Monthly Archives: June 2010

World’s most ancient frogs face extinction

ONE INDIA

Washington, May 20 (ANI): The New Zealand government’s plans to throw open a conservation area to mining may result in the extinction of the world’s most ancient frogs.

The primitive Archey’s frog (Leiopelma archeyi) and Hochstetter’s frog (Leiopelma hochstetteri) are two of the species that inhabit the area of ‘high conservation value’ on New Zealand’s North Island where the mining is planned to take place.

Archey’s frog is currently ranked top of the Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) EDGE of Existence amphibian list, making it the most evolutionarily distinct and globally endangered amphibian on the planet.

Described as a “living fossil”, Archey’s frog is almost indistinguishable from the fossilised remains of frogs that walked amongst the dinosaurs 150 million years ago.

Helen Meredith, EDGE of Existence amphibian conservation projects coordinator at ZSL, said: “In the year when reducing biodiversity loss is high on the political agenda, it is inconceivable to think that we’d put the nail in the coffin of some of our rarest and most extraordinary frog species

“We will be faced with these kinds of decisions again and again in the future. Now is the time to start recognising the long-term value of our natural world over any short-term economic gains.”

Frog populations have been intensively monitored for over 40 years, representing the best data set on frog populations in the world. The proposed mining will cut through the heart of these monitoring sites.

Dr Phil Bishop, leader of the University of Otago’s frog research said: “Only four species of frog survive in New Zealand, and this proposed mining activity could cause the extinction of one of New Zealand’s native amphibians, and a severe decline in another – a devastating blow to global amphibian conservation.”

Seven thousand hectares of land in the West Coast’s Paparoa National Park, Great Barrier Island and the Coromandel Peninsula has been proposed to be considered for mining of coal, gold, iron ore and other rare minerals.

The North Island brown kiwi, long-tailed bats, striped geckos and Helm’s butterfly are some of the other rare and endangered species found in these protected areas.

The New Zealand government is now holding a public consultation on whether the conservation status of the area should be downgraded to allow mining to take place. (ANI)

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Richness of the earth is decreasing dramatically – worldwide loss of biodiversity

Press release from: Climate Alliance / Klima-Bündnis / Alianza del Clima e.V. (openPR) – Attempts to stop biodiversity loss have failed at an international level. This devastating knowledge, along with a summary of the most recent developments throughout the world, was described in the current report from the UN Secretariat on biodiversity: the Global Diversity Outlook 3. In the International Year of Biodiversity and at the forefront on the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) on biological diversity in Nagoya, Japan, the international community again, after the disappointing results at the climate summit in Copenhagen, failed to develop and enforce effective solutions for a growing worldwide problem.

The alarming increase of extinct species can be mainly attributed to the destruction of tropical forests for road construction, the illegal logging and mining of natural resources such as crude oil and natural gas, the spread of cattle farming and the cultivation of soy and palm oil crops. Climate change aggravates the species extinction. According to Professor Joseph Alcamo, the head scientist of the UNEP, over 30% of animal populations, 20% of mangroves and sea grasses and 40% of coral reefs have become extinct since 1970. This also puts the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at risk because biodiversity is an important element in sustainable development and poverty reduction.

COICA (Coordination Body of Indigenous Organisations of the Amazon Basin), Climate Alliance’s indigenous partner organisation, stressed the relationship between climate change and the increasing destruction of their natural habitats in a statement from the climate summit in Bolivia. The statement read, “Our concern as indigenous peoples worldwide is that we are not directly responsible for climate changes and yet we are the main victims of its negative effects: desertification, forced migration, loss of biodiversity, hunger and loss of our identity. Environmental reparations need to be made to make up for the damages caused by humans.”

To better protect the global climate and biodiversity, Climate Alliance is supporting the Yasuní-ITT initiative of the Ecuadorian government. With this initiative, Ecuador has agreed to leave oil in the ground of its largest oil field, which is located directly under Yasuní National Park. In return, the international community will provide half of the lost revenue in the form of a trust fund that will be used to finance Ecuador’s national parks and energy systems.

This proposal gained international attention since it was created by a country with an economy dependent on the sale of oil. The proposal calls upon the international community to support countries like Ecuador in their efforts to protect important environmental areas. The Yasuní National Park is an area with the highest biodiversity in the world and it was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1989.

At the International Annual Conference and General Assembly of Climate Alliance in April 2010 in Perugia, Italy, participants passed a resolution that invites the EU and its member states to financially support the Yasuní initiative.

Additional information:

Climate Alliance Resolution to protect the Yasuní initiative:
www.klimabuendnis.org/resolutions0.html

For a full report from the UN:
gbo3.cbd.int

The “Climate Alliance of European Cities with Indigenous Rainforest Peoples” is Europe’s largest city network dedicated to climate protection. Since 1990, more than 1500 cities and municipalities have joined and made the commitment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 10 percent every five years. Climate Alliance’s European Secretariat helps its members by providing methods and tools to efficiently implement local climate change policies and to evaluate the achievements in terms of CO2 emissions reductions. It also promotes the exchange of experiences and lobbies for improved framework conditions at national, European and international levels.

Climate Alliance cooperates with indigenous peoples for the conservation of the tropical rainforests. Partner is COICA, the coordination of the nine national indigenous organisations in the Amazon basin.

Climate Alliance / Klima-Bündnis / Alianza del Clima e.V.
European Secretariat
Galvanistr. 28, D-60486 Frankfurt am Main
Tel. +49-69-717139-0 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +49-69-717139-0      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, Fax 069-717139-93
europe@climatealliance.org
www.climatealliance.org

Angela Hanisch
Tel. +49-69-717139-12 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +49-69-717139-12      end_of_the_skype_highlighting, a.hanisch@climatealliance.org

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Endemic lizard ‘has become extinct’

TIMES OF MALTA

The endemic Maltese freshwater crab, known as il-qabru, is under threat because its habitat is being encroached upon by construction, Nature Trust has said.

Speaking ahead of World Environment Day today, the conservation group said the rare crab was also seeing one of the freshwater streams in which it lived quickly drying up “possibly due to over-extraction or re-direction…”

Nature Trust (Malta) chose the occasion to stress the need to do something about biodiversity, pointing out that towards the end of 2008, 64 per cent of natural habitats in the Maltese islands were classified with an “unfavourable status” and just seven per cent with a favourable one. The remaining 29 per cent were unknown, according to the National Statistics Office.

Moreover, a local scientist recently informed Nature Trust that the selmunett lizard, another endemic species, recently became extinct. The NGO considered the report a “big blow to local biodiversity” and called on the government and the Planning Authority to prevent another loss from occurring.

Carmel Cacopardo, AD spokesman on sustainable development, said air quality, energy security and “flawed tendering processes”, depleted water resources. Excessive uncontrolled noise and congested roads were among a list of concerns which had pushed the environment to the top of people’s worries.

He said the government constantly spoke in favour of environmental measures but its actions did not always correspond to its statements. It was not the amount of funds spent which indicated environmental commitment but positive results achieved in addressing environmental problems, he said.

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