Conservation in the news: 14-20 November 2016

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

For regular updates, follow @conserwatch on Twitter.

14 November 2016

[India] U’khand to take local tips on handling wildlife clashes
By Mayuri Phadnis, Pune Mirror, 14 November 2016
Team of forest officials, villagers from north to visit first-of-a-kind conference here to discuss man-animal conflict, learn from successful management experiences in Maharashtra
It’s no secret that man-animal conflict — particularly when displaced leopards stray into encroaching human habitats — is an experience that is not exclusive to Maharashtra, but crops up on a pannational basis with alarming regularity. Now, in a bid to promote knowledge sharing on how to deal better with this dangerous crisis, a team of villagers and forest department officials from Uttarakhand will participate in a convention in Pune on November 21 to also learn from local experiences here.

[Mexico] Zacatecas says no to new protected area
Mexico News Daily, 14 November 2016
The government of Zacatecas has rejected the creation of a 2.58-million-hectare natural protected area in its territory in favor of mining, an industry that represents the state’s main source of income.
The Environmental Secretariat (Semarnat) published a study in 2014 that proposed the creation of a natural protected area and biosphere reserve in the Zacatecas desert, comprising 45% of the state’s territory and extending across the municipalities of General Francisco Murguía, Villa de Cos, El Salvador, Melchor Ocampo, Concepción del Oro and Mazapil.
The protection of the semi-arid lands was intended to preserve populations of endangered species such as the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos canadensis), the Mexican prairie dog (Cynomys mexicanus), the brown bear (Ursus arctos) and rattlesnakes.

[Pakistan] WWF urges govt to take steps for protection of wildlife
Daily Times, 14 November 2016
World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Chief Technical Advisor Dr Ejaz Ahmad on Monday said that climate change in Pakistan was forcing wildlife to change their behaviours and habitats.
Talking to APP, Dr Ijaz appreciated the government steps for devising a comprehensive policy for conservation of wildlife in Pakistan. “The government is pro-active and keen to protect wildlife and extending assistance to different organisations working in this field in the country,” he added.
He said that wildlife was an important resource with economic, cultural and recreational value to humans, an integral part of biodiversity of Pakistan. To a question, he said that for protection and conservation of wildlife, species and their habitat, a network of protected areas was currently in place, made effective under the Provincial Wildlife Protection Laws.

15 November 2016

[India] ‘Motivated staff required in protected areas’
The Assam Tribune, 15 November 2016
Investigation of a crime by the investigators is an important intellectual exercise as it involves integration of many disciplines like Chemistry, Physics and Forensic Science. Mere collection of evidence may not be acceptable in a court of law. What matters most is how good the collected evidence is.
The above was the observation made by a senior judge of Gauhati High Court, Justice Hrishikesh Roy while delivering his inaugural address at a seminar on ‘Capacity Building Programme on Wildlife Crime and Protection of Endangered Wildlife in North East India’, organised by the Gauhati High Court at the Forest Convention Centre, Kohora on Sunday.

[India] Lions’ abode gets eco zone cover
By Himanshu Kaushik, Times of India, 15 November 2016
The ministry of environment, forest and climate change has notified an area up to a maximum radius of 17.9 km from the current boundary of Asiatic lion sanctuaries in Gujarat as Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ).
Sources in the department said that the ESZ has been notified in consultation with the Gujarat forest department, and it will ease the movement of lions along the natural corridor.
In view of the sensitive nature of the movement of Asiatic lions, the Gujarat forest department decided to have the maximum – 17.9 km radius from sanctuary boundary as ESZ.

16 November 2016

Facebook is marketplace for endangered species parts, from elephants, rhinos, tigers: report
By Ethan Baron, SiliconBeat, 16 November 2016
Facebook has caught a lot of heat for allowing fake news into its streams, but a new report focuses on Facebook postings that are reportedly all too real.
The social media site has become an online marketplace for illegal sales of endangered species and parts of endangered species, according to a report by the Wildlife Justice Commission. The group had conducted an 18-month sting operation that included surreptitious visits to a Vietnamese wildlife-trading hub and combing through Facebook and Chinese messaging site WeChat.
Traders in endangered species “are primarily using Facebook to sell processed ivory products,” according to The Guardian, which saw an early copy of the wildlife commission’s report. Even whole elephant tusks have been sold on Facebook, along with paste made from tiger bones, and other parts from hundreds of rhinos, tigers and elephants, the newspaper said.

The Hanoi Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference must strengthen our resolve to act
By Helen Clark, The Independent, 16 November 2016
The world is in the midst of the biggest extinction of wildlife since the dinosaurs. As incredible as that may sound, these are the conclusions reached last month by the latest Living Planet Report produced by the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London. It reveals that the global populations of fish, birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles have plummeted by a staggering 58 per cent between 1970 and 2012.
There is no shortage of culprits behind this devastation wreaked upon the world’s animals — habitat loss and degradation, pollution, disease, and the spread of invasive species. And then there is species exploitation – as seen in the catastrophic rise in recent years of the poaching and trafficking of wildlife – to the tune of $20 billion a year.

Prince William visits Vietnam to promote wildlife conservation
By Rhiannon Mills, Sky News, 16 November 2016
Prince William has visited a traditional medicine shop in Vietnam to find out more about the myths surrounding the use of rhino horn.
It comes at the start of a two-day visit raising awareness of the illegal trade in wildlife.
Crowds packed the streets of the old quarter in Hanoi as the Duke of Cambridge met some of the shop owners to find out more about traditional medicine.
He is in the city for the third Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference, highlighting the crisis facing species of elephants and rhinos, as poachers seek to make money from their horns and ivory.

[UK] Andy Murray expresses opposition to unethical hunting after protesters call for world No 1 to ditch Under Armour
By Mike Dickson, Daily Mail, 16 November 2016
Andy Murray affirmed his opposition to killing animals for recreation in light of his clothing sponsor Under Armour dropping its endorsement of Josh Bowmar, a hunter in the United States.
Murray, a high-profile supporter of the World Wildlife Fund, was asked about the company kitting out members of the American hunting establishment following his win over Kei Nishikori.
‘There’s certain hunting that’s OK, but some that’s obviously isn’t ethical,’ he said.

17 November 2016

PepsiCo and the Nature Conservancy Announce “Water for the Planet:” A Water Replenishing Strategy For Latin America
PepsiCo press release, 17 November 2016
PepsiCo Latin America and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Latin America announced “Water for the Planet,” a new collaboration that will work to replenish five different watersheds for the urban areas of Mexico City, Monterrey, São Paulo, Guatemala City and Bogotain the next seven years.
The $3 million joint commitment toward the “Water for Planet” program aims to enable long-term, sustainable water security in the watersheds located near where PepsiCo works and includes cross-sector collaboration with suppliers and business partners. By supporting a watershed conservation initiative with large-scale results in four countries (five watersheds) in Latin America, the positive impact on water and people can have an amplified, long-lasting effect. With the announcement signed at the PepsiCo office by PepsiCo Latin America CEO Laxman Narasimhan, TNC President and CEO Mark Tercek and TNC Latin America Managing Director Aurelio Ramos, PepsiCo, TNC and its bottlers in Latin America seek to be a model of positive, collective impact.

[Liberia] ‘We must act now’
By William Q. Harmon, Liberian Observer, 17 November 2016
Liberia may still be enduring the brunt of the devastating civil war coupled with a calamitous epidemic that took away thousands of lives and derided a striving economy. And although she is not one of the multi-million dollar donors to climate financing, she is, however, contributing to the fight against this global phenomenon in a very unique way.
Apart from committing to global instruments such as the Paris Agreement, Kyoto Protocol and others that are geared toward finding sustainable solutions to the issue of climate change, Liberia has committed to this global effort by setting aside 20 percent of its national forest as a protected area that would help in the absorption of greenhouse gases as well as the preservation of endangered species.

Drugs, money and wildlife in Myanmar’s most secret state
BBC News, 17 November 2016
The remote Wa region of Shan state in Myanmar’s east is a place few outsiders have seen. The people who live in this unofficial, effectively autonomous state within Myanmar used to be called the Wild Wa, and as the BBC’s Jonah Fisher found, drugs, money and the wildlife trade are flourishing.
Wa state is one of the most secretive places on earth. Search for it on Google Maps and you won’t find it. Ask for a visa and you’ll be denied.
“We thought everyone who wanted to visit were spies,” one Wa official said.
But times in Myanmar, and in Wa state, are changing.

[USA] Discovery Networks raises awareness against illegal wildlife trade in Asia, 17 November 2016
In support of an ongoing commitment to save the world’s most endangered species, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific today announced the launch of an originally created public service announcement. Narrated by actor Edward Norton, the public service announcement will air on Discovery’s channels across Asia Pacific to help raise awareness and stem the illegal trade of endangered species products.

[USA] Bronx Zoo eyes world record to help stop elephant poaching
By Lisa L. Colangelo, Daily News, 17 November 2016
The Wildlife Conservation Society is trying to break a Guinness World Record for origami elephants in an effort to save the flesh and blood pachyderms.
Judges will examine more than 85,000 origami pieces on Thursday morning at the Bronx Zoo to see if they meet strict guidelines. The current record of 33,764 origami elephants was set in 2014 by the ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in London.
The WCS, which operates the zoo, hopes breaking the record will focus attention on elephant poaching in Africa where 96 elephants are killed every day for their ivory tusks.
“The United States has one of the largest illegal ivory markets in the world,” said John Calvelli, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s executive vice president of public affairs. “The problem is right here in New York.”

18 November 2016

[Belize] FCD and SELVANA sign Maya 2020 project agreement
Breaking Belize News, 18 November 2016
The Belize High Commission in London issued a press release to announce the signing of an agreement between SELVANA Ltd, a UK-based company and Friends for Conservation and Development, a Belizean NGO, setting out the delivery of activity on the Maya 2020 project.
The Maya 2020 Project is a collaboration between FCD and Selvana Ltd with the aim of supporting the sustainable forest conservation objectives of FCD as the only non–governmental organization with an assertive management presence in the park.
Managing Director of Selvana Chris Minty MBE said: “This rainforest is particularly important as it provides critical habitat for countless rare and endangered species, including tapir, scarlet macaw, howler monkey and the elusive jaguar. It also regulates local and regional climates and soaks up carbon gases from the atmosphere, an essential process to help combat global warming.”
According to The Nature Conservancy, a leading US conservation charity, the forest also harbours up to 400 species of resident birds, with several million individuals resting whilst migrating through the area during the North American winter periods. However, like so many areas around the world, the forest is coming under increasing pressure from illegal deforestation, particularly and along its western border with Guatemala.

19 November 2016

[Indonesia] Inspiring Mind: The Nature Conservancy safeguarding our home
By Katie Hawk, The Jakarta Post, 19 November 2016
Environmental damage and climate change are among the biggest threats the world faces today. Just imagine what the world would be like if continuous tangible environmental protection is not undertaken!
The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important land areas and waters for nature and people, addresses the most pressing conservation threats on the largest scale. The organization has been active in environmental protection programs in Indonesia since 1991, working in close collaboration with governments, local communities, civil societies, private sectors and academia.
Indonesia has the richest biodiversity on Earth. Its combined tropical rainforests covering 98 million hectares of land, rank third among the world’s largest. Its oceans are home to 75 percent of the world’s coral reef species and the second biggest producer of fish in the world. Furthermore, six out of seven turtle species in the world is found in Indonesia. Indonesia’s forests are home to the world’s largest population of orangutans and the unique Komodo dragon is endemic to Indonesia.

20 November 2016

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