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Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate change

This is where you can talk about every subject (previously it was called shout room)

Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Dec 06, 2019 11:20 pm

Factory Farming
Threatening Our Planet


Last week the BBC’s documentary Meat: A Threat to Our Planet included presenter Liz Bonnin hoisting herself up a rope into one of the heights of the Amazon rainforest to visit a harpy eagle chick in her nest. The view from the nest at the top of the tree revealed that almost all the surrounding forest had been cut down for cattle grazing. The consequence for the eagles was not just the loss of habitat but also the disappearance of the prey animals on which their survival depends

4 December, World Wildlife Conservation Day, provides a focus for the many excellent organisations and campaigners working to end wildlife crimes, including trafficking in endangered species. The piles of skins, tusks, bones and scales resulting from seizures around the world are visible signs of the suffering endured by animals at human hands. But loss and degradation of habitat is perhaps the greatest danger facing wildlife species everywhere.

I witnessed the devastating consequences of habitat loss first-hand when I travelled to Brazil as part of my investigation into the role that factory farming plays in the threat of extinction for one of the biggest and most iconic cats, the jaguar. Home to half of the world’s remaining jaguar population of 15,000, Brazil holds the fate of this beautiful big cat in the palm of its hand.

When I thought of jaguars I had imagined them skulking through grassland or slinking through the dense vegetation of a tropical rainforest, but when my quest took me to a flat and featureless expanse of soya in Brazil’s agricultural heartland, I thought I was in the wrong place.

I had flown from Sᾰo Paulo to Goiânia in the country’s Midwest region, where I’d picked up a 4×4 hire car for the journey through mile upon mile of undulating cattle pasture. Travelling through the state of Goiás towards neighbouring Mato Grosso, the land finally flattened out into endless crop prairie.

Every now and then, a collection of skeletal towers would loom on the horizon as we passed a grain mill, and then more fields of soya. Signs on some of the fences every few hundred metres advertised the latest crop trial or GM invention that otherwise would be growing anonymously by the roadside.

When people think of deforestation, they tend to associate it with logging to make way for housing and crops for human consumption. In fact, the real driver is the farming of soya and corn on a huge industrial scale, much of it destined for factory farmed animals. Vast areas of the rainforest and savannah are turned over to these industries and Brazil is now second only to the USA in soya production and is the world’s leader in soya exports.

The headline-grabbing fires in the Amazon this year have destroyed even more millions of hectares of forest habitat. Panthera, the cat conservation organisation, estimates that 500 adult jaguars may now be either homeless or dead.

In all the time I spent in Brazil talking to others concerned for the plight of the big cat, I never once saw a wild jaguar. Once worshipped by the ancient Maya and other civilisations like the Aztec and Inca, jaguars are now considered vermin by farmers, who resent the loss of the occasional cow being reared for beef. As their habitats are razed, jaguars are being driven out and when they venture onto open land – for want of anywhere else to go – they are often shot on sight.

How many people imagine, when they eat factory-farmed meat, that their bargain-basement chicken nuggets and pork chops reach their plates via the felling of rainforest trees and the loss of iconic species?

How many people know that in the last 50 years, since the widespread adoption of factory farming, the total number of wild mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish worldwide has more than halved?

As you pause today, to think of the wildlife left on our planet, please also think of what you will do to help. Please remember also that it is possible for us all to make a difference with the food on our plates. Eating more plants, less meat and milk and avoiding the produce of factory farms will help cut out farm animal cruelty and save iconic wildlife too. There is no greater signal we can send to the world at large than with a conscious change in our buying and eating regime. Thank you as ever for all your support.

https://philiplymbery.com/factory-farmi ... esokQBWsRw
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Dec 07, 2019 12:06 am

Rescued cows say thank you

Direct link to Video of Happy Cows:

https://youtu.be/kUZ1YLhIAg8

Twenty-five cows destined for slaughter were given a rare second chance. Watch as they greet the beginning of Spring — and the start of their new lives — in a display of some of the purest joy you will ever see.

When a dairy farmer's financial problems seemingly sealed the fate of these dairy cows, locals of the German town Rheinberg rallied together to save them.

    We see the cows every day and couldn't bear the thought of them being killed.
    Anke Heublein, Founder of fundraising club Save the Cows in Rheinberg
Realising the gentle animals had so more to offer to the world than their milk, enough money was raised to not only secure the cows' lives — but to allow them to enjoy their newfound retirement, and their freedom, in peace.

Image

All cows deserve to experience joy ...

Cows are intelligent, social and sensitive animals who form strong friendships, and like us, are capable of suffering — and joy. Many are surprised to learn that, sadly, lives of dairy cows in Australia are often far from joyful. Kept almost continually pregnant, these mothers are separated from their calves so that their milk can be harvested for human consumption.

By learning about dairy's hidden secrets, you can help shape a world that is kinder to cows and their calves. 1 in 6 Australians are choosing to live dairy-free! Discover why this is such great news for calves and their mums — and learn how your choices can spread a little more joy in the world.

https://www.animalsaustralia.org/featur ... 1P80S8vWac
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Dec 07, 2019 5:50 pm

Oceans running
out of oxygen


Climate change and nutrient pollution are driving the oxygen from our oceans, and threatening many species of fish

That's the conclusion of the biggest study of its kind, undertaken by conservation group IUCN.

Image

While nutrient run-off has been known for decades, researchers say that climate change is making the lack of oxygen worse.

Around 700 ocean sites are now suffering from low oxygen, compared with 45 in the 1960s.

Researchers say the depletion is threatening species including tuna, marlin and sharks.

The threat to oceans from nutrient run-off of chemicals such as nitrogen and phosphorus from farms and industry has long been known to impact the levels of oxygen in the sea waters and still remains the primary factor, especially closer to coasts.

However, in recent years the threat from climate change has increased.

As more carbon dioxide is released enhancing the greenhouse effect, much of the heat is absorbed by the oceans. In turn, this warmer water can hold less oxygen. The scientists estimate that between 1960 and 2010, the amount of the gas dissolved in the oceans declined by 2%.

That may not seem like much as it is a global average, but in some tropical locations the loss can range up to 40%.

Even small changes can impact marine life in a significant way. So waters with less oxygen favour species such as jellyfish, but not so good for bigger, fast-swimming species like tuna.

"We have known about de-oxygenation but we haven't known the linkages to climate change and this is really worrying," said Minna Epps from IUCN.

"Not only has the decline of oxygen quadrupled in the past 50 years but even in the best case emissions scenario, oxygen is still going to decline in the oceans."

For species like tuna, marlin and some sharks that are particularly sensitive to lack of oxygen - this is bad news.

Bigger fish like these have greater energy needs. According to the authors, these animals are starting to move to the shallow surface layers of the seas where there is more of the gas dissolved. However, this make the species much more vulnerable to over-fishing.

If countries continue with a business-as-usual approach to emissions, the world's oceans are expected to lose 3-4% of their oxygen by the year 2100.

This is likely to be worse in the tropical regions of the world. Much of the loss is expected in the top 1,000m of the water column, which is richest in biodiversity.

Image

Low levels of oxygen are also bad for basic processes like the cycling of elements crucial for life on Earth, including nitrogen and phosphorous.

"If we run out of oxygen it will mean habitat loss and biodiversity loss and a slippery slope down to slime and more jellyfish," said Minna Epps.

"It will also change the energy and the biochemical cycling in the oceans and we don't know what these biological and chemical shifts in the oceans can actually do."

Changing the outcomes for the oceans is down to the world's political leaders which is why the report has been launched here at COP25.

"Ocean oxygen depletion is menacing marine ecosystems already under stress from ocean warming and acidification," said Dan Laffoley, also from IUCN and the report's co-editor.

"To stop the worrying expansion of oxygen-poor areas, we need to decisively curb greenhouse gas emissions as well as nutrient pollution from agriculture and other sources."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-50690995
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:59 pm

Greta Thunberg: school
strikes achieved nothing


Activist says 4% greenhouse gas emissions rise since 2015 shows action is insufficient

Image

The global wave of school strikes for the climate over the past year has “achieved nothing” because greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise, Greta Thunberg has told activists at UN climate talks in Madrid.

Thousands of young people were expected to gather at the UN climate conference and in the streets of the Spanish capital on Friday to protest against the lack of progress in tackling the climate emergency, as officials from more than 190 countries wrangled over the niceties of wording in documents related to the Paris accord.

In the four years since the landmark agreement was signed, greenhouse gas emissions have risen by 4% and the talks this year are not expected to produce new commitments on carbon from the world’s biggest emitters.

Thunberg, whose solo protest in Sweden in 2017 has since snowballed into a global movement, spoke at a press conference before a march through the centre of Madrid. She said that although schoolchildren had been striking around the world, this “has not translated into action” from governments.

“I’m just an activist and we need more activists,” she said. “Some people are afraid to change – they try so desperately to silence us.”

Thunberg expressed hope for the UN negotiations but doubted whether governments had got the message, and warned the world could not afford continued inaction.

“I sincerely hope COP25 will reach something concrete and increase awareness among people, and that world leaders and people in power grasp the urgency of the climate crisis, because right now it does not seem that they are,” she said.

Although young people would keep striking, Thunberg said, they wanted to stop – if governments made credible promises and showed a willingness to act.

“We can’t go on like this; it is not sustainable that children skip school and we don’t want to continue – we would love some action from the people in power. People are suffering and dying today. We can’t wait any longer,” she said.

The march was scheduled to coincide with protests and youth climate strikes around the world. In the US, Bernie Sanders and Jane Fonda were among the politicians and celebrities planning to join in.
Inside the mission to create an army of Greta Thunbergs – video

As well as the march and a sit-down protest in the conference centre, there were shows of international solidarity among young people from around the world, including a picnic in a central Madrid park. The conference centre was flooded with hundreds of schoolchildren accompanied by their parents, many with babies in prams, who were kept separate from the rooms where negotiators were working on a draft text to clarify aspects of the Paris agreement.

Young people voiced their frustration at protests inside and outside the conference centre on the outskirts of Madrid.

Brianna Fruean from Samoa, speaking for the Pacific Climate Warriors, told the conference: “World leaders need to know that people like me are watching them. The text we put down today on paper at COP is what our future will look like.”

Many of the young people joining the conference from developing nations around the world bore personal witness to suffering they had experienced or seen.

“I’ve had typhoid. I’ve had malaria. My grandmother died from cholera. I know what I’m talking about,” said Jimmy Fénelon, the national coordinator of the Caribbean Youth Environmental Network in Haiti. “We need to raise awareness among young people. We can get them to work together and send a strong message.”

Renae Baptiste, also from CYEN, said: “For us, climate change is no longer a concept or theory, it’s our new reality. It’s affecting our lives now.”

The activist Miguel van der Velden said: “These things are not games. They’re getting worse. They’re affecting millions of people around the world. I come here because I have hope that we can work together.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... ed-nothing
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:04 am

KRG establish recycling
plants across Kurdistan


The Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Minister of Municipalities and Tourism stated on Sunday that the government is planning to establish recycling plants at a district and sub-district level across the Kurdistan Region.

Sasan Awny, the KRG’s Minister of Municipalities and Tourism, said one of the significant threats to the Kurdistan Region’s environment is the absence of an adequate waste and recycling system, noting that enforcing effective waste management infrastructure is one of the KRG’s priorities.

Awny insisted that recycling is “of extreme interest” to Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani, who “is planning to establish recycling factories across districts and sub-districts in the Kurdistan Region.”

The statement confirmed that establishing an adequate waste and recycling structure is one of the ministry’s fundamental projects.

The ministry is “looking to expand the existing recycling factories that are currently being constructed in the Duhok and Sulaimani governorates, and also in the Akre and Amedi districts, which will process waste in a manner that does not pose a threat to the environment,” he explained.

According to Awny, the ministry will work with an international company to build recycling factories according to global standards in areas across the autonomous Kurdish region that do not have a recycling system.

In recent years, several local organizations in Kurdistan have launched campaigns to encourage recycling by placing separate garbage bins in schools and universities as a first step, hoping the initiative becomes a trend elsewhere across the region.

Although the Kurdistan Region produces thousands of tons of reusable waste, it has not adequately benefited from it and ends up losing a lot of money by selling and exporting the various waste to neighboring countries only to repurchase it later as raw material and for 10 times the price it was sold.

https://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/407 ... bbe6c05511
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Dec 09, 2019 11:09 pm

Southern Kurdistan bans
smoking in buses and taxis


Kurdistan Regional Government’s) Ministry of Transport and Communications has banned smoking cigarettes in taxis and buses in Iraqi Kurdistan Region

The ministry said in a statement on Monday that the decision was made in order to adhere to guidelines from the World Health Organization about smoking in public places.

The ban applies to both drivers and passengers.

Additionally, the drivers will only be allowed to play the radio with the consent of their passengers.

“The taxi drivers are free to have the radio on when there are no passengers in the vehicle,” the ministry added.

Fines would be issued by the Ministry of Interior and the traffic police if violations occur.

In 2017 the Ministry of Health in Iraqi Kurdistan has decreed to stop licensing the use of shisha pipes in public places in the Kurdistan Region and not renew the existing licenses until the council of ministers makes a final decision on the matter.

Sulaimani’s Tourism Department introduced a bill in November 2016 to ban the smoking of hookah and live music in certain restaurants and cafes, additionally it was reported that the bill banned the smoking of hookah in basement cafes, unventilated places, on sidewalks and for people under 18 years old.

https://ekurd.net/iraqi-kurdistan-bans- ... 2019-12-09
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:56 pm

1,200 trees planted
on a mountain


Peshmerga commander turned barren mountain green while fighting Islamic State

Image

Located between the cities of Erbil and Mosul, Zartik Mountain is one of the Kurdistan Region’s most strategic peaks.

The Islamic State group (ISIS) briefly took control of the mountain in 2014. Though Peshmerga forces retook overall control within a month, it witnessed continued clashes between the two groups for years.

Khalid Mullah Hassan was a Peshmerga commander who took part in the operation to recapture Zartik.

Prior to its recapture, the mountain was barren.

“Until 2014, there were no trees on this mountain. There was no shade to rest in. It was very hot when Peshmerga forces came here. We would move with the shadow of our cars. We thought the mountain should no longer be like that [desert],” Hassan said.

Khalid decided to grow a forest on the mountain.

“We planned [tree planting] with the army commander - he was very supportive of the idea. The first step was taken here. We planted this group of trees, then we developed the idea to build a forest. As a result, we planted more than 1,000 olive trees. We planted Vitis [grapevine] trees. To this date, we’ve planted about 1,200 trees here,” Hassan explained.

Tree planting took place even when the fear of deadly clashes breaking out was a constant. Khalid recounts a time when a group of Peshmerga were shot at while planting.

“We were a huge number of Peshmerga - about 20 were with me digging holes to plant more trees in. All of a sudden, we heard a lot of gunshots. Mortar rounds were landing in that valley, but the group continued to plant trees.”

In recounting the mission to make Zartik green, one Peshmerga expanded on the usual understanding of a soldier’s role to include the “sacred work” of planting trees in the midst of conflict.

“We could do both our duties [fighting and planting] because planting trees is sacred work. Wherever the Peshmerga goes, there should be reconstruction. Even if a place is in ruin, the Peshmerga has to reconstruct it.”

https://www.rudaw.net/english/lifestyle/11122019
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Dec 12, 2019 11:28 pm

Truth About "Humane"
Free-Range Meat


Israeli-based investigation agency, Sentient, has captured harrowing footage of cattle having their horns cut off without pain relief and animals being left to die on Australia's remote outback stations

What happens to Australian cattle on the vast outback stations in Australia has never before been exposed. Cruelty is rife and accepted. Laws allow animals to be subjected to abuse — and where laws do apply — there is no oversight to ensure compliance.

Cattle are sold to the live export trade, cruelly shipped to destinations in South East Asia or the Middle East or slaughtered in Australia and the meat consumed by un-suspecting local or international customers. All over the world people are eating animals from Australia, misled by the myth of grass-fed free-range animals, being well taken care of and living the good life.

Warning: The video below contains vision of animal cruelty. An undercover investigation conducted by Sentient Media has revealed the cruelty endured by Australian cattle raised for the local beef market and also for live export to Israel:

https://youtu.be/7cqEEmfXBR8

Link to Sentient investigation:

https://sentientworld.org/investigation ... australia/
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Dec 19, 2019 12:56 am

Botswana cancels licences

Botswana has cancelled the licences of two professional hunters who shot dead a research elephant

Michael Lee Potter and Kevin Sharp had voluntarily surrendered their hunting licences, a government statement said.

Botswana lifted a ban on elephant hunting in May, citing growing conflict between humans and the animals

However the elephant, which was shot last month, had been collared - giving it protected status as a research elephant.

In a statement on Saturday night, the government said: "The period of the surrender of Mr Potter's license is indefinite while Mr Sharp's license will be surrendered for a period of three years with immediate effect."

It did not provide information about the nationality of the two men. Neither of the men were available for comment.

The two men have also been ordered to replace the elephant's destroyed collar, the government said.

It is not clear how the elephant's collar was damaged.

According to an earlier government statement, the hunters said they had not seen the collar because "the elephant was in a full-frontal position".

"Once the animal was down, they realised it had a collar on it placed for research purposes."

However, Neil Fitt from the Kalahari Conservation Society questioned this, telling AFP that elephant collars are "extremely large".

Meanwhile, Reuters news agency reported that the two men had destroyed the collar in an attempt to hide the evidence.

Last June Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi set up a committee to review the hunting ban imposed by his predecessor Ian Khama in 2014.

In February, the committee recommended allowing hunting again.

Officials said the move was driven by increase in human and wildlife conflict.

Elephants can be very destructive when they encroach onto farmland and move though villages - destroying crops and sometimes killing people.

Most of the country's elephants live in the country's northern region, roaming across borders into Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

There are some 415,000 elephants in Africa, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with the population having been decimated largely due to poaching for ivory :((

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa ... 6NCDfY9eTY
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Dec 20, 2019 2:22 am

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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:24 am

Santa's reindeer murdered

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Rich trophy hunters pay to shoot reindeer in wild and say it's 'magical'

Rich trophy hunters are paying to shoot reindeer in the wild.

Brits are being offered the chance to join a trip where they can stalk and kill real-life Rudolphs in a national park.

The animals being targeted by trophy hunters belong to the last surviving population of wild reindeer in Europe and roam in two of Norway’s largest national parks.

The shooting trips are being run by Hendry, Ramsay and Waters, which describes itself as “Scotland’s Premier Sporting Agency”.

Image

The shooting trips are being run by Hendry, Ramsay and Waters, which describes itself as “Scotland’s Premier Sporting Agency” (Image: Reindeer Hunts)

The agency boasts: “We have full exclusivity in both the Brehei-men and Jotunhei-men national parks, which hold Europe’s last-surviving population of wild reindeer, which have been hunted here since the Ice Age.

“The Jotunheimen national park reopens this year after being closed to all hunting for the past eight years, so this untouched territory will really be worth a visit.”

But Nick Weston, from the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “It’s hardly in the spirit of Christmas to shoot Rudolph, is it?

“There is no justification for shooting animals for fun at any time of the year, but to celebrate Christmas by killing Santa’s reindeer doesn’t really keep with the season of goodwill.

“When will we learn that animals are not commodities and give them the gift of life instead of needlessly killing them?”

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Hendry, Ramsay and Waters describe shooting a red deer as a “magical experience”

There are thought to be around 200,000 reindeer in Norway. They can migrate huge distances looking for food – a lichen that is known as “reindeer moss”.

As well as the chance to hunt reindeer and the bigger moose, the agency offers the chance to shoot bears and wolves, which are a critically endangered species in Norway.

It also runs big-game packages to Africa, where trophy hunters can target species such as zebra, kudu, antelope and bushbuck

The company, run by Vernon Waters, also offers deer stalking at various sites in England and Scotland.

Hendry, Ramsay and Waters describe shooting a red deer as a “magical experience”.

Image

The agency says: “Red Deer stalking in Scotland is truly one of the most magical experiences that hunting in the UK can offer.”

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest ... Ep2kuyS-68
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Dec 27, 2019 10:44 pm

Million of animals killed

Around 480 million animals are feared to have died in the bushfires sweeping Australia, including nearly a third of the koalas in New South Wales's main habitat

Ecologists at the University of Sydney estimate around 480 million mammals, birds and reptiles have been killed, directly or indirectly, by the devastating blazes since they began in September,

This includes almost 8,000 koalas, which are believed to have burnt to death on the state’s mid-north coast.

The region, which lies around 240 miles north of Sydney, is home to the largest number of Australia’s koalas, with a population of up to 28,000.

Federal environment minister Sussan Ley told ABC "up to 30 per cent of the population in that region" may have been killed, because around 30 per cent of their habitat has been destroyed.

“We’ll know more when the fires have calmed down and a proper assessment can be made,” she added.

More than 100 fires continue to rage across the country, having so far consumed more than five million hectares of land.

Nine people have died and hundreds of homes have been razed to the ground during the unprecedented bushfire season.

About four million hectares have been burnt in New South Wales alone.

As well as being one of Australia's most populous koala habitats, the mid-north coast region also houses one of the country's main koala hospitals.

Dedicated workers at the The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital reportedly treated 72 badly burnt animals on Christmas Day.

They were brought in after bushfires destroyed up to three quarters of their habitat, according to the clinical director Cheyne Flanagan.

“We have teams on roster for capture if any are in trouble and they are available 24 hours a day,”

A Gofundme page for the hospital has received more than £1.6million ($2million AUD) since September - the largest single amount raised on the site in Australian history, website Newshub reported.

Hospital workers at Port Macquarie tend to a burnt koala (AFP via Getty Images)

According to Mark Graham, an ecologist with the Nature Conservation Council, koalas “have no capacity to move fast enough to get away” from fires that spread from treetop to treetop.

“The fires have burnt so hot and so fast that there has been significant mortality of animals in the trees, but there is such a big area now that is still on fire and still burning that we will probably never find the bodies,” Mr Graham told a New South Wales parliamentary inquiry earlier this month.

“We’ve lost such a massive swathe of known koala habitat that I think we can say without any doubt there will be ongoing declines in koala populations from this point forward.”

The scorched regions include nature reserves in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and parts of the Gondwana rainforests — which have existed since the time of the dinosaurs and are the most extensive area of subtropical rainforest in the world.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/a ... 22071.html
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Dec 28, 2019 3:29 am

A million species at risk

A decade-long project to save one of the world's most endangered birds has finally found success, with the birth of two chicks. But with an estimated one million species at risk across the world, and nothing like the money and resources to save them all, how do conservationists choose the few they can save?

"You have to wear one of these I'm afraid," Tanya Grigg says sympathetically, handing me a distinctly unflattering blue hair net. "Any stray hairs could wrap around the birds' legs and injure them; they're so delicate." Tanya has a soft voice and gentle manner that I can imagine putting the most skittish of birds at ease.

She shows me into a large aviary.

There are just two, nervous-looking birds inside - both with miniature, shovel-shaped bills and spindly waders' legs. They hop a little closer to each other and peer at us, apparently suspicious of the intrusion. Then Tanya unfolds a small chair, sits down and scatters some food in their direction. They are immediately, completely engrossed in eating.

After almost a decade, spoon-billed sandpipers have been bred in captivity for the first time

These are the only UK-bred spoon-billed sandpipers; two precious specimens of possibly the most threatened bird species on the planet.

Their parents were hatched from eggs gathered - and extremely carefully transported - from nesting grounds of Russia's Far East. At that point, with just a few hundred birds left in the world, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) concluded that they were running out of time to save the species.

Almost a decade since that rescue mission, the two here are the first to be born in this UK spoon-billed sandpiper ark. Were these two little birds worth it? And how can anyone determine what is "worth it" when it comes to preventing extinction?

'Eight years and a lot of heartache'

This year - 2019 - was the year that the extinction crisis we are living through was given a number. And it was a very big number. One million species are under threat according to a global report by the International Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. And that is the fault of us humans.

Each story of a "saved" species represents years, often decades, of the people who grind away in an uphill battle against extinction. In the case of the spoon-billed sandpiper that battle seems, hopefully, to have been won.

Spoonies, as they are affectionately known, were one of the lucky, chosen species. And I feel like I have tagged along on their journey, ever since I first reported on the story of their plight in 2011.

I've always had a bit of a soft spot for wetland birds. Their waddle disguises evolved toughness and grace. Their bills and legs are engineered for sifting, feeding in and plodding through every type of mud. And many are unfathomably epic travellers. The spoon-billed sandpiper's migration is 8,000km down the east Asian coast.

Spoonies - small and speckled with spatula-like bills that look more like musical instruments than mouths - are also pretty adorable.

Back in 2011, as the mission to save the birds got under way, I had never heard of a spoon-billed sandpiper. Having followed the progress of this mission to save them, I have been surprised by how long it has taken for the birds that were brought to the UK to breed. It turns out, it is far more complicated, long-winded and downright emotionally draining than birds simply laying their eggs. But as Prof Debbie Pain explains, "doing something that's never been done before can take a long time".

Debbie is a conservation scientist who who helped instigate Project Spoonie. Now an honorary research fellow at Cambridge University, she recalls that this was "crisis conservation". A team had to be sent out into the Russian wilderness to rescue the birds before it was too late.

The team has also worked to save the chicks in the wild in Russia

'So precious'

The birds were - and are - in the most urgent category of conservation need. Along with more than 4,000 others, including some real icons of crisis conservation like the snow leopard and the black rhino, it is classified Critically Endangered.

At the beginning, the spoonie population was in freefall. From nearly 3,000 breeding pairs in the 1970s, they declined to about 1,000 in the year 2000, then crashed to fewer than 250 by 2014. Human activity was driving the losses. Birds were being caught - as accidental bycatch - by hunters, and critically they were losing their muddy, coastal habitat. The coastal flats are where the birds feed and fuel up along an 8,000km migration route and they were being reclaimed and developed.

A mission to Chukotka, Russia, was very swiftly organised and a team set out to gather enough eggs to set up its captive breeding "ark". That meant searching bleak, Arctic, mosquito-infested wetlands for increasingly rare nests. Just a few hundred remaining spoon-billed sandpipers nest on the tundra of Far East Russia

The WWT's Nigel Jarrett has been with the project since the outset. He spent several weeks in Russia, searching for eggs and carefully transferring them, via padded, insulated boxes to incubators at a special facility where they hatched.

In footage filmed during the trip, Nigel - an outdoorsy, plain-speaking northerner - was captured on camera whispering as he placed a tiny egg into an incubator. "So precious," he murmured, either to himself or possibly to the minuscule inhabitant of the egg he was setting down with the most extreme care.

Once they were strong enough, the rescued chicks were brought more than 4,000 miles back to a biosecure aviary at WWT Slimbridge, Gloucestershire.

The WWT team spent five years tuning into the biology of birds that are evolutionarily tailored to an extreme, remote niche. They developed a special, insect protein-rich food, gave them enough space and even found appropriate lighting to mimic their natural surroundings. The captive spoonies needed to feel settled enough to have little spoon-billed sandpipers of their own.

It was to Nigel and the rest of the team's absolutely delight, when in 2016, two eggs finally hatched, producing tiny, bumblebee-sized fluff-ball chicks with stubby spoons for bills. But the baby birds failed to thrive; they survived only days. "That was absolutely heartbreaking," says Nigel.

'Pathetic, isn't it?'

The 8,000km migration route of the spoonies encompasses some of the most threatened wetlands on the planet

"If someone had asked me what our chances of success were at the start, I would have said not more than 50%," says Debbie. " But there is no shame in failing - there's only shame in not trying. "The [team in Slimbridge] have tried harder than any people I know. Each year, they've come closer and closer to getting it right."

Two years later - in 2018 - another single chick hatched. Working in shifts, the team in Slimbridge checked, fed and supervised their one, precious creature. It was a few months old when, apparently frightened by a noise one night, it flew into the side of its aviary, injured itself and subsequently died.

The two spoonies now thriving in Slimbridge that hatched this year are the result of years - of hundreds of hours - of fine-tuning and dedicated care.

"Eight years, and just two birds. Pathetic, isn't it?" Nigel jokes. "But bringing the birds into captivity just means extinction was never going to be an option for this very special bird - that was the aim." And this, he adds, was always about much more than saving one species. Part of the reason the species was chosen for such particular attention was because the spoon-billed sandpiper "represents" thousands of kilometres of irreplaceable, threatened coastline.

The "flyway" that spoonies migrate along - from Arctic nesting grounds to wintering sites in South East Asia - encompasses some of the most threatened wetlands on Earth. "There's hunting, habitat loss - huge declines," explains Debbie. "So this is now a flagship for protecting that flyway."

Charisma and cuteness are qualities that conservationists have to consider when they are deciding where to focus their attention and resources.

The black rhino is just one of more than 4,000 species in the highest category of conservation concern

The WWT has spent in the order of hundreds of thousands of pounds on the spoonie rescue mission. And the charity has been able to direct some of that money into wider wetland restoration, education and into new science. Satellite tagging studies of the birds have identified the most important sites along those thousands of miles of coastline. "That could benefit many other plants, animals and people who depend on the wetlands," says Nigel.

Part of the fundraising for that was built not just on the perilous situation of the spoon-billed sandpiper, but on its cuteness.

There is no shortage of species in similar peril. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) "uplisted" 40 different species to Critically Endangered - the highest category of threat. But you are unlikely to see Degranville's rocket frog on a campaign poster. And I have not been able to find a badge depicting the shorttail nurse shark or the pancake tortoise.

"You can easily raise money for a tiger, whereas forget trying to raise money for some small brown thing no one's ever heard of," says Dr Alex Zimmerman, a conservation scientist at Oxford University who specialises in human-wildlife conflict.

"And the fact is that conservationists are competing for limited resources. A loveable icon - something people can get behind - can mean conservation projects are able to raise money and plough resources into protecting a habitat."

That, of course, is a part of the story of why rhinos, elephants and orangutans have - very deliberately - been made the poster species for conservation missions in India, Africa and South East Asia.

The Sumatran orangutan is a poster species for the fight against deforestation in Sumatra and Borneo

"We value some species more than others - maybe for cultural reasons, or because they're prettier or more useful," says Alex. "But then we've also seen that throwing money at a conservation crisis is not necessarily the way to solve it. If it were, there would be millions of tigers now."

There are not. There are, according to recent estimates, 3,890.

'It's not an emotional issue'

When there is an impending extinction, as there was with the spoonies, investing money in a rescue mission can make the difference between a species disappearing or clinging on. "It can at least buy us some time," says Debbie Pain.

There are fewer than 4,000 tigers remaining in the wild

Not every species on the brink gets assigned a rescue team though. As passionate and driven as many conservation scientists are, they have to temper their ambitions with a cost-benefit analysis.

"As a scientist, it's not an emotional issue," Debbie stresses. "It's about how you maximise your conservation delivery for the money."

Mark Pilgrim, chief executive of Chester Zoo, estimates that the reintroduction in 2019 of five Critically Endangered black rhinos to a National Park in Rwanda - a country where rhinos had previously been poached to extinction - cost almost a quarter of a million pounds. That amount only covered the reintroduction itself - transportation crates, special flights and temporary enclosure in the Akagera National Park. That does not include the cost of four decades of conservation breeding efforts in European zoos, which meant the young rhinos existed in the first place.

"But if you manage an area for black rhinos, you get a big return," says Mark. "Rhinos need a huge area - you'll inevitably benefit a whole lot of other species."

Conversely, some of the small, brown creatures that no one has heard of can be kept and transported far more cheaply.

Consider another wildlife relocation project this year led by Chester Zoo. It saw thousands of previously extinct-in-the-wild Bermudan land snails brought back to their natural habitat for an estimated cost of £10,000.

Dr Paul Pearce-Kelly, curator of invertebrates - and an advocate for the smaller, slimier and unsung creatures - points out that any effort to save a species is worthwhile. He led a mission this year that reintroduced 15,000 tiny tree snails to the island forests of French Polynesia, where they had been wiped out by an introduced, so-called "invasive species" of predatory snail.

There are, Paul stresses, now more species under threat than any traditional conservation approach could ever respond to. Rebuilding French Polynesia's natural ecosystem to a point where lovingly captive-bred snails can be brought back has taken decades - changing policies, protecting landscapes and providing local people with job opportunities in conservation.

"For conservation to succeed anywhere in the world, everyone needs to be involved," says Paul. "It can't just be a bunch of experts stepping in. It has to be a societal effort."

'Species need their champions'

Like Paul, many conservationists spend their careers trying to persuade people to advocate for the wildlife on their own doorstep. Sadly though, our own dependence on the natural world can seem intangible until it reaches a crisis point.

The spoonie crisis was a clear example of this: In the Gulf of Mottama in Myanmar - an important site for spoon-billed sandpipers in the winter - overfishing of the wetland forced local people into hunting birds. Spoonies then became a bycatch of that hunting. So unsustainable exploitation of the wetland led people to hunt birds, which then led to spoonies being caught and killed.

Two years years ago, though, as a result of spoonies' growing international profile, that same area was given international protection. That should mean local fishing communities' livelihoods are now protected, along with wetland birds.

Species, as Chester Zoo's Mark Pilgrim puts it, "need their champions".

"The sad truth is that we won't be able to save everything," says Mark, "so we have to find and do the things we can do that we know will make a real difference - for people as well as wildlife."

As Alex Zimmerman puts it: "There's the science, there are our human priorities, there are emotions and the fundraising to take into account.

"All these pressures combine, and somewhere in the middle of that a decision is made about what we can do that will help."
'It's a fire that's worth putting out'

Even the effort of simply trying to breed spoon-billed sandpipers in captivity had an unexpected impact in Russia. Prior to the rescue effort, most of the few chicks hatched in the wild were being lost to predators.

When Nigel Jarrett and the WWT team realised they could hatch eggs safely in Russia, they devised a scheme to give new chicks there a "head start".

"We take the eggs that would otherwise be eaten by predators and bring them into a captive situation in Russia," he explains. "We raise the babies in protected pens and release them when they're less vulnerable.

"We've increased productivity massively year on year," he says.

'We know we're fire fighting'

Debbie Pain stresses that spoonies have not officially been "saved" just yet. "I don't think anyone could say with confidence it won't go extinct - a lot could still happen and the world is changing rapidly."

The very foundation of all human-made threats to the natural world, climate change, is transforming almost every habitat on Earth. By shifting the environment that every species inhabits and - and every conservationist lives and works in - climate change is fuelling the extinction crisis in ways that are difficult to predict.

"We know we're fire-fighting," says Debbie. "And no species should be allowed to go extinct, but some will - we know that.

"But it's a fire that's really worth fighting and putting out as much as we can. If we weren't fighting it, many more species would go. The world would be impoverished - it would lose a lot of its beauty, its joy - and the services that sustain life."

Twenty-twenty could be the year that nations sign up to an agreement to protect the natural world - for our own sake as much as for any other species.

Meanwhile, conservationists continue to champion the large, the small, the magnificent and spineless creatures that might otherwise slide, under the radar, to extinction.

Link to Article - Photos:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-50788571
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:31 am

Native News Online:

Cheney Accuses Tribes of “Destroying our Western Way of Life” Over Sacred Grizzly Protections

Image

On a momentous day for Tribal Nations, Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY), the House Republican Conference Chairwoman, stated that the successful litigation by tribes and environmentalists to return the grizzly bear in Greater Yellowstone to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) “was not based on science or facts” but motivated by plaintiffs “intent on destroying our Western way of life.”

One of the largest tribal-plaintiff alliances in recent memory prevailed in the landmark case, Crow Tribe et al v. Zinke last September, when US District Judge Dana Christensen ruled in favor of the tribes and environmental groups after finding that the Trump Administration’s US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) had failed to abide by the ESA and exceeded its authority in attempting to remove federal protections from the grizzly. USFWS officially returned federal protections to the grizzly.

Grizzly bears in Greater Yellowstone

Removing protections from the bear, revered as sacred to a multitude of tribes, would have left the grizzly vulnerable to high-dollar trophy hunts and lifted leasing restrictions on some 34,375 square miles. Extractive industry, livestock and logging interests are among those desirous of capitalizing on the area, a region comprised of tribal treaty, reserved rights and ceded lands.

“If this wasn’t Liz Cheney and the era of the Trump Administration, you might be rendered speechless by the insensitivity and mendacity of the statement,” said Tom Rodgers, a Senior Adviser to the Rocky Mountain Tribal Leaders Council (RMTLC), who testified at May’s Congressional hearing on The Tribal Heritage and Grizzly Bear Protection Act. HR 2532, introduced by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva, was inspired by the Grizzly Treaty signed by over 200 Tribal Nations.

“So, in striving to protect our culture, our religious and spiritual freedoms, our sovereignty and our treaty rights – all of which are encapsulated in the grizzly issue – we are ‘destroying’ Cheney’s idea of the ‘Western way of life’?” questioned Rodgers. “I would remind the Congresswoman that at the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition an estimated 100,000 grizzly bears roamed from the Missouri River to the Pacific Coast. That was all Indian Country. Now there are fewer than 2,000 grizzly bears and our people live in Third World conditions on meager reservations in the poorest counties in the US. Does she really want to talk about ‘destroying’ a ‘way of life’?” asked Rodgers.

“Unfortunately, it comes as no surprise that recent attempts by the Administration to remove protections for the grizzly, as well as blatant disregard for proper Tribal consultation, warrant our attention,” commented Congressman Joe Neguse (D-CO), who chaired the hearing on HR 2532. Rodgers’ written response to a question by Rep. Neguse traces contemporary wildlife management practices employed by the USFWS and the states back to the Doctrine of Discovery. The account, which has been widely praised by organizations including Sierra Club and Earth Justice, is posted in the Congressional Record (https://docs.house.gov/meetings/II/II13 ... QFR003.pdf).

“That response is vital for our people. I urge everybody to read it. We must be aware of where, why and how the status-quo came to be and understand that these actions consistently undermine tribal sovereignty and disenfranchise our people,” said Lynnette Grey Bull, Senior Vice President of Global Indigenous Council, who also testified at the hearing.

Grey Bull resides on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, among Cheney’s constituents. Both the Northern Arapaho Tribe and Eastern Shoshone Tribe passed official resolutions and issued numerous communications opposing the delisting and trophy hunting of the grizzly bear. The Northern Arapaho Business Council was compelled to issue a “Cease and Desist” letter to the Department of Interior “regarding consistent misrepresentations of the Northern Arapaho Tribe’s position on grizzly delisting.”

Cheney contends that, “the ruling that forced today’s action was both needless and harmful to the ecosystem, which is why I introduced legislation earlier this year to reinstate the original, science-based decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist the grizzly and prevent future court action on the delisting, returning management of the grizzly back to the state where it belongs.”

Tribal Nations, including the Oglala Sioux Tribe which petitioned for a Congressional inquiry into the influence of multi-national fossil-fuel corporations on FWS’s grizzly delisting decision, previously exposed the role of extractive industry in the process. USFWS engaged multinational oil and gas services group, Amec Foster Wheeler, for the peer review of its grizzly delisting rule that tribes and environmental groups deconstructed in court. Amec Foster Wheeler appointed Halliburton executive Jonathan Lewis as CEO in the same timeframe as USFWS contracted the company.

“That puts ‘harmful to the ecosystem’ into its true context,” responded Rodgers. “The Cheney family’s connections to Halliburton hardly needs elaborating upon,” added Chief Stan Grier, President of the Blackfoot Confederacy Chiefs. Grier and Blackfeet Chairman, Tim Davis, are at the forefront of the effort to stop the grizzly being delisted and trophy hunted in the Glacier National Park region, the heartland of Blackfoot Confederacy territory.

Cheney’s attempt to legislatively “prevent future court action on the delisting” was previously challenged by a coalition of tribes in testimony to the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

“Any attempt . . . to legislatively nullify the Court’s ruling in Crow Tribe et al v. Zinke – to once again strip ESA protections from the grizzly bear – will, in addition to defying the Court, suborn the federal-Indian trust responsibility. Given that the Constitution states, ‘all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land,’ the rights of Indian tribes cannot be treated as ‘temporary and precarious,’ as would be the case if Crow Tribe et al v. Zinke was legislatively subverted,” submitted the RMTLC, the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association and the Blackfoot Confederacy.

“There’s more chance of her father receiving the Nobel Peace Prize than her Grizzly Bear State Management Act reaching the House floor,” said Rodgers of Cheney’s bill.

https://nativenewsonline.net/currents/r ... AQwOoYn6ac
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Re: Updates: polution; hunting; animal slaughter; climate ch

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Dec 31, 2019 12:11 am

Assorted YouTube videos on climate change

PLEASE follow links
:


When Greta Thunberg met Sir David Attenborough

https://youtu.be/bU-HX7wAiB8

Climate Change: The Facts | FULL EPISODE - BBC

https://youtu.be/q9WyLPgyuqo

David Attenborough speaks in parliament about climate change

https://youtu.be/rv3DPaMaS2g
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