Monthly Archives: May 2012

Vietnam’s gibbons face extinction: report

THANH NIEN NEWS

Vietnam’s gibbons are headed for extinction unless immediate conservation measures are taken, according to a report released by Fauna & Flora International and Conservation International Monday.

The report titled “Conservation Status of Gibbons in Vietnam” says three of the six species – the cao vit, western black-crested gibbon, and the northern white-cheeked gibbon – are perilously close to extinction, and the remaining three have suffered massive population declines.

It says in the last 10 years gibbons have disappeared from much of their historical range in Vietnam, and the few remaining viable populations are restricted to protected areas that in almost all cases lack the standard of protection needed to ensure their survival.

Hunting and habitat loss have caused these dramatic recent declines. Even in protected areas, illegal logging, farm encroachment, and infrastructure developments (such as dams) are eroding key gibbon habitat, while new roads are making it easier for hunters to access forests.

Habitat loss also causes population fragmentation, leading to ever smaller and more vulnerable subpopulations.

“To thrive, gibbon populations need relatively large tracts of reasonably intact forest and this is increasingly rare in Vietnam,” Dr. Ulrike Streicher, wildlife veterinarian and primate program manager of FFI Vietnam, said.

“Although we have seen some local success in gibbon conservation (for example at the Cao Vit Gibbon Conservation Area in Cao Bang Province), a lot more still needs to be done.”

Poor awareness and understanding of the plight of gibbons in Vietnam is also contributing towards their decline.

“The general public and local stakeholders (especially local government)s need to be more aware and supportive of protecting these critically endangered animals,” Ben Rawson, CI’s regional primatologist for the Greater Mekong Program and coordinator of the Primate Specialist Group, Indochina, said.

The report’s findings are merely the tip of the iceberg, flagging deeper and more widespread threats to much of Vietnam’s biodiversity and natural environment, according to FFI.

“The geography of Vietnam lends itself to an extraordinary level of biodiversity, and the diversity of gibbons is no exception,” Paul Insua-Cao, FFI project manager for gibbon conservation in Laos and Yunnan, China, said.

“Regrettably, the many threats they face in Vietnam are shared by much of the rest of the country’s precious wildlife.”

“Gibbons are now commonly being reported as locally extinct in Vietnam,” Nguyen Manh Ha, researcher at the Centre for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies, Vietnam National University, said.

“Unless we take urgent action, our next generation will not have the opportunity to see gibbons in their natural habitat.” 

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Extinction looms for gibbons in Vietnam, scientists say

PHYSORG

The first comprehensive study of gibbons in Vietnam in over a decade has found that three of the six species (the cao vit and western black crested gibbons and the northern white-cheeked gibbon) are perilously close to extinction, and the remaining three have suffered massive population declines.

The report, The Conservation Status of in , co-authored by & Flora International (FFI) and Conservation International (CI), was released today. It details the population declines that Vietnam’s gibbon species have suffered over the last 10 years.

Gibbons have now disappeared from much of their historical range in Vietnam, and the few remaining viable populations are restricted to protected areas that in almost all cases lack the standard of protection needed to ensure their survival.

Hunting and habitat loss have driven these dramatic recent declines. Even within protected areas, illegal logging, agricultural encroachment and infrastructure developments (such as hydropower dams) are eroding away key gibbon habitat, while new roads are making it easier for hunters to access the forest.

Habitat loss also causes population fragmentation, leading to ever smaller and more vulnerable subpopulations.

“To thrive, gibbon populations need relatively large tracks of reasonably intact forest and this is increasingly rare in Vietnam,” said Dr. Ulrike Streicher, Wildlife Veterinarian, Primate Programme Manager, FFI Vietnam. “Although we have seen some local success in gibbon conservation (for example at the Cao Vit Gibbon Conservation Area in Cao Bang Province), a lot more still needs to be done.”

The bigger picture

Poor awareness and understanding of the plight of gibbons in Vietnam is also contributing towards their decline.

“The general public and local stakeholders (especially local government) need to be more aware and supportive of protecting these Critically Endangered animals,” said Ben Rawson, CI’s Regional Primatologist for the Greater Mekong Programme and Coordinator of the Primate Specialist Group, Indochina.

The report’s findings are merely the tip of the iceberg, flagging deeper and more widespread threats to much of Vietnam’s biodiversity and natural environment.

“The geography of Vietnam lends itself to an extraordinary level of biodiversity, and the diversity of gibbons is no exception,” said Paul Insua-Cao, FFI Project Manager for Gibbon Conservation in Laos and Yunnan, China. “Regrettably, the many threats they face in Vietnam are shared by much of the rest of the country’s precious wildlife.”

“Gibbons are now commonly being reported as locally extinct in Vietnam,” said Nguyen Manh Ha, researcher at the Centre for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (CRES), Vietnam National University. “Unless we take urgent action, our next generation will not have the opportunity to see gibbons in their natural habitat.

“These are wonderfully charismatic and gentle creatures, which do not harm anyone’s livelihoods, but charm us with their beauty, acrobatics and songs. They are humankind’s closest relatives in Vietnam. If nothing can be done to secure their long-term future, what hope is there for the rest of Vietnam’s biodiversity?”

More information: Report: http://www.fauna-f … -Vietnam.pdf

Provided by Fauna & Flora International search and more info

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Greenpeace launches protest at KFC headquarters

QRSWEB.COM

Environmental activist group Greenpeace has unfurled a banner at Yum! Brands’ headquarters in Louisville, Ky., that reads: “KFC: Stop Trashing My Home,” with a photo of a Sumatran tiger.

According to Greenpeace’s website, KFC “trashes” rainforests to make its packaging.

Greenpeace also released a report titled “How KFC is Junking the Jungle” that says KFC buys paper products from “notorious rainforest destroyer” Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), some of which comes from trees in the endangered Sumatran tiger habitat.

The global campaign was launched with the objective of persuading KFC and parent company Yum! Brands to remove rainforest destruction from its supply chain.

Greenpeace also created a website/video about KFC’s “other little secret” to explain the protest. “The Colonel’s turning the rainforest to trash,” the video says. Watch it here.

According to Greenpeace, Yum! Brands has done the least of any major quick-service company to rid their supply chain of rainforest destruction. The organization has facilitated a petition asking the company to stop this practice.

KFC, APP respond

A spokesperson for Yum! Brands said efforts are well underway to do just that.

“The fact is that 60 percent of paper products we purchase are sourced from sustainable forests, and suppliers are moving toward 100 percent,” the spokesperson said.

Additionally, APP has also sent out a statement calling Greenpeace’s report a “distortion of the facts.”

“The truth is the presence of MTH fiber says nothing about whether the product is sustainable or not. It is perfectly possible for MTH fiber to come from legal and sustainable sources,” the statement reads. “In fact, independent testing done by Covey Consulting in Australia last year showed that MTH fiber was present in many products which were approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) under its ‘mixed source’ Certification.”

APP added that MTH in its products do not come from the felling of virgin tropical rainforest trees in Indonesia. APP’s policies ensure that only residues from legal plantation development on degraded or logged-over forest areas and sustainable wood fiber enters the production supply chain.

Finally, APP announced last week an enhancement to its environmental strategy by adopting the standard of High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) and has committed to suspending all natural forest clearance on its owned concessions on June 1.

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Male buffalo on verge of extinction

THE HIMALAYAN TIMES

SAPTARI: The rare wild male buffalo found only in the Kosi Tappu Wildlife Reserve here is facing threat of extinction.

This situation has arisen due to the negligence of the Reserve administration and the army unit deployed for guarding the reserve.

As per a census conducted in 2004 by the Reserve administration, the number of male wild buffaloes in the reserve was 54. However, the latest count up of buffalo is only 34.

Warden Ashok Ram said although the overall wild buffalo population has increased, the number of the male of the species has decreased.

Dwindling number of male wild buffaloes is a matter of concern for the wildlife conservationists as the male of the species has vital role in improving the genetic strain and the population of the species.

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Alaska Oil and Gas Drilling Threaten Endangered Whales

INFOZINE

Endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales are threatened by oil drilling and exploration, according to a lawsuit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Native Village of Chickaloon, Center for Water Advocacy and Center for Biological Diversity.

Anchorage, AK – infoZine – The suit challenges a permit issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service to Apache Alaska Corporation to allow oil and gas exploration in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, home to a dwindling population of 280 beluga whales protected by the Endangered Species Act.

“Each year, there are fewer and fewer of these whales left,” said Taryn Kiekow, staff attorney with NRDC. “Oil and gas drilling activities expose Cook Inlet beluga whales to ear-splitting underwater noise that threatens their survival. All that noise in the marine environment makes survival impossible for these endangered whales.”

Apache Alaska Corporation has acquired more than 300,000 acres of oil and gas leases in Cook Inlet. To find and develop oil and gas fields, Apache intends to conduct seismic exploration in the inlet over the next three to five years. Every year that Apache conducts its survey operations it will spend 160 days surveying the inlet for oil and gas, 24 hours per day. For 10 to 12 of those hours, Apache will deploy in-water airguns, operate pingers and detonate explosives. Airgun noise is loud enough to mask whale calls over thousands of miles, destroying their capacity to communicate and breed; it can drive whales to abandon their habitat and cease foraging, and closer in it can cause hearing loss and death.

“Belugas are sacred to my tribe and part of our tradition,” said Gary Harrison, traditional chief of Chickaloon Native Village. “Because so few of the whales remain, we no longer hunt them. Indigenous peoples are working to protect these whales, yet industry can come into the Cook Inlet and harass 30 beluga whales every year as they look for oil and gas. It’s simply wrong.”

“Our concern is that, with all the attention on the Arctic, Cook Inlet is falling through the cracks. With fewer than 300 beluga left in the Cook Inlet, it is hard to imagine that the Incidental Harassment Authorization could not significantly contribute to their extinction. This is a no brainer for us,” said CWA President, Hal Shepherd.

“Cook Inlet is rapidly losing its belugas, and these smart, beautiful animals are unique and irreplaceable,” said the Center for Biological Diversity’s Alaska Director Rebecca Noblin. “The Fisheries Service should be doing everything in its power to protect them from dying off, not rubber-stamping every risky oil and gas project that comes along.”

Of the five genetically unique beluga populations in Alaska, Cook Inlet belugas number the fewest. The group is under great duress from increasing industrialization of their habitat near Anchorage. In recent years, the population has plummeted from approximately 1,300 to 284 whales. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center’s annual survey of endangered Cook Inlet beluga whales shows a 20 percent decline in population estimates from previous years – 321 in 2009 and 340 in 2010 compared to 284 in 2011. The 2011 estimate is the second-lowest since annual surveys began in 1993. (The lowest estimate was in 2005, when belugas numbered just six fewer than this year’s estimate.)

In April 2006, NRDC and the Center for Biological Diversity joined other conservation groups in petitioning the Fisheries Service to list Cook Inlet belugas as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The government listed the whales as endangered in October 2008 and designated more than 3,000 square miles of the Cook Inlet as critical habitat essential to the whales’ survival in April 2011.

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Platypus On the Verge of Extinction

TOP NEWS

As per reports, it has been revealed that platypus, which is known as one of the iconic animals in Australia, is facing the danger of extinction. It is said that one of the main reasons for wiping out of this semi-aquatic mammal is lack of genetic diversity in Australia, where it lives.

The report has also been published in the Journal of Heredity, which revealed that platypus has enjoyed great genetic diversity in Australia, but now it is the sole representative of its Ornithorhynchus family. Experts said that the report will help the authorities concerned to take actions, so they can improve the population of platypus.

University of Sydney doctoral student Mette Lillie was of the view that King Island, which is in the north-west of Tasmania and Kangaroo Island in the south-west of Adelaide, are at a greater risk. She further affirmed that in comparison of the two, King Island poses greater risk for the survival of platypus.

Lillie said that the need is to increase the variety of platypus and only then it can be saved from extinction. “Variation is very important for populations because the more variation there is, the more pathogens the populations can resist”, further affirmed Lillie.

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The hen harrier is teetering on breeding extinction

ENGLAND’S most threatened bird of prey – the hen harrier – is teetering on the brink of extinction as a breeding bird, warn experts.

Early reports indicate that only one pair is showing signs of nesting in England.

The bird of prey last bred in the North East in North Tynedale in 2008 and last nested in Geltsdale on the Cumbria-Northumberland border in 2006.

Last year the RSPB has appointed Blánaid Denman, from Gosforth in Newcastle, as engagement officer for its four-year Skydancer project, which aims to protect and promote the conservation of hen harriers across potential breeding areas in Northern England.

Martin Harper, the RSPB’s conservation director, said: “The bird is now perilously close to being wiped out in England as a result of decades of persecution.”

Government-commissioned, independent research has shown that the English uplands could support more than 300 pairs of hen harriers. The authors concluded that persecution associated with the practice of driven grouse shooting, is to blame for the harrier’s plight.

The situation for hen harrier has become so dire, that the RSPB has relaunched its hen harrier hotline enabling the public to report any sighting of the birds during the breeding season in England.

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