Monthly Archives: October 2007

Seven Years To Stop Amazon Deforestation

Sietchblog – The Naib

The IPCC says we have 8 years to stop global warming, and now Greenpeace and nine non-governmental organizations, say we have 7 years to stop deforestation in the Amazon. These groups have launched a proposal for a national agreement to end Amazon deforestation at an event attended by the Brazilian Minister of Environment and State Governors. The proposal aims to achieve a broad commitment from sectors of the Brazilian government and civil society for measures to ensure urgent protection for the Amazon rainforest.

“As we launch this initiative, the forests in the Amazon are being slashed and burned. This has to end. We show that it can end if political will, financing and conservation efforts work in a co-ordinated manner” said Greenpeace Amazon Campaign Co-ordinator Paulo Adario.

“Protecting the world’s remaining forests will significantly reduce climate change, maintain the livelihood of millions of people who depend on the forest and protect a huge amount of the world’s biodiversity” he said.

The proposal, entitled the ’Agreement on Acknowledging the Value of the Forest and Ending Amazon Deforestation’ shows that adopting a system of reduction targets could end deforestation in the Amazon by 2015.

Read the rest

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Filed under amazon, biodiversity, crime, forestry, nature, rainforest, rainforests, Uncategorized, wildlife

N.S. wildlife officials seek public’s help in finding moose poachers

The Canadian Press

HALIFAX – Natural Resources officers are asking for the public’s help as they investigate an second incident of moose poaching on the Nova Scotia mainland within the past month.

A hide was discovered floating in the South Branch Apple River last week. It’s presumed the moose was killed Thanksgiving weekend, the meat was taken and the remains dumped in the river.

“We can’t stress enough how detrimental poaching is to the moose population on mainland Nova Scotia,” Natural Resources Minister David Morse said in a release Wednesday.

“Each and every moose we have left is precious and, in an effort to increase the mainland moose population, we need the public’s help to enforce a zero-tolerance policy for this offence.”

Moose in mainland Nova Scotia have been listed as “endangered” under the Nova Scotia Endangered Species Act since 2003. There are about 1,000 of the animals in that part of the province.

Individuals convicted of illegally killing the animal have received fines of about $7,500.

Under terms of the act, a first-time offence can face a $500,000 maximum fine for individuals and $1 million for corporations. These fines can double with each additional mainland moose killed.

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Help Save Moreton Bay loggerhead turtles from extinction

Save moreton bay

Please take immediate action to Save Queensland’s endangered loggerhead turtles from imminent extinction. We have a chance to save them, but time is running out. Our loggerhead turtles need your urgent help.

Loggerhead turtles are so endangered that they are facing local extinction in Queensland.

Moreton Bay Marine Park, in south east Queensland, is one of the most important feeding areas for loggerhead turtles along the east coast of Australia. But climate change, a booming population and too much fishing pressure are placing huge strain on these ancient mariners.

The Queensland Government is making decisions which effect the future of loggerhead turtles THIS WEEK.

Currently less than 1% of Moreton Bay is safe in highly protected areas, or ‘green zones’ which help protect loggerhead turtles and other marine life from human impacts. Scientists say that 30% or more protection is needed in places like Moreton Bay.

Some Queensland politicians are not yet convinced.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW BY CLICKING HERE

Please be sure add your name and to include your comments about how important turtles and other marine life are to you as it will give your email more weight. Please also forward this action alert on to your friends and ask them to do the same.

These politicians need to hear from you urgently. They have only heard protests from the anti-conservation lobby and are not yet convinced that turtles are important.

When you click the link you will be able to send an email to
The Hon. Anna Bligh, Premier of Queensland
The Hon. Andrew MacNamara, Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation
The Hon. Andrew Fraser, Treasurer of Queensland
The Hon. Desley Boyle, Mininster for Tourism, Regional Development and Industry
The Hon. Robert Schwarten, Minister for Public Works, Housing and Information and Communication Technology
The Hon. Julie Maree, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer
The Hon. Chris Bombolas, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Police, Corrective Services and Sport
The Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk, Member for Inala
The Hon. Ronan Lee, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Main Roads and Local Government
The Hon. Wayne Wendt, Member for Ipswich

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U.S. Drought Spells Bad News for Endangered Species

Plentymag

It’s been said that the wars of the future will be fought not for land or for oil, but for water. Well, the battle lines are already being drawn here in the United States.

The American Southeast is in the middle of an “exceptional” drought that could see some water supplies drying up in as little as three months. In response, every single one of Georgia’s senators and congressmen (Democrat and Republican alike) have proposed amending the Endangered Species Act to lift species protections during times like this, saying we’re united in this crisis to put our people before sturgeon and mussels.” (Georgia is particularly upset that some of its water resources are being sent south to Florida to protect endangered fish species.)

This legislation, which was introduced into the U.S. Senate and Congress this week, would allow a state like Georgia to exempt itself Endangered Species Act whenever its governor or the Secretary of the Army declares that drought conditions threaten public health and safety.

Environmentalists are, of course, aghast at this legislation and say Atlanta’s wasteful water polices are to blame, not endangered species.

How serious is this? Well, a new study warns that drought conditions put an area’s water-based biodiversity at risk. The research, published in the October 15 issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals that drought results in situations which kills off many pond species, leaving the ponds that recover all completely alike in terms of species populations. It’s worth noting that this study looked at species, such as amphibians and insects, that could try to migrate to other ponds. Fish can’t do that. So in a drought crisis, they’re doubly screwed.

If this legislation passes, make that triply screwed.

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Ten per cent of most endangered European seabird use UK waters

Sciencecentric

Rising sea temperatures are driving increasing numbers of Europe’s most endangered seabird into UK waters. Around ten per cent of the world population of Balearic shearwaters has visited UK inshore waters this summer and autumn, with more than 1,200 birds being recorded from just one watchpoint near Land’s End in Cornwall.

The findings come from a new survey, led by scientists at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS) in collaboration with the RSPB, which has been monitoring numbers of the birds off the coast of South West England.

Balearic shearwaters are the only European seabird to be classified as ‘critically endangered’ on the recently released 2007 International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List. They could become extinct by 2050 if current rates of decline continue. Dr Russell Wynn, who is co-ordinating the SeaWatch SW survey, said: ‘Balearic shearwaters leave their Mediterranean breeding colonies in late summer and head for richer feeding grounds along north Atlantic coasts. The numbers recorded during the survey this year show how important our inshore waters are to this highly vulnerable seabird.’

The survey builds upon new research recently published in the Royal Society journal, Biology Letters, which highlights global warming as a key driver behind the upsurge in UK Balearic shearwater sightings.

Dr Wynn and colleagues showed how northeast Atlantic sea surface temperatures rose by 0.6 degrees Celsius in the mid-1990s, triggering a northwards shift in the Balearic shearwater’s prey fish species and with it the birds that feed on them.

‘Just 20 years ago Balearic shearwaters were scarce visitors to South West waters, but they are now regularly recorded from headlands throughout the UK. Since 2003 we have even started seeing birds staying throughout the winter off Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, which is a completely new phenomenon linked to elevated winter sea temperatures,’ said Dr Wynn.

Changes in fish distribution and abundance mean that many Balearic shearwaters are being forced to migrate 20% further — over 400 miles — in search of food than they did a few years ago.

Experts say the effects on survival of individual birds are hard to assess, but could well be contributing to the species highly endangered status.

Dr Wynn added: ‘Climate change is often perceived to be a future threat, but the reality for our marine fauna is that it is happening now. Species towards the top of the food chain are having to respond very rapidly in order to survive, and some are going to be pushed to extinction if they fail ‘.

Marine wildlife faces a variety of other threats in addition to climate change, but enjoys little or no legal protection in UK seas. The RSPB, along with other conservation organisations, is campaigning for the Government to include a Marine Bill in this year’s Queen’s Speech. The draft Bill includes proposals for a new system of marine planning and licensing, modernising fisheries management and the introduction of Marine Conservation Zones.

The RSPB’s South West seabird specialist, Helen Booker, said: ‘The Government has recently placed Balearic shearwaters on its new ‘BAP list’ of priority species needing conservation action, because the birds face an extreme threat of global extinction.

‘It now has a chance to demonstrate its commitment to saving the UK’s wildlife is more than just a token gesture by making sure it introduces this new protection for marine species.’

More than 120,000 pledges of support for the Marine Bill to be included in this year’s Queen’s Speech will be delivered to the Prime Minister by the RSPB this Wednesday (17 October).

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Kashmir stag on verge of extinction

etala’at

Srinagar, Oct 16: With a population of only 190 the last race of Hangul is battling for its survival in the lush green forests of Dachigam National Park.
Large scale biotic interference due to habitat fragmentation and subsequent degradation is one of the major causes of the decline in Hangul population.
Hangul (Cervus elaphus hangul wagner) has been declared a critically endangered species and assumes a great significance since it is the only last Asiatic survivor of red deer.
According to wildlife experts the historical distribution of Hangul had a limited distribution and was once distributed widely in the mountains of Kashmir with small population outside Jammu Kashmir in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh.
The distribution was limited to an arc of 65 km in width, north and east of Jhelum and lower Chenab River, from Shalurah in the north to Ramnagar in the south.
However in the recent past Hangul population has drastically declined from its past distribution range, possibly due to large scale biotic intrusion and at present the viable population of Hangul occurs only in the Dachigam National Park and few in the adjoining areas.
Speaking to etala’at, Regional Wildlife Warden Kashmir, Farooq Jeelani said “The population has shown a decreasing trend from 1940`s to 2006 in Dachigam and according to a census of 1970 the specie has been declared as critically endangered.
Then another census was done in 1990 which put the number around 600. But that census doesn’t hold too much of credibility and there were several flaws in that survey. The number might have been less than that.
But the population is surely on decline and the latest survey done in March 2006 by Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun puts the number at 190 which explains that the trend is on decline,” he said.
According to Farooq, the Department of Wild Life is closely monitoring the situation and findings have revealed overgrazing, biotic interference, sheep rearing and drastic shift in predator – prey ratio contributing to the decline of Hangul.
“Biotic interference, overgrazing of cattle and presence of sheep farm near the habitat have contributed to the decline.
Besides traces of Hangul fawns have been found in leopard diet which indicates that there has been an increase in attacks from predators.
The predator-prey ratio between Leopard- Hangul has observed a major shift and according to a survey which is going on for the last four years there has been a sudden increase in the leopard population inside the Dachigam park which has disturbed the Predator-Prey ratio between leopard and Hangul resulting in a drop in the number of young fawns who fell prey to leopards,” revealed Farooq.
Highlighting the importance of habitat management and scientific intervention to put a check on biotic interference and need for a long term Hangul conservation project, Farooq said
“Efforts are on to shift the sheep rearing farm form the territory and we are seeking technical support to locate the summer house of Hangul through satellite so that we could trace their distribution in summer months when they show an upward pattern of movement.
This will update the process of habitat preservation and we could come up with an artificial breeding centre to monitor the changing trends in population.”
He further said “There is a need for a long term Hangul conservation project and a detailed report has already been sent to the central ministry of environment and forests which is waiting for the necessary approval.
The project will be on the guidelines of Project Tiger and will have a separate project officer who will monitor the overall program.”
Speaking on the issue, Wild life Warden Dachigam Park, Rashid Yehya Naqash said “The trend has shown several fluctuations in the past and I don`t see it as a drastic decline as the viable population always remained dwindling.
In 1972 the population was somewhere between 150 to 172 and in 1992-1996 the population touched the 300 mark.
The recent survey by Wildlife Institute of India Dehradun puts the number as 190.
And there may be more fluctuations till the male-female ratio stabilizes as the ratio of female fawns has shown remarkable increase in the last few years.”
Yehya further said “We need to have a viable population. With the old one`s doomed to collapse within the next five years we need to have a population of disease-free fawns who could survive and breed in feasible conditions.”

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New York City Is One of the Biggest Destroyers of the Amazon Rainforest

If you’re riding the “L” in Chicago or taking a stroll down the boardwalks of Greenport, Long Island, or Santa Monica, Calif., you are connected to an international movement away from the most destructive use of the world’s remaining rainforests — industrial timber extraction. Almost two decades of environmental advocacy has shown significant gains: the park benches in Los Angeles are made from locally sourced wood, the subway ties under Chicago’s “L” train and the boardwalks at the Saw Mill River Audubon wetlands preserves are made from recycled plastic lumber. Millions of acres of pristine rain forests are no longer being felled so Americans can park our asses or wipe our feet on the world’s trees.

But for New Yorkers, many pleasant experiences the city has to offer bring us unwittingly closer to the obliteration of the most ecologically dynamic part of the world — the Amazonian rain forest.

Where do those miles and miles of wooden boardwalks, benches and handrails on Coney Island and Hudson River Park come from? What about the bench you lounge on, sipping coffee in a quiet corner of Central Park? According to environmental scientist Tim Keating, New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation is the biggest destroyer of rain forests in America and has been for years. So much for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s new “green” persona.

Biologists and climate scientists describe tropical rainforests as the lungs of the earth, a cooling band along the equator that converts carbon dioxide into oxygen, thereby preserving the world’s delicate climate balance. These miracles of millions of years of evolution contain the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world.

More than 100,000 different species can be found on just one acre of Western Amazonian rainforest. An estimated 50 percent of the world’s 14 million species inhabit these forests along with dozens of indigenous cultures, and all are at risk of succumbing to what Harvard etymologist and conservation biologist E.O. Wilson has described as “the sixth great extinction.”

This time, instead of cosmic or geological events, human avarice and short-sighted consumption are causing the despoliation of habitat that is leading to the destruction of life on earth.

According to former World Bank economist Sir Nicholas Stern, author of the Stern Report on the economics of climate change, halting deforestation is the world’s “single largest opportunity for cost-effective and immediate reductions of carbon emissions.” Commissioned by the British Chancellor of the Exchequer in 2005 to determine the relative costs and benefits of shifting to a low-carbon economy, this report was a startling warning against further deforestation, declaring that the carbon locked up in the biomass of the world’s forests is double that already in the atmosphere. Stern’s research team concluded that the need to preserve the world’s remaining natural forests was “urgent” and that “inaction now risks great damage to the prospects of future generations.”

If deforestation continues at its present rate, within four years it will be the single-greatest contributor to climate change, pumping a staggering amount of CO2 into the atmosphere — more than all the flights in the history of aviation. The Forests Now Declaration, launched last month and signed by leading climate scientists, is more to the point and equally sobering: “If we lose forests, we lose the fight against climate change.”

Last week, primatologist and U.N. Messenger of Peace Dr. Jane Goodall signed the declaration during New York City’s “Climate Week.” But ironically, the wood of choice for Bloomberg’s Parks Department is a Brazilian hardwood called “Ipé,” the logging of which is a nightmare of illegality, violent conflict and Amazonian rain forest destruction.

Despite dire warnings, the Amazonian rain forest continues to be industrially logged to meet growing worldwide demand for its hardwoods. Such logging operations open up new roads into pristine jungle to reach the select trees. Selective logging for export of high-value species leads to total deforestation: Once these roads are opened, the remaining trees are burned by cattle ranchers, mining operations, and large-scale plantations (for the creation of “eco-friendly” biofuels), releasing huge amounts of carbon. These secondary forms of exploitation would not be affordable without the roads built by industrial logging operations.

According to Simon Counsell, director of the Rainforest Foundation, “what we see happening in the Amazon right now (logging, forest fragmentation, increased susceptibility to fire, deforestation) causes both local [and global] changes in weather patterns.” Counsell and others have warned of a massive “dieback” — damaged or razed forest can no longer trap the moisture necessary to create the rain, which sustains the entire ecosystem. As a result, rainfall tends to decrease, leading to droughts, forest desiccation and greater susceptibility to fire. This in turn leads to greater warming, with the potential (some say within as little as the next decade) to turn large swathes of the rainforest into deserts, unleashing climate disasters.

A history of destruction and NYC’s complicity

Since the early 1990s, as Asia’s rainforests became logged out — 80 percent of Thailand’s rainforests destroyed; 85 percent of the Philippines’; and the once massive forests of Indonesian Borneo heading for collapse by 2010 — biologists and climate scientists have grown concerned about the shift of operations to South America by giant Asian logging firms.

Pressure from environmentalists resulted in an increasing number of cities and states in the United States and abroad passing ordinances to ban the use of tropical wood in government projects. San Francisco banned the use of tropical hardwoods for municipal projects in 1990. Five years later, Los Angeles passed a purchasing policy restricting the use of tropical hardwoods by city government.

Numerous other visionary city and state governments have followed suit. Long Beach passed an ordinance declaring they would use only wood harvested from well-managed forests, certified as environmentally and socially-sustainably felled by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Private and nonprofit landholders have also recognized the importance of old growth rainforests and are turning to ecofriendly alternatives. Large orders of uncertified tropical hardwood have been replaced with hardwoods from second- and third-growth forests in the United States or abroad, some by recycled plastic lumber, which is composed of millions of plastic containers which would otherwise be carted to far-off landfills in diesel trucks.

But the market for Ipé wood drives much of the industrial logging of the entire Amazon, and has increased dramatically in the past 20 years. An emergent flowering tree, which peppers the canopy of the Amazonian rainforest in hues of pink, magenta, yellow and white, Ipé grows in the rainforests at densities of only one or two trees an acre. This means that vast areas of the forests are razed to the ground to feed the market for a single tree. It is estimated that, for every Ipé tree cut, 28 other trees must be cut and are thrown away. For New York City’s 10 miles of boardwalk alone, over 110,500 acres (130 square miles) of old growth Amazon rainforest were logged.

Even more shocking, most of this logging is illegal. According to Scott Paul, Greenpeace forest issues specialist, in 2006 90 percent of Brazilian deforestation was the result of illegal logging operations. Many logging businesses are run by criminal syndicates and compliant government officials. This fact is hardly a secret: In 2000, the Brazilian government’s own estimates indicated that 80 percent of the hardwood exported from that country was illegally harvested. Briefing papers prepared by Rainforest Relief about the criminality and environmental impact of the city’s wood procurement policies were provided to the Bloomberg administration.

But despite rampant illegality, climate change and mass extinction, Bloomberg’s administration persists in procuring wood from tropical rainforests. And it is not just the Parks Department, but a number of city agencies which have largely ignored proposals for existing economically and environmentally sound alternatives.

The Department of Transportation uses tropical hardwoods from West Africa for the terminals of the Staten Island Ferry as well as the decking and benches of the Brooklyn Bridge pedestrian promenade. In marked contrast to the city of Chicago, the New York City Transit Authority continues to use tropical wood for its subway ties, despite the fact that, as Chicago recognized, “plastic ties … last at least twice as long as wood ties … better resist decay, insects, water absorption and are free of chemical preservatives,” according to Chicago’s transit board president. While Conrail and other major railroad companies have tested recycled plastic lumber as an alternative to tropical hardwood, and found such alternatives superior in every way, including longevity, the NYCTA has yet to announce even an interest in alternatives to tropical hardwood.

Keating, director of Rainforest Relief, a metro-based nonprofit, calls ending New York City’s use of rainforest woods the “low hanging fruit” of cutting carbon emissions by the city. And Bloomberg, touting himself as an ecofriendly mayor with a practical long-term vision, is facing mounting pressure to address this increasingly incongruous fact.

Since his election in 2002, Bloomberg has signed a number of green initiatives and laws and has launched as many public relations events, culminating in the “Large Cities Climate Summit” this past May co-hosted with former President Bill Clinton. The conspicuous absence of any mention of rain forest woods from these major “green” initiatives, including the much-heralded Plan NYC, has raised serious concerns among environmentalists in New York City.

Over the past five years, Rainforest Relief has met numerous times with the city to discuss alternatives to tropical rainforest destruction. So far, the organization has been unable to convince the “green” mayor’s team of what is widely advocated by climate scientists, biologists and world-renown economists like Sir Nicholas Stern: the urgent need to end deforestation.

In collaboration with New York City Climate Action Group, which focuses on practical campaigns to pre-empt the worst of climate change’s projected effects, Rainforest Relief has launched a campaign to change the Department of Parks and Recreation’s destructive purchases, demanding that Bloomberg “end the use of tropical hardwoods.” Hundreds of letters have been sent to the city.

So why has a popular mayor, described by many as a creative thinker bringing fresh business perspectives and efficiency to government, shied away from taking on the greatest contributor to climate change? AlterNet caught up with Bloomberg’s parks commissioner, Adrian Benepe, at a forum on city parks and Robert Moses in May. We asked whether future generations won’t look back at the city’s contribution toward the destruction of the Amazon and say, to paraphrase a Roman historian, “They created a desert and called it parks?” Benepe responded that the department was looking into alternatives to rain forest wood. But Keating, in attendance to expose the Park Department’s record, had heard that before.

In September the Parks Department answered Rainforest Relief’s campaign: “Our park benches use harvested, not old growth wood. We have also been installing synthetic turf athletic fields wherever possible.” If you can make sense of this response, please contact AlterNet. We requested specific information about the city’s timber procurement, sending the Parks Department into spin mode: “Sustainability is a priority of the Parks Department which is why we are taking many measures to engage in ‘green’ practices, particularly for our capital projects.”

Meanwhile governments around the world are grappling with the threat posed by tropical deforestation with serious action. In June, Eduardo Braga, the governor of Brazil’s Amazonas state, initiated the first climate change law to provide incentives to farmers not to deforest. That same month, the government of Norway, finding that there is no international or national certification — not even that of the Forest Stewardship Council — that can guarantee that imported wood is legally and sustainably logged, decided to stop all trade with tropical forest products. And in Ecuador, President Rafael Correa proposed forgoing an estimated $9.2 billion in oil revenues from extraction of nearly a billion barrels in the heart of the Amazonian basin, in favor of tackling climate change. In exchange for leaving the largest untapped oil reserves in the country and the forests above it unexploited, Ecuador is asking that the international community financially match its contribution through a variety of mechanisms, including debt relief, bilateral aid, and direct financial commitment.

Counsell thinks taxpayer-funded agencies, like the Parks Department and the Department of Transportation, should be accountable to the public at large and should therefore be supporting practices, such as community forests, conservation concessions, and protected areas, to ensure the Amazon and other tropical rainforests remain forested for generations to come. In all its public relations-fueled pronouncements about climate change and the city’s efforts, the Bloomberg administration has not addressed the “elephant in the room”: the destruction of the world’s carbon sink for New Yorkers to wipe our shoes on.

In a lesson which could well be learned by the “green” mayor, President Correa is underscoring the principle of “shared responsibility” for climate change between developed and developing nations while democratizing the global response to the climate crisis. Will the billionaire mayor end the misuse of New Yorkers’ tax dollars currently dooming rain forests and the world’s climate? Will the ecoconscious mayor do his part to protect old-growth rainforests? Or will the remaining biodiverse regions of the world and our single greatest defense against climate change go the way of the dodo?

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Two More Hawaiian Birds on Brink of Extinction

Environment News Service

WASHINGTON, DC, October 15, 2007 (ENS) – A national bird protection group and a Hawaiian bird expert are petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to extend protection to two increasingly rare birds found only on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai.

Population surveys conducted this spring show that these species may be on the brink of extinction. The two birds – the akikiki and the akeke’e – are not adequately protected by existing regulatory mechanisms, the petitioners say.

The American Bird Conservancy and Dr. Eric VanderWerf submitted a petition Thursday requesting protection under the Endangered Species Act for the akeke’e and the akikiki, two Hawaiian honeycreepers.

The akikiki lives only on the high, wet slopes of Kauai’s highest mountain. (Photos by Eric VanderWerf courtesy American Bird Conservancy)

After many years as bird recovery coordinator with the Service in Hawaii, Dr. VanderWerf now has his own consulting firm. He is still engaged in keeping the unique birds of Hawaii from vanishing into extinction.He says more research is needed to determine why populations of the akikiki and the akeke’e a have been in steep decline since 1970, although other Hawaiian birds are known to have gone extinct due to a combination of habitat loss and degradation caused by invasive alien plants and browsing and rooting by feral pigs, diseases spread by introduced mosquitoes, predation by alien mammals such as rats, and catastrophes such as hurricanes.

“Recent surveys show that the akikiki and the akeke’e are in serious trouble,” said George Fenwick, president of American Bird Conservancy. “The strongest available measures such as captive-breeding, fencing out and removal of invasive species, and listing under the Endangered Species Act, are all necessary to prevent these species from going extinct.”

The current population of the akikiki could be as few as 782 birds, based on surveys conducted in April and May. The population has steadily declined from around 7,000 birds in 1970 to this year’s all time low. The geographic range occupied by the akikiki declined from 34 square miles in 1970 to 14 square miles in 2000, and may have continued to decline since then.

The akeke’e uses its offset bill to pry open leaves and flower buds of just one tree, the ōhi‘a.

The current population of the akeke’e is estimated to be as low as 2,506 birds, based on the April and May surveys. The population has declined from around 8,000 birds in 2000.

The geographic range occupied by the akeke’e was also 34 square kilometers in 1970, and although this was reported not to have changed in 2000, surveys in 2007 failed to find the species in many areas where it was previously observed.

This would indicate that there has been a range contraction, the bird scientists say, though the extent is not known at this time.

The threat from mosquito-borne diseases may worsen as global warming allows mosquitoes to invade the highest, coldest parts of the island that once provided refuge from disease, the bird experts warn.

The akikiki is categorized as Critically Endangered by the IUCN-World Conservation Union due to its extremely small and declining population and geographic range.

The akeke’e is categorized as Endangered by the IUCN due to its small and declining geographic range and declines in habitat quality.

Hawaii leads the U.S. in the total number of endangered and threatened species with 329, and in extinctions – with over 1,000 plants and animals having disappeared since human colonization.

When Captain Cook landed on the islands in 1778, there were at least 71 endemic bird species. Since then, 26 of those species have gone extinct, and 32 more are now listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened or endangered.

Several Hawaiian bird species, the Po’ouli and the Ou are assumed to have recently gone extinct before captive-breeding or other protection measures could be implemented.

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Dingo on brink of extinction, say conservationists

Perth Now THE WA Dingo Association is calling for a ban on aerial baiting for vermin control in a radical bid to save Australia’s native dog from extinction.

Association president Nic Papalia says dingoes are being driven to extinction and is leading a push to have them listed as an endangered species.

Mr Papalia said the animals which once roamed the country are now restricted to remote habitats where they are under threat from aerial baiting programs using poisons such as 1080.

“Aerial baiting is eco-vandalism,” he said.

“Dingoes play an important role in the eco-system and are essential in the wild for the survival of small native species such as bilbies, quolls, rare wallabies and possums.

“In areas where the dingo has been exterminated, aggressive predators, such as foxes and wild cats, have wiped out these significant species.”

Mr Papalia said high profile tragedies on Fraser Island and the Azaria Chamberlain case had prejudiced attitudes towards the dingo, which remains the only Australian species listed as vermin.

He said Australia holds the world record for mammal extinctions, losing 20 species in the past 200 years.

“It would be an abomination if dingoes were added to this list, ” he said.

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Saving endangered Salt Creek tiger beetle could be costly

Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – 1 of the rarest species of beetle in the country may be in its last stages of existence, and saving it could cost millions of dollars to two Nebraska counties.

The endangered Salt Creek tiger beetle is found in rare saline wetlands in Saunders County, south of Ceresco and north of Lincoln. The wetlands were once common here but urban expansion and farming have degraded the beetle’s habitat.

Designating critical habitats for the beetle could reduce land values and restrict development in certain areas, but could also bring in conservation dollars from the government and nonprofits. That’s according to a study commissioned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

A survey this summer found 263 tiger beetles, down from 777 in 2002.

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