1 Tahrcountry Musings: September 2007

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, SerranĂ­a 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.