Monthly Archives: May 2009

Government caribou plan fails to stop the extinction clock


Groups urge Premier McGuinty to act before June deadline

    TORONTO, April 28 /CNW/ - Save our Species (SOS), a coalition of leading
environmental groups in the province, calls on the Ontario government to halt
logging and road-building in critical woodland caribou habitat in response to
the new Caribou Conservation Plan released by government late yesterday.
    The Conservation Plan, years in development, includes some of the best
scientific thinking available concerning how to protect caribou. However, the
Plan stops short of saying when or when habitat will actually be protected for
this species.
    "It's time for action," says Rachel Plotkin of the David Suzuki
Foundation. "Threats are imminent. The Plan has incorporated the best science
as a framework for moving forward, but does not outline concrete steps
necessary to prevent further caribou decline starting today."
    Woodland caribou is listed as a threatened species under Ontario's new
Endangered Species Act. The goal of the act is to protect and recover
endangered species and their habitats. While containing clear scientific
principles for caribou conservation, the plan permits continued logging and
road building in some of the province's best remaining woodland caribou
habitat. However, demand for wood has dropped by 60% since the late 1990s,
meaning that pulp and lumber mills can still run while caribou habitat is
    "A government plan that allows habitat destruction will have
ramifications in the marketplace" says Catharine Grant of ForestEthics. "We're
finding that customers of Canadian forest products do not want to be
associated with threats to species at risk."
    A new federally-commissioned science report, released earlier this month,
also sounded the alarm for the species right across Canada including Ontario.
The science report recommended that logging be stopped in caribou habitat in
Ontario until research proves that the species can tolerate more industrial
activity without declining.
    "Woodland caribou are the first big test for Premier McGuinty's
endangered species legislation," says Anne Bell of Ontario Nature. "We are
very concerned that the Caribou Conservation Plan does not say how or when
logging will be curtailed in threatened caribou habitat."
    The Caribou Conservation Plan is posted on the Environmental Bill of
Rights for a 30-day comment period. Under the ESA the province is also
required to describe habitat for woodland caribou in a Habitat regulation,
which is forthcoming. The ESA came into law in 2008, but forestry was given a
one-year exemption. The government is required to make all sectors compliant
with the ESA by June 30, 2000.
    "This plan is clearly the product of a ministry that is trying to "suck
and blow" at the same time. For example, they finally recognize caribou do not
come back to logged over areas, yet in the same document they state forestry
is compatible with caribou. Much depends now on addressing this conflicted
mandate and the definition of habitat in the Caribou Habitat regulation to
come," says Janet Sumner of CPAWS Wildlands League. "Stay tuned, the science
tells us what needs to be done and the June deadline for caribou protection is
fast approaching," adds Sumner.
    The draft Caribou Conservation Plan can be found at:

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Rare herb on verge of extinction


SANKHUWASABHA, April 26: The rare herb called Tetracentron, which is known as Jharikote (Scientific name: Tetracentron sinense) and is available in only a few forests in Sankhuwasabha, is on the verge of extinction due to deforestation.

The hilly herb is found in limited number in only a few forests in Kimathanka and Chepuwa along the Nepal-China border at an altitude of 2,150 to 3,000 metres.

The clearing of forests and shifting cultivation for agriculture has put the herb listed as an endangered species by CITES. There are 12 plant species that are found in Nepal on the CITES list of endangered species. Among the 12 species, Bhote Chhamp, Sunakhari, Sarpagandha, Gunsi, Caser, Lauthsalla, tree fern, Bhyakur, Kabal and Jharikote are on the verge of extinction.

Jharikote is not found in other parts of the world. People in the villages practice shifting cultivation whereby they leave a land fallow for two years after harvesting a crop like millet, barley and maize and return to cultivate the land after the gap by clearing the shrubs grown during the gap

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Iranian black bear facing extinction


TEHRAN, Apr. 25 (Mehr News Agency) – The Iranian black bear is on the verge of extinction.

The black bear inhabits the southern provinces of Sistan and Balouchestan, Kerman, and Hormozqan.

Despite the warning officials from the Environment Department have shrugged off the matter, an expert told the Mehr News Agency.

The farmers in the region have not been informed of the issue and they frequently attack the bears because of the damage they have inflicted on their lands, he added.

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Death of Hawaiian monk seal investigated


LIHUE, Kaua’i — Federal authorities are investigating the death of a Hawaiian monk seal on Kaua’i.

The 4-year-old male seal was removed from a Kaua’i beach last weekend.

David Schofield is the marine mammal response coordinator for the National Marine Fisheries Service.

He said the animal, known as I-19, was alive when spotted as part of a seal count on April 18. But it was found dead the next day.

Hawaiian monk seals are the most endangered seal species in the United States, with fewer than 1,300 remaining.

They are protected under the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act and state wildlife laws.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is urging anyone with information on the seal’s death to call its hotline at 800-853-1964.

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