Conservation in the news: 29 August – 4 September 2016

Conservation in the newsConservation Watch’s round-up of the week’s news on national parks, protected areas and conservation in the Global South.

For regular updates, visit the “In the news” page, or follow @conserwatch on Twitter.

29 August 2016

Wildlife conservationists need to break out of their Stockholm syndrome
By Margi Prideaux, Open Democracy, 29 August 2016
Conservationists like me want a world where wildlife has space, where wild places exist, and where we can connect with the wild things. Yet time after time, like captives suffering from Stockholm syndrome, wildlife conservation NGOs placate, please and emulate the very forces that are destroying the things they want to protect.
Despite our collective, decades-long, worldwide commitment to protect wildlife, few indicators are positive. The Red List that’s issued by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature now includes 22,784 species that are threatened with extinction. Habitat loss is the main problem for 85 per cent of species on the list.

“Make human rights the priority in all conservation efforts” – UN experts urge governments
By Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 29 August 2016
Effective and sustainable conservation requires respect for human rights, two United Nations experts on environment and indigenous peoples rights said today, ahead of the largest global forum for the adoption of conservation policies on protected areas: the World Conservation Congress (WCC), which will take place from 1 to 10 September in Honolulu, USA.
“The escalating incidence of killings of environmentalists, among them many indigenous leaders, underlines the urgency that conservationists and indigenous peoples join forces to protect land and biodiversity from external threats, notably lucrative resource exploitation,” stressed the UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights and the environment, John H. Knox, and on the rights of indigenous peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz.

Elephants may be forgotten forever due to poor decision-making in Brussels on Ivory trade ban
By Eli Hadzhieva, New Europe, 29 August 2016
There is a saying that elephants never forget but they may be forgotten forever, as they risk being wiped out due to an ever-expanding ivory tusk market. The African Elephant Coalition (AEC) speaking on behalf of 29 African countries, argues that elephants may be extinct in 25 years if a total ban on ivory trade is not introduced worldwide. The position of the EU in the upcoming global wildlife summit is crucial to save them.
Alarmingly, the African elephant population declined by 61% during the last three decades.
Only within the past three years, 100,000 elephants were slaughtered according to Uganda’s Wildlife Authority. Approximately 30,000 elephants are annually lost due to poaching. Experts warn that an elephant is being killed every 15 minutes in order to produce ornaments, trinkets and valuable statuettes, which are then sold in the Asian market, especially in China and Hong Kong.

[Madagascar] Condoms and Conservation: Using Birth Control to Help Save the Planet
By Flora Bagenal, News Deeply, 29 August 2016
It all began when some women asked for contraceptive advice from a pair of doctors working for a small international research group surveying the oceans in southern Madagascar. At the time, Blue Ventures was a conservation group made up of scientists and volunteers who were gathering data on coral reefs and fisheries in Velondriake, a remote and poverty-stricken part of the country. The doctors were there to provide medical assistance to divers, but they soon found their services were also required by women from the local villages.
“The medics had women coming to them, talking about their reproductive health needs,” says Laura Robson, the health and environment partnerships manager for Blue Ventures. “They [the doctors] were struck by the situation they observed in the community.” The women had little or no access to a regular doctor, so when they heard there was an international medic in the area, they came to ask for supplies and health advice, particularly on accessing birth control.

[Indonesia] National scene: Public asked to support elephant conservation
The Jakarta Post, 29 August 2016
In commemoration of World Elephant Day on Aug.12, the NGO Wildlife Conservation Society-Indonesia Program (WCS-IP) has called on the public to support Sumatran elephant conservation.
The group conveyed three messages to the public on World Elephant Day, according to Sugiyo, a WCS-IP activist, in Bandarlampung on Saturday.
“We invite the public to support elephant conservation efforts, given that the elephant population continues to decline,” he said as quoted by Antara news agency.

[Uganda] Five arrested, 46kg of illegal ivory recovered
By Gerald Tenywa, New Vision, 29 August 2016
The Police are holding five people arrested last week in West Nile over illegal possession and selling of ivory from elephants that are regarded as endangered species.
According to Julius Odeke, the Media officer at the Natural Resources Conservation Network (NRCN), the suspects were arrested after undercover wildlife crime burst infiltrated the ivory ratchets.
Odeke named the suspects as Charles Limbake and Odesh Romano who are currently behind held at Nebbi Central Police Station. He also named Mande Adriga, Ferdinand Guma and Robert Eguma as the suspects who were arrested at Arua and appeared at Arua Court last week.

[Uganda] UWA To Launch Canine Unit To Combat Wildlife Trafficking
Uganda Radio Network, 29 August 2016
Uganda is ready to set up its first canine unit at Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, Entebbe to deal with trafficking in wildlife products. Already a team of 12 staff from Uganda Wildlife Authority have completed 10 weeks training from Tanzania where the programme for the sniffer unit was first launched last year.
UWA officials say the canine unit will help in detecting illegal shipment of Wildlife products through Uganda. The initial target of the unit will be tracking ivory, pangoline scales and Rhino Horns. Jossy Muhangi, the Public Relations Manager at Uganda Wildlife Authority says Uganda Wildlife Education Centre has already donated land to set up the unit.

UN cultural agency hails creation of world’s largest marine protected area
UN News Centre, 29 August 2016
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today welcomed the establishment by US President Barack Obama of the largest nature reserve in the world, done through expanding a marine reserve in the state of Hawaii.
“This decision is a powerful symbol of determination to protect the environment. It is a way to strengthen the resilience of societies threatened by climate change, to understand and protect the natural ecosystems on which our lives depend,” UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova, said in a news release today.

30 August 2016

Wildlife Farming: Does It Help Or Hurt Threatened Species?
By Richard Conniff, Yale Environment 360, 30 August 2016
More than a decade ago, looking to slow the decimation of wildlife populations for the bushmeat trade, researchers in West Africa sought to establish an alternative protein supply. Brush-tailed porcupine was one of the most popular and high-priced meats, in rural and urban areas alike. Why not farm it? It turned out that the porcupines are generally solitary, and when put together, they tended to fight and didn’t have sex. In any case, moms produce only one offspring per birth, hardly a recipe for commercial success.
Wildlife farming is like that — a tantalizing idea that is always fraught with challenges and often seriously flawed. And yet it is also growing both as a marketplace reality and in its appeal to a broad array of legitimate stakeholders as a potentially sustainable alternative to the helter-skelter exploitation of wild resources everywhere.

[Canada] People enhanced the environment, not degraded it, over past 13,000 years
Archaeology News Network, 30 August 2016
Human occupation is usually associated with deteriorated landscapes, but new research shows that 13,000 years of repeated occupation by British Columbia’s coastal First Nations has had the opposite effect, enhancing temperate rainforest productivity.
Andrew Trant, a professor in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, led the study in partnership with the University of Victoria and the Hakai Institute. The research combined remote-sensed, ecological and archaeological data from coastal sites where First Nations’ have lived for millennia. It shows trees growing at former habitation sites are taller, wider and healthier than those in the surrounding forest. This finding is, in large part, due to shell middens and fire.

Clashing over conservation: saving Congo’s forest and its Pygmies
By Marine Gauthier and Riccardo Pravettoni, The Guardian, 30 August 2016
Reaching the Itombwe forest and the people who live in it isn’t easy. A muddy path from Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), traverses this mountainous terrain, crossing areas controlled by a multitude of armed militias. Access is difficult for everybody: the NGOs working in the area, and the merchants and miners hoping to benefit from the coltan, gold and wood found here. In the heart of the world’s second-largest forest basin (pdf), an incomparable wealth of biodiversity has been preserved: rare trees, tropical birds and some of the last gorillas on the planet.

[Indonesia] Sabang: Boosting tourism through conservation
By Syafrizaldi, The Jakarta Post, 30 August 2016
A concerted conservation effort from locals and government in Sabang, Aceh, has finally paid off with the area turning into a newly popular tourist attraction.
A group of tourists were going to cross, where service providers were ready with a motorboat, diving fins and snorkeling equipment on Weh Island off the northern tip of Aceh. Rubiah Island in the northwest of Weh is a famous snorkeling location in Sabang, now teeming with eager admirers of its gorgeous coral reefs and sand beach.

[Indonesia] Orphaned Orangutan’s Story Shows Why We Need Responsible Palm Oil Policies
By Kimberly Yam, Huffington Post, 30 August 2016
An orphaned Indonesian orangutan is on the upswing thanks to one rescue group.
Chocolate, who was kidnapped by wildlife traders after a palm oil plantation moved into his habitat, was taken in by the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program (SOCP) back in 2012 and released back into the wild a few months ago.
His story was told in a newly released short video from documentary creators Racing Extinction in conjunction with organizations Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and Wildlife Asia.
While Chocolate’s story is a hopeful one, the clip is meant to give viewers a glimpse into the effect the palm oil industry has on critically endangered animals.

[Philippines] Benguet eyes watershed merging
By Mark Victor Pasagoy, Sun Star, 30 August 2016
The Benguet Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office is eyeing to include Mount Sto. Tomas in the list of protected environmental areas in the province.
During a consultation in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Provincial Environment and Natural Resources officer (PENRO) Julio Lopez said their office is planning to merge the Mt. Sto. Tomas as part of the adjacent Marcos Highway Watershed Forest Reservation.
Lopez said Mt. Sto. Tomas at present is classified as a watershed reservation and is not a protected area.
“Sto. Tomas is just a watershed reservation which means it is not a part of the existing protected areas. We would like to include it in the forest reservation,” Lopez said.

Detector Dogs sniff out illegal ivory, help nab poacher in Tanzania
By Shreya Dasgupta,, 30 August 2016
In a bust earlier this month, two detector dogs helped seize illegal ivory in a village outside Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park.
These dogs — Jenny, a Belgian Malinois dog, and Dexter, an English springer spaniel — are members of a new team of specially trained dogs and handlers from Tanzanian National Parks (TANAPA), according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
Following a tipoff, Jenny and her handler examined a house in the village during a late night search, and successfully detected four concealed elephant tusks hidden in plastic under a parked vehicle.

The dark side of Uganda’s gorilla tourism industry
By Tommy Trenchard and Aurelie Marrier d’Unienville, BBC News, 30 August 2016
On a bleak volcanic plain at the foot of Mount Muhabura in the south-western corner of Uganda several ramshackle huts of sticks and grass lie scattered among the boulders.
They look like they they are designed to hold livestock or farm machinery, but these are the homes of the Batwa. They have lived here in abject poverty since being expelled from the forests they lived in as part of a much lauded conservation programme in the 1990s.
Since the days of Idi Amin in the 1970s, when Uganda’s wildlife was hunted down and slaughtered in great numbers, the country has earned a reputation as a conservation success story. Elephant numbers have sky-rocketed and the population of wild mountain gorillas has been steadily increasing.

Zimbabwe to dehorn rhino to shut out poachers
Reuters, 30 August 2016
Zimbabwe plans to dehorn all rhino in its national parks to discourage poaching after 50 animals were illegally killed last year, a wildlife conservation group said on Tuesday.
Rhino horn is prized in Asia for use in traditional medicine and surging demand has led to more poaching. A record 1,305 rhino were killed illegally in Africa last year, most of them in South Africa, according to conservation groups.
Lisa Marabini, director of operations with Aware Trust Zimbabwe, said the organisation was one of two groups helping the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority remove horns from 100 rhino in state game parks, which are targeted by poachers because they are less secure.

31 August 2016

“Time for Action”: A 2016 IUCN World Conservation Congress Preview With Inger Andersen
By Bethany N. Bella, New Security Beat, 31 August 2016
“The time for talk is done; it is now the time for action,” says Inger Andersen, director general of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in an interview before the 2016 World Conservation Congress.
The planet’s climate is changing and its diverse species are disappearing while whole ecosystems threaten to unravel from their natural equilibriums. The Earth is, some might say, at a crossroads.
So believes the IUCN, an umbrella of member organizations, governments, individual scientists, conservationists and civil society members that provide recommendations concerning biodiversity, climate change, and sustainable development to a global policy audience.

Shifting the debate about conservation justice from rights to responsibilities
By Harry Jonas and Dilys Roe,, 31 August 2016
The recent Mongabay series on Evolving Conservation highlighted that while many conservation interventions have helped protect biological and cultural diversity and improve the linkages between the two, others have led to the infringement of indigenous peoples’ and local communities’ rights (Conservation’s People Problem). From the first denials of access of Native Americans to Yellowstone National Park in the 1860s to the ongoing plight of Uvinje villagers in Tanzania – among others – there are many documented cases of indigenous peoples being evicted and subjugated in the name of conservation.

A CMO’s View: Conservation International’s influencer marketing gives nature a familiar voice
By Amy Gesenhues, Marketing Land, 31 August 2016
As CMO, Meg Goldthwaite says she considers herself Conservation International’s chief storyteller.
“What’s truly important from a marketing standpoint is that you are able to connect your donors, or in other instances your customers, with the dollars that they spend, and in our case, with the life that’s changed,” says Goldthwaite.
“We do that through stories. We demonstrate how important nature is to livelihoods, and I help bring those stories out that communicate how Conservation International is protecting nature and giving nature a voice.”

The UPS Foundation Advances Global Forestry Initiative
UPS Foundation press release, 31 August 2016
The UPS Foundation, which leads the global citizenship programs for UPS (UPS), announced it will award more than $2.6 million in grants to nonprofit organizations focused on environmental sustainability initiatives. This includes a significant grant to twenty-five year partner, The Nature Conservancy, a global organization that works to preserve ecologically important land and water resources through conservation. Other grants will support programs that advance environmental research and education, carbon reduction and energy conservation – all vital to economic growth and community stability.
The Nature Conservancy grant includes a partnership extension for UPS’s Global Forestry Initiative, a program designed to plant, protect and preserve trees in urban and rural areas and forests worldwide. The grant will enable The Nature Conservancy to continue reforestation efforts for at-risk or eroded ecosystems throughout the U.S., Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico and Tanzania.

Poaching drives huge 30% decline in Africa’s savannah elephants
By Jessica Aldred, The Guardian, 31 August 2016
Poaching has driven a huge decline in Africa’s savannah elephants with almost a third (30%) wiped out between 2007 and 2014, the first ever continent-wide survey of the species has found.
Around 144,000 animals were lost over a seven-year period in 15 African countries, declining at a rate of 8% a year. The population across those countries today stands at 352,271 elephants.
The biggest drops in numbers were recorded in Angola, Mozambique and Tanzania, with surprisingly low numbers found in north-eastern DRC, northern Cameroon and south-west Zambia. Populations there face local extinction, the census report warned.

[Botswana] #ShockWildlifeTruths: Poachers kill 26 elephants in Chobe National Park
By Don Pinnock, Traveller24, 31 August 2016
At least 26 elephants, their faces hacked off and their tusks removed, lay in congealing blood on Botswana’s Chobe National Park floodplain. Poachers had killed them within sight of an exclusive safari lodge and the Linyanti public campsite.
The park is home to the greatest elephant herd in the world and the jewel in the crown of the sprawling, five-country Kavanga-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA), of huge concern is that the slaughter occurred in a park protected by the Botswana Defense Force, one of the most efficient anti-poaching operations on the continent.

[Chile] Tourism starting to bleed the Lickan Antay people of the Atacama desert dry
By Marine Gauthier and Riccardo Pravettoni, The Guardian, 31 August 2016
“Welcome to Calama, the city of sun and copper”, proclaims the banner at the entrance to the city, near the Atacama desert. A little further along the road are tourist signs: “Los Flamencos national reserve”, “Death valley”, “Salt desert”. And then, in rapid succession: “Cosmo Andino Expeditions – The Adventure Begins!”, “Pachamama Bed and Breakfast”. The stage is set: copper mines, unique natural sites and tourism shape this high, plateaued region of northern Chile.
The Lickan Antay situate their villages around oases. The key to their survival is the management of water. Manuel Silvestre Gómez, in his 40s, proudly wears his national reserve guard uniform. He loves to talk about his roots.

China, Viet Nam and Lao PDR commit to enhanced cooperation and coordination to dismantle wildlife trafficking networks
Wildlife Conservation Society, 31 August 2016
Enforcement agencies from China, Lao PDR and Viet Nam agreed on urgent measures to tackle wildlife trafficking networks operating across their countries. The Wildlife Conservation Society provided technical assistance to the meetings.
Rapid economic growth, increased regional trade, connected transport/communications infrastructure and the removal of trade barriers all pose increased challenges to law enforcement agencies tackling transnational wildlife trafficking. Vietnamese, Chinese and Laotian wildlife criminals co-operate internationally, without the same limitations of official protocols, geo-politics, and limited resources faced by many government agencies.

[South Africa] Kruger National Park makes a small dent in rhino poaching
By Pericles Anetos, Business Day, 31 August 2016
Rhino poaching at the Kruger National Park has declined slightly since the start of this year.
Nicholus Funda, the park’s head ranger, says on average they are losing two rhinos a day, but compared with other years this is an improvement.
Funda projects that Kruger — which is slightly smaller then the size of Israel — will lose less than 800 rhinos by the end of this year. In 2015 the park lost 827 rhinos to poachers, and 826 in 2014.
Funda says that on any given day there are 10 incursions into Kruger by poachers, and two result in rhinos being killed. The rest are prevented by rangers.
“That gap between two and 10, that is our effort,” Funda says.

[USA] #MahaloObama: Celebrating the Largest Protected Area in the World
By Jim Robinett, National Geographic, 31 August 2016
On Friday, the White House announced the passing of a bill to expand Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, a marine ecosystem off the coast of Hawaii, making it the largest protected area in the world on land or sea. The historic expansion quadrupled what was previously established by President George W. Bush in 2006 to 582,578 square miles; for reference, that’s almost four times as large as California.
On behalf of our team at Shedd Aquarium, we would like to thank and applaud President Barack Obama for implementing such an important conservation action.

1 September 2016

Towards a fairer future for conservation
By Phil Franks (IIED),, 1 September 2016
Just under a year ago, at a meeting attended by 139 heads of state and government, the United Nations triumphantly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – a positive and ambitious vision seeking to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all, where development is both sustainable and fairer.
A year later, the message from the IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC) – the world’s largest nature conservation event, hoping to shape the direction of conservation and sustainable development – is much more sobering:
The ecosystems that underpin our economies, well-being and survival are collapsing. Species are becoming extinct at unprecedented rates. Our climate is in crisis… The benefits of development are not shared equitably, the gap between rich and poor is widening, and economic growth is occurring at the expense of ecological integrity.

The race for vast remote ‘marine protected areas’ may be a diversion
By Peter JS Jones and Elizabeth de Santo, The Conversation, 1 September 2016
The seas around Hawaii are set to become the world’s largest marine protected area, US president Barack Obama has announced. The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument will be expanded to more than 1.5m square kilometres – that’s as big as France, Spain and Germany combined.
If this story sounds familiar that’s because it is. Last year, the UK created the previous world’s largest continuous marine reserve around the Pitcairn Islands, and it set up another huge protected area around Ascension Island in January 2016. Chile, France and New Zealand have all made similar moves in the past few years, turning the waters surrounding their most remote island territories (such as Easter Island) into huge nature reserves.

Global warming is key topic at Hawaii conservation congress
By Caleb Jones, AP, 1 September 2016
The international community came together Thursday in Hawaii for 10 days of talks by leading academics, conservation groups and government officials to address the impacts of global warming, wildlife trafficking and environmental conservation.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced a major sustainability initiative to preserve his state’s delicate ecosystem at the opening ceremony of the International Coalition for the Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress — committing to protect more watershed areas and reefs ecosystems through increased regulation.

CSU researcher examines the lives of African Forest Elephants
By Nataleah Small, Collegian, 1 September 2016
African forest elephants are the largest land mammals on earth, are highly intelligent and have close family ties. But until a few years ago, few specifics were known about elephant social structures, reproduction rates and the effects of poaching across Africa. Now, new research by a professor at Colorado State University, in junction with his colleague abroad, has shed light upon the intimate lives of one of the planet’s largest creatures.

Africa: Conservationists Call for Tougher Action Against Wildlife Trafficking
By Athan Tashobya, The New Times, 1 September 2016
Illegal trade in wildlife products will not end in Africa unless governments and policy-makers are willing to translate policies into concrete actions backed by tough stance on the illicit trade, conservationists have said.
The issue formed a key recommendation from a two-day second Kwita Izina Conversation on Conservation 2016 forum in Kigali on Tuesday.

[Indonesia] Conservation aimed at saving bird from extinction
By Syamsul Huda M. Suhari, The Jakarta Post, 1 September 2016
Increasing threats from natural predators such as lizards — and humans too — have put Maleo birds (Macrocephalon maleo) on the brink of extinction.
Lizards often eat Maleo eggs laid in holes in the ground by the female birds, while people hunt the birds for consumption.
Given these rising threats, activists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have initiated efforts to preserve the birds, which are endemic to Sulawesi.

The long road to land titling: Kenya finally enacts new laws
By Liz Alden Wily, Katiba Institute, Kenya, Thomson Reuters Foundation, 1 September 2016
Kenya’s newly enacted Community Land Act is long awaited and welcome. It asks communities to define and register themselves and await adjudication, survey and registration. However further challenges lie ahead.
At last Kenya has a Community Land Act. This was enacted just 10 days before a constitutional deadline, and signed into law on 31 August 2016. Regulations under the act are yet to be drafted. As a number of uncertainties remain, their content will be crucial. Helpfully, the law (twice) commits the Cabinet Secretary to draft regulations with public participation.

US to host world’s largest conservation meeting
AFP, 1 September 2016
Some 8,000 heads of state, policymakers and environmentalists convene in Hawaii this week for the world’s largest gathering aimed at forging a path forward on the planet’s toughest conservation problems.
US President Barack Obama is expected to be among the world leaders in Honolulu as the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) opens its World Conservation Congress, held every four years in a different location around the globe.
This year, the conference theme of “Planet at the Crossroads” is aimed at exposing the plight of island nations that are at risk of disappearing in the coming decades due to rising seas.

[USA] Statement following President Obama’s Remarks at the IUCN World Conservation Congress
The Nature Conservancy, 1 September 2016
The Nature Conservancy welcomes today’s comments from President Barack Obama at the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders where he continued to affirm the urgency in taking action to protect people and property at risk across the planet as they come under threat from climate change.
Lynn Scarlett, the Conservancy’s Managing Director of Public Policy, said, “We appreciate the Administration’s continued attention to climate change and its impacts to the Hawaiian Islands and other island nations around the world. For Hawaii’s residents, climate change is not a theory or an abstraction – it’s happening right here, right now, and costing real dollars. Oceanfront communities are uniquely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and the rising seas and increasing storm intensity are every day matters.”

[USA] Barack Obama links conservation to climate change
AP, 1 September 2016
Standing beneath the forest-green peaks of the Sierra Nevada, President Barack Obama drew a connection between conservation efforts and stopping global warming, describing the two environmental challenges as inseparably linked.
Obama used the first stop on a two-day conservation tour to try to showcase how federal and local governments can effectively team up to address a local environmental concern like iconic Lake Tahoe, which straddles California and Nevada. Obama told a sunbaked crowd of several thousand in a small lakeside town that “our conservation effort is more critical, more urgent than ever.”

Lioness walks through safari camp in Zambia national park
By Ben Hooper, UPI, 1 September 2016
A safari company in Zambia captured video of a lioness walking casually through their camp in a national park.
The video, posted to YouTube by Jeffery & McKeith Safaris Zambia, shows the female lion walking through the group’s camp in Kafue National Park.
“Most safari camps rely on activities such as game drives and walking safaris to view Africa’s majestic wildlife up close,” the post said. “Not in Zambia’s Kafue National Park.”
“At Jeffery & McKeith Safari’s new Musekese Camp, their resident pride of lions have been walking through camp on a regular basis and recently walked through the camps main area at lunch!” the video’s description reads.

2 September 2016

Will IUCN tackle conservation’s shoot on sight problem?
Survival International, 2 September 2016
Survival International has urged the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) to address the spread of brutal shoot on sight conservation tactics at its world congress, which started yesterday in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Survival has asked the IUCN’s Director Inger Andersen to table the motion: “We condemn extrajudicial killing and “shoot on sight” policies in the name of conservation.”
“Shoot on sight” conservation is spreading rapidly, and has been devastating for tribal peoples.

IUCN Congress: New coalition launches to scale private conservation investment
Global Travel Industry News, 2 September 2016
In an effort to address an estimated US$200-300 billion annual funding gap in conservation, civil society organizations, private and public sector financial institutions, and academia joined forces today to launch the Coalition for Private Investment in Conservation (CPIC) during the IUCN World Conservation Congress taking place in Hawaiʻi. The Coalition’s goal is to help preserve the world’s most important ecosystems by creating new opportunities for return-seeking private investment in conservation.
The Coalition, which includes Credit Suisse, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and Cornell University as the founding members, plans to develop new investment models and funding pipelines that will help close the current conservation funding gap and contribute to the global goals for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

‘A Geography of Hope’: New book spotlights incredible value of primary forests
Conservation International press release, 2 September 2016
A Geography of Hope: Saving Primary Forests illustrates the beauty, ecological importance and connection to humanity unique to these nearly untouched, “old-growth” forests. The limited edition book — the 24th in the Conservation Book Series — was launched today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, by Conservation International (CI) and CEMEX.
There are a broad range of primary forests found across tropical, boreal and temperate climates worldwide. Despite their numerous benefits, they are under increased threat from industrial agriculture, mining, oil and gas extraction, industrial logging and infrastructure development. It is estimated that we have lost one-third of the world’s original forest cover, and of the remaining forest, only a third qualifies as primary forest and of that total, only 20 percent is protected.

Can ‘protected areas’ offer a safe haven for indigenous peoples?
By Megan Rowling, Reuters, 2 September 2016
From the Congo Basin to Kenya, India and Paraguay, the designation of forest land as “protected areas” has brought homelessness, hunger and persecution to indigenous peoples who have lived there for centuries, rights experts say, pointing the finger at governments and the conservation groups they work with.
In many cases, international conventions and national laws oblige states to respect legal and customary ownership of land by indigenous tribes, consult them on how that land is used, and involve them in efforts to conserve the natural resources it contains.
But on Sunday, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, will tell the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii that there remains a huge gap between the rules on paper and reality on the ground.

New coalition launches to scale private conservation investment at IUCN World Conservation Congress
The Nature Conservancy, 2 September 2016
In an effort to address an estimated US $200-300 billion annual funding gap in conservation, civil society organizations, private and public sector financial institutions and academia joined forces today to launch the Coalition for Private Investment in Conservation (CPIC) during the IUCN World Conservation Congress taking place in Hawai’i. The Coalition’s goal is to help preserve the world’s most important ecosystems by creating new opportunities for return-seeking private investment in conservation.
The Coalition, which includes Credit Suisse, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and Cornell University as the founding members, plans to develop new investment models and funding pipelines that will help close the current conservation funding gap and contribute to the global goals for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development.

Nearly 15% of Earth’s Land Is Now Protected — but That’s Not Enough
By Justin Worland, Time, 2 September 2016
Nearly 15% of land on earth is now protected, though some key areas needed to preserve biodiversity have been left out, according to a new report.
Scientists behind the report, released by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the U.N. Environment Program, say the globe now has more than 200,000 protected areas that cover 7.7 million sq. mi. These areas are sprinkled across the globe but most concentrated in South and Central America, particularly in the Amazon rainforest.

National Parks Are Not Enough to Protect Nature
By Erik Solheim, Time, 2 September 2016
In my home country of Norway, we have incredible landscapes and parks named to impress. We have the Home of the Giants, a mountain range overrun with ancient glaciers and reindeer.
There is the Troll Wall, a 3,600-foot sheer cliff face. Then there is the troll’s tongue, Trolltunga, a flat slab of rock that juts out like a plank on a pirate ship, 2,300 feet over a valley. Those too lazy to walk back to the parking lot at either of these attractions often bring a parachute for an express descent.
Growing up around these mythical landscapes, I often wondered how the famous Yellowstone National Park could compare. I had the chance to find out this summer when I visited with my family for the first time. I was, predictably, humbled. Even to a landscape-spoiled Norwegian, the waterfalls, the geysers, the vistas and the wildlife were beyond stunning.

Nature: Our Most Important “Bank Account”
By Tom Dillon (WWF), Huffington Post, 2 September 2016
Unbroken tracts of forests connect soaring tropical glaciers in the center of the island to beautiful beaches ringing its coastline. Birds of Paradise, seen nowhere else on Earth except this region, inhabit these forests. So do hundreds of different tribes with entirely distinct languages, making this the most linguistically diverse area in the world.
That’s what I experienced earlier this month when I traveled to Papua, a province of Indonesia just south of the equator. Rarely have I seen so much forestland in one region of the world. Forests blanket almost 80 percent of the province, which is nearly the size of Montana.
The province is committed to ensuring that forests continue to thrive at a large scale. It recently committed to at least 70 percent of the province remaining under forest cover for all time. It is an impressive commitment—one of the boldest in the world—and particularly needed when the rate of forest loss across the globe is equivalent to 48 football fields per minute.

ASU partnerships strengthen global biodiversity conservation efforts
Arizona State University, 2 September 2016
Arizona State University furthers commitment to translate knowledge into action on sustainability challenges through three new international partnerships:
Knowledge Partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD): promoting sustainable development through the global business community
The IUCN Red List Partnership: devising strategies for species conservation and biodiversity decision-making
Knowledge Partnership with Conservation International (CI): expanding conservation science and training to the next generation of conservation leaders
Bringing together the different forces in sustainability, ASU’s Center for Biodiversity Outcomes (CBO) has established new partnerships that strengthen the university’s research capacity in conservation science and biodiversity. The official signing of the agreements will take place in Hawaii during the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress.

How to save elephants now: This week delivered bad news about the beautiful creatures, but there’s a way to fight back
By Christian Samper, New York Daily News, 2 September 2016
The elephant crisis is as real as bad news gets. Two critically important developments on the fate of Africa’s elephants emerged this week: a study on forest elephants and a census on savanna elephants. Both indicate it’s now or never for Africa’s elephants.
Building on past research by the Wildlife Conservation Society indicating that 65% of Central Africa’s forest elephants perished due to poaching for ivory between 2002-2013, a new study in the Journal of Applied Ecology indicates that it will take nearly a century for these animals to recover because of their slow reproduction rates.

Political back-room deals imperils the Brazilian Amazon
By Philip Fearnside, ALERT Conservation, 2 September 2016
In a paper recently published in Science, I explain how the country’s environmental licensing is under threat from a flurry of proposed laws and constitutional amendments in the Brazilian Congress.
These dubious initiatives have jumped to the forefront as anti-environment politicians rush to exploit the opportunities offered by Brazil’s current political turmoil, which led to the impeachment of former President Dilma Rousseff.
Legislators are eager to help provide short-term stimulation to the country’s flagging economy, in part by removing social and environmental restrictions on proposed development projects. But the way this is being advanced reeks of political shadiness and trickery.

[USA] Hawaii and other big marine protected areas ‘could work against conservation’
By John Vidal, The Guardian, 2 September 2016
British and US marine scientists say that the race to designate ever-bigger marine national parks in remote parts of the world could work against conservation.
In an commentary timed to coincide with President Obama’s announcement of the huge extension of a marine park off Hawaii, the authors argue that the creation of very large marine protection areas (Vlmpas) may give the illusion of conservation, when in fact they may be little more than “paper parks”.
“It is not enough to simply cover the remotest parts of our oceans in notional ‘protection’ – we need to focus on seas closer to shore, where most of the fishing and drilling actually happens,” said Peter Jones, a marine researcher at University College London.

[USA] Landscapes of Dispossession: the National Park Service at 100 Years
By Nick Alexandrov, Counter Punch, 2 September 2016
Late June, late afternoon. I speed the rental westward on CA-120, past where Jeffrey pines loom, then brake at Mono Lake. The sun falls to the Sierra Crest’s far side. Wind gusts through the sagebrush. I think of a woman, of the summit I’ll soon climb. I tell myself, You’re in nature.
Months pass. I learn Lt. Tredwell Moore entered Mono Basin in 1852. He’d chased Ahwahnechee Chief Tenaya from Yosemite—“discovered” by whites the year before, “during a military campaign to subdue the peoples of the central Sierra Nevada,” writes Mark David Spence. Tenaya eluded his pursuers. But David Carle and Don Banta note Lt. Moore found “signs of gold-bearing quartz” in the Basin. As gold-hunters went to the region, its “native people were…slowly starved to death by the loss of game taken by the miners,” Kathleen L. Hull explains.

3 September 2016

Protected lands and endangered species aren’t properly safeguarded, report says
By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 3 September 2016
The world is edging toward a major conservation target for protected land and oceans, but there are concerns over how safeguarded areas are managed and whether they are effectively protecting endangered species, according to a new report.
Nearly 15% of the Earth’s land, covering around 20m sq km, is contained in national parks or other protected areas. This figure has flatlined over the past year, largely because of improved data collection, but is close to an internationally agreed goal to protect 17% of the land surface by 2020.

IUCN: Crucial biodiversity not protected
Global Travel Industry News, 3 September 2016
Close to 15% of the Earth’s land and 10% of its territorial waters are covered by national parks and other protected areas, coverage of marine protected areas increased by almost 300% in the last decade, and 8 in 10 key biodiversity areas worldwide lack complete protection.
With 14.7 percent of the Earth’s land and 10 percent of its territorial waters under protection, the world is on track to meet a major global conservation target, according to a new report by UN Environment and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), launched today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaiʻi.

Eighty per cent of the world’s most precious habitats are unprotected, experts warn
By Charlotte England, The Independent, 3 September 2016
Key habitats across the globe are not being protected, even though the world is on track to meet a major conservation target.
Close to 15% of the Earth’s land is now covered by national parks and other protected areas, but eight in 10 ‘key biodiversity areas’ are not included, according to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme.
Many unique and endangered species and habitats are excluded from protected areas, the report said, and poor management is limiting the effectiveness of protection.

IUCN Panel Says Business and Conservation Should Mix
By Nicholas Fillmore, Courthouse News Service, 3 September 2016
Friday’s session of the IUCN World Conservation Congress opened with a rallying cry: Humankind cannot wait any longer to act if we want to stop climate change.
“We live in an extraordinary time where we’re pushing against a boundary,” IUCN World Conservation Congress director General Inger Andersen said at Friday’s forum opening. “We are losing species. We are not meeting goals. Our generation has to make a shift. We can’t wait.”
Journalist Thomas Friedmann agreed. “There’s a growing understanding that the term ‘later’ is over. You can officially remove the word ‘later’ from the dictionary,” he said.

Protecting Cambodia’s island paradise?
By Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon and Mech Dara, Phnom Penh Post, 3 September 2016
In the waters around the Koh Rong archipelago, the first attempt at government-mandated marine conservation in the Kingdom is underway – it is designed to curb illegal fishing and bad tourism practices by engaging local commmunities. But questions remain as to whether the pressures of development might undercut the effort.
A throng of backpackers and holidaymakers crowds the pier to get onto the fast-ferry from Sihanoukville to the Koh Rong archipelago. Nearby, a delivery of Cambodia Beer kegs is unloaded from a truck to be shipped to the islands. A deliveryman says they ship about 30 kegs each day; during high season, it’s more than twice that.

[Kenya] The lions of Nairobi National Park are escaping to the suburbs
By Kevin Sieff, The Washington Post, 3 September 2016
The last time the lions charged through Simon Saigilu’s village, he was ready. He jumped out of bed with a flashlight and a spear, emitting a high-pitched scream that was the closest thing anyone here had to an alarm.
He’d had time to practice. Every month or two, the lions appeared, after sneaking through the fence that runs between the village and Nairobi National Park, at the edge of this city of 3 million. The barrier was supposed to be electrified, but it wasn’t. The animals — including the park’s 35 lions — were supposed to remain in the park, but they didn’t.
The collision between humans and wildlife is nothing new in much of Africa, where millions of people have flocked to cities in recent decades and skylines rise in places that were once savanna or forest. But Nairobi has come to represent the extreme difficulty inherent in trying to preserve wildlife while an urban population booms. The number of residents on the outskirts of the reserve has grown more than tenfold since it was established in 1946 as the first national park in East Africa.

[Peru] Latin America’s largest Ramsar Site facing 586 km transmission line
By David Hill, The Guardian, 3 September 2016
Indigenous peoples in Peru are demanding to be consulted about a proposed electricity transmission line that would run for approximately 586 kms through the Amazon. The stated aim of the line is to connect Iquitos in Peru’s northeast, often described as the world’s largest city or town without road or rail access, to the national grid.
Doing so would mean crossing the territories of numerous indigenous peoples, including the Achuars, Kandozis, Kichwas, Kukamas-Kukamirias and Urarinas. Representative organisations are expressing serious concern about the project’s potential impacts and say they have not been consulted about it despite the government’s obligation to do so under Peruvian and international law.

[South Africa] Living Heritage: Inside SA’s 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
By Louzel Lombard, Traveller24, 3 September 2016
September in South Africa means a month-long celebration of South African Heritage, culminating on 24 September, our national Heritage Day.
Inline with this month-long awareness campaign around South Africa’s cultural and natural heritage, we’ve gone in search of the splendour of our official UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Yes, we know you know about the eight sites. But do we really know them, and know how to experience and appreciate them?
If you can’t say you do, here are our suggestions to revelling in South Africa’s incredible heritage.

4 September 2016

Top conservation players partner to identify the most vital places for life on earth
By Shaun Hurrell, Birdlife International, 4 September 2016
Today, eleven of the world’s leading conservation organisations, including BirdLife International and the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK), announced an ambitious new partnership to identify, map, monitor and conserve the most important places for life on earth.
No matter where we are from on this planet, we speak a common language: the language of nature. From Pacific reefs to Siberian tundra, nature is key to our lives, so it makes sense that this importance is recognised equitably worldwide.
Now, the environmental community speaks one new common language: KBAs, or Key Biodiversity Areas. This international language has more than 18,000 words already – that’s the number of KBAs identified to date.

IUCN Word Conservation Congress: Conserving life on Earth
Global Travel Industry News, 4 September 2016
Top conservation players announced at the IUCN World Conservation Congress currently taking place in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, USA, a new partnership that will map, monitor, and conserve vital places for life on Earth.
Today, 11 of the world’s leading conservation organizations announced this ambitious new partnership addressing Key Biodiversity Areas (KBA) – places that include vital habitats for threatened species – with more than US$15 million committed over the next 5 years.

[India] Bird population up in Bhitarkanika National Park
Deccan Chronicle, 4 September 2016
It’s good news for bird lovers. Bhitarkanika National Park (BNP) in Odisha’s Kendrapara district has registered an increase in bird population this year, revealed figures of the recently-concluded week-long annual bird census.
According the census, as many as 1,03,853 resident birds belonging to 10 species have been spotted in the park this year as against 96, 437 last year, an increase by 7, 416 birds.
This year the annual bird census began on August 22. Two teams were formed for the enumeration exercise covering Bagagahana, Mathaadia and other parts of the sanctuary spread over 6 hectares.

NGOs work with oil companies to save rare whale off Russia’s Sakhalin Island
AFP, 4 September 2016
A decade ago, there were just 115 western gray whales left in the world, and their feeding grounds near Sakhalin Island, off the east coast of Russia and north of Japan, were being drilled for oil.
These massive whales faced a host of deadly threats, from underwater noise to collisions with ships and entanglements in fishing gear, and were listed as critically endangered in 2003.
Soon after, a deal was struck, whereby loans to Russia’s Sakhalin Energy were restricted unless the oil company paid for a panel of marine scientists to advise its offshore operations.

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