found in captivity or in cultivation. There are now 12,043 plants on the IUCN Red List, with 8,447 listed as threatened. Some of the highlights of the latest reports are, Yangtze River Dolphin listed as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct), first appearance of corals on the IUCN Red List, the decline of the great apes, Vulture crisis, and addition of North American reptiles to IUCN Red List
For more info log on to
www.iucn.org/redlist and http://www.iucnredlist.org/

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

UK – Efforts On For Grass Roofs

The English county Coventry is contemplating an innovative idea to combat climate change. The idea is to lay grass roofs across Coventry building. Grass roofs can provide insulation, encourage wildlife, and help purify the air by filtering out pollution. This will also make Coventry one of the greenest places in UK.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Crimes against wild birds Go Up In UK

Crimes against birds have taken a 50% jump in UK. The latest Bird crime report by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) says there were 1,109 incidents in 2006, up from 726 in 2005. Killing of raptors was the most worrying factor. Birds like Red kite, Goshawk and Hen Harrier are struggling to recover from many years of deliberate persecution. Counties Derbyshire, North Yorkshire and Northumberland were the worst offenders.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Why bears rub trees? – British Ecologist Get To The Bottom Of The Conundrum

Many theories have been advanced as to why bears rub trees. One school of thought was: female bears might rub trees as they came into oestrous. Others were of the view that bears might be giving their backs a scratch to get rid of parasites. Dr Owen Nevin of the University of Cumbria has finally solved the riddle. Adult male grizzly bears use so-called “rub trees” as a way to communicate with each other while looking for breeding females. This behaviour also helps to reduce battles between the bears. Big male bears can seriously injure and even kill each other when they get into a fight. Over the past two years, Dr Nevin used four digital cameras with infra-red trips set up opposite rub trees to collect data on which bears used the trees and when. Satellite telemetry equipment were used to track individual bears' movements. The research findings will also help improve bear conservation by affording an insight into the behaviour of secretive male bears.
If you are keen about more information contact Dr Owen Nevin, University of Cumbria, tel: 0176 889 3551, email: Owen.Nevin@Cumbria.ac.uk.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Alert – Indian Bull Frogs Being Smuggled Out

There exists a thriving smuggling racket in Indian Bull Frogs (Hoplobatrachus Tigerinus). Wildlife authorities in Assam have seized an estimated 3,000 frogs near the Kaziranga National Park. According to local authorities the frogs were destined for France via Bangladesh. The frogs are killed in Bangladesh and their legs dismembered and frozen before they are smuggled to France. The seized frogs were later released in to Kaziranga.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

New Findings - Asian Catfish Migrates Hundreds of Kilometers

The latest issue of the Journal of Fish Biology has some interesting facts about Southeast Asian catfish. A new study by Zeb Hogan, Ian Baird, Richard Radtke and Jake Vander Zanden shows that the Catfish (Pangasius krempfi) travels thousands of kilometers from the South China Sea up the Mekong River to spawn. This is similar to many salmon species that spend the first part of their lives at sea and then migrate thousands of kilometers up coastal rivers to spawn. This turns topsy-turvy the present belief that Catfish does not travel much. The new findings also suggest that related catfish species all over the world may be more migratory than previously thought.

For more information, see the paper: Hogan, Z, IG Baird, R Radtke and MJ Vander Zanden (2007) Long distance migration and marine habitation in the tropical Asian catfish, Pangasius krempfi. Journal of Fish Biology 71, 818–832.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Vietnam – Shocking – Frozen Tigers Recovered From Fridge

It is hard to believe. But it happened. Vietnamese police have recovered two frozen tigers from an apartment, along with two soup kettles filled with animal bones. A 40-year-old woman has been taken in to custody. The woman confessed that she was making traditional medicines. The conjecture is that the tigers were brought from Myanmar or Laos. While the wildlife enforcement laws in Vietnam are strong Myanmar and Laos pays only lip service.

Global Environmental Flows Network Launched

The Global Environmental Flows Network was officially launched during the 10th International River Symposium Conference currently on in Brisbane, Australia. ‘Environmental Flows’ refers to water provided within a river, wetland or coastal zone to maintain ecosystems, and their benefits where there is competing use and demand. The network was crated by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), Delft Hydraulics, DHI Water and Environment, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), Swedish Water House, and the Global Water for Sustainability Program (GLOWS). Water managers, NGOs, local communities, scientists and researchers, as well as governmental and intergovernmental agencies that are interested in sharing knowledge or experiences on environmental flows can utilize the network

For more information log on to www.riversymposium.com

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Congo - Endangered Gorillas Caught In The Crossfire

Rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo have taken control of large tracts of the Virunga National Park, home of the endangered mountain gorillas. Conservationists the world over are worried about the fate of the animals. Only 700 mountain gorillas remain in the wild. Half of them are in Virunga National Park.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

WWF Advocates Bluefin Tuna Sanctuary

Concerned about plummeting Bluefin tuna population, WWF is advocating immediate establishment of a sanctuary for the bluefin tuna around the Balearic Islands in the western Mediterranean . The proposal is based on research by Spanish marine biologists , which has established that the area is of outstanding importance for the breeding of the species. WWF is also working on scientifically based recovery plan , which will be discussed in the next meeting of ICCAT (International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas) in Turkey this November.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Beware of That Pigeon Droppings

Pigeons are beautiful to behold. But acidic pigeon droppings may cause lot of problems to iron structures. Pigeon droppings contain ammonia and acids. Experts investigating the recent bridge mishap in Mississippi think that continued build up of pigeon droppings may have contributed to faster build up of rust, and this in turn may have contributed to the causes of collapse of the bridge.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Italy - Pope Leads Catholic Church's First Eco-Friendly Rally

Pope Benedict on Saturday led the Catholic Church's first eco-friendly youth rally. Pope exhorted the estimated 300,000 young people to shun love for the disposable. The rally was held in central Adriatic shrine city of Loreto. Recycled paper, backpacks made of recyclable material, a flashlight operated by a crank instead of batteries and biodegradable plates were the highlights of the camp. The main piece of advice was “Discover the beauty of love, but not disposable love, that is here today and gone tomorrow”

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Colombia - New national park created

The Colombian government has created a new national park, Serranía de los Churumbelos Auka Wasi National Park, covering 97,180 ha, which will give a boost to the conservation of Andean and Amazon ecosystems. The area harbours abundant wildlife, including the Andean bear, jaguar, tapir and puma, 30 species of amphibians, 16 species of reptiles, more than 140 species of butterflies, 825 species of plants and 461 species of birds. Sacred areas of several indigenous communities such as the Inga and Yanaconas, will also be protected.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Spain – Virus Threat to Dolphins

Spain’s environment ministry has issued warning about the outbreak of Morbilli virus threatening dolphins and has sought the help of experts around the Mediterranean and adjoining seas for help in monitoring the infection. The virus had produced a massive epidemic in the 1990s. The newspaper El Mundo on Wednesday reported that several dolphins had been killed. Several dolphin corpses have been recovered from the coast in Murcia and Velancia. Javier Pantoja, head of marine conservation in Spain's environment ministry, says his department has arranged a mid-September meeting in which the affected regions and experts would discuss how best to confront the crisis.

Scotland – Wildlife Crimes - Environment Minister Promises Tough Measures

My UK contacts inform me that Environment Minister Mike Russell has promised tough crackdown on wildlife offenders. Bird poisoning is troubling the environmentalists. The killing of a golden eagle in Peeblesshire recently had come in for wide spread condemnation. New measures planned could result in the removal of firearms licences and cutting farm aid payments.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Rare dolphin sighted in China

Chinese scientists had recently declared that Yangtze River dolphin(Lipotes vexillifer) or baiji was probably extinct. But baiji has been was spotted and filmed by a local man in Anhui Province, eastern China. Scientists of the Institute of Hydrobiology at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences have confirmed that the footage was of a baiji. Scientists will now try to capture the dolphins and move them to a reserve where they would try to breed them. The last sighting of a wild baiji was in 2004. The sighting has brought cheer to the environmentalists of China.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

“Our green accountability” from World Conservation Union

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has released its first Environmental Indicators report entitled “Our green accountability” to show its operational environmental impact. The report analyses the environmental sustainability of IUCN’s operations in 2006. The report analyzes trends in the use of paper, electricity, gas, water and carbon emissions from flight travel and looks at staff commuting patterns.

The main recommendations made in the report include

  • Improving training and awareness-raising of staff,
  • Establishing economic incentives for environmental gain and
  • Institutionalizing this report and the collection and analysis of data for it.

IUCN will use their experiences obtained over the last 18 months to contribute to the Global Reporting Initiative’s (GRI) dialogue.

For further information, please contact GOGG@iucn.org.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

11th Hour – Message From Leonardo DiCaprio

Here is a message from Leonardo DiCaprio. Have alook at it. Spread it around

I'm writing to tell you about my new environmental film, The 11th Hour. The film documents the environmental crises we face and the solutions we must begin to implement.

Please click here to take a look at the trailer.

With help from over fifty of the world's most prominent thinkers and activists, including reformer Mikhail Gorbachev, physicist Stephen Hawking, and Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai, The 11th Hour documents the grave problems facing the planet's life systems. Global warming, deforestation, mass species extinction, and depletion of the oceans' habitats are all addressed. However, the most powerful element of The 11th Hour is not that it portrays a planet in crisis, but that it offers hope and solutions. The film ends with a call for restorative action through reshaping human activity.

Check out the website for more information on the film.
>> www.11thhouraction.com

The 11th Hour opened on August 17th in New York and Los Angeles. It will open in other cities across the country in the upcoming weeks. It would be great if you could go see it and bring a friend. You can go to our website to get more information on the movie and when it will play near you.

We need the message of this movie to hit as far and wide as possible.
The hope is us. Let's begin.

Thank you,

Leonardo DiCaprio

Leonardo DiCaprio

UK – Hedgehogs House Sparrows and starlings Included In List of Species needing protection.

The new Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) of UK has included Hedgehogs, House Sparrows and starlings in the list of 1,149 species in need of conservation and greater protection. The plan includes 65 habitats as being in need of better conservation and protection. Other animals added to the list for the first time include the grass snake and the garden tiger moth. The BAP list considered to be one of the most authoritative reference sources for the state of the UK's wildlife is expected to give greater thrust to conservation measures in UK. BAP also contributes to global conservation commitments, outlined in the UN's Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).

Monday, August 27, 2007

Brazil - Manatees reintroduction Programme

Manatees (Trichechus inungis) of Amazon, which plays a vital role in the river ecosystem, are declining at an alarming rate. Habitat loss,hunting and slow rate of reproduction are the main causes of decline. Alarmed at this rapid decline scientists are planning reintroduction possibilities. National Amazon Research Institute (INPA) plans to introduce two male manatees into the Rio Cuieiras , a tributary of the Rio Negro. The scientists hope they will seek out females and begin repopulating the area. INPA has 36 manatees in captivity. They hope to utilise 18 of them for reintroduction trials. INPA is also planning an awareness programme to educate people living in the area about the manatee's importance to the environment.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Argentina - Huge New Marine National Park To Be Created

Argentina will create a new National Park along the Patagonia coast to safeguard more than half a million penguins and other rare seabirds like endangered Olrog’s gull and the white-headed steamer duck. The new park serves as a nesting and feeding ground for around 250,000 pairs of Magellanic penguin, estimated to represent 20 percent of the world’s population and the only colonies of Southern American fur seals. The area is also one of the most productive marine ecosystems on the planet.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Austria – Rare Birth - Panda Born in Zoo

Natural birth of birth of Pandas in zoos is a rare occurrence. The standard practice in zoo is artificial insemination. Viennaa’s Tiergarten Schoenbrunn zoo on Thursday celebrated the natural birth of a panda cub. The mother Yang Yang and mate Long Hui are on extended loan from China. The gestation period was 127 days. The last panda born in a zoo in Europe was in 1982 in Madrid.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Cambodia – DNA Tests on Elephant Dungs To Determine Elephant Numbers

600 elephant dung samples collected from Cambodia will be sent to Australia to determine the actual numbers of elephants. They will be analyzed at the Wantirna laboratory DNA Solutions in Melbourne. Mr Heffernan, from conservation group Fauna & Flora, is leading the project. Because each animal has a unique DNA profile, the scientists can use genetic testing to work out numbers. The size of the droppings provides clues about age, while the DNA fingerprinting will reveal details about sex ratios. The current estimate of elephants in Cambodia is only a guesstimate.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Peace Parks – A New Book

Peace Parks, a new book from the IUCN stable, with a foreword by the World Conservation Union’s Director General, Julia Marton-Lefèvre, explores how peace parks can help resolve political and territorial disputes. Real-life examples, such as the Selous-Niassa Wildlife Corridor in Africa and the Emerald Triangle conservation zone in Indochina are highlighted. IUCN the World Conservation Union describes the book as not only a groundbreaking book in international relations, but also a valuable resource for policy makers and environmentalists.

If you are interested in details about the book please contact

Sarah Halls, Global Media Relations Officer, The World Conservation Union (IUCN), Tel: +41 22 999 0127, e-mail: sarah.halls@iucn.org,

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Ireland - The Return Of The White-Tailed Eagle

White-Tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla ) which disappeared from Ireland about 100 years ago has made a comeback. On 16th August Mr. John Gormley, Minister for the Environment released six White Tailed Eagles into the wild in Killarney National Park as part of the programme to reintroduce this native bird of prey in Ireland. These birds had pride of place in the cultural and natural heritage of Ireland for hundreds of years but due to trapping and shooting in the 19th and early 20th centuries they became extinct. The eagle chicks came from Norway. The project will operate over a five-year period with about 15 birds being released on each occasion. It is expected that most of the eagles released will disperse to the coastline after a few months

Friday, August 17, 2007

Campaign Against illegal wildlife Trade Items Being Brought to the UK As Souvenirs

A WWF initiated campaign is on, to educate and prevent British holidaymakers from bringing back illegal wildlife Trade Items. Last year, British customs officials’ confiscated more than 163,000 illegal wildlife trade items, many made from highly endangered species. This included: 158,000 illegal plants such as orchids and cycads; 221 elephant ivory and skin products; and 959 live reptiles such as snakes, chameleons, tortoises and terrapins. The unintentional act of holidaymakers is pushing some species to the brink of extinction. Under the CITES agreement, 827 species of animals and plants are banned from international trade and a further 32,840 is strictly controlled.

Tahrcountry congratulates WWF UK for this initiative. This needs to be duplicated in other countries also.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Migrate And Get Lucky In Love – The Hyena Story

The latest research on Spotted Hyenas by Dr. Oliver Honer from the Liebniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin has come up with some fascinating facts about Spotted Hyenas. Female Spotted Hyenas prefer an outsider when it comes to mating, males that have immigrated from another group after the female was born. This in turn prevents inbreeding. The research was done in Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. Read the details in the latest issue of Journal Nature

"The 11th Hour" from DiCaprio

The documentary "The 11th Hour” from DiCaprio is set for release on August 17th.It is a compilation of interviews with leading scientists, designers, experts, historians and thinker and highlights the threat of global warming and consumption. DiCaprio thinks this is bound to galvanize people in thinking green. For his part he tries to do everything possible except walking to work. He has maintained a hybrid car for almost six years and his house is built "green".

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

IUCN & UNESCO sends mission to investigate gorilla shootings in Congo(DRC)

IUCN The World Conservation Union and UNESCO are sending a mission to investigate shooting of four critically endangered Mountain Gorillas in Virunga National Park, in Democratic Republic of Congo, last week. The joint IUCN and UNESCO mission departed on August 11. The team will spend 10 days in Congo and will have meetings with Government representatives in Kinshasa, the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the park’s guards and political and military leaders. The mission will suggest measures to protect the animals and improve the conservation of the national park, which has been on the list of World Heritage sites in danger since 1994. Virunga National Park was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1979 for its aesthetic and geological importance and for being a biodiversity hotspot. It was added to the danger list 15 years later amid concerns of poaching, deforestation and the effects of armed militia.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

France - Sad News- Freed Brown Bear Killed In Road Accident

My French contacts inform me that the female bear, named Franska, one of a group of brown bears released in the mountain ranges between France and Spain last year has been killed in a road accident near the southern French town of Lourdes. The release of the bears was under a European programme to help species in danger of extinction. Franska had run in to controversy recently with local farmers alleging that she was responsible for many sheep deaths in the area.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Pygmy Elephants Threatened In Borneo

Asia's largest project for the satellite tracking of elephants initiated by WWF has come up with disturbing news about pygmy elephants. Habitat destruction is driving them to the brink of extinction. There are fewer than 1,500 pygmy elephants left in Borneo their sole habitat. WWF has urged for immediate counter measures to be put in place, to stop destruction of habitat and preservation of corridors.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Large-antlered muntjac Photographed in Laos

My friends in Laos inform me that recently the Large-antlered Muntjac has been photographed for the first time using camera traps set in Nakai Nam Theun National Protected Area (NNT NPA), in the Annamite Mountains. Previous records were from specimens collected by hunters and a few fleeting glimpses by biologists. Another rare species found in the area is Annamite striped rabbit, one of the world's rarest and least-known rabbit.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Unusual Fossilized Cypress Trees discovered in Hungary

Hungarian scientists have discovered a group of fossilized swamp cypress trees estimated to be 8 million years old, in the Northeastern village of Bukkabrany. Many trees have been preserved in their original position in this place. Instead of petrifying the original wood has been preserved. This is a rarity. The find is expected to provide clues about the climate of pre-historic times

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Massive Animal Relocation On In Meru National Park, Kenya

Meru National Park in Kenya was once famous for its magnificent wildlife and visitors thronged there. But incessant poaching has reduced the park to a mere shadow of its past. Efforts are now on to bring back past glory by translocation. Animals will be taken from better-stocked reserves in Naivasha, Nakuru and Laikipia and Translocated to Meru in a massive operation. Kenyan Widlife authorities have started moving about 2,000 animals. On top of the list are Zebras, Impalas, Hartebeests and Beisa Oryx.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Rare Mountain Gorillas Shot Dead in Congo

Virunga National Park in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, which is one of the last bastions of highly endangered Mountain Gorillas had a shocker yesterday. In a gruesome incident one silverback male and three female mountain gorillas have been shot dead. Total world population is around 700. Of these 1/5th is inside Virunga National Park. Congolese wildlife authorities are stepping up patrols.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Vietnam – New Hope For Endangered Monkey

Hope abounds for one of the world’s most endangered monkey. The Tree-Dwelling Grey-Shanked Doucs of Vietnam is one of the world's 25 most endangered primates. Surveys by WWF and Conservation International have recorded at least 116 of the species in central Vietnam infusing new hope about its survival. Until this discovery only one other population with more than 100 animals was known.

Monday, July 02, 2007

US - Shipping Lanes Changed To Save Whales

Shipping lanes have been changed to save Whales in Boston. Boston is a busy port with vessels coming in laden with oil or liquid natural gas as the prime cargo. The large vessels will travel roughly6.5 km north of their old path to avoid parts of the only whale sanctuary in the United States, Hitting whales is a recurrent feature here. Two whales have been hit in the last six weeks. The new lanes reduce the chance of whales being hit by vessels by up to 80 percent,

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pipedreams? Interbasin transfers and water shortages

A new WWF report titled Pipedreams? Interbasin transfers and water shortages shows that water transfers between rivers damage the natural environment, interrupting flows between rivers compromising their ability to provide food and water. It also involves cost overruns, insufficient transparency, irreversible damage to rivers, lack of stakeholder consultation, displacement of communities, planned benefits falling short, and a lack of exploration of alternative sustainable options. Less than 40 per cent of the world’s rivers over 1,000km long remain free flowing WWF advocates a commitment to healthy rivers and wetlands as the first step to water conservation, complemented by other methods as sustainable as possible and only if necessary. The reports conclude that Basin transfers must be the last resort after all other sustainable approaches have been explored.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Albino Mountain Goat Sighted

The Italian Wildlife Rangers have finally manged to take photos of the elusive Albino Mountain Goat(capra ibex). in the the Les Laures valley in the northwestern Val d'Aosta region. Hikers had been reporting seeing a white animal at higher elevations for months.This is the only case of Albinism ever documented.among the capra ibex.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Europe – Brown Bears Facing Extinction

Brown Bears are facing extinction in European Alps. Environmentalists assess only 38 animals in the entire Alps, and Germany does not have even one. The small size makes them critically endangered. Unless efforts at conservation move on a war footing the days of the Brown Bears are numbered.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Algeria - Threat To Wetland

Environmentalists are worried about the imminent threat to ecologically significant El Kala coastal park of marshes and forests in Algeria. The proposed 1,200 km road intended to link Algeria to Tunisia and Morocco poses the threat. The alignment passes through the park. The park is home of, fox, lynx, tortoise wildcat and many species of predator birds. The park contains one site that Algeria has undertaken to protect under the 1971 Ramsar Convention. When the park was formed under the Algerian laws the government had made a firm commitment to protect the area from environmental damage. Environmentalists worldwide are crying foul.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

CITES Support For Coral

In an effort to augment conservation initiatives for Red, pink and other coral species in the genus Corallium, delegates attending a meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES ) at The Hague have adopted a US proposal to list the genus in Appendix II of the convention. Appendix II allows trade in a species under strict conditions. Red and pink corals are found throughout the world’s tropical and temperate seas and are used mainly for the manufacture of jewellery. Corallium populations off parts of the Italian, French and Spanish coasts are no longer commercially viable, while in the Western Pacific they have been depleted alarmingly.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Good News – Japan’s Bid To Reopen Trade In Whale Products Rebuffed.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has refused the request by Japan to reopen trade in whale products. CITES delegates meeting in The Hague from June 3 to 15 have rejected Japan's proposal by an overwhelming majority. Conservation groups worldwide have hailed the decision.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

US – A Thriving Market For Illegal Ivory

Care for the Wild International, which surveyed thousands of retail outlets in 14 cities in US last year and this year has come out with shocking details. US is indeed a thriving market for worked ivory next only to Hong Kong. The findings were presented at The Hague meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), The poaching of elephants have reached unprecedented levels in Africa.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Hope For Threatened Eels

There is fresh hope for the threatened Eels in Europe. EU governments have reached an agreement imposing strict limits on catching eels to prevent the species from becoming extinct. The agreement stipulates to reserve a percentage of catch to restock Europe's rivers. Till now the stumbling block was restocking percentage, which prevented exporting much of the juvenile eel catch called glass eels to Asian markets, where it fetches fabulous prices. The spawning of Eels in European waters is still a mystery.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Virgin To Fund Elephant Corridor In Kenya

Chairman of the Virgin, Richard Branson has promised aid for construction of a corridor that will allow about 2,000 elephants follow their natural migratory path north of Mount Kenya. Small farms that have come up in innumerable numbers around Mount Kenya, has cut off centuries-old migratory routes threatening lives, damaging crops and antagonizing people. Mr. Branson made his offer on the occasion of the launch of London Nairobi flight of Virgin Atlantic


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Spain Abandons Motorway Plan To Save Lynx

Heeding to the views of environmentalists, Spain has decided to abandon a motorway plan linking the ancient capital of Toledo with the southern city of Cordoba, passing through Sierra Morena mountains,.the last refuge of the endangered Iberian Lynx.250 to 350 Iberian lynxes remain in the world, all of them in Spain.

EU Imports Threatens Widlife

EU happens to be the world's biggest importer of wildlife. This has been highlighted in a report by TRAFFIC titled Opportunity or threat: The role of the European Union in the global wildlife trade.The legal trade of wildlife products into the EU was worth an estimated €93 billion in 2005. Between 2003 and 2004, EU enforcement authorities made over 7,000 seizures of shipments without legal permits, totaling over 3.5 million specimens listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).Conservationists fear that under the guise of legal imports several attempts at smuggling also happens. Conservationists are demanding that EU should provide external assistance to countries where wildlife products originate and ensure that their trade is sustainable. A carefully drafted policy can bring in benefits on sustainable basis.For example, the EU imports 95 per cent of vicuña wool, providing significant income for 700,000 people in impoverished Andean communities.

Hi Guys I am back on the net

Hi Guys,
Due to some personal constraints I have not been able to update for some time now.I have got several emails from regular readers. I will try to update regularly now.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Beaver Sighted In Bronx River After A Gap Of 200Years

Scientists of the Wildlife Conservation Society have photographed a Beaver in Bronx River. This is exciting news because Beavers have not been sighted in New York for more than 200 years. This is the result of care taken to clean up the mess in Bronx River. It was US Rep. Jose Serrano of the Bronx who spearheaded the whole operation. Scientists of the Wildlife Conservation Society have named the beaver Jose in Serrano's honor.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Chimpanzees Fashion Spears

The journal current biology has some astonishing information about Chimpanzees. Researchers Jill Pruetz and Paco Bertolani from the center of evolutionary studies, Cambridge, UK, reports that Chimpanzees in Senegal were observed making and using wooden spears to hunt other primates. The chimps adopted four to five steps to fashion the spear. They also trimmed the edge of fashioned spear. Females’ particularly adolescent females were seen to pick up this habit more frequently. Young chimps pick up the habit easily from their mothers. The adult males were lax in this respect. The authors say that this finding also support the theory that females may have played a significant role in the evolution of use of tool in early humans.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

First Colossal Squid Landed In New Zealand

The first intact adult colossal squid (Masonychoteuthis hamiltonii) has been landed in New Zealand. New Zealand fishermen landed the fish while they were trying to fish Patagonian tooth fish in deep Antarctic waters. The species was first identified in 1935. It took 2 hours to haul in the 250 kg squid.

UK - Rare Fish Saved From Extinction

Gwyniad, (Coregonus pennantii), a fish akin to herring has been saved from the jaws of extinction. The fish dates back to the ice age. The fish native only to one lake in Gwynedd was facing extinction due to poor water quality, and lack of oxygen. A small fish called Ruffe introduced in the lake, which ate the eggs and young fish of Gwyniad, compounded the danger. Now fertilized eggs have been successfully relocated to Llyn Arenig as part of a two-year project. The fish is expected to thrive in the new environment. The relocation project is a joint effort of Countyside Council for Wales and Snowdonis National Park authority.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Army To The Rescue Of Malawi Forests

Government of Malawi has brought in the intervention of army to save its forests from depredation. Forests have been hacked down for charcoal and firewood, and this has made the deforestation rate one of the most pathetic in African continent. 50,000 hectares are lost every year for charcoal alone. Another culprit is the tobacco industry that uses huge quantities for its curing needs. The Government says the forest areas used by the army for its training purposes are absolutely intact, and it was this that prompted the Government to think in terms of roping in the army.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Robot Ornithologists Looking Out For Rare Bird

An automated ornithologist installed in Cache River National Wildlife Refuge in Arkansas, USA is looking out for elusive Ivory-Billed Woodpecker. The bird was thought to be extinct but reported sightings in 2004 renewed the interest of ornithologists, with University of Cornell leading the way. The wetland and forest region of the lower Mississippi river valley is 250 sq km and observations are tricky. Human presence can also affect the behaviour of the bird. These aspects prompted the scientists to install the automated device. The device consists of two high-resolution video cameras connected to a hard disc. Any shot that it believes does not contain a bird is discarded. No picture of the bird has been obtained so far.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Bukhara deer reintroduced in Kazakhstan

The endangered Bukhara deer has been reintroduced to its former habitat on the right bank of Kazakhstan's Ili River. This was the result of joint efforts by WWF and the Altyn Emel National Park Service in Kazakhstan. Two bucks and seven does were reintroduced. The Bukhara deer population throughout Central Asia had dropped due to habitat loss and poaching. By the end of the 1990s there were only 350 deer left. Since WWF started its Bukhara deer conservation project in Central Asia in 1999, the population has increased to 1,000 deer.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Peruvian Rain Forest In Peril

Peruvian rainforest is home to exotic animals like Jaguar, harpy eagle, and giant river otter. But unsustainable harvesting of timber is posing a threat to the very existence of these denizens of the rain forest. Big-leaf mahogany, a threatened species is being extracted flouting all acceptable norms. Peru is the world's largest exporter of big-leaf mahogany, with over 90% going to the North American market. Peru's system of annual export quotas for mahogany does not comply with the requirements of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Environmentalist have demanded a Big-Leaf Mahogany Action Plan that ensure full compliance with CITES.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Heart of Borneo conservation initiative launched

Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Malaysia have signed the Heart of Borneo Declaration, to conserve and sustainably manage the Heart of Borneo that spans the three countries’ common borders. This large chunk of rainforest is one of only two places on the planet where elephants, rhinos and orangutans co-exist. It is also a place where new species have been found at a rate of three per month for the last ten years. UK will provide practical support to implementing the Declaration, through working in association with WWF.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Giant Squid That Uses Light To Disorient Victims

Japanese scientists have come across a giant squid, Taningia danae that throws blinding light to disorient victims. The action has been captured on Video. This use of bioluminescence in hunting is a new info. The researchers say the light emission is used also as a courtship display. The video was taken in deep waters off Chichijima Island in North Pacific. Dr Sunemi Kubodera from the National Science Museum, Tokyo led the research. The details appear in the proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

EU To Crack Down On Environmental Criminals

EU Commission has called for stricter norms to deal with environmental crimes and recommended a minimum term of five years jail and fines of at least 750,000 euros for offences done intentionally or with serious negligence. The member states would be required to make activities such as the illegal shipment of waste and unlawful trade in endangered species or ozone-depleting substances criminal offences. The new proposals will be subject to a vote by qualified majority from the member states and approval from the European Parliament.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Church Suggests Green Weddings

Appalled by the phenomenal expenditures involved in marriages the Church of England has appealed for moderation and adoption of environment friendly practices. The new church guide called “making the most of weddings” advocates travel in a taxi, hitch a ride, wear fair trade dress, invitation on recycled paper and use of rings handed down through family. It appeals to the people planning to get married to go for the words environment friendly attitudes. To top these things why not ask the guests to contribute to the charity asks the church.