Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Printable Version

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RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-10-2014

Half of world's forest species at risk: UN

Half of the world's forest species are at risk from climate change and farming, the United Nations (UN) warned today, as it called for "urgent action" to manage them better.

In its first global study of forest genetic resources, the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) said woodland was shrinking fastest in Brazil, Indonesia and Nigeria.

"Forests provide food, goods and services, which are essential to the survival and well-being of all humanity," the FAO's forestry director Eduardo Rojas-Briales said in a statement.

"These benefits all rely on safeguarding the rich store of the world's forest genetic diversity, which is increasingly at risk," the statement added.

The report found that around half of the 8,000 reported species and subspecies were perceived as being endangered.

The ten countries that lost the most forest area between 1990 and 2010 were Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Bolivia, Venezuela and Australia, it said.

FAO said biodiversity boosted both the productivity and nutritional value of forest products like leafy vegetables, honey, fruits, seeds, nuts, roots, tubers and mushrooms.

Genetic diversity also protects forests from pests and ensures they can "adapt to changing environmental conditions, including those stemming from climate change", the FAO said.

The FAO called for more efforts to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity and to combat invasive species, as well as the development of national seed programmes to ensure the availability of genetically-appropriate tree seeds.


RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-12-2014

Illegal trade wiping out lesser-known species

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Speaking up for lesser-known species, which are being relentlessly hunted and traded, conservationists, wildlife experts, policy makers, scientists, research scholars, and senior officials from the State Forest Departments, Ministry of Environment and Forests, enforcement agencies, Wildlife Institute of India (WII), and non-government organisations got together earlier this week to deliberate on how security measures can be put in place to protect the future of these species.

Wildlife species like pangolins, birds, tortoises and sharks, were discussed during the meeting on ‘Consultation on Illegal Trade in Lesser Known Species’. The meet was jointly organised by the TRAFFIC, the WWF-India, the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) and the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI).

Every year in India, hundreds of pangolins, lizards and tortoises are poached, an estimated 700,000 birds are illegally trapped, and about 70,000 tonnes of sharks are caught, yet the levels of exploitation on these species are rarely reported.

TRAFFIC, India head, Dr. Shekhar Kumar Niraj said: “While the threat posed by illegal wildlife trade to some of India’s most iconic wild animals, such as the tiger and Indian rhinoceros are well publicised, many of India’s less well-known species are also rapidly vanishing because of poaching, yet their fate remains largely under the radar.’’

"Pangolins are highly threatened because they are subject to a colossal illegal trade internationally, yet their plight is barely publicised in conservation or media circles. Others, like the monitor lizard, mongoose, star tortoises, spiny-tailed lizards, freshwater and mariner turtles also need immediate attention,” he added.

Monitor lizards, especially the Bengal Monitor, were once commonly seen across the country but appear to have declined markedly.Other speakers at the meeting included Ravi Singh from the WWF-India, Kamal Dutta from the WCCB, Belinda Wright from the WPSI.



RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - sanjay - 06-15-2014

AWF's CEO and members of the U.S. Advisory Council on Wildlife Trafficking make recommendations for combating wildlife trafficking at the national level.
The U.S. government’s commitment to fighting the illicit wildlife trade lends a huge boost to existing efforts already taking place on the ground in Africa and on other continents: http://bit.ly/STWnvT

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RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-19-2014

Poisoning ruled out in Kuiburi gaur death

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BANGKOK: -- The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation now officially ruled out poisoning as the cause of deaths of 29 gaurs in Kuiburi national park in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

Department deputy director-general Niphon Chotibal said a total of 25 gaurs were found dead in the park from December 2013-January this year and latest finding of four other carcasses from May until June 8 also showed no traces of poisoning.

Of the 29 carcasses it found, five died of natural cause from hunting animals, and one of foot-and-mouth disease.

Several other corpses also revealed bacterial infections such as ana plasma, clostridium novyi bacteria.

He said bacterial infection caused death to gaurs in the park because they were not sicked with this kind of bacterial infections before and therefore had not developed immune system in them.

Lboratory tests by the Livestock’s Department and Mahidol university of carcasses, water and food sources in the park also revealed no traces of poisoning.

He said a joint survey of the gaur population by the department, the Livestock department, Mahidol university, and animal research centres nationwide in a 10,000 rai plot of areas in Kuiburi national park showed 81 gaurs wandering for food in the areas.

Blood test of deer and hog deer also showed no traces of disease and all animals in the area are still wandering for food as usual.

However two gaurs were found to be infected with foot-and-mouth disease, but one of them is still wandering with no sign of sickness, indicating it has developed immunity against the disease.

But what was interesting in the survey was the discovery of 10-15 cubs of 2-3 months-old among the wandering herd, indicating a good sign of young animals were born and replaced the dead animals.

Normally young animals have no resistance to sickness but the finding of cubs in the herd showed they have building immunity against disease.

He said to keep the gaurs from being infected by carriers, all vehicles and staff and visitors entering the park must be undergo prevention and control of infection.

Such measure is required for the park to undertake in 45 days before opening it to visitors, he added.



RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-21-2014

DiCaprio donates $7m to marine conservation efforts

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Actor Leonardo DiCaprio has pledged to donate $7million from his foundation towards marine conservation projects for the next two years.

DiCaprio, 39, made the announcement at the State Department “Our Ocean” conference on June 16, reported Ace Showbiz.“Since my very first dive in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia 20 years ago to the dive I got to do in the very same location just two years ago, I’ve witnessed environmental devastation firsthand,” he said.

The Wolf of Wall Street star added, “What once had looked like an endless underwater utopia is now riddled with bleached coral reefs and massive dead zones.

The Shutter Island actor, who dreamt of becoming a marine biologist, further added, “What we need is sustained activism and courageous political leadership. We cannot afford to be bystanders in this pre—apocalyptic scenario. This isn’t simply an exercise in wildlife conservation. If we don’t do something to save the ocean now, it won’t be just the sharks and the dolphins that suffer. It will be our children and our grandchildren.”


RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-21-2014

A new species of gecko from the lateritic plateaus of Northern Western Ghats

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Check the link


RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-21-2014

India blocks Unesco team’s Manas visit

Read here

RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-21-2014

3 musk deer poachers held on Mumbai-Goa highway, 7.5L goods seized

Three Pune-based wildlife smugglers were arrested by the Mahad-MIDC police in Raigad district on Sunday. They were charged under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, for illegally procuring and transporting banned wildlife artefacts and musk, by killing endangered musk deer in Indian forests.

Ganesh Dhokale (24), Lakshman More (30) and Pradeep Jhumbade (24); all residents of Malevadi, in Pune district have been sent to police custody till June 21. The seized musk is worth Rs 7.5 lakh in illegal market.

"We discovered them by chance while checking vehicles plying on the Mumbai-Goa Highway on Sunday. After we stopped the vehicle in which the three accused were travelling, we got a peculiarly strong fragrance emanating from inside. On further questioning, we realized that the scent was coming from the body parts of the musk deer that was hidden inside," said a police official.

Investigating officer, Shankar Sakpal, said that the youths have confessed that the musk was procured from the forests in Jejuri, near Pune.Further investigation is on to find out how these highly endangered musk deer were poached. Five more persons will be arrested soon, said sources


RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-21-2014

Chelsea, Hillary Clinton urge action to save elephants

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Read here

RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-21-2014

 Expand Meghamalai wildlife sanctuary: SACON

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Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology and Natural History (SACON) has recommended the expansion of Meghamalai Wildlife Sanctuary in Theni district to boost conservation in the southern Western Ghats.

After conducting studies on distribution, abundance and conservation of primates and mammals in the Meghamalai landscape for sixty years, the SACON scientists have strongly recommended the creation of a new wildlife sanctuary or expansion of the existing 269.11 sq.km sanctuary as many wildlife habitats are outside the protected area.

According to the findings, large tracts of natural forest was given on lease to different companies for a fixed period long back in upper Manalar, Vellimalai, Ammagajam. These contiguous forests were converted as commercial plantations such as tea, coffee and cardamom but are interspersed with rainforests harbouring high diversity of animals, including large mammals.

As this is an area where large portion of high elevation forests (above 1,400m) still persist supporting high richness of endemic and threatened vertebrates, the SACON scientists have recommended that the lease period of these estates should not be further extended and should be gradually acquired and restored.

For instance, the mean group size of the lion-tailed macaque (LTM) is 33.25, which is much higher than many other forests including Silent Valley and Anamalai hills.

“Although the number of groups is small (eight), the minimum population size of 266 individuals is very promising,” says Honnavalli N. Kumara, a SACON scientist involved in the studies.

In all, the SACON scientists recorded 63 species of mammals belonging to 24 families of which 24 were globally threatened with one critically endangered.

Direct and indirect evidence of tigers were mostly restricted to western plateau of the landscape, the results show. Noting that the area also experiences severe interruption of locals for cattle grazing which increases the chance of spreading diseases from cattle to wild ungulates, the SACON scientists caution that this could become a serious issue for prey base of tigers in the adjoining Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR).

Increasing protection in the landscape would also reduce the hunters entering PTR through these forests that would facilitate tigers to occupy the landscapes of Meghamalai, Highwavys and Varusanadu ranges. The “highly exploited” Varusanadu valley and hills is a potential patch for ‘Conservation Reserve’ program, Mr. Kumara says.

There are about 1,802 encroachments in the range covering 2,060 hectares according to forest working plan 2004-2014. The lands were encroached to create monoculture plantations (silk cotton) three to four decades ago.

As resettling the encroachers will be a troublesome work and that will lead to conflict between forest department and local residents, SACON scientists have suggested it be made a Conservation Reserve so that people inside the valley will not be evicted and at the same time biodiversity of the landscape could be maintained.



RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-24-2014

Order on wild boar shocks conservationists

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A directive of the Kerala State Human Rights Commission that the government permit killing of crop-raiding wild boars has come as a shock to conservationists and wildlife authorities.

Commission chairperson J.B. Koshy issued the order on a petition from N. Devarajan of Koduman. He said it was impractical for farmers to seek the permission of the Forest Department to shoot or trap wild boars when they ravaged crops at night.

Mr. Koshy suggested that the farmers should be allowed to kill the animals found in non-forest areas by gunfire or other means.

Meat of the boar killed after obtaining permission from the authorities shall be allowed to be consumed, the directive said.

The commission sought details of compensation paid to the farmers following crop raids by wild boars and the number of animals killed after obtaining the permission from the Forest Department.

The panel also asked the Forest and other departments to file its views on the directives before July 10.

Forest officials feared that the order would lead to indiscriminate hunting and open the trade of wildlife meat.

Wild boar was an important link in the food cycle of carnivores. Indiscriminate killing of the species could lead to dwindling of its population and upset the food chain, which would lead to ecological imbalances, a senior official said.

The department would oppose the directives, as they are against the spirit of the Wildlife Protection Act and the fundamental duties of the citizen, as prescribed in the Constitution.

A wildlife researcher raised concern that the order may eventually be extended to other crop-raiding animals. There was a possibility of other animals being hunted and its meat consumed under the cover of the panel directive.

It would be an uphill task to identify the animal killed from the meat samples, as one may have to go for DNA analysis every time, said the researcher involved in detection of wildlife crimes.

The assumption on population increase of the species without carrying out population estimation would be unscientific and faulty, he cautioned.



RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Pckts - 06-24-2014

Thats sad to hear about the boars.

RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-24-2014

The great folly of China: A lesson for India 

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then a PM-nominee, shuffled frenetically between election rallies in late April, there was a dramatic shift in China, whose economic model he admires and draws lessons from. After two long decades of focusing on high-growth at the expense of the environment, China amended its feeble Environment Protection Law.

According to a science journal, Nature, the amendments made it possible for harsh penalties and public shaming for environmental violations, with jail for some offenders. It also gave the Chinese the right to environmental information.

The most significant part was that government officials who were being evaluated for their contribution to economic growth would also be apprised for their environmental record and compliance.  

After its unrelenting focus on growth at all costs, China was forced to take note of its environmental costs as it could no longer ignore official studies that spelled “environmental disaster” — its forest cover had dramatically reduced, groundwater in many areas was contaminated and unfit for consumption, air pollution in cities was consistently high and some had become unliveable due to coal burning, farms were contaminated with pesticides and heavy metals.

The cost of environmental degradation tripled from 2004 to 2013 and stood at nearly 3.5% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), pointed out the report in Nature that appeared last month.According to a World Bank study, 16 of the world’s most polluted cities are in China.

“I am clear that in this dispensation, it’s the PM who will take the call on environment, climate change and wildlife. He has the mandate to steer away from the ecological precipice we are at and secure our future. I hope he wants to,” said Bittu Sahgal, well-known environmentalist and wildlife conservationist.

Sahgal, who has worked with seven prime ministers on ecological issues, added: “In the lead up to the election, when he spoke about the economy and growth, we didn’t hear him speak on wildlife, ecology and climate change”.



RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-24-2014

Prawn hatchery threat for turtles in Ganjam

Wildlife campaigners are opposing alleged construction of a prawn hatchery near Rushikulya river mouth in Ganjam district as they apprehend a threat to annual nesting of Olive Ridley turtles at the rookery.

"The hatchery plan came as a shock," said Biswajit Mohanty of Operation Kachhap, an organization conducting study on the Olive Ridley. Any construction near the river mouth would have a bearing on arrival of turtles at the rookery, he added. Turtles lay eggs on Purunabandh to Kantiagada stretch near the river mouth in February-March every year.

It is the second biggest rookery in the country after Gahirmatha in Kendrapada district. "A private agency has started construction work at Kantiagada, which is close to the river mouth. The hatchery also violates Coastal Regulation Zone rules, which prohibit construction within 500 metre of the shoreline," alleged secretary of Rushikulya Sea Turtle Protection Committee Rabindra Sahu. The district administration should immediately stop the work, he demanded.

Collector (Ganjam) Prem Chandra Chaudhary said he was not aware of any construction activity near the river mouth. "No entrepreneur has been given permission for a prawn hatchery at Kantiagada to my knowledge," he said.

Chief wildlife warden S S Srivastav said he would look into the matter and take necessary steps to ensure safety of the turtles.

Divisional forest officer (Berhampur) S S Mishra said, "I have asked forest range officer concerned to probe the allegation and its impact on mass nesting of turtles."

Official sources said, a few thousand turtles laid eggs at Rushikulya rookery this year, while they skipped Gahirmatha. The wildlife officers are yet to find the reason for the low turnout. Last year, turtles had laid 2.86 lakh eggs at the river mouth.



RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-24-2014

Himachal park set to get World Heritage tag

The Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area in 
Himachal Pradesh is set to join seven other natural locations in India that have been declared World Heritage sites by the UN. The park, located west of the Kullu valley, will be conferred the prestigious tag at the world heritage committee meeting in Doha that starts on June 15.

GHNP and its surrounding parks together cover an area of 2,850sq km, straddling an altitude range of 1,900m to 6,110m, with several distinct ecological zones representative of western Himalayan ecosystem.

A letter sent to Indian officials by Unesco, the body that grants the title, says the committee has in a draft decision inscribed GHNP Conservation Area on the World Heritage list.

"The area would formally be put on the World Heritage list at the committee's meeting in Doha. It's a culmination of a process that began nine years ago. Over this period, we have strived to meet a number of demands for getting this recognition," said Sanjeeva Pandey, additional principal chief conservator of forest, Himachal Pradesh, who earlier served as the GHNP director for eight years.

The heritage status is being granted under criterion 10. The rule lays down that World Heritage tag can be granted to locations which "contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value..."

GHNP is home to several rare and threatened species including the elusive snow leopard, Himalayan musk deer, serow and Asiatic black bear. Himalayan tahr, bharal (blue sheep) and pheasants such as western tragopan and chir are also found there. Besides, around 25 threatened IUCN red-listed plant species have been recorded in the park.

The striking landscape of the park includes 35 peaks higher than 5000m and two above 6000m. The four rivers flowing through the park —Jiwanal, Sainj, Tirthan and Parvati — join Beas downstream.

The other natural World Heritage sites in India are Kaziranga and Manas wildlife sanctuaries in Assam; Keoladeo national park in Bharatpur, Rajasthan; Sundarbans in Bengal; Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers national parks in Uttarakhand and the western ghats.