Conservation in the news: 5-11 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.

The Rise of Public-Private Land Conservation
By Juan Manuel Vial, Travel+Leisure, September 2016
Palena province, in Chilean Patagonia, is a region of glassy fjords and simmering volcanoes, where the Andes rise to splendid, white-capped heights straight from the sea. It is home to one of the last remaining stands of the majestic and nearly extinct alerce tree, cousin to California’s sequoia. The place is grand, uninhabited, wild. And thanks primarily to Douglas Tompkins—the founder of the North Face and Esprit clothing lines, who died at the age of 72 last December—it will stay that way.
In 1989, Tompkins piloted his Cessna from San Francisco to Chile and started buying up huge tracts of land—eventually more than 2 million acres—to protect from development. And what began as a personal mission has become a global model for conservation.

5 September 2016

How could we ever face our children if we allow the world’s elephants to be massacred?
By William Hague, The Telegraph, 5 September 2016
Amid all the talk of Brexit plans, our future immigration system, nuclear power and the many preoccupations of the new Cabinet, there is a vital commitment in the manifesto of the Conservative Party that must not be forgotten.
This is the promise to “continue to lead the world in stopping the poaching that kills thousands of elephants each year,” and to “press for a total ban on ivory sales”. It is now essential that this commitment is honoured in full.

Protected areas are helping save our favourite animals – but let’s not forget the others
By Megan Barnes, The Conversation, 5 September 2016
Protected areas, like national parks and wildlife refuges, are the cornerstones of global conservation efforts. So making sure they achieve their mission is fundamental to our goal of halting biodiversity declines.
Unfortunately, how well protected areas maintain their biodiversity remains poorly understood. While there is clear evidence that protected areas, such as Egmont National Park in New Zealand, can prevent deforestation, there is much less evidence of how well they protect our wildlife.
Our work, published in the journal Nature Communications, examined trends for more than 500 species of birds and mammals in protected areas in 72 countries. The good news is that most animals are doing well, more so for birds than mammals. But that’s no reason to become complacent.

Celebrating 15 Years of Success, Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund and Founder Conservation International Honor 15 Conservationists as Biodiversity ‘Hotspot Heroes’
Press release, 5 September 2016
At the IUCN World Conservation Congress, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) celebrated its 15th anniversary by recognizing 15 conservationists from around the world as “Hotspot Heroes.” The honorees were chosen from the more than 2,000 civil society organizations that CEPF has provided grants to since 2001 to conserve biodiversity hotspots in developing and transitional countries.
At a reception held at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu on Sunday, CEPF honored the Hotspot Heroes and the nongovernmental organizations they work for, citing their outstanding contributions to the conservation of biodiversity hotspots — the world’s most biologically diverse yet threatened terrestrial regions. The Hotspot Heroes exemplify the kinds of dedicated, dynamic people who work to ensure that intact ecosystems can continue to sustain flora and fauna and provide clean air, fresh water, healthy soils, sustainable livelihoods, resilience to climate change and much more.

New Census: 30% of Africa’s Savanna Elephants Dead
ENS, 5 September 2016
Wildlife conservationists meeting in Honolulu for the IUCN’s World Conservation Congress are shocked and saddened by the release of the Great Elephant Census showing that numbers of African savanna elephants have declined by 30 percent – 144,000 elephants – between 2007 and 2014.
Inger Andersen, director general of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, IUCN, said, “A spotlight has been shone on the menace of wildlife trafficking, from the local to the national to the global level, by leaders who are standing up and saying, ‘We have to stop this!’”

Giant panda off endangered list as China’s conservation pays off
New Scientist, 5 September 2016
The giant panda is off the endangered list thanks to aggressive conservation efforts in China.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said in a report that the panda is now classified as a “vulnerable” instead of “endangered” species, reflecting its growing numbers in the wild in southern China.
It said the wild panda population jumped to 1,864 in 2014 from 1,596 in 2004, the result of work by Chinese agencies to enforce poaching bans and expand forest reserves.
However, gorillas found in East Africa are sliding towards extinction, conservationists have warned as the primates were classed as critically endangered.

6 September 2016

Conservation Means Little Without Addressing Indigenous People’s Rights
By Emilio Godoy, The Wire, 6 September 2016
“You don’t convert your own house in a tourist site,” said Oussou Lio Appolinaire, an activist from Benin, wearing a traditional outfit in vivid yellows and greens. He was referring to opening up to tourists places that are sacred to indigenous people.
Appolinaire, who belongs to the Gun people in the West African country of Benin, heads the indigenous-led sustainable rural development NGO GRABE-Benin. He told IPS that “People suffer displacement from sacred sites. If we lose knowledge, we lose ourselves. The sacred is like life. Conservation is the respect of natural law, of every single element in nature.”
Thanks to the work of GRABE-Benin and other organisations, the government of Benin approved Interministerial Order No.0121 – the first law of its kind in Africa, which protects sacred forests, granting them legal recognition as protected areas that must be sustainably managed.

Conservation International Calls for Applicants for Indigenous Leaders Conservation Fellowship
Press release, 6 September 2016
At the World Conservation Congress in Hawai’i on Saturday, Conservation International (CI) announced the opening of its Indigenous Leaders Conservation Fellowship application period. The Fellowship, currently in its fifth year, creates opportunities for leaders from indigenous and traditional communities and organizations around the world to explore solutions to the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss using the traditional knowledge of men and women.

Tribes under threat from conservation, and Africa’s children locked in poverty
The Guardian, 6 September 2016
The drive for conservation around the world is coming at a heavy human cost, with the world’s most vulnerable people being evicted in the name of protecting fragile habitats. John Vidal reveals the many indigenous peoples evicted from their land in recent years, from the San in Botswana to the Baiga of India. Writer Marine Gauthier and photographer Riccardo Pravettoni also provide in-depth reports on three tribal peoples under pressure. The Mongolian Dukha are facing ruination after the snow forest in which they live became a national reserve. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the indigenous Mbuti people were initially banned from their ancestral lands when the government created the Itombwe nature reserve, but are now working with conservationists to preserve the forest. And in northern Chile, the Los Flamencos reserve is the first in the country to be co-managed by the state and indigenous people – the Lickan Antay of the Atacama desert – yet with tourism encroaching on water sources their existence is still a battle.

Obama’s Hawaii marine conservation area is just a drop in the ocean
By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 6 September 2016
As a grand gesture in the dying embers of a presidency, Barack Obama’s decision to create the world’s largest marine protected area in Hawaii was a chance to flex American exceptionalism with little downside.
“I love our president,” said Kevin Chang, of conservation group Kua’aina ulu ‘auamo. Chang said Hawaiians who successfully lobbied for Obama’s extension of the Papahānaumokuākea (pronounced Pa-pa-hah-now-mo-koo-ah-keh-ah) monument are “ecstatic”.

Largest Gorillas Now Critically Endangered, Poaching and Islamic Terrorists Hurt Conservation Efforts
By Petr Svab, The Epoch Times, 6 September 2016
The largest primate on Earth, the Eastern gorilla, has been marked critically endangered as hunting threatens the tiny population and Islamic terrorists complicate conservation.
There are fewer than 5,000 Eastern gorillas, a decline of about 70 percent over the past 20 years, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The IUCN, which maintains the Red List of Threatened Species, announced the Eastern gorillas as critically endangered at the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii on Sept. 4, according to a press release.

UNEP Calls For Action To Combat Threats Against African Elephants
By Zye Angiwan, immortal.org, 6 September 2016
The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) declared its alarm at the sharp drop in Africa’s savanna elephants caused by extensive poaching and climate change. UNEP Deputy Executive Director Ibrahim Thiaw said in a statement that the rapidly decreasing elephant population signifies a serious threat to economies, livelihoods and ecosystems across the continent. Results of the Great Elephant Census released last week showed that there are only around 352,000 elephants left in Africa, much lower than expected, the Washington Post reports. The census used planes and helicopters to survey 18 countries and conducted carcass ratios to determine how badly the elephant population is set to decline even further.

Arizona State University and Conservation International Announce Long-Term Research and Education Collaboration
Press release, 6 September 2016
Arizona State University (ASU) and global NGO Conservation International (CI) announced a new knowledge partnership today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress (WCC). The partnership will bring together scientists from both institutions to address the pressing challenges of sustainable development: minimizing the loss of biological diversity and natural capital while promoting economic growth that both improves livelihoods and fosters environmentally and socially responsible practices. This partnership is the first of its kind between a large public American university and a US-based international conservation nonprofit.

Giant Success for Giant Pandas
WWF, 6 September 2016
We’ve received some fantastic news over the weekend. The giant panda is no longer listed as endangered!
Thanks to amazing conservation efforts and the commitment of the Chinese government, this iconic species has dropped down a level on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, from “Endangered” to “Vulnerable” following a remarkable growth of their population. There are now around 1,860 giant pandas in the wild—nearly 17 percent more than in 2003.

International study finds areas protecting wildlife are doing good job but need support
By Frederika Bain, University of Hawai’i, 6 September 2016
An international study published in the journal Nature Communications, the largest investigation of wildlife trends in protected areas to date, found that most protected areas around the world are successfully safeguarding wildlife. This is especially true in wealthier, more developed countries, which suggests the continued need for adequate support of these parks.
“National Parks are the cornerstone of most country’s conservation plans, so it’s essential they work as well as possible,” said lead author, Megan Barnes, a postdoctoral researcher in the department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management in the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

[Brunei] Private sector welcomed to invest in HoB’s ecotourism
Borneo Bulletin, 6 September 2016
The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism, Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin, has called on the private sector to invest in ecotourism and biodiversity through the Heart of Borneo (HoB) Initiative, during the opening ceremony of the 10th HoB Trilateral Meeting in Brunei.
The meeting, which began yesterday and ends on September 7, addresses various issues, one of which is the concept of achieving sustainable development within HoB member countries.

Five facts about China’s panda conservation programme
News24.com, 6 September 2016
Decades of conservation work in China have paid off for the giant panda, whose status was upgraded on Sunday from “endangered” to “vulnerable” due to a population rebound.
The news was announced as part of an update to the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which praised Beijing’s efforts.
China, however, has refrained from self-congratulation and stressed that the panda – which symbolises wildlife protection efforts worldwide – is still under threat.

Enthusiasm and Progress at Snow Leopard Conservation Forum in China
snowleopard.org, 6 September 2016
An expert meeting held in Urumqi highlighted the enormous progress that’s been made in snow leopard research and conservation in China over the past years. Shan Shui, Snow Leopard Trust and Panthera have worked in partnership in China since 2009.
The meeting, officially titled ‘Xinjiang Tianshan Snow Leopard Conservation Forum’, brought together academic and NGO snow leopard researchers and conservationists, and officials from national and provincial Forestry Departments and Nature Reserves. Participants met in the mountains outside Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province, to update each other on the work they’d been doing, and to jointly identify the main threats and conservation priorities for snow leopards in the Tianshan Mountains.

7 September 2016

IUCN: First global conservation priorities set
Global Travel Industry News, 7 September 2016
Limiting illegal trade in threatened species, promoting nature-based solutions to climate change and accounting for biodiversity conservation in the development of renewables are among the first global conservation priorities set today at the IUCN World Conservation Congress taking place in Hawaiʻi.
The 85 motions adopted by IUCN’s 1,300 government and civil society Members – following the first-ever electronic vote cast in August 2016 – include a ban on gillnet fishing threatening the vaquita porpoise and restrictions on trade of pangolins.
Another 14 global conservation issues will be debated and voted on over the next few days at the IUCN Congress, including advancing the conservation of the high seas, mitigating the impacts of oil palm expansion on biodiversity, protecting primary forests and closure of domestic markets to all ivory sales.

Native people’s rights violated in name of ‘conservation’: UN
AFP, 7 September 2016
Some of the world’s leading conservation groups are violating the rights of indigenous people by backing projects that oust them from their ancestral homes in the name of environmental preservation, a top UN expert said this week.
UN special rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpuz’s latest report documents killings, evictions and lands being used for resource extraction without native consent—practices that affect millions of indigenous people across Asia, Africa and Latin America.
“Projects supported by major conservation organizations continue to displace local peoples from their ancestral homes,” said Tauli-Corpuz, who gave a series of talks on her findings at the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, the globe’s largest gathering of conservation leaders.
While she refrained from naming names in her report, she told AFP the groups include the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International and the Wildlife Conservation Society.

When It Comes to Conservation, Size Matters
By Emilio Godoy, IPS, 7 September 2016
When the communities living in the Tatamá y Serranía de los Paraguas Natural National Park in the west of Colombia organised in 1996 to defend their land and preserve the ecosystem, they were fighting deforestation, soil degradation and poaching.
Twenty years later, local residents, farmers and community organisations have created four reserves, a brand of coffee and a community radio station, while making progress in conservation of this part of the Chocó-Darién conservation corridor along the border with Panama, although threats persist.
“One of the factors is sustaining the reserves in the long-term and generating benefits for local communities,” said César Franco, founder and director of the community environmental organisation Corporación Serraniagua.

The Bakas, National Forests, and the Conservation Conundrum
By Larry Keller, Earth Island Journal, 7 September 2016
Complaints about deforestation and human rights abuses in an African nation are so common that, sadly, they hardly make headlines anymore. But when the complaints are leveled at one of the biggest environmental groups in the world – that’s unusual enough to draw attention.
Survival International, a nonprofit that campaigns for the rights of Indigenous people worldwide, has lodged a formal complaint this year against World Wildlife Fund for Nature, contending that conservation group bears some blame for the harassment and displacement for the Baka people in three national parks that WWF helped create in Cameroon.


Could the eastern gorilla go extinct?

By Caleb Jones, Associated Press, 7 September 2016
The world’s largest living primate has been listed as critically endangered, making four of the six great ape species only one step away from extinction, according to a report released Sunday at the World Conservation Congress in Hawaii.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, cited illegal hunting in downgrading the status of the eastern gorilla on its Red List of Endangered Species. The list contains more than 80,000 species, and almost 24,000 of those are threatened with extinction.
“To see the eastern gorilla — one of our closest cousins — slide toward extinction is truly distressing,” Inger Andersen, IUCN director general, said in a statement. “Conservation action does work and we have increasing evidence of it. It is our responsibility to enhance our efforts to turn the tide and protect the future of our planet.”

China: Giant Pandas Still Endangered, Here’s Why
By Brooke James, Science World Report, 7 September 2016
There had been announcements from National Geographic and the World Wildlife Fund, among others, that giant pandas are no longer considered endangered animals. Efforts to save the iconic animals have started to pay off, and the increasing over the past few years has led to the announcement.
However, despite positive results, China disputed the ruling of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, saying that their iconic species are still “endangered,” and Chinese officials are not happy about the attention. China’s State Forestry Administration said in a statement, “If we downgrade their conservation status, or neglect or relax our conservation work, the population and habitats of giant pandas could still suffer irreversible loss, and our achievements could be quickly lost.”

[USA] Climate change blamed for collapse of Hawaiian forest birds
By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, AP, 7 September 2016
Native forest birds on the Hawaiian island of Kauai are rapidly dying off and facing the threat of extinction as climate change heats up their habitat and allows mosquito-borne diseases to thrive, according to a study released Wednesday.
Higher temperatures caused by global warming increase the spread of diseases such as avian malaria in wooded areas once cool enough to keep them under control, the research says. The findings are an early warning for forest birds on other islands and other species worldwide that rely on rapidly disappearing habitat, according to the study published in the journal Science Advances.

8 September 2016

Saving the forest for the trees: Is conservation overlooking ‘wilderness’?
By Christina Beck, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 September 2016
It is easy to call to mind endangered animal species: panda bears, loggerhead turtles, and Asian elephants make cute and cuddly headlines. Yet it is far too easy to forget about the overall biodiversity of world habitats, an environmental factor that is equally important.
The world has lost a tenth of its wilderness areas since 1990, a massive amount for a span of less than three decades, according to a new study published Thursday in the journal Current Biology. “Wilderness” is defined as “biologically and ecologically largely intact landscapes that are mostly free of human disturbance.” But they’re hardly immune.

From ‘Silverbacks’ to Systems Leaders: Rethinking African conservation leadership
By Fred Nelson and Erin Myers Madeira, mongabay.com, 8 September 2016
Conservation has always revered its heroes– those courageous and committed individuals that champion and often become spokespeople for iconic species, causes, and places. Such heroic figures, often romantically portrayed within the frontiers of the world’s great wild places, standing alone against the forces of environmental devastation, are a great part of conservation’s mythology. These so-called conservationist ‘silverbacks’ – an allusion to the male mountain gorilla that singularly dominates his troop – tend to similarly possess outsized, often dominating personalities within their field.
But in a world where conservation challenges are increasingly characterized by complex processes of political, social, economic, and environmental change occurring rapidly and at multiple scales, the ‘silverback’ model of conservation leadership is increasingly anachronistic and indeed counterproductive.

Why We Need Parts Of Our World To Stay In The Wilderness
By Cayla Dengate, Huffington Post, 8 September 2016
If a devastating decline in the world’s wilderness areas continues at its current rate, there will be none left within 50 years.
James Cook University research is showing for the first time that one tenth of global wilderness areas have disappeared in the past 20 years.
That’s 3.3 million square kilometres of wilderness (or two Alaskas) that no longer exist, degraded by human activity like mining, logging and urban sprawl.

Japan and South Africa Try to Block Proposed Ban on Domestic Ivory Trade
By Guy Dinmore, IPS, 8 September 2016
Japan and South Africa have ignited a furore at a major conservation congress by coming out against a proposed appeal to all governments to ban domestic trade in elephant ivory.
Elephants in Africa are being killed by poachers for their tusks at the rate of one every 15 minutes, according to the results of the recently released Great Elephant Census. A motion that would seek to halt the domestic trade in ivory was seen as one of the most significant and contentious to be voted by delegates at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Honolulu.
But Japan and South Africa expressed their opposition to such a ban on Wednesday when a contact group of government and NGO representatives attempted to hammer out an agreed text of a resolution sponsored by the United States and Gabon.

Sacred Natural Sites Should Be ‘No Go Zones’ for Developers
by Erik Hoffner, EcoWatch, 8 September 2016
A first round of motions was passed Tuesday by the 1,300 government and civil society members of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at its World Conservation Congress taking place in Hawaii. These include a ban on gillnet fishing in Mexico that threatens the vaquita porpoise and also restrictions on the illegal trade of pangolins.
Among the 85 motions like these that are up for a vote this week are some involving the direct and urgent needs of people too, including indigenous people whose sacred sites and lands face destructive forces. One need only look at the Dakota Access Pipeline battle here in the U.S., which would disturb sacred sites as well as water sources of the Standing Rock Sioux, to imagine that this sort of injustice happens to indigenous groups everywhere.

The Crossroads of Conservation in Latin America
By Roberto Troya (WWF), Huffington Post, 8 September 2016
Saying Latin America and conservation together evokes abundance of wealth and beauty. But all that magnificence also comes with a unique set of risks, threats and challenges.
I live in Quito, and only a few kilometers — or few hours — away, I can appreciate landscapes of immense natural and cultural value. I encounter compact forests that hold hundreds of thousands of species of known and unknown flora and fauna, running water, clean air, living oceans and an environment with a strong heartbeat. And it’s not just Quito. So many Latin American cities have similar relationships with nature. In some, you may find it closer to the center of urban life, and in others, you may have to get further away, but the result will almost always be the same.

We’ve destroyed one-tenth of Earth’s wilderness in just 2 decades
By Elizabeth Pennisi, Science, 8 September 2016
When most people think about conservation, they probably imagine saving the panda, or some other threatened creature, or maybe protecting whatever remains of its habitat. But James Watson thinks we’re missing the big picture. Large swaths of wilderness also really need our help, he and his colleagues report today. They have compared the extent of Earth’s wilderness areas in 1993 and 2009, documenting almost a 30% loss in South America and a 10% loss globally.
Similar estimates in the past have focused on deforestation, but the new study looks at the disappearance of a broader range of wild landscapes. “This is the first time that anyone has put a number on the loss,” says Tim Newbold, a conservation biologist at University College London whose own work has shown that wilderness areas contain the world’s most undisturbed biodiversity. Such unspoiled regions, scientists argue, are also critical for allowing the planet to cope with climate change. As a result, this new work is “a wake-up call,” says Robin Chazdon, an ecologist at the International Institute for Sustainability in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, who was not involved with the study.

Climate change and other human activities are affecting species migration
By John Abraham, The Guardian, 8 September 2016
One of the reasons climate change is such an important topic is that it will affect (and already is affecting) the natural biological systems. Both plants and animals will have to respond to the changing climate. In some cases, this means adapting to higher temperatures. In other cases, the changes may be alterations in the precipitation, length of growing season, availability or resources, or other influences.
While some animals can adapt, others will have to migrate. Obviously migration can be apparent in mobile animals that will move to maintain a more or less similar climate to that to which they are accustomed.

Why Conservation Is a Gospel Issue
By Peter Harris, Christianity Today, 8 September 2016
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources convenes its World Conservation Congress every four years. So this year’s gathering in Honolulu, Hawaii, which continues through Saturday, September 10, is held in the shadow of the World Wildlife Fund’s 2014 report claiming that in just 40 years, over half of the world’s wildlife has been lost.
Until recently, the conservation movement has been overwhelmingly secular. But the sense here is that this is a moral and even a spiritual crisis. As Gus Speth, who helped found the Natural Resources Defense Council and was dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, told a British radio presenter in 2013:
“I used to think that top global environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, and climate change. I thought that with 30 years of good science we could address these proble ms, but I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed, and apathy, and to deal with these we need a spiritual and cultural transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”

[India] Sunderbans tiger grow(l)s strong outside protected area
By Krishnendu Mukherjee, The Times of India, 8 September 2016
The Bengal tiger seems to be doing well in the Sunderbans. For the first time, a data-collection exercise has revealed that the population of the swamp tiger is on the rise even outside the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve (STR), a protected area.
The camera trap data of 2015 -the latest set of numbers thrown up by the yearly exercise -shows the presence of at least 22 tigers in the South 24-Parganas forest division, spread over an area of more than 1,500sq km, outside the 2,500sq km of the protected area. The 2016 exercise is still under way but, going by trends and field reports, the authorities seem confident that the population of the big cat is very much stable.

[India] State to begin camera trapping of tigers
By Shaval Kulkarni, DNA India, 8 September 2016
While the dust over the “disappearance” of the state’s iconic tiger Jai is yet to settle down, the Maharashtra government will soon begin its camera trapping exercise to monitor the tiger population in its tiger projects and source areas. The exercise will help reveal the health of the tiger ecosystem in the state.
Girish Vashisht, divisional forest officer (DFO) and spokesperson of the state forest department’s wildlife wing, said the camera trapping exercise would be launched after the monsoons. “This will be done in the tiger reserves and even in the non-tiger reserve protected areas depending on the availability of resources,” he added, stating that the tiger population in non-protected areas were covered in the National Tiger Conservation Authority’s (NTCA) tiger census which was conducted once in every four years.

[India] ‘Why waste money on collaring tigers without proper planning’
By Vijay Pinjarkar, The Times of India, 8 September 2016
K Ullas Karanth is a globally known conservation zoologist and a leading Karnataka-based expert on tigers. Karanth, who is also director of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), has pioneered scientific use of camera traps in population density studies of large wild mammals in India. In January 2012, he was conferred the Padma Shri for his contributions to wildlife conservation and environment protection. He is also winner of coveted J Paul Getty Award for Conservation Leadership.

[India] NGT bans windmills to protect Godawans
The Times of India, 8 September 2016
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has banned the installation of all windmill units in the Desert National Park (DNP) to protect Godawan or the great Indian bustard, a critically endangered bird species found in India and Pakistan.
Asking the state government to declare the 3162 sq km DNP as an eco-sensitive zone, Justice Dalip Singh and judiciary member Satyawan Singh Garbyal ruled that “unregulated windmills coming up in the DNP at Jaisalmer are posing a serious threat to the Godawans. Last year Mahendra Borawat and 11 other villagers filed a petition with the NGT when windmills installation companies built roads in the protected area.

[South Africa] How the drought is affecting the Kruger National Park
By Win Pretorius, news24, 8 September 2016
The current drought has a stranglehold on the Kruger National Park, but not all the effects are negative, a SANParks official has said.
Drought was a natural and important phenomenon with long and short-term effects, SANParks programme manager in fire ecology and biogeochemistry, Navashni Govender, said.
The current drought had drastically reduced dam levels and forced water restrictions around the country. It was being compared to the worst on record in the country (1991/92).
“Some areas of the Kruger National Park have been hit worse than in 1991/92,” Govender said.

9 September 2016

Are big conservation groups like IUCN still relevant?
By Bahar Dutt, Live Mint, 9 September 2016
A big conservation jamboree is on in Hawaii over 1-10 September. Some 9,000 delegates from 190 countries, including heads of state, government officials, scientists, indigenous people and business leaders, will share, debate and act on the latest issues in conservation and sustainable development, and define a global path for nature conservation for the future.

A New Kind of Conservation: Making the Connection Between Community and Nature
By Suzanna York, New Security Beat, 9 September 2016
An increasing number of conservation and health activists are beginning to understand the value of an integrated approach to development. Without addressing the needs of people, conservation measures will not be very effective, and conversely, without conservation, people lose vital natural resources and suffer consequences to their health.
An integrated development model, often referred to as PHE, or population, health, and environment, is motivating Sierra Club volunteers and other activists to better address this relationship. You could say PHE is “new kind of conservation,” a way to inspire people to support change that benefits local communities as well as protects iconic species.

$100 Million Initiative to Create New Protected Areas for Endangered Species
Rainforest Trust, 9 September 2016
Rainforest Trust has launched the SAVES (Safeguarding Areas Vital to Endangered Species) Challenge at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) World Conservation Congress (WCC) in Hawaii. Through this initiative, Rainforest Trust has committed a $50 million challenge match that will direct a total of $100 million to create new Protected Areas throughout the tropics for the planet’s most endangered species.

[Indonesia] Heavy punishment key in fight against illegal wildlife trade: Activist
By Rizal Harahap, The Jakarta Post, 9 September 2016
Wildlife trade will not come to an end until Indonesia’s legal system imposes heavy sentences with a deterrent effect on people who illegally hunt or trade animals, an activist has said.
Osmantri, coordinator of the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Wildlife Crime Team in Riau, said tough penalties for wildlife poaching in Indonesia were few and far between, which had led to a rapid loss of species in the country.
Meanwhile, he praised the Rengat District Court, which sentenced two Sumatran tiger skin traders to four years in prison and ordered them to pay Rp 60 million (US$4,572) in fines, in a trial on Friday.

[Kenya] Traversing the wild and wonderful safari capital of the world
By Anand and Madhura Katti, The Jakarta Post, 9 September 2016
The thrill of guessing, chasing and going through the long hit-and-miss game drives through the savannas of Kenya was a lifetime experience. Learning about the habits and habitats of many rare species of animals and birds, especially at this time when so many species are becoming endangered, was enlightening. It reminded us of how the law of nature keeps our bio-world going, a lesson that was learned through textbooks years ago.
Long game drives in Combis (open roof vans), chance encounters with the wild in their natural habitats, beautiful sunrises and sunsets at the savannahs and the hills, the view of the innocent being preyed on by the shrewd big cats, the amazingly long necks of the giraffes, well designed patterns on strong zebras and numerous varieties of birds were all part of our week-long trip through this east African region. Not to forget its equally interesting human tribes ( 42 ) that have adapted to blend in with and survive in these surroundings. They are naturally kind and accommodating while being tough and strong, knowing how to survive with the bare minimum in any given condition.

[New Zealand] Maori shut out of conservation discussion
waateanews.com, 9 September 2016
The General Manager of the 14-strong Iwi Collective Partnership says indigenous voices are being shut out of a forum that looks set to demand that countries shut off 30 percent of their exclusive economic zones to commercial fishing.
Maru Samuels is in Hawaii observing the annual International Union for Conservation of Nature conference on behalf of the Iwi Collective Partnership, which manages the fisheries interests of 14 iwi.
Those iwi own 31 percent of the quota around the Kermadecs, which will be extinguished by the proposed ocean sanctuary.
Mr Samuels says there will be more such confiscations if the IUCN proposal is adopted.

10 September 2016

Inspired by family farm, Bullitt Prize winner works to reduce conflicts with wildlife
By Hal Bernton, Seattle Times, 10 September 2016
University of Washington researcher Carol Bogezi on Monday will receive the $100,000 Bullitt Prize for work that includes efforts in Uganda and the Northwest to ease conflicts between wildlife and people who make their living from the land.
As a child in her native Uganda, Carol Bogezi knew her boarding-school tuition was paid through sales from her family’s farm.
So when she labored there, she joined in the never-ending struggle to chase away the civets that stalked baby goats, the mongoose that pursued the chickens or the monkeys that invaded the corn and tomato fields.
Yet, from early on, she was drawn to these wild creatures, and balked at using a bow and arrow or other lethal means against them. Indeed, her favorite places on the farm were fallow patches of land where she could watch the animals come and go without having to worry about the damage they might cause.

11 September 2016

Global conservation summit sets direction for post-2015 sustainability agenda
IUCN press release, 11 September 2016
The IUCN World Conservation Congress closed today in Hawaiʻi, setting the global conservation agenda for the next four years and defining a roadmap for the implementation of the historic agreements adopted in 2015.
The IUCN Congress closed with the presentation of the Hawai’i Commitments. This document, titled “Navigating Island Earth,” was shaped by debates and deliberations over 10 days, and opened for comment to some 10,000 participants from 192 countries.
It outlines opportunities to address some of the greatest challenges facing nature conservation and calls for a commitment to implement them. It encapsulates the collective commitment by all who attended the Congress to undertake profound transformations in how human societies live on Earth, with particular attention to making our patterns of production and consumption more sustainable.

IUCN Congress Hawai‘i Commitments set sail
IUCN press release, 11 September 2016
Today, members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) adopted the Hawai‘i Commitments, an innovative document that sets out the opportunities to meet key conservation challenges identified at the IUCN World Conservation Congress.
The Commitments were shaped by Congress debates and deliberations and were submitted for comment to some 8,500 participants who attended the event. The Hawai‘i Commitments address issues such as sustaining world food supplies, maintaining the health of the oceans, addressing wildlife trafficking, addressing the challenge of engaging with the private sector, and building resilience to climate change.
The Hawai‘i Commitments highlight nature-based solutions to climate change, such as the restoration of forests and peatlands, as essential components of climate mitigation and adaptation. The Commitments also stress the role of Indigenous peoples and women from local communities as critical to successfully implementing the Paris Agreement.

Ban on domestic ivory trade passes at international summit
By Oliver Milman, The Guardian, 11 September 2016
Nations and environmental groups have agreed to shut down the domestic ivory trade, despite the resolution nearly being derailed by objections from countries including Japan and South Africa.
Following three days of political maneuvering, disagreements and walkouts, delegates at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) congress in Hawaii agreed on a text that calls on countries to close the internal trade of ivory “as a matter of urgency”.
The motion holds no legal power but conservationists hope it will spur countries to ban the sale of ivory within their own borders, to help stem the rampant poaching of elephants. The international trade in ivory has been banned since 1989 but in many countries, including the US, UK and China, domestic trade is still allowed for antiques.

Conservation Congress Votes to Ban All Domestic Trade in Elephant Ivory
By Guy Dinmore, IPS, 11 September 2016
The international conservation community has taken an important step towards saving African elephants from mass slaughter by voting at a major congress to call on all governments to ban their domestic trade in ivory.
A resolution at the World Conservation Congress of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) was passed overwhelmingly by governments and NGOs on its last day on Saturday despite fierce opposition from a minority of countries led by Japan, South Africa and Namibia.

World governments urge end to domestic ivory markets
By Kerry Sheridan, Phys.org, 11 September 2016
In a bid to stop the killing of elephants for their tusks, world governments voted at a major conservation conference to urge the closure of all domestic ivory markets.
After fierce debate—including opposition from governments like Namibia and Japan—the motion was adopted on the final day of the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress, a 10-day meeting that drew 9,000 people to Honolulu, Hawaii this month.
“Today’s vote by IUCN members is the first time that a major international body has called on every country in the world to close its legal markets for elephant ivory,” said Andrew Wetzler, deputy chief program officer at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

[India] Leopard trapped at Talasari will be shifted to Sanjay Gandhi National Park
By Virat A Singh, DNA India, 11 September 2016
With a green signal from the State Chief Wildlife Warden (CWW), the leopard which was trapped at Talasari on Tuesday by the forest department after one of the two people it had attacked succumbed to the injuries, will now be shifted to Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).
Forest officials claimed that the leopard, whose transportation formalities were being arranged from Dahanu to SGNP on Saturday so that it could be sent on late Saturday or early Sunday, would undergo a complete medical check up to decide the possibility if it could be released in the wild. “We have made the arrangements for the transportation and now vets and forest officials at SGNP will decide about the whether the leopard needs to be kept in captive or released keeping its health condition in mind,” said N Ladkat, deputy conservator of forest (DCF) Dahanu forest division.

[Indonesia] Rafflesia, corpse flowers included in conservation document
By Theresia Sufa, The Jakarta Post, 11 September 2016
The parasitic flowering plant Rafflesia and a giant flower locally known as bunga bangkai (corpse flower) have become the first two plants to be included in the government’s Conservation Strategy and Action Plan (SRAK).
Experts have praised the inclusion of the two Sumatran plant species in the SRAK, given their tenuous existence in their natural habitats.
Sofi Mursidawati, a Rafflesia researcher from the Bogor Botanical Gardens, said all types of Rafflesia and corpse flowers had now been included in a 2015 regulation issued by the environment and forestry minister. It is hoped this inclusion will ensure their conservation and protection.

South Africa Celebrates National Parks Week
By Ron Mader, planeta.com, 11 September 2016
South African National Parks (SANParks) celebrates National Parks Week from September 12-16 in most of South Africa’s national parks, some of which celebrate the week for a week (through September 18). Free access is given to day visitors, with a particular focus on attracting people from local communities. Free access to parks does not in include free access to accommodation facilities and other tourist activities.
Parks not participating are Namaqua National Park and Boulders Penguin Colony in Table Mountain National Park.
National Parks week was launched in 2006 with the objective of cultivating a culture of pride for all South Africans under the theme “Know Your National Parks“.
 

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