Saturday, March 31, 2012

BIODIVERSITY YOUTH MENTORS HAVE A PIZZA PARTY AT MACOUN MARSH- OTTAWA, CANADA

What is better than mixing a nature outing with a pizza lunch!

Pizza tastes better when you are outdoors!

Salamanders are cool!

mmmmmmmm!

Painted turtle taking in some sun.

Friday, March 30, 2012

MACOUN MARSH UPDATE- OTTAWA, ONTARIO

Today a group of Grade 7 students visited the Macoun Marsh.

We found a large blue-spotted salamander!

He is a big guy!

Red-wing male setting up his territory. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rare Dodo Takes Centre Stage at de Gruchy Department Store in Jersey (UK)

An extremely rare Dodo skeleton that usually resides at Durrell Wildlife Park will take centre stage in de Gruchy’s shop window from Tuesday 27th March, to highlight the launch of the store’s £10,000 2012 charity challenge.

The skeleton, one of only a handful left in the world, will be carefully lifted into place, to kick-start a year’s programme of fundraising, staff and customer engagement by the store to the benefit of Durrell. The Dodo will remain on display until 16th April. It is 350 years since the last recorded sighting of the Dodo; so securing this rare, original skeleton (believed to be one of only four left in the world) is extremely exciting.

“Each year, de Gruchy sets a challenge to raise £10,000 funds to support a local charity and for 2012, Durrell has been selected by our staff,” explains Store Manager John Marquis. “However, we are planning a lot more than just fundraising to benefit this exceptional organisation. We have already started a programme of staff talks and engagement, communication about the work of Durrell to our loyal customers and have put in place plans to help raise awareness through our shop floor. From Friday 30th March, we will be launching a dedicated area of the store to sell Durrell merchandise, entry tickets and adoption packs, in a bid to raise awareness of the Trust to the thousands of customers that visit de Gruchy each week.”

In the coming months, de Gruchy will also be working with the Durrell team, passing on commercial and retail expertise and advice in order for the Trust to maximise its retail capabilities at the Trinity site.

“At Durrell we won’t compromise on our conservation projects, which put us under continued financial pressure. It is with the support of organisations like de Gruchy and the broader community that we continue to undertake our fieldwork and maintain our wildlife park and training centre in Trinity. Giving our charity prime position on the high street, using the Dodo to represent the challenges we face daily, is a huge boost to Durrell. We can’t thank de Gruchy enough for this opportunity,” says Durrell’s Honorary Director, Dr Lee Durrell.

Image and text from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

EARTH HOUR THIS SATURDAY!

This Saturday at 8:30 p.m., millions of people around the world will flick off the lights and live in darkness for one hour, all in an effort to raise awareness of global warming.  The annual Earth Hour event started in Sydney, Australia back in 2007. Since then, more than 120 countries have participated.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ontario budget: Liberals plan downgrade to at-risk species protection- Canada

Another sad day for Canada's natural heritage

The cash-poor McGuinty government plans to downgrade individual at-risk species protection, according to its austerity budget unveiled Tuesday.

The proposal would mandate the Ministry of Natural Resources to place a “stronger focus on ecosystems than on individual species,” while shrinking the number of smaller field offices – and staff – across the province.

With the province reeling under a massive deficit projected to hit $16 billion this year, the Ministry cuts would save $11.2 million over the next three years, including $7.5 million in 2014-2015. The Ministry as a whole would see its expenses dwindle from $713 million to $687 million.

The Liberals call the cuts “consistent” with improvements in science and technology. Through a series of tweaks to environmental legislation, the Ministry would “shift away from a species-by-species approach” to conservation. The Liberals would amend the Endangered Species Act to take a “risk-based approach” to assessing imperiled species.

While the criteria that defines at-risk species would not change, and nothing stands to be delisted, it remains unclear which species, exactly, will be affected. Wildlife monitoring programs, for example, might be scaled back and the Ministry is prepared to tolerate the possibility of losing up-to-date data.
The plan falls in line with wider proposed cuts inside the Ministry. The province would take a big-picture approach to resources management, cutting away species- and site-specific conservation measures and “deliver its service on larger geographic scales.”

Josh Tapper The Star.com Staff Reporter

Monday, March 26, 2012

ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISTS DETAINED- CHINA

Four Tibetans belonging to locally founded environmental group, Tawu Environmental Protection Association, were arrested by the Chinese officials last month. The group organized protests against rampant mining, deforestation, and smuggling of wildlife products in the region and in other cases, fined Chinese fishermen for fishing in sacred rivers.
17 March
http://www.chinamedia.com/news/2012/03/17/four-environmental-activists-arrested-in-tibet/

TIBET GOES GREEN

Come winter, Gyatso community in Gansu's Tibetan areas will have access to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) the third category of clean energy to be prevalent after methane and solar energy. Earlier, methane gas was made available to nearly 30,000 households between 2006 and 2010 whereas in 2008, solar energy stoves were made available for families and schools.
20 March
http://eng.tibet.cn/2010home/news/201203/t20120321_1728280.html

ORANG NATIONAL PARK- INDIA

The Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park in Assam which is spread across over 78.81 sq km has recorded 100 rhinos, a significant increase from 64 in 2009. The increase in rhino population could be attributed to strong anti-poaching measures taken up by the park authorities in the last three years. Orang also recorded second highest tiger density in the country after Corbett Tiger Reserve last year.
17 March
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/guwahati/Orang-National-Park-Rhino-population-pegged-at-100/articleshow/12308715.cms

FOREST FIRE AND HUMAN ENCROACHMENTS- INDIA

The ravaging forest fire in Dariya Hills has put threat on flora and fauna of Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh.  Meanwhile, human encroachment in Dachigam National Park in Srinagar is posing threat to the sanctuary's wildlife, including the Valley's famed Hangul (Kashmir stag) which numbers have dwindled from around thousands in 1947 to just 218. Over the years, agricultural fields bordering the park have been transformed into a village.
15, 19 March
http://www.assamtribune.com/scripts/detailsnew.asp?id=mar1512/oth07
http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2012/Mar/19/-concrete-threat-to-dachigam-national-park--22.asp

SMUGGLERS AND POACHERS- NEPAL

Seventeen timber smugglers were apprehended in Morang District, east Nepal, by the District Forest Office. In news, two people were arrested for killing elephants using electricity in Bardia District, west Nepal and two musk traders were nabbed by the security personal for possessing 14 grams of musk pods.
16, 17, 21 March
The Himalayan Times, Ujyalo 90 Network

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The World Bird Sanctuary (USA)


Over the past few weeks, I have been fortunate enough to volunteer at the World Bird Sanctuary. This is a truly unique experience and gives me a greater appreciation for those who work with animals every day. As a junior volunteer, my duties involve mostly cleaning and food preparation, as well as interacting with the public. I have learned a great deal about the birds and other animals that call the sanctuary home. I can't wait to go back again. If you live near St. Louis, Missouri I strongly encourage you to give the Sanctuary a visit. By educating the public about birds and other animals and facilitating a breeding program, the World Bird Sanctuary does a world of good for biodiversity.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

SPECIES IN REVIEW- ANDEAN CONDOR

This South American bird is called the Andean Condor.  It has the longest wingspan of any land bird.  This species is primarily a scavenger, feeding on carrion.  It prefers deer and cattle.  One of the world's longest living birds, it has a lifespan of up to 100 years old in captivity.  Classified as near threatened.  Image of condor from the Denver Zoo by Mike Leveille

LEADING GIRL BUILDING COMMUNITIES AWARD- ONTARIO, CANADA

The Leading Girls Building Community Award was presented to Jessica Walsh Moreau by Ottawa Centre Member of the Provincial Parliament Yasir Naqvi.  She has been involved in the Macoun Marsh Biodiversity Project since its beginning.  Jessica was also a leader in the 2009 International Youth Symposium for Biodiversity and the formation of the International Youth Accord for Biodiversity that she co-presented in Nagoya, Japan for COP10.     

Friday, March 23, 2012

On the trail of Ali Jambi: from timber baron to businessman

Campaigns Director Julian Newman catches up with Ali Jambi – aka Tham Hai Lee, Jambi Lee, Jenggo, Hap Ali – who went from Indonesian timber smuggler to wealthy Singaporean businessman.


Let’s call him Ali Jambi, as that was his nom de guerre when EIA first came across his trail over a decade ago.
He was born in Jambi, Indonesia, in 1969. In 2000, EIA was investigating rampant illegal logging of valuable ramin timber in Indonesia. Ramin is found in peat swamp areas, and the hotspots for illegal logging were Central Kalimantan and Riau Province, Sumatra.
We began hearing rumours that one man – Ali Jambi – controlled the ramin smuggling trade, making a fortune by ferrying the stolen wood across the Melaka Straits to Malaysia and Singapore. Later in 2000, his name appeared on a list issued by the country’s Ministry of Forestry of the top 12 illegal bosses in Indonesia.

To read more see: http://www.eia-international.org/timber-baron-turned-businessman-on-the-trail-of-ali-jambi 

Image from the EIA. 

MACOUN MARSH, OTTAWA, CANADA

Another interesting day at the Macoun Marsh in the center of Ottawa! 

Garter snakes can be quite relaxed if they are held gently.


Standing guard at the entrance of their den.


Canada Goose


Painted Turtles getting some sun.


Mourning Cloak Butterfly (These butterflies overwinter)


Chickadee digging into an aspen tree

TORONTO ZOO ADOPTIONS

Presently the Toronto Zoo is promoting their beautiful Polar Bears. This Zoo is actually recognized as an Arctic Ambassador by Polar Bears International and they have a "Polar Bear Team" at the Zoo that consists of keepers and educators.

They just recently had a baby born and are about to wrap up their naming contest. Here are some interesting links:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

TORONTO'S GREEN BELT (CANADA)

The Toronto Greenbelt is a broad band of permanently protected land which:
  • Protects against the loss and fragmentation of the agricultural land base and supports agriculture as the predominant land use;
  • Gives permanent protection to the natural heritage and water resource systems that sustain ecological and human health and that form the environmental framework around which major urbanization in south-central Ontario will be organized; and
  • Provides for a diverse range of economic and social activities associated with rural communities, agriculture, tourism, recreation and resource uses.

This is one of the largest green belts of its kind.  

The “Green Space Challenge”


Dear biodiversity enthusiasts,

We would like to inform you of a youth environmental challenge to engage young people in helping to protect our planet’s natural heritage. The “Green Space Challenge” encourages schools and community clubs to adopt local habitats and/or species to promote community conservation. This is not a competition- it is a global challenge.

Our proven model known as the Macoun Marsh Biodiversity Project began in 2004 with several Canadian schools working together to preserve an urban wetland. The international success of this program has launched this challenge initiative. We hope to develop many partnerships along the way!

This networking program will be continually featured on our international blog at biodiversitymatters.org.

Jessica Walsh Moreau
Biodiversity Youth Champion

Jessica Walsh Moreau presently attends Grade12 at St-Francis Xavier Catholic High School in Ottawa, Canada. Winner of the 2006 Volvo Adventure Award (Macoun Marsh Project) and the 2011 "Leading Girls Building Communities Award". She was the Youth Coordinator for the 2009 Youth Symposium for Biodiversity and attended COP10, in Nagoya Japan, presenting the 2010 International Youth Accord for Biodiversity.

GREEN UNIVERSITY- PAKISTAN

Spring tree plantation began at Azakhel Botanical Garden University of Peshawar and it will continue till the end of March. Around 10,000 plants will be planted by students, faculty and support staff at the garden. The garden is the biggest botanical garden in Pakistan which offers recreation, research and conservation facility for endangered plant species at one venue.
Mar 9

FOREST INTO CINDERS- BHUTAN

Forest Fire razed 800 acres of blue pine forest in Thimphu. It is the first major forest fire in Thimphu, and the second in the country this year, and lasted for three days.
Mar 13
http://www.kuenselonline.com/2011/?p=28586
http://www.bbs.bt/news/?p=10602

TOURIST STATE- INDIA

The hill state of Himanchal Pradesh received 150 million tourists in 2011 although the growth rate declined for the second successive year. Of the total, 146 millions were domestic tourists. In 2010, 132 million tourists visited the state. The growth rate in 2011 was 13.74 percent compared to 15.98 percent in 2010.
Mar 10

BIRD FLU IS EVERYWHERE- NEPAL

The local administration in Gorkha District, Central Nepal has banned import of poultry with the suspicion of bird flu as preliminary test was positive for the virus. Similarly, Government has declared four villages in Sunsari and Jhapa districts in Eastern Nepal as bird flu affected area and decided to send immediate relief to the affected villages and take measures to curb its spread in the neighboring districts.
March 9, 13

FEMALE A STEP FORWARD- NEPAL


Bina Sunaha (18) from Kanchanpur district, Western Nepal has become first female mahout (elephant handler) in Nepal through free competition with other male aspirants for the job. Now she has the responsibility to take care of seven elephants including four female and two male and one baby elephant.
March 8

CASH CROPS AND BEEKEEPING FOR BETTER LIFE- NEPAL


Lack of local government support and apathy notwithstanding, the farmers in Sankhuwasabha district, Eastern Nepal have started to earn good money from selling of Broom Grass (Thysanolaena maxima, locally  known as Amriso) after making it their main crop. Currently, more than 50 local family of Mamling VDC earn up to NPR. 50,000 annually. Besides selling, farmers barter broom grass with rice in 1:2 ratio in weight. Now, more than 10 VDC in this region have adapted broom grass cultivation. Similarly, production of Junar fruit (sweet orange or Citrus sinensis) contributes 190 -290 million Rupees annually to farmers of Sindhuli district, Central Nepal. Favourable weather has increased Junar production by 25% this year. In Sindhuli, there are four pocket VDCs for the production of ‘Junar’ and 40 VDCs are involved partially. In Morang district, Eastern Nepal, Community Forest User Groups are promoting commercial beekeeping to the farmers. This year, local people extracted 2,850 Kg of honey from 45 hives. Market value of honey is NPR 450 per kg.
March 8, 9
Gorkhapatra, Artha bazaar

STRIP CHINA OF IVORY ‘APPROVED BUYER’ STATUS

STRICT EMBARGO until 00.01 GMT on FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 2012

Governments urged to take responsibility for failure of ‘legal’ trade
LONDON: Legal ivory auctions must be stopped and China stripped of its Approved Buyer status if the rising tide of elephant poaching is to be curbed.

In a new briefing, Blood Ivory: Exposing the myth of a regulated market, released today, the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is also calling on the UK and other governments that supported the sale of stockpiled ivory to China and Japan to accept responsibility for their decision and take proactive steps to reverse the harm it has done to global elephant populations.

EIA Executive Director Mary Rice made the case for the UK and its EU partners to press for an immediate independent review of China’s domestic ivory trade control, regulation and implementation when she gave evidence yesterday (March 22) to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee’s hearing on Wildlife Crime.

The international trade in ivory was banned in 1989 but, following a brief respite, poaching and ivory smuggling have steadily risen to the point that 2011 was declared the worst year for elephants since the ban was put in place

EIA contends that a major factor in this rise has been the introduction of one-off auctions of stockpiled ivory to approved buyers, sanctioned by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

To date, two auctions have taken place, in 1999 and 2008, with both Japan and, subsequently, China granted Approved Buyer status by CITES; both countries have flourishing domestic ivory markets which EIA argues are the key driving force behind the global illegal ivory trade and the poaching that facilitates it.

When China was granted the status in July 2008– purchasing 60 tonnes of stockpiled ivory the following November –it made broad commitments to stamp out black market ivory via ‘rigorous’control systems and mechanisms.

Yet EIA’s most recent undercover investigations in mainland China demonstrate that China is blatantly failing to keep its promises; the evidence shows the trade in the country is out of control, with up to 90 per cent of ivory available on the ‘legal’ market derived from illegal sources.

There is also evidence that the Chinese Government has directly profiteered on the ivory it bought at action – after paying an average of US$157 per kilo, the same ivory was allegedly sold on to accredited traders for as much as US$1,500 per kilo.

“The decision to allow CITES-sanctioned ivory auctions and a limited ‘legal’ trade has been an unmitigated disaster for vulnerable elephant populations,” said Rice.

“The vast majority of seizures of smuggled ivory are destined for China, the black market there is flourishing, and the Government’s profiteering has allowed highly organised criminal syndicates to cash in by supplying poached ivory to undercut the artificially inflated prices of the ‘legal’ supply, which further provides the perfect cover under which to launder illegal ivory.

“The slaughter of hundreds of elephants in Cameroon this year is only the most recent indicator of the real cost of this failed policy.

“The UK Government, and all other governments which supported China’s bid to become an Approved Buyer, must shoulder the responsibility for that misguided decision and introduce clear polices to firmly oppose all future proposed stockpile auctions and to push for China’s Approved Buyer status to be immediately revoked, followed by a thorough review of those holding the status.”

The next meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to CITES will be held in Thailand in March 2013, when the ivory trade will once more be on the agenda.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

MESSAGE OF THE EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF THE CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY MR. BRAULIO FERREIRA DE SOUZA DIAS on the occasion of WORLD WATER DAY 2012

“Water and Food Security” 22 March 2012


Today there are over seven billion people to feed on our planet. Great advances in food production have been achieved over the past three decades to feed the world’s population. But while the global famine widely predicted in the 1960s and 1970s was successfully avoided due to the so-called “green revolution”, this progress came at significant environmental costs. Losses of natural areas, pollution of waterways, and the depletion of freshwater resources have had significant impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity.

Still there remain far too many people without sufficient food or even access to food of the necessary nutritional value. Most estimates suggest that a 70 per cent increase in food production will be required in order to feed what is expected to be a global population of nine billion people by 2050. This is a significant challenge: limited opportunities exist for expanding the area of land under cultivation without compromising other land uses, and agriculture is currently too dependent on external inputs and over-reliant on fossil fuels. But most importantly, water availability is now regarded as the key constraint to further gains in agricultural output. While we require only about two to four litres of water a day to drink, it takes between 2,000 and 5,000 litres of water to produce one person’s daily food.

Agriculture already accounts for 70 per cent of water use and there is increasing competition with other uses, particularly for industry and the rapidly expanding urban populations. Recent assessments conclude that globally we are already reaching the limit of sustainable water use and that this limit has already been exceeded in many areas, as witnessed by widespread depletion of river flows, continuing loss of wetlands, desertification and groundwater depletion on continental scales. Food security for future generations will now depend on building a successful partnership around the sustainable management of water.


The previous “green revolution” cannot be repeated in order to meet the challenge of achieving future food security. However, success is achievable by shifting the focus from simply intensification to sustainable intensification. Central to this will be water security to underpin food security. Biodiversity plays the central role in this. Genetic diversity held within existing farming systems and in nature is a key resource required to enable us to find the improved crop and livestock varieties needed in order to improve water-use efficiency.


Biodiversity is also important through its role in supporting ecosystem functions, and the services and benefits they deliver. With regard to water, these are significant: the quantity of water available at any time and place, and its quality, is greatly influenced by ecosystems. Rainfall is influenced by plant transpiration on regional scales. Forest vegetation maintains soil stability, thereby regulating erosion. Soil biodiversity plays the key role in enabling water to penetrate soil and be stored there, facilitating groundwater recharge, as well as nutrient cycling, to support sustainable crop production. Conservation agriculture is an approach that harnesses these benefits of biodiversity by reducing soil disturbance and chemical application, which maintains land cover and reduces water use, while delivering significant yet sustainable increases in production and farm profitability. The International Initiative on Soil Biodiversity under the Convention on Biological Diversity is playing a key role in further supporting such approaches. Farming is already a risky business, particularly regarding water. Climate change is adding additional risks and will impact ecosystems, and therefore farming, largely through changing water availability. We therefore need to respond by managing our ecosystems better so that they can support improved water security for food production in the face of increasing scarcity of water and extremes in its availability. Our policies will need to recognize the important role of natural storage of water provided by healthy ecosystems. Water balances in soils, wetlands and groundwater, and their inter-relationships with surface water flows provided by wetlands and land cover such as forests are critical components of the water cycle. Better use of rainfed agriculture, widely regarded as having a significant role to play in increasing production without irrigation, essentially involves better use of soil biodiversity to sustain water availability for crops. Ecosystems provide “natural water infrastructure” which needs to be considered in parallel, and as complementary to, physical water infrastructure such as dams and other impoundments and irrigation approaches.
 
 

Such approaches lie at the heart of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, and it’s Aichi Biodiversity Targets, adopted at the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, held in Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010. We have shifted beyond the dialogue of “trade-offs” between biodiversity, water and food production to the recognition that there are mutually supporting objectives at play, with significant win-win opportunities. Biodiversity is increasingly being viewed as a solution to problems. With full recognition of this, and with enhanced implementation of the Strategic Plan, backed by strong political will, we can realize the goal of achieving a food- and water-secure world by 2050.

Through these actions, we can make our second farming revolution truly green.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

MACOUN MARSH UPDATE- ONTARIO, CANADA

With the unusually warm weather, here is a look at the marsh today: 

Chipmunk emerging

Downy woodpecker

Cooper's Hawk

Mining bees on snowdrops

Blue-spotted salamander

Scarlot cup fungus



Monday, March 12, 2012

MELTDOWN AT MACOUN MARSH, OTTAWA, CANADA

The unseasonably warm weather this week has moved spring forward. 

Mallards are beginning to move into the marsh area.

Redwing males arrive before the females to set up territories. 

 Fossil found today- an ancient trilobite tail preserved in pyrite.  

Friday, March 9, 2012

TRAINING PROGRAMS AT THE DURRELL WILDLIFE CONSERVATION TRUST- UK


The International Training Centre is situated at Durrell wildlife park (formerly known as Jersey Zoo) in Jersey, headquarters to Durrell Wildlife Conservation. Durrell wildlife park is a world renowned conservation park containing over 130 species including some of the most threatened birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles in the world.

Les Noyers was purchased in 1979 with the express intention of developing a residential programme of endangered species recovery training. Since that time we have trained more than 2800 conservationists from 128 countries in how to save species from extinction.


Participants on our courses spend time in the conservation park learning first hand from Durrell staff about the husbandry techniques, veterinary care and welfare of our exotic collection. Most importantly you will learn how ex-situ management of endangered species can support their recovery in the wild.

 We run 45 projects in 14 countries worldwide. Many of the staff involved in our overseas conservation projects are based at the our wildlife park. Consequently participants on ITC courses will be exposed to the realities of endangered species and habitat recovery projects through lectures, seminars, problem solving activities and skills training direct from our field staff.

Images from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

Thursday, March 8, 2012

MESSAGE FROM BRAULIO FERREIRA DE SOUZA DIAS, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF THE CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

“Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty”
8 March 2012

This International Women’s Day is one of inspiration and celebration. This day serves to connect women from all walks of life in all parts of the world.

However, according to some estimates, women represent 70 per cent of the world’s poor. These women are particularly dependent on biodiversity for their livelihoods, and in some cases, their survival. This year’s theme “Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty” is particularly relevant to the first and third Millennium Development Goals which call for the eradication of extreme hunger and poverty as well as the promotion of gender equality and empowerment. This cannot be done without special attention to the world`s biodiversity without which we would all be economically, socially and culturally poorer.

The current rate of biodiversity loss is severe. So sever in fact that we are exacerbating the detrimental impacts of climate change and risk initiating further conflicts over limited natural resources and accelerating widespread poverty. The Convention is strongly committed to recognizing and promoting the integral yet distinct roles that women and men play in conserving, sustainably using, and sharing biodiversity. For example, the Convention has recognized the vital role of women in its preamble, and the Conference of the Parties has adopted the a Gender Action Plan, included women’s needs into the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, emphasized the importance of mainstreaming gender into all the programmes of work under the Convention, and called for the full support of women in the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.

Additionally, the Conference of the Parties has promoted national-level biodiversity management by requesting that gender be mainstreamed into Parties’ national biodiversity strategies and action plans.

In December 2011, the first Expert Meeting on Biodiversity for Poverty Eradication and Development was held in Dehradun, India. This Expert Group produced recommendations on the integration, valuation, capacity development, and monitoring of how to mainstream biodiversity and ecosystem services into poverty eradication and development processes. One of the conclusions of the Expert Group was that the Convention process needs to ensure that women, indigenous and local communities, and the poor and vulnerable are able to understand as well as benefit from initiatives for conserving, using and valuing biodiversity.

As the world celebrates this year’s International Women’s Day, we at the Convention Secretariat are proud to be doing our part in ensuring that this goal will be met and that all citizens of the planet, without exception, can benefit from biodiversity and contribute to a sustainable future.

I wish all women of the world a memorable and meaningful celebration of this International Women’s Day.

Montreal, 8 March 2012

AMAZON.COM CONFIRMS NEW POLICY TO BAN SALE OF WHALE AND DOLPHIN PRODUCTS

LONDON, UK / WASHINGTON, DC: Internet giant Amazon.com has now officially banned the sale of all whale and dolphin products from its wholly owned Japanese website, following global outrage that these products were offered for sale.
  
Amazon confirmed the prohibition on its main website by adding language under the Food and Beverage section that prohibits "Products containing shark, whale, or dolphin" and Amazon’s Japanese website contains a similar ban on selling whale dolphin products.
   
The Environmental Investigation Agency and Humane Society International revealed last month that Amazon Japan not only sold products from endangered and protected whale species, but also products containing dangerous levels of mercury.
   
In response, Amazon withdrew all whale products from Amazon Japan within 24 hours but declined to make any formal policy commitment regarding a permanent ban.
   
However, as of March 7, both the Amazon.com website and its Japanese version contain an explicit prohibition on the sale of products from whales and dolphins.
   
“Amazon.com has taken the right decision to enact a company-wide ban on the sale of all products derived from whales and dolphins,” said Clare Perry, senior campaigner for the Environmental Investigation Agency. ”Internet sales are a major threat to endangered and threatened wildlife and we strongly urge all other internet companies selling such products to follow Amazon’s lead.”
   
“Amazon heard the public loud and clear,” said Kitty Block, vice president of Humane Society International. “Amazon should be congratulated for being responsive to its consumers’ pleas that whales and dolphins should be protected and not sold for profit.”

Last week Durrell’s Honorary Director Dr Lee Durrell received her MBE at Buckingham Palace.


After many years of pioneering work for Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Lee collected her well-deserved award from no less than the Prince of Wales. After she was honoured on Thursday in the investiture ceremony, she thanked all the conservationists, members and volunteers for their dedication.

Of her award Lee said: ‘I am very honoured, but I feel it is more for my colleagues and friends at Durrell, past and present, who work tirelessly on our mission of saving species from extinction.’

Lee has been recognized for her major role in protecting endangered species and in particular her outstanding work as co-ordinator in many Madagascar projects. Not to mention her work as a celebrated author, television presenter and pilot.

Image from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust