Tag Archives: marine biology

Endangered species: WWF to set traps for leopards in Galiyat

APP/EXPRESS TRIBUNE

PESHAWAR: 

Man and beast have tussled for eons on who gets to be on top of the food chain. In the end, man came out on top with guns blazing. Such the tables have turned, that it has sent the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in to a scramble to protect a fledgling yet endangered leopard population in the wildlife reserve of Ayubia National Park, Galiyat.

“The focus of advance research is to find out threats to common leopard, check out its migration range and for adopting latest measure on scientific grounds for conservation of wild cats in the region”, Wasim Ahmad, a coordinator for the international non-governmental organisation, working to save the endangered species of wild cat.

Talking to APP, Wasim said that their target was to install radio collars on at least two leopards in order to track their movement. For this purpose traps have been set up around the park.

Though the population of big cats in Galiyat is satisfactory, but still the species continues to face numerous threats like a fast shrinking habitat, human-leopard conflicts and reducing forests, Waseem added. Galliyat, he continued, is home to the largest population of common leopards in the country and reduction of habitat for the rare wild species is posing a threat to its survival in the region.

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Manatees under threat from Peruvian hunters

AL Jazeera

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Customs seizes smuggled dried seafood and endangered species at Lok Ma Chau Control Point

7thSPACE.COM

Hong Kong (HKSAR) – Hong Kong Customs seized a batch of health-care food, dried seafood and endangered species with a total value of about $8 million in a smuggling case at Lok Ma Chau Control Point last Saturday (January 5) and arrested a 52-year-old male driver.

During an anti-smuggling operation at Lok Ma Chau Control Point last Saturday, Customs officers intercepted an outbound cross-boundary truck with a 40-foot-long refrigerated container which was declared as carrying 9 675 kilogrammes of “deer antlers”.

Upon X-ray examination and detailed cargo inspection, Customs officers found a batch of unmanifested cargo, including dried crocodylia meat, bird’s nests, dried syngnathus, dried seahorses, dried snake galls, dried deer tails, dried deer tendons, dried geckos and New Zealand honey, worth around $8 million inside the refrigerated container. Among the seizures, the dried crocodylia meat and dried seahorses were endangered species. Customs investigation is continuing.

A Customs spokesperson said today (January 7) that smuggling and exporting endangered species are serious offences.

Under the Import and Export Ordinance, any person found guilty of attempting to export unmanifested cargoes is liable to a maximum fine of $2 million and imprisonment for seven years. Under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animal and Plants Ordinance, any person found guilty of exporting a specimen listed on Appendix II of the Ordinance without a licence is liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months.

He added that Customs will take continuous action against smuggling activities and urged members of the public to report any suspected smuggling activities to Customs through Customs’ 24-hour hotline 2545 6182.

Source: HKSAR Government

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Govt risking extinction of indigenous dolphins

VOXY.CO.NZ

New Zealander Pete Bethune, founder of marine activist group Earthrace Conservation, who lost his boat ‘Ady Gil’ in a collision with Japanese whalers in 2010, has sent a strongly worded message to his Prime Minister John Key, asking him to immediately implement increased protection measures for the last remaining Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins, indigenous to the country.

There are only an estimated 50 Maui’s dolphin remaining, and the population of Hector’s dolphins has declined by 75% over the last 40 years.

Despite denials to the contrary by those in the industry, the dolphins’ biggest threat is acknowledged by experts to be fisheries by-catch from the use of commercial and recreational set and gill nets and trawling.

Bethune says he has spoken to commercial fishermen who have admitted to ‘accidentally’ killing multiple Hector’s dolphin through by-catch on numerous occasions but not reporting it in order to avoid fines. Fishing is also allegedly regularly happening under the radar within the current small exclusion zone designed to protect Hector’s and Maui’s.

Other threats include seabed mining, the introduction of tidal energy turbines, disease and recreational pursuits within the boundaries of the dolphins’ habitat.

The Ministry of Primary Industries (which includes fisheries) and the Department of Conservation invited interested parties to submit recommendations and comments to inform a review of the Threat Management Plan for the Maui’s last year. So many animal welfare, environment, marine conservation and other groups and individuals from all over the world responded that it crashed the DOC website.

As yet, nothing more has been heard about the introduction of additional protection measures since the closing date for submissions in November 2012 and Bethune is demanding answers.

In the letter to the Prime Minister, copied to the Ministers for Primary Industries and Conservation, Bethune accuses the Government of stalling tactics, saying, “I have genuine concerns that the New Zealand Government’s real Threat Management Plan is to avoid any confrontation with the fishing industries and continue prevaricating until there are no more Maui’s dolphin remaining, perhaps in the hope that once they’re gone, the world will simply forget about them. I can promise you, we won’t.

A review of the Hector’s component of the TMP is scheduled to be undertaken this year. Bethune hopes that things will progress a great deal more speedily than they have for the Maui’s or as he warns the Prime Minister, ‘you risk global condemnation and irreparable damage to New Zealand’s reputation as a leading proponent for the environment. You will find yourself having to explain why a complete lack of action has resulted in the loss of the last remaining Hector’s dolphin too.’

In addition to those that took part in the submission process including Bethune and others from Earthrace Conservation, many thousands signed petitions like that organised by renowned US surfer, artist and activist, Peggy Oki, who to date has collected 5,341 photographs of people from across the world including Australia, USA, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Indonesia, Afghanistan, and South Africa, all of whom want action for the Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins.

Peggy Oki said, “I sent a follow up to my initial submission to DOC and MPI to the Prime Minister before Christmas, anticipating a possible announcement of the new Threat Management Plan just prior to the holidays, with a link to all the visual petitions we’d collected. It now seems the announcement has been postponed indefinitely.

“The NZ government seem unwilling to take any necessary actions to fully protect and prevent the extinction of the critically endangered Maui’s and Hector’s Dolphins. The dolphins are running out of time but the public can still stand up for them by taking part in Let’s Face it. We need to keep the pressure on Prime Minister John Key.”

Another petition organised by NABU International – Foundation for Nature collected almost 15,000 signatures.

Bethune, who says he was lucky enough to see a small pod of Maui’s whilst on board his vessel, Earthrace in 2006, concludes his letter to John Key by saying, “There has already been one cetacean (Lipotes vexillifer) that has become extinct as a result of human activities. I hold you responsible for ensuring that my country, under your stewardship, avoids the dubious honour of being wholly and directly responsible for the disappearance of the second and third, replacing the Dodo – last seen over 300 years ago – as being synonymous with extinction for generations to come.

“The New Zealand Government must stop prevaricating, grow some balls, stand up to the fishing industries and act now.”

 

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‘Human pressures affecting endangered species in Sundarbans’

ZEENEWS

New Delhi: Sundarbans, one of the largest sanctuaries for the Royal Bengal tiger in the world, is undergoing changes in its ecosystem due to “human pressures” which threaten the population of endangered species including the big cat, a new study says.

The study conducted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) also says that the Indian side of Sundarbans is being subjected to various anthropogenic and natural processes affecting the distribution, quality and diversity of its mangroves.

“Human pressures and ecosystem changes are combining to threaten the population of endangered Royal Bengal tigers, one of the iconic species of the Sundarbans,” says the report titled ‘Sharing Lessons on Mangrove Restoration’.

The Sundarbans, covering 10,000 sq kms of land and water (more than half of it in India, the rest in Bangladesh) in the Ganges delta, contains the world’s largest area of mangrove forests. A number of endangered species live in the forests, including tigers, aquatic mammals, birds and reptiles.

Currently, over 4.2 million people live on the fringes of the Indian Sundarbans, resulting in high anthropogenic pressures on the mangroves and their resources.

“In recent years, climate change, regulation of freshwater flow, illicit mangrove felling, poaching and unplanned embankments for settlements have emerged as the main threats to the ecosystem,” the report says.

It says that the central part of the Indian Sundarbans receives almost no fresh water because of heavy siltation and clogging of the Bidyadhari channel.

“Seawater intrusion has further affected the growth of dominant mangrove species such as the freshwater-loving Heritiera fomes. The influence of salinity and effects of climate change, though not well-understood, appear to be promoting the invasion of alien species in some parts of the Sundarbans,” the report adds.

PTI

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Endangered shark fins sold in Vancouver: probe

The fins of threatened and endangered shark species are being sold in Vancouver, an exclusive CTV News investigation has revealed.

Dried fins were purchased at local shops earlier this year, some by an undercover reporter and others by the Animal Defense League, and sent to a lab at the University of Guelph for DNA testing.

Out of 59 samples tested, 76 per cent of the fins matched sharks that are threatened or endangered under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s so-called red list.

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Shipping, overfishing pushing Yangtze finless porpoise towards extinction

WWF

Wuhan, China – The number of endangered finless porpoise spotted in an ongoing research expedition along the Wuhan-Yichang section of the Yangtze River has declined drastically with growing evidence pointing to impact of shipping and overfishing pushing the rare animal towards extinction, scientists on the expedition say.

The survey team has visually identified 39 individuals of the Yangtze finless porpoise – endangered on the IUCN Red List – during the 1,252km round-trip voyage on Wuhan-Yichang-Wuhan section of the river.

“Based on visual and sonar identification, the number of the Yangtze finless porpoises we’ve spotted is about one-third of the detected in the area during a similar study six years ago,” said Wang Kexiong, deputy head of the research expedition and an associate researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Hydrobiology (IHB).

Most of the 39 finless porpoises were spotted in the waters close to the Yanshou Dam, near the city of Yichang, Gong’an county, Chenglingji and Luoshan.

The distribution became concentrated and its location moved up stream compared to results in 2006, when the majority of discoveries were made across a wider area.

“The changes could be attributed to the comparatively gentle flow and rich fishery resources in waters near Yanshou Dam and Gong’an,” said Wang.

The Yangtze finless porpoise (Neophocaena phocaenoides asiaeorientalis), which numbers between 1,200 to 1,500 in the wild, lives mainly in the central and lower reaches of the 6300km Yangtze River and two large adjoining lakes, Dongting and Poyang. Recent studies say that the species could become extinct in 15 years if nothing is done to protect them.

The expedition team is due to depart Wednesday for Shanghai before heading back to Wuhan late next month when the initial results of the research are expected to be announced.

Calculation of the number of cargo and fishing ships in the Yangtze started from Yichang onward to evaluate the pressure posed by shipping and fishery activities on the endangered species.

“Shipping traffic and fishing activities can cast an influence on the survival of the Yangtze finless porpoises. The relatively concentrated distribution and fixed location could possibly result from excessively busy shipping traffic in certain sections of the river that may have severed route of communication of the porpoises,” said Zhang Xinqiao, expedition team member and WWF finless porpoise programme officer.

For instance, in the waters off Shijitou in Xianning and Hannan district of Wuhan that have the busiest traffic of fishing and cargo shipping so far, little traces of porpoises were detected, said Zhang.

A total of 80 fishery boats and 697 cargo ships were counted by the team from Yichang-Wuhan. Twenty-seven cargo ships were calculated within 30 minutes in the waters off the Hannan district of Wuhan, while the number in Shijitou stood at six.

Led by China’s Ministry of Agriculture and organized by the IHB, WWF and Wuhan Baiji Dolphin Conservation Fund, the expedition commenced on November 11 and comes only six years after the Baiji dolphin – another rare cetacean and close relative of the finless porpoise – was declared functionally extinct.

For more information please contact:

Qiu Wei, Senior Communications Officer, WWF China, wqiu@wwfchina.org, +86 10 6511 6272

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