Daily Archives: August 27, 2009

Poachers pushing rhinos to extinction

THE DAILY TIMES – PAKISTAN

Poachers seeking horn for traditional medicines are driving once thriving populations of rhinos in Africa and Asia towards extinction, global nature protection groups said on Thursday. In a report issued in Geneva, they said illegal slaughter of the already endangered animals is rising fast, with rates hitting a 15-year high amid stepped-up activities by Asian-based criminal gangs feeding the demand for horn. “Illegal rhino horn trade to destinations in Asia is driving the killing, with growing evidence of involvement of Vietnamese, Chinese and Thai nationals in the illegal procurement and transport of the horn out of Africa,” the report declared. While between 2000 and 2005 a relatively low total of three rhinos was estimated to have been illegally killed each month in Africa out of a total population of some 18,000, 12 were now being slaughtered monthly in the two countries alone. In India, 10 of the animals had been slaughtered for horn since January and at least 7 in Nepal, out of a total population for the two countries of just 2,400, the report said. In many Asian countries, rhino horn has long been regarded as a vital ingredient in folk cures for many illnesses as well as for male sexual impotency, although medical specialists say it has no healing or potency powers. But the WWF’s Lieberman said the upsurge marks “the worst rhino poaching for many years” and represents a deadly threat to the animals’ survival around the world. reuters

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Sundari trees in Sundarbans on verge of extinction

THE NEW NATION – BANGLADESH

The top-dying disease of Sundari trees has alarmingly increased due to lack of required sweet water flow in the Sundarbans.

The disease attacked about 45.2 million trees worth about Taka two crore at 15 compartments in 15 square kilometers of the largest mangrove forest in the world.

Sources said there are 334 species of trees in the

Sundarbans where the Sundari trees are abundant and facing extinction.

Mainly, the top-dying disease attacked the Sundari trees in 6, 14, 19, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 32, 33, 35, 37, 38, and 39 compartments of the forest.

A biodiversity project was taken up in 2001 as experts feared that extensive damage to other trees might occur if the affected Sundari trees are not removed immediately.

Team leader of the project Stephen Divence in his report stated that if the affected trees are not removed, the disease will cause damage to other trees.

District Forest Officer (DFO) of the west zone of the Sundarbans Abani Bhusan Tagore told BSS that this report was not based on facts.

He said climatic change, rise in saline water and decrease in the sweet water flow in the Sundarbans are the main causes of the top-dying disease of the Sundari trees.

Water expert Ainun Nishat in his research said about 85.67 crore trees are in the Sundarbans. He said the Sundari trees are dying due to the shortage of the sweet water flow.

Prof Abdur Rahman, consultant of different organisations in Dhaka and former head of the Forestry and Wood Technology Discipline of Khulna University, told BSS that the sweet water flow from the upstream is impeded in different ways.

Nutrients in the trees decreased due to the shortfall of sweet water. Later, the top-dying disease increased due to fungus, he added.

He expressed his view that increase in salinity in the rivers of the Sundarbans and chemical wastes from the sea caused the disease.

“If the water flow from the river Ganges is increased, the sweet water flow with nutrients will also be increased in the Sundarbans. But this step should be taken at the government level of the two countries,” he added.

Prof Abdur Rahman said the Sundari trees are on the verge of extinction. So, immediate steps should be taken to check the top- dying disease, he added.

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