Wildlife Conservation

EU court upholds insecticide ban to protect bees

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An EU court upheld on May 17 a partial ban on three insecticides known as neonicotinoids, saying that the European Commission had been right in 2013 to restrict their use to protect bees. LUXEMBOURG – Reuters Hurriyet The ruling covers three active substances – imidacloprid developed by Bayer CropScience, clothianidin developed by Takeda Chemical Industries and Bayer CropScience, as well as Syngenta’s thiamethoxam. The court said the European Union’s “precautionary principle” meant that the EU could take measures if there was scientific ... Read More »

Assam’s Elephant Emergency

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In northeastern India, human-elephant conflict is getting worse as forest resources dwindle. Bikash Kumar Bhattacharya The Diplomat One sultry afternoon in October 2002, a small paddy farmer (who prefers not to be named) in Sonitpur district in the northeastern Indian state of Assam bought a few packets of Demecron, an organophosphorus-based pesticide. Demecron was then banned in the district; however, the lethal pesticide was still abundantly available in the black market as it continued to fetch buyers like him among ... Read More »

Researchers discover ‘switchblade’ lurking in faces of stonefish

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Researchers have discovered a new feature of stonefish – and if the potentially deadly animals hadn’t already scared you off barefoot rock pool capers, this might push you over the edge. Jenny Noyes The Canberra Times Adding to the array of defense mechanisms the fish are already known to possess – venom, spines (which hurt and shoot poison right into your foot), camouflage that makes them seamlessly blend in with rocks and coral – biologists from Kansas have now discovered the creatures that lurk… It’s basically ... Read More »

Thailand protesters in rare rally over Chiang Mai development

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Protesters in Thailand have staged one of the country’s biggest demonstrations since the 2014 military coup as they campaign against a luxury housing development on forested land. BBC More than 1,000 people gathered in the northern city of Chiang Mai. They rallied against a housing project being built for judges and officials in the foothills of a sacred mountain. The march went ahead in defiance of a ban on public gatherings imposed by the junta, which seized power in 2014. ... Read More »

EU to ban bee-killing pesticides

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EU countries voted on April 27 for a near-total ban on insecticides blamed for killing off bee populations, in what campaigners called a “beacon of hope” for the winged insects. BRUSSELS – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet Bees help pollinate 90 percent of the world’s major crops, but in recent years have been dying off from “colony collapse disorder,” a mysterious scourge blamed on mites, pesticides, virus, fungus, or a combination of these factors. The 28 European Union member states approved a ... Read More »

How can we communicate all that nature does for us?

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As a conservation professor I believe people need to understand why protecting nature matters to them personally. Julia P G Jones The Conversation Appealing to human self-interest has generated support for conservation in Switzerland, for example, where the government protects forests partly because they help prevent landslides and avalanches, or among communities in Botswana which conserve wildlife partly because of the… But this understanding risks being obscured by unhelpful arguments over terminology. The story starts in 2005, when the Millennium ... Read More »

Madagascar’s vanilla wars: prized spice drives death and deforestation

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As the price of pods has soared so has violence – and forest defenders are increasingly risking their lives to protect precious wildlife habitat from being felled for profit Jonathan Watts The Guardian The vanilla thieves of Anjahana were so confident of their power to intimidate farmers they provided advance warning of raids. “We are coming tonight,” they would write in a note pushed under doors in this remote coastal village in Madagascar. “Prepare what we want.” But they either undervalued ... Read More »

Tasmanian regional forest agreement delivers $1.3bn losses in ‘giant fraud’ on taxpayers

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Forestry Tasmania’s total cash losses were $454m over 20 years, with a write-down of $751m in value of forest estate John Lawrence The Guardian The first Tasmanian regional forest agreement, signed between the state and the commonwealth in 1997, was supposed to start an era in which forestry was both ecologically and economically sustainable. In fact the last 20 years have been a financial disaster for forest management in Tasmania. According to my calculations, Forestry Tasmania’s total operating cash losses over the 20 ... Read More »

Time running out to save the Earth’s plants and animals

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Five new reports unveiled at a UN biodiversity summit in Colombia are sounding the alarm over the rapidly deteriorating state of biodiversity on our planet. Dave Keating DW But they also provide the tools to fight back. Delegates at a major international summit on biodiversity in Medellín, Colombia have been rattled after being presented with stark new evidence about the state of the world’s biodiversity. The 750 delegates from 115 countries are meeting for the sixth plenary of the Intergovernmental ... Read More »

Men fined $17,000 after dead green turtles, dugong found in boat

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Two men have been fined $17,000 after park rangers found two dead green turtles and a dead dugong in their boat off Hervey Bay last year. Amy Mitchell-Whittington Brisbane Times Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers found the dead turtles and dugong, both protected species, in a boat in the Great Sandy Marine Park in October. The men told rangers they had been given permission by Aboriginal elders to hunt and kill the animals for ... Read More »

UN moves towards recognising human right to a healthy environment

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Formal recognition would help protect those who increasingly risk their lives to defend the land, water, forests and wildlife, says the UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment Jonathan Watts The Guardian It is time for the United Nations to formally recognise the right to a healthy environment, according to the world body’s chief investigator of murders, beatings and intimidation of environmental defenders. John Knox, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and the environment, said the momentum for such ... Read More »

To Help Save Our Oceans, Include Women In The Conversation

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Every other breath we take comes from our oceans ― and our oceans are dying. Climate change is warming their waters, leading to a disruption in migration patterns and increasing acidification. Farah Obaidullah HuffPost Overfishing is irreversibly altering marine ecosystems, with an estimated 60 to 90 percent of oceanic predators like tuna and swordfish already gone. Forecasts predict we may lose 90 percent of our glorious coral reefs by 2050, along with the vital nursery grounds and coastal protections they ... Read More »

We’ve officially found the world’s best prawns

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It’s official: the Aussie prawn – ethical, sustainable and delicious – is the best in the world. Specifically, the Spencer Gulf King Prawn. Anthony Huckstep takes to the high seas with chef Neil Perry to seek them out. Some swear it’s the mighty meat pie and sauce. Others point to the veritable Vegemite (or should it be avo?) on toast, but is there truly a more iconic, quintessentially Australian act than throwing a prawn on the barbie? In the ’80s, ... Read More »

Small-scale fisheries are throwing away fish that could feed those in poverty

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At least 7.3m tons of fish (usually dead or dying) are thought to be discarded each year from marine fisheries around the world. Benjamin L. Jones Leanne Cullen-Unsworth Richard K.F. Unsworth The Conversation But these estimates come mostly from observations of large-scale industrial fisheries. Limited attention has been paid to small-scale fisheries, which are assumed to have low discard rates – some estimate as little as 3.7% total catch, compared to more than 60% for some large-scale shrimp trawlers. Small-scale ... Read More »

A ghostly oil spill menaces Asia’s richest fisheries

Smoke is seen from the Panama-registered Sanchi tanker carrying Iranian oil, which went ablaze after a collision with a Chinese freight ship in the East China Sea, in this January 9, 2018 handout picture released by China's Ministry of Transport January 10, 2018. China's Ministry of Transport/Handout via REUTERS  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE.

ZHOUSHAN, China — A fiery collision that sank an Iranian tanker in the East China Sea a month ago has resulted in an environmental threat that experts say is unlike any before: an almost invisible type of petroleum has begun to contaminate some of the most important fishing grounds in Asia, from China to Japan and beyond. By STEVEN LEE MYERS and JAVIER C. HERNNDEZ Today It is the largest oil spill in decades, but the disaster has unfolded outside the ... Read More »

Cape Town drought declared a ‘national disaster’

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South Africa has declared the drought which has seen Cape Town hurtling towards “Day Zero” a national disaster. BBC The government made the announcement after reassessing the “magnitude and severity” of the three-year drought. It has badly affected three of the country’s nine provinces. The decision came as Cape Town announced its water saving measures, which require each citizen to use less than 50 litres a day, had successfully pushed back “Day Zero” to 4 June. Just a matter of ... Read More »