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The frog and the university: Meet the niche new species from Sri Lanka

first_imgBanner image of Lankanectes pera, named after Sri Lanka’s oldest university, courtesy of Pradeep Samarawickrama. The recent discovery of a new frog species in a niche habitat in Sri Lanka’s cloud forest has highlighted the need for conserving the Indian Ocean island’s dwindling montane habitats.The frog, Lankanectes pera, is named after the University of Peradeniya, the country’s oldest, and dwells only in pristine streams flowing through canopy-covered montane forests in the highest reaches of the Knuckles Mountain Range.Researchers are calling for extensive studies to inform conservation actions for the species, which they’ve recommended be classified as critically endangered, given its small range and population. A four-year study of streams in the cloud forests of Sri Lanka’s picturesque Knuckles Mountain Range has turned up an unexpected discovery: a new frog species found nowhere else on Earth.Lankanectes pera, a glistening, chocolate-hued frog, is only the second known species in the genus; the other, L. corrugatus, is also endemic to Sri Lanka. The researchers named it in honor of their alma mater and the oldest university in the country, the University of Peradeniya, affectionately referred to as Pera.In their paper published in the journal Zootaxa, the researchers identify the new species as being highly restricted to a habitat of about 360 square kilometers (139 square miles) — an area nearly 40 times smaller than the range inhabited by the more widely distributed L. corrugatus.While there are some subtle physical differences between the two species, it’s in their habitat selection where they differ the most.L.corrugatus mostly occurs in muddy substrates, including marshes and rice paddies, where they can easily burrow into soft mud and leaf litter. L. pera, however, needs pristine conditions and significant canopy cover.It dwells in streams flowing through the montane forests in the highest peaks of the Knuckles Mountain Range, at elevations of more than 1,100 meters (3,600 feet) above sea level. It’s found only in the Dothalugala, Bambarella and Riverston regions of Sri Lanka’s central highlands.And the frog doesn’t simply opt for pristine streams flowing through closed-canopy montane forests, but more specifically slow-flowing, clear and shallow streams, with enough rocks and sandy depths to offer hiding spots.The males, generally found under rocks and crevices, give a hint of their presence when they make halting calls during the day, or chorus at night, especially after soft rain that tends to perk them up. Figure shows two clearly defined clades including L. corrugatus and L. pera, with the latter being different by more than 16 mutational steps from the populations of the former. There is a clear separation between the males with a slight overlap of the females, indicated in filled circles in red (L. corrugatus) and blue (L. pera). Image © Senevirathne et al., 2018. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Citation: Senevirathne, G., Samarawickrama, V., Wijayathilaka, N., Manamendra-Arachchi, K., Bowatte, G., Samarawickrama, D., & Meegaskumbura, M. (2018). A new frog species from rapidly dwindling cloud forest streams of Sri Lanka—Lankanectes pera (Anura, Nyctibatrachidae). Zootaxa, 4461(4), 519-538. doi:10.11646/zootaxa.4461.4.4center_img Shrinking forestsBased on L. pera’s small area of occupancy, extent of occurrence, and the small population observed during the study, the scientists have suggested a conservation status of critically endangered. In contrast, L. corrugatus occupies a much larger area and has a much bigger population size, making it a species of least concern on the IUCN Red List.The researchers warn that rapid deterioration of this niche habitat can pose a significant threat to L. pera’s survival.“Montane forests are shrinking in the face of factors that we cannot directly control, such as global warming, and factors we can control, like encroachment and habitat degradation,” co-author and evolutionary biologist Madhava Meegaskumbura told Mongabay. “The answers need to be local. We need to prioritize this species in conservation efforts by evaluating its status by applying the IUCN red-listing standards.”“Cloud forest cover is critical for the survival of the species,” said Gayani Senevirathne, the paper’s lead author and a graduate student at the University of Chicago. “Diminishing forest cover will definitely make the habitat unsuitable for this highly specialized forest-stream species.”enevirathne said the Knuckles range is already renowned as an important refuge for as many as eight micro-endemic species that are largely considered to be critically endangered or endangered.The paper says the habitat requirements of L. pera are different from those of the highly threatened micro-endemics highlighted so far, and that a future conservation strategy for the amphibians of the Knuckles Mountain Range should consider this new knowledge.L. pera lives in clear water streams under rock-strewn montane forest canopy cover in the Knuckles Mountain Range. Image courtesy of Pradeep Samarawickrama.Further researchMeegaskumbura said the new species needs “urgent conservation efforts,” as well as further studies into its biology and behavior.“Beyond the conservation efforts, it will prove interesting to delve into the life history of Lankanectes pera, including its breeding seasons, mating behavior, ability to produce more offspring, development and species ecology,” he said. “This would help in planning its conservation.”That’s also where the naming of L. pera comes in, aside from being a sentimental tribute to the university, said Senevirathne.“We also wanted to place this knowledge before the university which has some of the best minds in the fields of sciences and humanities,” he said. “Peradeniya University is best equipped to lead the conservation efforts of the new species. It is also closely located to the Knuckles region, the frog’s habitat.”Meegaskumbura seconded the notion, adding he hoped that “the university after which the frog has been named would treat the conservation needs of this frog as a priority and play the lead role.”And the story of Lankanectes might still have a few more surprises in store, Meegaskumbura hinted.“The habitat of [L. pera] is surrounded by L. corrugatus, the common lowland species,” he said. “This creates a clear genetic barrier for the spread of the species to the other mountain ranges.“There however could be relict populations that are genetically close to L. pera, especially on the adjacent Central Highlands,” he added. “I would still expect those populations to be somewhat genetically distinct from L. pera.” Amphibians, Biodiversity, Cloud Forests, Conservation, Deforestation, Endangered Species, Environment, Forests Article published by dilrukshilast_img read more

Forest loss threatens territorial gibbons in southern Borneo

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Animals, Apes, Biodiversity, Conservation, Deforestation, Endangered Species, Environment, Extinction, Fires, Forest Fires, Forest People, Forestry, Forests, Green, Illegal Logging, Logging, Mammals, Primates, Rainforest Animals, Rainforests, Saving Rainforests, Threats To Rainforests, Timber, Tropical Forests, wildfires, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Article published by John Cannoncenter_img Bornean southern gibbons have the largest territories of any species in their genus, a new study has found.These large home ranges, combined with the species’ intense territoriality, puts it at particular risk of habitat loss as a result of deforestation and fire.The findings of this research demonstrate that this endangered species needs large areas of unbroken forest. Gibbons living in southern Borneo have the largest territories of any of their close relatives, according to a new study. From a conservation perspective, those large ranges are a liability, putting them at higher risk when their habitat is wiped out by fire or deforestation.The research, published July 31 in the journal PLOS ONE, draws on nearly nine years of data on four groups of Bornean southern gibbons (Hylobates albibarbis) living in the peatlands of the Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan. Combining the GPS locations of the groups with exhaustive observations of the apes’ behaviors, the team found that this species defends a “core range” of 21 to 52 hectares (52 to 128 acres) where they sleep and communicate with each other and other groups through hooting “duets” or “codas.”A Borneo southern gibbon at a safari park in the Netherlands. The species is also known as the white-bearded gibbon. Image by Tim Strater via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0).They also ply more expansive “home ranges” of almost 150 hectares (371 acres) in search of food. Unlike the core areas, which rarely overlap with those of other groups, gibbons are more apt to share parts of their home ranges.Still, gibbons tend to stick to the ranges they’ve secured in the forest for years at a time, Susan Cheyne, a biologist with the Borneo Nature Foundation and the paper’s lead author, said in a statement. That stalwart commitment to such large territories could be a recipe for conflict with other gibbon groups if they lose parts of their forest range and are forced into a rival group’s territory. During the study, one of the groups had to shift its range to the west when fires swept through parts of Borneo in 2015.The concern is that forest loss as a result of fire, at the hands of loggers or to make way for agriculture could push this IUCN-listed endangered species into splinters of forest too small to support it.A young gibbon in Central Kalimantan. Image by Wibowo Djatmiko via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).“Gibbons need large areas to survive and linking forests,” the authors write, “and reducing fragmentation is the key to their conservation.”Cheyne and her colleagues argue that insights into the behavior of gibbons can help conservationists and land managers come up with strategies to help these animals survive.“Understanding how Gibbons use the forest is critical to their conservation,” Cheyne said in the statement. “These data can feed into creating protected areas of suitable size and habitat quality to maintain viable populations of the singing, swinging small apes.”A white-bearded gibbon, pictured here in West Kalimantan, Indonesia. Image by Wibowo Djatmiko via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).Banner image of a young male gibbon courtesy of the Borneo Nature Foundation. Citation:Cheyne, S. M., Capilla, B. R., K., A., Supiansyah, Adul, Cahyaningrum, E., & Smith, D. E. (2019). Home range variation and site fidelity of Bornean southern gibbons [Hylobates albibarbis] from 2010-2018. PLOS ONE, 14(7), e0217784. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0217784Nijman, V., Richardson, M. & Geissmann, T. (2008). Hylobates albibarbis (errata version published in 2018). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T39879A128972094. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T39879A10279127.en. Downloaded on 29 July 2019.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

Colombia: Indigenous Yukpa besieged by deforestation and armed conflict

first_imgMongabay Latam and Semana Sostenible travelled to two of their reserves. The forests of the Serranía del Perijá Regional Nature Park are being burned and indigenous peoples are living in difficult health conditions.They are asking for urgent attention from the state, and amid shortages are also having to deal with the arrival of indigenous Yukpa migrants from Venezuela.This article is a collaboration between Mongabay Latam and Semana Sostenible from Colombia. There is still hope in the innocent eyes of Yukpa children. They play, laugh, and jump about, despite the difficulties their people face. However, the adults’ eyes tell a different story: impotence, anger and pain, caused by the conditions they live in due to lack of land, hunger, deforestation and the diversion of their rivers, but above all, due to the indifference of the state.The indigenous Yukpa past and present have sombre tones. Yukpa children present high rates of malnutrition and lack of schooling; few adults live beyond the age of 65. According to the 2005 Census, there are 4761 Yukpa living in Colombia, divided among six reserves, located in the municipalities of La Paz, Agustín Codazzi and Becerril, in Cesar, the Colombian Caribbean, covering a total area of 34,064 hectares.In these territories, there are several areas of reserves with fragile ecosystems, and most of the Yukpa population live crammed together in the highest part of the Serranía del Perijá, where the land is more arid. The rivers their ancestors used to fish in are contaminated, some almost dry, and fish are scarce due to lack of oxygen. Furthermore, oil palm plantations have diverted the few remaining water sources. Their future looks bleak.Semana Sostenible and Mongabay Latam visited the Iroka and Sokorpa reserves (which cover 8678/25,000 hectares and have over 3000/1362 inhabitants respectively), to see the problems experienced by the Yukpa first-hand. The group spans the border with Venezuela, and is exposed to the same difficulties experienced by many other communities living in border areas forgotten by local, regional and national governments.last_img read more

Youth climate strikes sweep Asia ahead of UN Climate Action Summit

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Activism, Climate, Climate Activism, Climate Change, Climate Change And Extinction, Climate Change And Extreme Weather, Climate Change Policy, Climate Change Politics, Climate Justice, Extreme Weather, Global Warming, United Nations When Super-Hurricane Haiyan descended on the Philippines in 2013, it not only left behind more than 7,400 casualties and nearly $5 billion in destruction. It also helped birth a strong youth climate justice movement.That movement is now surging across Southeast Asia, with major climate strikes by students in the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia on September 20.Such acts of defiance are not easy in Asia, where deference and obedience to parents and elders is deeply ingrained. But with the whole world at risk, Asia’s young people are in the streets and determined to save the future for their nations and themselves. Young social worker Marinel Ubaldo in a lone protest at Shell Philippines’ Manila headquarters, September 19, 2018. A victim of typhoon Haiyan, Ubaldo uses her voice to demand corporate accountability and push for stronger climate adaptation in high-risk communities. Image by Geric Cruz / Greenpeace Philippines.MANILA, the Philippines – In 2013, Marinel Ubaldo was just 16 years old and Matarinaw, her seaside village in Eastern Samar, was paradise. She considered herself a simple barrio lass who found contentment in collecting seashells for decorative uses and sea cucumbers for dinner. Sometimes, she went out onto the Pacific Ocean along with his father, a local fisherman. Life was simple, quiet, happy.She was aware, yet blissfully ignorant, of climate change.In that same year, Super-Hurricane Haiyan descended on the Philippines. It arrived on November 3 and left eight days later leaving behind at least 7,417 casualties, more than a thousand people missing and $4.9 billion in damages. The storm placed seven provinces under a state of disaster and caused a humanitarian crisis. The most ravaged areas were Samar and Leyte, where 90 percent of infrastructures and homes were flattened to the ground.Local and provincial governments assumed that Matarinaw had been blotted off the map, and with mountain boulders covering access roads, no help arrived. In the weeks that followed, Ubaldo and her family lived in forlorn hope on stray cans of sardines that washed ashore. She remembers the once blue sea of her childhood littered with corpses and the air reeking of rotting flesh. Whenever the winds growled, she shivered and cried. The slightest rainfall today has the same impact, making her uneasy.Yet Ubaldo carried inside her determination unusual in someone so young. “Haiyan changed my life and changed me,” she tells Mongabay. “I was forced to grow up. I felt helpless but I know I have to survive.”Youth from Thailand march to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, demanding that the Thai government prioritize climate change. Image by Climate Strike Thailand.Dedication to the climate crisisWithin a year, Ubaldo was devoting her time to learning more about climate change and its impacts – and what she could do on the ground as a social worker. Now age 22, she organized the Philippines first youth climate strike last May in Tacloban and with the same fervor, led the climate mobilization on September 20, 2019.“Climate justice has become my advocacy. It’s imbued in my heart, body and spirit,” she says. “I know I can change this reactive response to disasters and if policymakers are really concerned for our welfare, then they should listen.”The protest in Tacloban is part of Youth 4 Climate Philippines, a nationwide youth-led series of strikes buoyed by a shared love for the environment, and a common fear of climate change. It  is part of the Global Climate Strike movement, which in turn was inspired by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg. She will be leading a major student protest on September 23rd as the United Nations meets for its Climate Action Summit – an event where the world’s nations are supposed to increase their 2015 Paris Climate Agreement carbon reduction pledges.“Climate Change strikes hard, but the YOUTH will strike harder!” goes the group’s catchphrase “Let’s step up for the planet!” says another. The momentum, ignited by Thunberg’s original lone protest back home in Europe, has engaged Philippine youths in 28 locations to do the same: skip school to hold rallies, workshops and talks from September 20, and through the UN declared “Climate Week,” September 27.Artist Krishna Ariola merges her art with climate change advocacy. Hailing from Bacolod City, she painted her inspiration: fellow activists from Negros. One of her paintings carries this message: “You had your future, give us ours.” Image by Geric Cruz / Greenpeace Philippines.A personal battle for a global causeThe Philippines is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change, and Ubaldo is among the thousands of youth who have experienced the catastrophic impacts first-hand. Their stories of survival have fueled staunch advocacy, imbued with the will to assure they never experience those horrors again.What frequently bogged them down at first was their strategy: How and where could they most effectively voice their advocacy? But after global calls for youth protest, they found many kindred spirits through Facebook. Since March 14, their page has received more than 5,000 likes and follows and resulted in the creation of sister pages.Their protests have also received blessings from adults, including education departments and some school heads. On September 17, the national education department issued a memorandum addressed to regional directors, school division superintendents and public and private school heads requesting that schools “excuse students who will be joining the localized climate strike provided that parental/legal guardian consent is given.”The Philippine Youth for Climate protests are anchored on six major demands: that the government declare a climate emergency; that the nation phase out coal and other fossil fuels in the energy supply chain; that it make a speedy transition to renewables that secure jobs and livelihoods; that it safeguard the rights of indigenous peoples and environment defenders; that it strengthen the country’s adaptation and resilience strategies; and that the Philippines government offer support for local climate solutions.These sweeping demands have fostered all manner of creative individual expression of protest among young participants. Krishna Ariola, 22, for example, used her skills as a watercolor artist as a means of demonstrating, and painted scenes of fellow youth in dissent against multinational company Shell, an oil and gas superpower.“I brought along my fellow youth advocates from Negros, using my hands [to relay] their messages!” she says, pointing to the faces in her artwork. “I’m not the only one with this message for Shell. We have had major wins fighting fossil fuels in Negros but that will amount to nothing if the bigger problem is not solved and that is … that major corporations like Shell should face the people and use their resources to mitigate climate change.”A vegetarian for 16 years, Ariola was raised in a family that was conscious of its carbon footprint. After college, she drew inspiration from “a circle of young, feisty … advocates,” and together they followed the activist path seeking climate justice.Acting now is important, says Ariola, as climate change will negatively impact the future of today’s youth. “We are young, we have dreams. Our parents did not nurture and send us to school for us to just protest every day,” she says. “But at this point, we don’t have a choice – what’s the point of studying and working hard if we die because of one typhoon?”Taking to the streets, however, poses high security risks in Negros, a fact of which Ariola and her group are aware. The island of Negros, in the major island group of Visayas, is a hotbed of civilian and activist killings – with 87 recorded deaths as of July. Seven military infantry battalions and 300 police forces are stationed on the island to quell public dissent.Ariola’s group is cautious but unstoppable. “We are careful because we are a youth group. But many sectors, including civil groups and the Church, are making sure that the youth’s voice is heard. Even if we want to rally and we can, we are looking out for the safety of our friends,” she says.The youth from Ilocos Norte protesting after a coastal clean-up. They’re part of Youth 4 Climate Philippines, which has carried out youth climate strikes in at least 27 locations around the country. Image by Youth 4 Climate Philippines.Stand up, Southeast Asia!The Philippines isn’t alone. The tide of youth revolution has reached the shores of other Southeast Asian countries. Climate strikes were initiated by female climate justice advocates and occurred on September 20 in Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia.The demonstrations, says organizer and Mongabay intern Nanticha Ocharoenchai, were a risk in themselves, as Asian cultures consider rallies to be “disrespectful to the elderly,” with parents and other elders often viewing such actions as unbecoming or even violent.“We get a lot of support from students in international schools, but not so much from Thai schools,” the 22-year-old communications graduate says. “Going to rallies is not a nice image. Students are not supposed to stand up… There’s a collective culture that values the hierarchy of seniority.”Ubaldo agrees: “As children, we’re always told that when older people are talking, we shouldn’t butt in. We have to be quiet and we just let them talk.”The Asian climate protests pose real risks for young people. For example, Thai schools conduct major annual examinations and some youth activists who attended May demonstrations were at risk of being suspended, which could affect their futures. But despite the risk, many volunteers are willing to join the dissent and add their voices to the fight.“If there’s no strike at all, that means that no one is demanding anything,” Ocharoenchai says. “At least [with the strike] Thailand has a representation. With this, we are creating awareness. We can do collective impact but in the end, it’s the government who would be responsible.”The youth activists Mongabay spoke with say that climate justice is at a tipping point in their regions, and they are hopeful that their voices, backed by collective mobilization, could make policymakers listen.Making the protests positive, rather than focusing on negativity, is thought to be a potential key to success. “Sometimes when we talk about climate change, there’s a lot of negativities,” Ocharoenchai says. “[I ask myself] Does what you do really matter? Will it really save us?”She found her answer while trekking in a Khao Luang National Park in Sukhothai last year. Surrounded by the verdant tree canopy which she adores, and viewing breathtaking expanses of mountain and sky, Ocharoenchai understood her mission: “Even if this is the last [natural place] left on earth, it’s worth protecting. It’s too beautiful and too precious to give up and I’m sure there’s more places like that on earth,” she concludes.For Ubaldo the motivation is different. “One day my nieces and nephews will get older and I will have children. When I tell them about climate change, I want … to narrate a story of how we [the youth] fought,” she says. “We stood up against it. We acted, we spoke up, we fought.”As heads of state, policymakers and stakeholders convene at the United Nations Climate Action Summit tomorrow, the youth of the world will be watching and they will be acting.Banner image caption: Climate strike in Manilla, the Philippines. Image by Climate Strike Manilla.This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 300 news outlets worldwide to strengthen coverage of the climate story.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Article published by Glenn Schererlast_img read more

Panthera: At least 500 jaguars lost their lives or habitat in Amazon fires

first_imgThe fires in the Amazon forest in Brazil and Bolivia this year have burned key habitats of at least 500 adult, resident jaguars as of September 17, experts at Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, estimate. The numbers will continue to increase until the rains come, researchers say.In Bolivia in particular, the fires have so far destroyed over 2 million hectares of forest in one of South America’s key “catscape”, a region that Panthera has identified as having the highest predicted density of cat species on the continent.Panthera researchers also predict that many more jaguars will also likely starve or turn to killing livestock in neighboring ranches as a consequence of the fires, likely increasing conflict with the ranchers. The fires ravaging the Amazon forest in Brazil and Bolivia this year have burned key habitats of at least 500 adult, resident jaguars as of Sept. 17, rendering them dead or homeless, say experts at Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization.“The number of homeless or dead jaguars has undoubtedly increased since Panthera’s estimate was released, and will continue to increase until the rains come,” Esteban Payan, Panthera’s South America regional director, told Mongabay in an email.To estimate the number of affected jaguars (Panthera onca), Panthera researchers used the total area of jaguar habitat burned, taken from burned areas reported by the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and the Environmental Secretariat of the Governor’s office of Santa Cruz, Bolivia. They combined this with a jaguar density estimate of 2.5 jaguars per 100 square kilometers (39 square miles) derived from a 2018 study authored by jaguar experts.“Density from jaguar populations in central Amazonia, the work from my Ph.D., was more around 3 animals in 100 square kilometers. So again, this is ‘at least’ that number [500] of jaguars impacted,” Payan said.In Bolivia in particular, the fires have so far destroyed more than 2 million hectares (4.9 million acres) of forest in one of South America’s key “catscapes,” a region that Panthera has identified as having the highest predicted density of cat species on the continent. Some parts of Bolivia’s catscape are home to eight cat species, including the jaguar, puma (Puma concolor), ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), margay (Leopardus wiedii), oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus), jaguarundi (Herpailurus yagouaroundi), Geoffrey’s cat (Leopardus geoffroyi) and Pampas cat (Leopardus colocola).Map showing burned areas in Bolivia and wild cat presence. Image courtesy of Panthera.Some researchers estimate that millions of animals have likely been lost to the Amazon fires this year. But given the widespread and destructive nature of the fires this year, the exact number of jaguars killed is difficult to calculate. Panthera researchers, however, predict that hundreds of jaguars will starve or turn to killing livestock in neighboring ranches as a consequence of the fires, “where they will be hunted down,” Payan said.Increased interactions between jaguars and livestock will likely only intensify conflict between the animals and ranchers and farmers. This would throw a spanner in the efforts of conservationists who’ve been working to resolve this conflict for decades.“Jaguars with GPS collars from our partner Oncafari in the Brazilian Pantanal have already been captured and moved from the fires in an attempt to protect the cats,” Payan said.In addition to jaguars, Panthera has obtained reports and captured images of pumas and ocelots fleeing the fires, as well as of animals that burned to death, both small, slow-moving ones like turtles, tortoises and caimans, and fast-moving ones like marsh deer and peccaries. “Fires don’t burn in a straight line so many animals get trapped in circles of fire and many others die of thirst and heat even before fire touches them,” Payan said.Burned habitat in the Brazilian Pantana. Image by Oncafari.Fires not only destroy critical habitats, they also fragment forests, reducing connectivity between habitats that animals need to live and thrive. Moreover, repeated burning of the Amazon forest every year — almost entirely lit by humans to clear land for ranches, pastures or agriculture land — has compromised the forest’s ability to recover when some of the burned areas are eventually abandoned and allowed to regenerate, researchers have found.“The shock waves of these exceptionally large and, for the most part, human-lit fires are being felt not only by the wildlife and people of Brazil and Bolivia, but also those in Peru and Paraguay,” Howard Quigley, Panthera’s jaguar program and conservation science executive director, said in a statement. “These fires stand to directly impact the continent, and in the end, the health of the planet as they hurt one of the cradles of biodiversity and greatest counter forces against global warming.”Overall, the fires will affect Panthera’s efforts to create one of the world’s largest, contiguous jaguar corridors across South America’s Pantanal region. But Payan said that the team is hoping to address this by scaling up its cooperation with communities, first responders, local NGOs, and protected-area managers; better equipping rangers to manage fires in protected areas; reducing cattle losses to jaguars and increasing productivity on existing ranches to limit further deforestation; and working with landowners, businesses and governments to plan and manage lands responsibly.“Fire is now an intensified threat to jaguars and their associated biodiversity because of its intensity, speed and scale,” he said. “The intensity of destruction is nearly absolute, the speed of propagation implies that in minutes it can become nearly impossible to control, and as it will cover vast areas the scale of damage to the natural world is immense.”Marsh deer in Bolivia, one of the jaguar’s prey. Image by Juan Carlos Urgel.Banner image of a jaguar by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Amazon, Amazon Biodiversity, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Deforestation, Fires, Forest Fires, Forests, Green, Jaguars, Mammals, Rainforests, Tropical Forests, wildfires, Wildlife center_img Article published by Shreya Dasguptalast_img read more

What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, location

first_imgFor the past two decades, donors and international NGOs have worked with the Malagasy government to create thousands of local associations to manage and conserve parcels of forest.Ecotourism ventures, along with farming support, are often presented as an important way to overcome the loss of income that usually accompanies new restrictions on how local people can use their land.Successful ecotourism ventures are few and far between, but a common factor is also something that’s hard to replicate: proximity to highways and other tourist destinations. ANJA COMMUNITY RESERVE, Madagascar — When the Anja Community Reserve opened in 2001 the organizers of this bite-size protected area along the highway knew they’d need to come up with some way to convince tourists that Anja was worth a stop. Or, at least, come up with a way to convince their drivers. So they put out the word that anyone who brought their passengers to Anja would earn a small incentive — around 20 cents, 10 percent of the entry fee. It was a slow start. At the time, said Victor Rahaovalahy, a co-founder of the reserve, “Only one or two tourists came here every three weeks.”Nearly 20 years later, Anja has grown into a powerhouse of community-led conservation in Madagascar. The small forest fragment that spurred the creation of the protected area remains intact, and the local association that runs Anja, Association Anja Miray, has begun to expand it by replanting native trees on the surrounding hillsides. The reserve now earns enough revenue to employ 85 guides and animal spotters and to fund a wide array of community projects, including construction of two primary school buildings and distributions of blankets for elderly residents and seeds and inputs for farmers at the start of the growing season.A granite outcrop in Anja Community Reserve, photographed in 2009. Image by Antony Stanley via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 2.0).The success has drawn international attention. Anja Miray’s president has traveled to Brazil and Australia to share lessons learned with grassroots conservationists from around the world, and in 2012 the association won the prestigious Equator Prize, part of a global U.N.-led initiative to promote “nature-based solutions for sustainable development.” A case study by the U.N. Development Programme completed the very next year calls Anja Miray “a benchmark for community-based tourism in Madagascar [that] has served as a model for replication.” But Anja’s potential as a model for similar projects is complicated by a factor that’s particularly hard to match in Madagascar: location, location, location.Anja’s ticket office sits just 50 meters (160 feet) from the highway that leads to Madagascar’s capital, Route Nationale 7 (RN7). Julia Jones, a scientist with Bangor University in the U.K. who studies the effectiveness of conservation initiatives in Madagascar, recalled being hired to accompany a group of community conservation leaders from around Madagascar to the site in 2005 as part of an effort aimed at sharing best practices. “It was just hilarious, because literally all of them arrived here and went, ‘Yeah, there’s kind of a difference between where I’m from and this,’” Jones said. “This is on the RN7: Everyone who’s anyone stops here when they’re driving south, including donors, including tourists … Where we come from, [it’s] bumpety bumpety road for three hours and then walk for two hours.”Victor Rahaovalahy is president and a co-founder of the Association Anja Miray, which runs the Anja Community Reserve. Image by Rowan Moore Gerety for Mongabay.Rahaovalahy wasn’t eager to contemplate what it might have been like to launch Anja without the benefit of a major highway passing by. “Even if the RN7 wasn’t here,” he said hopefully, “we would have worked to find a solution.”In a country where only three national parks achieved 30,000 visitors in 2018, Anja — less than one tenth the size of Manhattan’s Central Park — saw more than 12,000 last year. Those numbers may be closely related. Scan the web for vacation itineraries proposed by bloggers and tour operators, and Anja figures prominently as a pit stop halfway between Isalo National Park to the south and Ranomafana National Park to the north, both among the most visited sites in the country. It’s also en route to trekking trails in the Andringitra Mountains surrounding Madagascar’s highest peak. Crucially, the stop to look at lemurs in Anja tends to be presented as a way to break up a long travel day, which anyone who has explored Madagascar by road will take as a welcome suggestion.A Madagascar giant chameleon (Furcifer oustaleti) perches, head high, in a shrub in the Anja Community Reserve, within easy reach of tourists’ cameras. Image by Rhett Butler/Mongabay.The combination of Anja’s size and its proximity to the road make it an unusually easy place to spot wildlife. On a visit to the reserve one morning in early August, a group of French families with small children oohed and ahhed at a male Malagasy giant chameleon (Furcifer oustaleti). The squirrel-sized, black-striped lizard was balancing, head high, on a tiny branch less than a five-minute walk from the pavement. When a bus full of British exchange students reached the same spot, the French group moved along, and encountered a clutch of ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta) 100 meters (330 feet) down the path.Every visitor pays a 20,000 ariary entrance fee (about $5.50) along with a group fee starting at $20 for a two-hour tour of the forest, including a peek at a historical tomb. Forty percent of the revenue goes to maintaining and improving the site itself, including firebreaks and tree planting. Another 29 percent funds community and social projects, like the purchase of raw materials for association members to make handicrafts and stipends for the care of orphaned children. The remainder funds the operation of the association itself. Last year, ticket sales at Anja generated more than $30,000, even though entrance fees were half what they are now. That may not sound like much, but in a country with a per capita GDP of less than $500 a year, it’s a substantial injection of cash for a small rural community.Succulents and spiny shrubs grow from the cracks between the massive granite boulders that rise above Anja’s small forest. Images by Rowan Moore Gerety for Mongabay.At the start, Rahaovalahy said, Association Anja Miray struggled to recruit a tiny cohort of 20 supporters for its efforts to conserve the forest inside the new protected area, even with the backing of the government, which had transferred management of the forest fragment to the community in 2001 as part of a national campaign. While some people valued the forest as the source of a spring that irrigates rice fields for part of the community, others worried the protected area would deprive them of wood and farmland. “People were already farming inside the protected area,” Rahaovalahy explained. “They were very angry.”One early project that helped build more widespread support for conservation was paying for circumcisions for young men in the surrounding area, a traditional rite of passage that is now commonly done at a medical clinic. Today, the association boasts 650 members, most of the community, who pay modest annual dues in exchange for certain extra benefits like seeds and fruit tree saplings. According to the census that guides carry out annually during the low season, the lemur population has increased from 80 when the reserve was founded to roughly 350.A ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) with baby in Anja Community Reserve, Madagscar. Image by Rhett Butler / Mongabay.Dan Villar, a fourth-year Peace Corps volunteer who works with a fledgling protected area nearby, Sakaviro Community Park, said Anja’s visibility has created “an upward spiral of positive feedback, whereby it can continue to develop and gain recognition.” Villar said members of the association in Sakaviro clearly look to Anja as an example, but they’ve had trouble drawing tourists to the site without more support to promote it online. “Here, seeing is believing, and people have not really seen the park have success,” he said.As it stands, Sakaviro continues to struggle with illegal woodcutting and periodic fires. Like Anja, Sakaviro has abundant ring-tailed lemurs along with birds and reptiles. Although it’s only 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the RN7, even that distance, along a rough dirt road, gives it far less visibility and seems to discourage visitors. The park sees just one or two groups a month, with many of them booking tours by phone after visiting a Facebook page Villar set up.The legal framework that permitted so-called “transferts de gestions,” or transferals of land-management authority from the government to community groups like the ones in Anja and Sakaviro, passed in 1996. As Madagascar’s protected area network expanded beyond the footprint of traditional national parks in the late 1990s and 2000s, donors and international NGOs worked with the Malagasy government to create thousands of local forest management associations, usually with an explicit promise that conservation programs would be tied to support for rural livelihoods. But investment in these sustainable development initiatives has often come years after restrictions on local people’s use of natural resources — if at all.The Lemur Hotel sits beside the entrance to Anja Community Reserve along the RN7 highway. Image by Rowan Moore Gerety for Mongabay.Researchers in Madagascar have repeatedly demonstrated that such restrictions imposed by conservation projects have the potential to cut into household income or rural livelihoods, whether calculated in cash — one report estimated an annual hit of $1,400 per household — or lost access to bushmeat. Along with improvements in farming techniques, ecotourism is often presented as an important prong in the strategy to reverse this trend.But there’s a risk in setting up community conservation programs in Madagascar under the assumption that they can rely on ecotourism to generate meaningful local income. A 2013 analysis by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), for instance, singles out Anja alongside another well-known community ecotourism operation, the Analamazaotra Forest Station near Andasibe National Park in eastern Madagscar. “It comes as no surprise that both are situated along ingrained tourist routes, benefitting from geographic location and existing infrastructure,” the authors note.The view from Anja Community Reserve includes rice paddies irrigated by a spring originating within the reserve and, in the distance, the RN7, the main national highway that links southern Madagascar to the capital, Antananarivo. Image by Rowan Moore Gerety for Mongabay.Consider the experience of the Lemur Conservation Association, a consortium of universities and zoological gardens across Europe that has made a concerted effort to promote ecotourism in northwestern Madagascar. Despite a collaboration with an established tour operator, the initiative’s annual report offers a frank assessment of the challenges facing comparatively remote ventures like theirs: “Tourists had to walk about three hours to join the camp and many of them complained about the long walk.” Poor cellphone service and an unreliable water supply posed additional problems.Other would-be ecotourism destinations have suffered from an “if you build it, they will come” approach by government organizations and large NGOs. In a master’s thesis based on research in the region around Anja, Sam Cameron, program coordinator for the Fianarantsoa-based NGO Ny Tanintsika and a partner organization in Scotland, describes a variety of “white elephant” infrastructure built to welcome tourists who never came. In Namoly, a community near the entrance of Andringitra National Park in southeastern Madagascar, for instance, the global NGO Conservation International funded the construction of a trail network in a community-run forest that soon became overgrown. As one resident put it to Cameron, “We should really do maintenance but why bother when there’s no income from tourists? It’s like working rice-fields that have no water.”The son of Association Anja Miray president Victor Rahaovalahy, also named Victor, left, returned to the community after studying in Antananarivo and now works as one of the guides there. Image by Rowan Moore Gerety for Mongabay.Cameron said inflated hopes of income from ecotourism often backfire, and reinforce conflict in community organizations working on conservation. As a result, she said, people feel misled and end up “fighting over the really small advantages that do come.”More broadly, like so much else in conservation, ecotourism’s viability hinges on major political forces that are beyond the scope of any one destination. After a coup d’état that ousted the president in 2009, international arrivals in Madagascar fell by nearly 60 percent; a decade later, they have yet to rebound to 2008 levels.And then, of course, there are the roads. Despite the fact that the average international visit in Madagascar lasts three weeks, there’s only so much you can see when travel on the heavily potholed two-lane national highways is so slow. In the absence of better infrastructure, going off the beaten track often means giving up one or more vacations days for travel.But a good reputation helps. Barbara Vanlaere, who was visiting from the Netherlands with her husband Geert and their two grown children, said her family went out of their way to come to Anja. “We passed two days ago, and we made a detour to come back to be here in the morning,” she explained, gesturing at the massive telephoto lens around her husband’s neck. If you’re in Anja at the right time of day, they’d heard, you’re practically guaranteed to see lemurs.A rainbow milkweed locust (Phymateus saxosus) in Anja Community Reserve, Madagscar. Image by Rhett Butler/Mongabay.Banner image: A ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) with a baby in Anja Community Reserve, Madagscar. Image by Rhett Butler/Mongabay.Rowan Moore Gerety is a reporter and radio producer in New York. His work has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, Scientific American, and on National Public Radio, among other outlets, and he is the is the author of Go Tell the Crocodiles: Chasing Prosperity in Mozambique.Citations:Hockley, N.J., & Razafindralambo, R. (2006). A Social Cost-Benefit Analysis of Conserving the Ranomafana-Andringitra-Pic d’Ivohibe Corridor in Madagascar. Unpubl. report to USAID/Madagascar.Golden, C. D. (2009). Bushmeat hunting and use in the Makira Forest, north-eastern Madagascar: a conservation and livelihoods issue. Oryx, 43(3), 386-392.Schwitzer, C., Mittermeier, R.A., Davies, N., Johnson, S., Ratsimbazafy, J., Razafindramanana, J., Louis Jr., E.E., Rajaobelina, S. (eds) (2013). Lemurs of Madagascar: A Strategy for Their Conservation 2013–2016. [pdf] Bristol, UK: IUCN SSC Primate Specialist Group, Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation, and Conservation International. 185 pp.Cameron, Samantha E., (2017). Ecotourism’s dirty laundry? Exploring the relationship between participation, equity and conservation around protected areas in Madagascar.  Master of Science by Research (MScRes) thesis, University of Kent.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Rebecca Kessler Archive, Biodiversity, Biodiversity Hotspots, Community Development, Community-based Conservation, Conservation, Conservation And Poverty, Development, Ecosystems, Ecotourism, Environment, Forest Fragmentation, Forests, Fragmentation, Habitat, Lemurs, Protected Areas, Tourism, Trees, Wildlife center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.Why you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

In other news: Environmental stories from around the web, November 8, 2019

first_imgThere are many important conservation and environmental stories Mongabay isn’t able to cover.Here’s a digest of some of the significant developments from the week.If you think we’ve missed something, feel free to add it in the comments.Mongabay does not vet the news sources below, nor does the inclusion of a story on this list imply an endorsement of its content. Tropical forestsResearchers have found a species of dragonfly in Costa Rica that was previously unknown to science (Sci-News).Less funding goes into protecting the Congo rainforest compared to its counterparts in South America and Southeast Asia (CIFOR Forests News).Researchers use a 325-meter (1,070-foot) tower to study the canopy of the Amazon (New Scientist).Locusts are threatening crops already struggling as a result of drought (Sustainability Times).Top palm oil producers are investing heavily in a radar system aimed at stopping deforestation (Reuters).Rubber is driving deforestation in Cameroon (France24).A Malaysian state chief is calling on farmers and plantation workers to help in the fight against poaching, after three elephants were killed in five weeks (Malay Mail).After the signing of a peace accord in Colombia, researchers now have the access necessary to protect the endangered wax palm, the country’s national tree (The New York Times).Rafts of research show the value that indigenous communities bring in protecting the forest (Los Angeles Times).A “mast fruiting” event in Malaysia has spurred an effort by conservationists to save threatened tree species (Science Magazine).Other newsPresident Trump has begun the year-long process of pulling the United States out of the Paris climate accords, a move critics have called “reprehensible” and “sad” (Mother Jones, The Atlantic, Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The New York Times).Emissions of gas that damages the ozone layer are sliding after a recent rise (The New York Times).Lionfish have moved into the Atlantic Ocean, threatening native communities (Biographic).Conservation and indigenous groups in Canada consider wiping out all fish in a lake to get rid of invasive species (Hakai Magazine).Coal-fired power plants in the U.S. will soon be able to allow more toxic chemicals to seep into water sources with new rule changes from the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (The New York Times, The Washington Post).China is set to release plans for a new national park system, raising questions in the conservation community (Biographic).North American mussel populations are battling a new form of cancer that comes from invasive species from Europe and South America (The New York Times).Wildfires are worse in areas where invasive grasses have moved in (The New York Times).Thousands of scientists lay out a six-step plan to address the climate “emergency” (The Washington Post).Making the world a more equitable place could help address issues like climate change, a researcher says (The New York Times).The researcher who argued first that fish could feel pain has died at age 52 (The New York Times).Australia moves to outlaw climate-related protests in an apparent bid to protect the country’s coal sector (The New York Times).Banner image of a lionfish by Rhett A. Butler/Mongabay.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by John Cannon Conservation, Environment, Weekly environmental news update center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Last of the belugas from Russia’s ‘whale jail’ released

first_imgAnimals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Environment, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Marine, Marine Animals, Marine Biodiversity, Marine Conservation, Marine Mammals, Oceans, Whales Article published by Shreya Dasgupta Late last year, drone footage revealed 87 belugas and 11 orcas packed in cramped, icy pens at Srednyaya Bay in Russia’s Far East.Following international outrage, Russian authorities began an investigation and started releasing the whales to the Sea of Okhotsk, the place the mammals had been originally captured from.On Nov. 10, Russian authorities announced that the last of the 50 beluga whales had been released to Uspeniya Bay, in the Primorsky Region, about 62 miles away from the holding facility. But it’s not the whales’ native habitat, conservationists say.Activists and conservationists have criticized the lack of transparency in the release effort and the manner in which the whales have been moved to the sea without a proper rehabilitation process in place. The last of the nearly 100 whales held captive in what’s been termed a “whale jail” in Russia’s Far East have finally been freed back into the ocean — although the releases have been far from ideal, conservationists say.Late last year, drone footage revealed 87 beluga whales and 11 orcas packed in cramped, icy pens in Srednyaya Bay. The whales had reportedly been caught by four companies during the summer of 2018, and were allegedly due to be sold to marine parks and aquariums in China.Following international outrage, Russian President Vladimir Putin intervened and authorities launched an investigation into the capture of the whales. Russian officials also signed a joint agreement with U.S-based nonprofits Ocean Futures Society and The Whale Sanctuary Project in April announcing that all the captive belugas (Delphinapterus leucas) and orcas (Orcinus orca) would be released back into their natural environment.‘Whale prison’ discovered by drone in Far East Russia pic.twitter.com/gkZBVmYwVp— RT (@RT_com) November 8, 2018In June, a court ruled that the whale captures were illegal. Later that month, the first wave of the whale release began. Two orcas and six belugas were moved 1,770 kilometers (1,100 miles) by truck, then transported by boat to the Sea of Okhotsk, from where the mammals had originally been captured. Activists and conservationists, however, at the time criticized the lack of transparency in the release effort and the manner in which the whales were “dumped” into the sea, without a proper rehabilitation process in place. The remaining belugas and orcas continued to be released in batches over the following months.On Nov. 10, Russian authorities announced that the last of the 50 beluga whales had been released in Uspeniya Bay, in the Primorsky region, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) away from the holding facility. This is not the whales’ native habitat, Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of the Ocean Futures Society, and Charles Vinick, executive director of The Whale Sanctuary Project, said in a joint statement.“This outcome is not ideal for the belugas, since this is not their normal habitat or the area where they were captured,” the statement said. “Nonetheless, we trust the intention of Russian government authorities to release the belugas, despite limitations due to the availability of ships, inadequate finances, and weather conditions.”Cousteau and Vinick added that North Korean fishing vessels frequent the area where the belugas have been released, and the whales could be at risk of poaching. They called on the government to monitor the 50 belugas over the short term and the long term.“We hope that the location will make it possible to carry out regular visual monitoring of the belugas for a full 30 days after release and actively over the first six months after release,” they said in the statement. “We also hope that visual monitoring will help reduce concerns about threats from North Korean fishing vessels that we understand are poaching in the area and that the Russian government will do what is necessary to protect the belugas from repeat capture.”Russia’s Research Institute for Fisheries and Oceanography (VNIRO) told TASS, a Russian news agency, that it has been monitoring the whales. Some of the belugas are still in Uspeniya Bay, it said, while others have moved away from the points of their release. Some have even migrated up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) away.“Now, we can say that the animals were set free in good physical condition and are vigorously adapting to the wild, using the opportunities for food available in Uspeniya Bay and along the Primorsky Region coastline,” VNIRO told TASS.The “Whale Jail” Is No More.The last belugas were released in the Bay of Uspeniya Lazovsky. The notorious “whale jail” that held 10 orcas & 87 belugas captured for marine parks in China is empty.The rescue is the largest in history & a remarkable achievement. @Whale_Sanctuary pic.twitter.com/rpgbmouVwA— The Orca Project (@TheOrcaProject) November 10, 2019Banner image of orcas by Robert Pittman/NOAA via Wikimedia Commons (Public domain).center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Meet the new parasitic wasp species named ‘Idris elba’

first_imgArticle published by Mike Gaworecki British actor Idris Elba has been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards and five Primetime Emmy Awards in addition to being named one of the “Sexiest Men Alive.” Now he’s been awarded an accolade that even he probably never dared aspire to: a parasitic wasp has been named in his honor.The genus Idris was first described in 1856 and today includes more than 300 species of wasp, all of which have only been known to parasitize spider eggs. Idris elba, on the other hand, was discovered in Mexico parasitizing the eggs of an invasive stink bug known as the bagrada bug (Bagrada hilaris), an invasive species native to Africa.Idris elba could potentially be a valuable part of natural solutions to controlling the B. hilaris population, as opposed to the insecticides currently in use, and reining in the destruction the stink bugs do to crops. British actor Idris Elba has been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards and five Primetime Emmy Awards in addition to being named one of the “Sexiest Men Alive.” Now he’s been awarded an accolade that even he probably never dared aspire to: a parasitic wasp has been named in his honor.The wasp was recently discovered in Guanajuato, Mexico and described to science in a paper published in the Journal of Hymenoptera Research this week by a team of researchers with Mexico’s Colegio de Postgraduados, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and the Florida State Collection of Arthropods in the US.The genus Idris was first described in 1856 and today includes more than 300 species of wasp, all of which have only been known to parasitize spider eggs. Idris elba, on the other hand, was discovered in Mexico parasitizing the eggs of an invasive stink bug known as the bagrada bug (Bagrada hilaris), an invasive species native to Africa that is a major pest in India, southern Europe, southern Asia, and the Middle East. Bagrada bugs made their Western Hemisphere debut in 2008 when they were first sighted in Los Angeles, California, and have since become an important pest of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, and turnips in North and South America, having been spotted in Chile in 2016.Dr. Refugio Lomeli-Flores of the Colegio de Postgraduatos and his team were the first to observe an Idris elba individual emerging from a bagrada bug egg in Guanajuato, much to their surprise. Dr. Tara Gariepy of the governmental agency Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada then used molecular forensics to match the DNA of the adult wasp with the DNA it left in the bagrada bug egg to independently confirm that Lomeli-Flores and team had seen what they thought they had seen: Idris elba is a parasitoid, an insect whose larvae parasitize and eventually kill their host organism, of bagrada bug eggs.“This is the first association of an Idris species with a non-spider host, and the association is confirmed with molecular diagnostic tools that enable identification of parasitoid and host from the remains of parasitized eggs,” chief author Lomeli-Flores and co-authors write in the paper describing Idris elba to science.Non-parasitized (left) compared with a parasitized (right) bagrada bug egg, where an Idris elba wasp was observed to emerge. Photo Credi: Elijah J. Talamas.Specimens of the wasp were later sent to Dr. Elijah Talamas of the Florida State Collection of Arthropods, a taxonomist who determined that the specimens did, in fact, belong to a previously unknown species.In explaining the etymology of the scientific name they chose for the wasp, Lomeli-Flores and co-authors merely write: “The epithet ‘elba’ is an arbitrary combination of letters that is to be treated as a noun in apposition.” In a statement, Talamas elaborated on the choice, somewhat, noting that were the species to be explicitly named after Idris Elba the Homo sapiens, it would then be a patronym, and thus, following Latin grammar rules, the wasp would have to be called Idris elbai. Treating the second name as merely “an arbitrary combination of letters,” however, avoided the grammar issue — and Idris elba was ready for its close up.It is uncommon for a native parasitoid species, like Idris elba, to attack a foreign organism introduced to its habitat, which makes it all the more remarkable that an Idris wasp has adapted to parasitize the eggs of bagrada bugs. The researchers believe this could simply be a happy accident: bagrada bugs, unlike other stink bugs, lay their eggs in the soil instead of on plants, and the wasps may have somehow mistaken them for spider eggs, their typical host. “This may be a case of accidental parasitism by I. elba, based on chance encounters with B. hilaris eggs in the same habitat as its typical spider host,” the researchers write.They also theorize that Idris wasps could have a broader host range than scientists knew, one that includes both spiders and insects. More research is needed to answer this question, especially since Idris elba could potentially be a valuable part of natural solutions to controlling the B. hilaris population, as opposed to the insecticides currently in use, and reining in the destruction the stink bugs do to crops.Meanwhile, there’s no word yet on when Idris Elba will be receiving his bronzed Idris elba specimen so that he can place it next to his Golden Globe.Female wasp of the newly described species Idris elba (holotype specimen). Photo Credit: Elijah J. Talamas.CITATION• Lomeli-Flores, J. R., Rodríguez-Rodríguez, S. E., Rodríguez-Levya, E., González-Hernández, H., Gariepy, T. D., & Talamas, E. J. (2019). Field studies and molecular forensics identify a new association: Idris elba Talamas, sp. nov. parasitizes the eggs of Bagrada hilaris (Burmeister). Journal of Hymenoptera Research, 73, 125. doi:10.3897/jhr.73.38025 Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Environment, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Insects, New Species, Parasites, Research, Species Discovery last_img read more

In a flip-flop, Uganda says it’ll allow a study for a dam at Murchison Falls

first_imgArticle published by terna gyuse The Ugandan government has announced that a feasibility study for a dam near the iconic Murchison Falls will go ahead, after previously rejecting the notion.The company that has applied for a permit for the feasibility study appears to have no track record with similar development.Environmentalists and tourism operators fear construction of a dam will threaten the richly biodiverse Murchison Falls National Park.Civil society groups have written to the Ugandan president urging him to permanently block the development of hydropower in Murchison Falls National Park and strengthen protection for the reserve. The Ugandan government has announced it will let a South African company carry out a feasibility study for a dam in Murchison Falls National Park, reversing an earlier cabinet decision and prompting a strong backlash from civil society.In June, the country’s Electricity Regulatory Authority called for public comment on a permit application filed by Bonang Power and Energy to build a 360 megawatt (MW) hydropower dam in the park, where the Nile River famously plunges 45 meters (150 feet) over an escarpment. There was an immediate outcry from environmental groups, tour operators and local communities concerned about the impact a dam would have on the falls and the ecology of the national park.By the end of the month, New Vision newspaper reported that government was abandoning the plan. Evelyn Anite, the state minister for privatization and investment, said, “We don’t agree with any investor destroying our natural resources. And I don’t expect any investor to be licensed to destroy a national treasure like Murchison falls or even operate in a wetland.”In August, the tourism minister, Ephraim Kamuntu, also weighed in with an emphatic no. “Cabinet took a decision at its latest sitting that there will be no construction of the hydropower dam in Murchison Falls National Park,” he told AFP. “Definitely we still need more electricity to power our expanding economy, but this project can go elsewhere, not in the park.”And that, it seemed, was that.But at a Dec. 3 press conference, the minister of energy and mineral development, Irene Muloni, said the decision not to pursue a hydro dam in the national park had been reviewed and a memorandum of understanding signed with Bonang to conduct a feasibility study after all. “In order to make a scientifically informed decision, Cabinet reviewed its decision yesterday [Dec. 2] and agreed that a feasibility study is undertaken on the Uhuru Falls site.”She stressed that the study would examine the feasibility of a dam on Uhuru Falls, a cataract 500 meters (1,640 feet) from the better-known Murchison Falls, created when the river jumped its banks during heavy flooding in 1962.The proposed dam site is in Uganda’s leading tourist attraction, part of the larger Murchison Falls Conservation Area (MFCA) — 5,594 square kilometers (2,160 square miles) of protected area covered by a mixture of woodlands and savanna, with several high mountains rising above the canopy. It is drained by a number of small, seasonal rivers and an 80-kilometer (50-mile) stretch of the Nile.Tourists in Murchison Falls National Park. Image by Justin Raycraft via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)The MFCA has an exceptional variety of plant species and is home to hippos (Hippopotamus amphibius), elephants (Loxodonta africana) and Rothschild’s giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi), as well as chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) and black-and-white colobuses (Colobus spp.). More than 500 species of birds are found within the reserve, including threatened shoebills (Balaeniceps rex), saddle-billed storks (Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis) and lappet-faced vultures (Torgos tracheliotus).Significant numbers of people have resettled around the conservation area’s boundaries since the mid-2000s, returning from internal displacement camps following the departure of the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army from the region. Still others have been drawn to the area by the promise of jobs linked to oil exploration here, putting some pressure on the park environment through hunting, farming, and gathering of fruit and wood for fuel.The government’s about-face on considering a dam in the area comes as no surprise to Sam Mucunguzi, national coordinator for the Ugandan NGO Citizens’ Concern Africa (CICOA). “The revival of the Murchison Falls dam project has been there all along, only that it has been silent to the public,” he told Mongabay. “It’s only recently when a journalist asked the minister of state for tourism about the project, that he mentioned about what government intends to do. The president is of late obsessed with power generation and I don’t think he has been briefed on alternative sources of electricity.”CICOA is one of a group of civil society organizations that wrote an open letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at the end of November setting out their arguments against the plan for a dam.Referring to the government’s domestic and international commitments to biodiversity and conservation, the letter highlights the environmental and social significance of Murchison Falls National Park and the reserve’s vital role in protecting watersheds and nutrients, storing carbon and regulating the local climate.The CSOs also point out the purely economic value of preserving the park and adjacent forest reserves. A 2017 study by the government’s own National Environmental Management Agency calculated the total yearly value of timber and other wood for fuel; of fruit, honey and bushmeat; and of course tourism from the protected area at over 400 billion Ugandan shillings ($109 million).The Murchison Falls Conservation Area is already being encroached upon by oil exploration by France-based transnational Total. Three exploratory wells have been drilled within the boundaries of the reserve, with at least ten more expected to follow.“The impacts are immense and dangerous to ecosystems and general biodiversity. There’s the destruction of flora and fauna when constructing what are called oil roads. The opening of the roads in parks eases movement of poachers. Animals are affected because of noise from construction and have run away. The risk of an oil spill will definitely affect the water and vegetation greatly. When you read the ESIA report and see the mitigation measures in this regard, they are not specific and convincing,” said Mucunguzi.While there’s no risk of an oil spill from a hydro dam, the harm caused by new roads and construction, and eventually a reservoir and the unavoidable changes to the river’s flow will negatively impact the park.Rothschild’s giraffes are one of several threatened species found in Murchison Falls National Park. Image by Thomas Fuhrman via Wikicommons (CC BY-SA 4.0)The groups appealed directly to President Museveni to ask him to rule out construction of a dam anywhere in the MFCA and look to alternative ways to increase power generation.“Government’s desire to transform Uganda from a peasant to industrial economy within the next 22 years will require, among other things, increased power generation capacity and the consumption,” Mucunguzi said. “Government has ignored to look at … the smart and clean options of renewable energy generation for Uganda. Solar energy for instance is cheap, safe and clean, we have all year round good weather.”Meanwhile, the energy ministry has issued a statement saying Bonang Power and Energy is to lead a consortium including Norconsult, the Norwegian energy consultants, and Russia’s JSC Institute Hydro in carrying out a feasibility study for a dam on Uhuru Falls.There’s scant information about Bonang, and little evidence of any previous work on hydropower by the South African company — or indeed, evidence of any previous work at all. The South African companies’ registry reveals only that it was founded in 2014, deregistered two years later for failing to file annual returns, and re-activated in mid-2017. Its sole listed director, Ernest Moloi, is associated with more than 70 other companies, many with similarly hollow profiles. The company website appears to have been taken down, leaving only a Facebook page. The company’s listed phone number has been disconnected and emails bounced back.This has raised questions about the company’s capacity to carry out a feasibility study. The Electricity Regulation Authority told Mongabay by email that the application for a permit was “rejected on the basis of a financial evaluation of Bonang, legal conclusions, technical conclusions, and environmental and social conclusions” and it will have to apply again.Clarifying Norconsult’s role, Øystein Lilleland, the company’s head of global markets, said the Norwegian energy company had been approached as an internationally recognized independent consultant. “We can confirm that we have made a proposal and has been preferred as an independent consultant to review and update previous feasibilities and environmental & social studies for this project. The studies will eventually confirm whether the project is feasible, based on the environmental, social, technical and financial aspects.”Nalubaale Dam: hydroelectricity makes up more than three quarters of Uganda’s installed generating capacity. Image by Frederick Onyango via Wikicommons (CC BY 2.0)There are significant risks if the dam eventually goes ahead, says Enock Nimpamya of Action Coalition on Climate Change.“Once it’s constructed, it will likely affect the flow of water and the natural evolution of the site. It’s a natural process, and when you interfere with this … We had the same scenario near Jinja, when they constructed a dam near Owens Falls. We warned the government not to construct it, but immediately [after they did], the falls were affected.”Tourism operators fear the loss of an iconic site that attracts tens of thousands of visitors yearly. Nimpamya told Mongabay the dam will also affect the flow of water to Sudan and Egypt downstream, potentially provoking a diplomatic spat or even more serious conflict.“Then the other component is that adjacent communities will be affected in terms of fishing. The dam is likely to affect the movement of fish and their breeding grounds. Fishing-dependent communities will likely be affected in terms of having their incomes reduced.”FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.Banner image: Murchison Falls. 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