Sunday, April 29, 2012


Here are a few images from this week. 

American Goldfinch

Mourning Cloak Butterfly

Raccoon bones discovered

Friday, April 27, 2012


Conservationists Urge EU and US Governments to Intervene

London/Washington DC: Conservation and animal welfare groups expressed concern today over news that Iceland’s hunt of endangered fin whales will resume this summer.

The Icelandic newspaperSkessuhorn reported yesterday that it had “reliable evidence” fin whaling will begin again, after being shut down last summer due to the impacts of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Although Kristján Loftsson, director of Hvalur, would not confirm, the paper claimed it had evidence that whaling will begin in June and is likely to last for three months.
The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) are urging European and US leaders to take strong diplomatic actions to end Iceland’s continued and expanding whaling.
Clare Perry, EIA senior campaigner, said:“Iceland has exported almost 2,000 tonnes of whale meat to Japan in recent years. The Icelandic whaling company Hvalur is deliberately growing an export market for an endangered species which is protected by two international agreements to which Iceland is signatory. We are calling on the EU and US to take urgent steps to end this rogue whaling.”
Iceland has engaged in commercial whaling for years in defiance of the international moratorium agreed to by the International Whaling Commission in 1982. Hvalur has an annual quota of 150-170 endangered fin whales. Iceland’s annual minke whale hunt is also expected to resume soon, with a quota of 216 animals.
“Iceland’s commercial slaughter of minke whales – like the fin whale hunts – is cruel and unnecessary,” said Vanessa Williams-Grey of WDCS. “Much of the minke whale meat on sale in Iceland is consumed by tourists, including from the UK, US and Germany, who adopt a ‘when in Rome’ attitude on holiday, despite the fact that few Icelanders consume minke whale meat on a regular basis. Until last autumn, Iceland allowed minke whale meat to be sold in Keflavik airport’s departure area, even though most countries prohibit its import and could prosecute those importing whale meat.” 

In response to Iceland’s whaling, in September 2011 President Obama imposed diplomatic sanctions on Iceland under the Pelly Amendment for undermining the effectiveness of the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling and, specifically, the commercial whaling moratorium. In its analysis of Iceland’s whaling, the US Department of Commerce made clear that any resumption in fin whaling could result in more significant sanctions, including trade restrictions, against Iceland. The European Union is also presently engaged in accession discussions with Iceland.
“President Obama has already laid the foundation for a strong US response to this news with the Pelly certification in September 2011,” stated D.J. Schubert of AWI. “Any suggestion of a resumption of fin whaling should trigger an immediate response by US authorities to warn Iceland of the implications, domestically and internationally, of killing fin whales.”
AWI, EIA, and WDCS have shared the Skessuhorn article and their concerns with relevant US and EU authorities and have requested that they take immediate steps to caution Iceland about resuming fin whaling. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012


LONDON:The European Commission has announced that Italy and Malta could face legal action over their continued failure to implement the European Union F-gas Regulation, which controls emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases in Europe.

On the recommendation of Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, the Commission is sending a 'reasoned opinion' to both countries, formally requesting they take action to ensure full compliance with the F-Gas Regulation. In the absence of a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission says it may refer the cases to the European Court of Justice.

Natasha Hurley, Global Environment Campaigner with the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), said: “Italy and Malta have turned a blind eye to key aspects of the F-gas Regulation and we congratulate the Commission on taking this action. However it is clear that even perfect implementation of the Regulation will not sufficiently reduce F-gas emissions. A drastic overhaul is needed.”

The European Commission is in the process of reviewing the F-gas Regulation. An independent study commissioned as part of the review highlighted numerous shortcomings, including a chronic lack of implementation and enforcement across the EU. Analysis conducted by EIA shows that the current legislation has allowed emissions of HFCs, the most common type of F-gases in use in the EU, to rise by 28 per cent since it was introduced.

EIA is calling for a phase-out of most of HFCs by 2020. The Review of the F-Gas Regulation presents a unique opportunity to quickly and cheaply end emissions of one of the six main greenhouse gases in the EU, and allow Europe to take the lead in international efforts to develop greener refrigeration and air-conditioning.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


As per the waste prevention and management regulation 2012 -people littering or dumping waste in the streams, rivers, drainage systems or other water bodies; urinating or defecating in a public place; selling of goods on the streets and pedestrian walkways without approval - will be slapped fines, ranging from Nu 100 to Nu 20,000.
19 April


The water supply project, which is slated to complete this week will supply a total of 1,000 cubic meters of water every day benefitting 1,000 households, has failed to abide by the Water Act 2011 for which the Thimpu municipality has been fined Nu. 100,000. According to National Environment commission, the project did not acquire environment clearance certificate prior to groundwater extraction. As per the norms, an approval is needed from the commission even before conducting the feasibility study.
17, 18 April


This year, Tibet plans to increase its forest cover by afforesting 67,867 hectares of land. The plan is to win over 1.5 billion Yuan forestry project funds, increase income of farmers and herdsmen by 900 million Yuan, and realize 1.1 billion Yuan of forestry output value.
17 April


A 30 Megawatt solar photovoltaic power generation plant is being built in Xigaze which will ease power shortage this year in Tibet’s second largest city. The plant is the first phase of a massive PV project in the region. Xigaze has an average of 3,183 hours of annual solar radiation.
16 April


Government of Jammu and Kashmir has declared storm as a natural calamity in the category of cyclone. Wind storm lashed the Valley and parts of Jammu last month, claiming lives of three persons and damaging over 16,000 structures. Wind-storms in the past have caused severe destructions and short-period wind-storms is nothing new in the State.
18 April


To conserve green cover in the state, the Forests and Environment Ministry of Jammu and Kashmir is exploring forest, wildlife and environment conservation models of Assam and Meghalaya and looking into their viability for implementation in the state. Meanwhile, in a bid to protect state forest, government of Assam is to provide weapons (AK-47 rifles and SLRs) to its forest guards and has also instructed immediate closure of all illegal saw mills. Also, recent amendment in their forest act identifies forest guards as police.
17, 19 April


Six District Forest Officers and two forest officers who were accused of smuggling of timber last year have been set free by the District Forest Office Banke, west Nepal, after issuing them a warning. The District Forest Officer quoted "Issuing a warning against the guilty means the guilty is punished. The accused might be dismissed if they repeat such a mistake". However, none of the accused was formally charged. The trend of releasing forest employees without booking them is normal.
20 April
The Kathmandu Post


A local resident and his four accomplices have been charged for illegally felling of 300 trees worth NRS 10 million inside Sherdung forest, part of Gaurishanker Conservation Area (GCA). As per the permission obtained from the office of GCA, he had permit to cut only 150 trees in his private forest. Last month, the accused was summoned to the court but he refused to turn up instead his supporters ransacked a unit office of GCA after a case was registered against him. Meanwhile, locals have vented their frustation against the GCA officials for the delay in taking action to check illegal logging.
19 April


A community forest in Lubhu of Lalitpur District, central Nepal, which is spread over 5.45 hectares, has no single tree in the forest instead local use the forest to graze their cattle. Similarly, more than 500 trees (worth NRS 3 million) were uprooted recklessly by the office bearers of community forest users’ groups from the 3 community forests in Dovan of Palpa District, west Nepal, for the expansion of electricity transmission lines from the Jhumsakhola Hydro Project-III. The office bearers have been arrested by the District Forest Office for their delinquency.
18, 20 April
The Himalayan Times, The Kathmandu Post


Of the 38,000 drinking water projects in the country only half are operational and the remaining halves are not functioning. It is estimated that NRS 15 billion is required to overhaul these projects. However construction of new projects is less expensive than the maintenance costs. At present, more than 20 organizations are working on water and sanitation programs. Only 55 percent of the country’s population has access to clean drinking water.
15 April

Monday, April 23, 2012


Chance to transform the forestry sector with civil society

LONDON: The European Union’s suspension of sanctions against Burma , which will include lifting the prohibition on direct trade of timber and wood products to EU markets, should be an opportunity to introduce meaningful reform directly benefiting the country’s people.

EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg today agreed to suspend sanctions against Burma for one year, opening the way for trade and investment with Western firms.

The move came on the heels of democratic reforms introduced by Burma ’s Government and has been supported by National League for Democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The London-based Environmental Investigation Agency today welcomed the suspension of sanctions as a step towards greater democracy and freedom but cautioned that the move should not give a green light to open trade in timber.

“After half a century of corruption and rule by the military and their business associates, Burma simply has no credible infrastructure through which we can verify the legality and sustainability of its timber exports,” said EIA Head of Forests Faith Doherty.

“What this historic moment does represent, however, is a unique opportunity to establish a role for civil society in Burma . It must be part of any reform that creates the very infrastructure needed to ensure the invaluable resources of the country’s forests are not squandered for the financial gain of a few but are instead properly managed and traded under the scrutiny of appropriate due diligence for the benefit of the people of Burma.”

Given that the majority of Burma’s natural resources are in ethnic areas, trading in timber and raw materials from Burma without a transparent and verified system will not only accelerate deforestation, it will do nothing to support a much-needed peace process.

While sanctions were in place, the trade of timber and wood products from Burma went mainly through neighbouring countries, with China a driving force behind the demand for cheap high-value timber.

The EU's Timber Regulation will come in effect in March 2013, prohibiting the import of wood products made from illegally logged timber and requiring timber importers who first place timber and wood products onto the European market to use a due diligence system.

“Illegal logging and destructive forest conversion are hand-in-hand with corruption, crime, cronyism and a multitude of other societal ills suffered by the people of Burma for so long,” added Doherty. “EIA’s work has consistently demonstrated that excluding or significantly limiting civil society participation in the decision-making processes affecting forests exacerbates these problems.

“It is crucial for Europe to keep in mind that there are no safeguards at all in place in Burma. Its forests are in crisis, as are the people who rely on them for their livelihoods and as a life-sustaining resource.

“Burma needs help, and addressing the timber trade without acknowledging the serious governance challenges that come with it would be a massive opportunity lost.”

Sunday, April 22, 2012


The rarely seen Ruby-crowned kinglet male

They flare their crown when they are upset!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


22 April 2012

The proclamation of 22 April as International Mother Earth Day is an acknowledgement that the Earth and its ecosystems provide its inhabitants with life and sustenance. It also recognizes a collective responsibility, as called for in the 1992 Rio Declaration, to promote harmony with nature and the Earth to achieve a balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations of humanity.

Mother Earth is a common expression amongst many peoples for the planet Earth. It reflects the view of not only the interdependence of all living beings but of kinship with the Earth itself. Many indigenous peoples in Latin America call Mother Earth “Pachamama”.  For many indigenous peoples, including the Australian Aborigines, the Earth does not belong to them but they belong to the Earth – I come from there – she is my Mother (they would say).

The concept of Mother Earth is very much in harmony with the ecosystem approach which is one of the pillars of the Convention on Biological Diversity and also with the precautionary principle contained in Principle 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and the preamble to the Convention on Biological Diversity.

International Mother Earth Day provides an opportunity to raise public awareness around the world to the challenges regarding the well-being of the planet and the life it supports. Accelerating  environmental degradation and climate change make it all the more urgent to ensure the sustainability of development. It is also an opportunity to draw attention to the role of indigenous and local communities and their traditional knowledge – that intimate in-depth knowledge of the local environment held by indigenous and local communities. It is the knowledge of the cycles of the Earth and all that lives on it.

The Convention’s work on respecting traditional knowledge (Article 8(j)) and its commitment to the effective participation of indigenous and local communities grounds the Convention in a daily reality of peoples directly dependant on biological diversity for their daily lives. Furthermore their contribution to the work of the Convention is immeasurable. Their presence is a constant reminder to all of us that we are all interconnected with each other and to the Earth itself.

I remain convinced that the Earth and its rich biodiversity will be preserved by the actions all of us take on a daily basis, to help nurture and sustain our common matriarch, Mother Earth.

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias
Executive Secretary
Convention on Biological Diversity

Friday, April 20, 2012

How do you live Earth Day every day?

The Roots & Shoots Youth Leadership Council has created an Earth Day campaign to help us share ideas and inspiration about how we can live Earth Day every day!

Write down how you live Earth Day every day, take a photo of yourself with your sign, and post it on our Facebook page to help inspire others!

The most creative or inspiring post will have the opportunity to be featured in our newsletter and on our website!

The campaign runs today through Earth Day!

Youth “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 

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 Young Woman’s Leadership 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. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012


In 2011, park authorities in Royal Manas National Park have seized more than 200 logs, 40 bulls and 45 bullock carts and various weapons from timber smugglers. The record also confirms that a fine of over Nu 200,000, compensation of about Nu 148,000 and royalty of about Nu 100,000 was collected from the smugglers. Through the porous border with India’s Manas National Park, smugglers find their way to the park. Due to staff crunch, the park authorities are having tough time to keep check on the illegal activities.
12 April


Due to lack of storage facilities, farmers in Bhutan continue to lose harvested crops to pest infestation. Loss is estimated between 20 and 40 percent. Meanwhile, farmers of Khothakpa, Pemagatshel in south east Bhutan have complained that dust coming from gypsum mining site nearby their citrus orchard is to be blamed for dying citrus trees. However, the mining officials have denied the allegations saying that dying of trees is due to natural diseases. The number of fruit bearing trees has reduced significantly over the years.
7, 10 April


This year, water resources department of Tibet Autonomous Region has earmarked 320 million Yuan (51 million U.S. dollars) to provide drinking water to more than 300,000 people.  Last year, Tibet invested 235 million Yuan in such projects, providing drinking water for over 223,000 people.  During the 11th Five-Year Plan (2005 – 2010), more than 1.5 million people benefitted from its water projects.
14 April                                                                                           


To help protect its endangered Tibetan antelopes and other wildlife species, Kekexili nature reserve (Hoh Xil) on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is seeking volunteers.  Along with promoting public awareness of eco-conservation, the volunteers will patrol the reserve for one month to stop poachers and help rescue wild animals. Since 2002, more than 400 people from different walks of life have volunteered in this reserve.
12 April


Forest in Meghalaya which is considered as sacred groves by the local Khasi tribes is on decline as it is facing the brunt of poverty, cultural change and migration. In some instances, locals are forced to sell the exotic varieties of trees and other resources.  So far 115 such “sacred groves” have been documented in the State. Locals are seeking for government intervention to inject incentive and award system to preserve the forests.
12 April


Recently conducted Rhino census in Kaziranga National Park (2,290), Orang National Park (100), Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary (93) and Manas National Park (22) has recorded the presence of 2,505 rhinos. There has been an increase of 302 compared to 2009 census.
10 April


Wildlife movements along Nepal-India border will be free and unrestricted as per the agreement signed by high officials of both the country in Bharaich of India. As per the agreement, no fencing is allowed along the wildlife corridor unless there is a dense human settlement. Earlier in March 2011, India dug a trench in the biological corridors of the Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) to stop the loss caused in Nepal by the Indian wildlife movement.
14 April
Headlines Himalaya #149


Office bearers of the Community forest user group in Argakhanchi District, west Nepal, have been arrested for felling of more than 250 trees. Locals in Gaur of Rautahat District, east Nepal, have formed a struggle committee to fight against rampant deforestation taking place in the area and have filed complaints against the forest authority. Similarly, eighteen office bearers of 2 community forests in Palpa District, west Nepal, have been arrested for illegal felling of trees.
10, 11, 12 April
The Kathmandu Post, Nepal Samacharpatra, Kantipur

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

UK- Ducklings Signal Hope for World's Rarest Bird

The Madagascar pochard - arguably the world’s rarest bird - has bred successfully in captivity building hope that it can be saved from extinction.

Eighteen precious pochard ducklings are being reared at a specially built centre in Antsohihy, Madagascar, opened last year by Dr Lee Durrell. The birth of the ducklings is a key milestone in the conservation of the species, including an emergency expedition two years ago to take eggs into captivity. It is the ducks from those eggs that have now bred for the first time.

The pochard breeding programme is part of a joint project to save the bird by Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), the Peregrine Fund, Asity Madagascar and the Government of Madagascar.

Peter Cranswick, Head of Species Recovery at WWT said: “Although Lake Matsaborimena is the last hiding place for the ducks, it is far from ideal as a habitat. Our initial investigations suggest there is too little food and this may be leading to the low survival of the ducklings; in effect, they are starving to death.

“We have identified some lakes where the physical conditions are potentially right for the pochard, but success will depend on support of the local community. Fishing is thought to be one factor that led to the pochard’s decline but many rural Malagasy people earn their livelihood from fishing. The challenge is to find a solution that helps both the people and the birds.”

Image and text from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

International Youth Conference on the Environment in Nagano

4 Days in Nagano, Japan
will inspire you.

The 1st Conference will be held on June 14-17, 2012

Theme: Traditional life style consistent with environment

Come join us !!

UK - Frontline Gorilla Conservation - Durrell

Islanders are being given an incredible opportunity to hear first-hand how conservationists on the ground in Africa are helping to protect the world’s largest primate, the gorilla.

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust has joined forces with Virunga National Park of the Democratic Republic of Congo to hold a night dedicated to the efforts behind gorilla conservation. The evening is entitled “Gorilla Conservation on the Frontline” and will take place on Wednesday 25th April, starting at 7pm in the Princess Royal Pavilion at Durrell

Five different races or ‘sub-species’ of gorilla are currently recognised, all of which face a severe threat of extinction in their native African habitats. The gruesome and growing illegal trade in gorilla ‘bush meat’ and the all too common problem of habitat loss are the main reasons for the decline of the gorilla.

Durrell has kept western lowland gorillas since 1959 and they are a familiar sight to visitors to the Wildlife Park. To date, 15 valuable babies have been born here. Most are now at other zoos and continue to make a valuable contribution to the breeding programme for their highly endangered species.

Jonathan Stark, who has worked with Durrell’s gorillas for 5 years said: “The on-going conservation work to protect the gorilla is vital for its survival and we are proud to play our part in it. “Gorilla Conservation on the Frontline” promises to be a fascinating evening and will really open people’s eyes to the incredible work that takes place on a daily basis in Africa to ensure the survival of these magnificent animals.”

Images and text from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

Monday, April 16, 2012


Join the Global Youth Biodiversity Network -
apply now for your ticket to Berlin!

The idea behind GYBN
is to create a global youth network that unites young people and youth organizations from all parts of the world and all walks of life through one common goal: To halt the loss of Biodiversity as soon as possible!GYBN's mission is to provide a global platform to get in touch with each other and have the opportunity to join forces for the protection of biological diversity on our planet. GYBN also aims to become the international coordination platform for youth participation in the CBD and is committed to bring the opinions and positions of youth into the negotiations. It is officially supported by the CBD Secretariat.

From August 21st to 27th 2012 NAJU (German Youth Association for the Protection of Nature) will host the
GYBN Kick-Off Conference in Berlin and bring together 35 young environmentalists from all parts of the
world to establish the global youth biodiversity network.

Biodiversity loss doesn't stop at national borders! This is your chance to get connected with like-minded young people and youth organizations from all over the world. Be a part of the solution and help to halt the loss of Biodiversity.
The number of participants is strictly limited and will be selected according to the application.
Please fill in the questionnaire on:
10th of May 2012

Fee50,00 EURO (Board and lodging will be provided. Up to 75 % of the travel costs can be reimbursed after handing in the original tickets. )
Juliane Rosin,
Charitéstr. 3
10117 Berlin, Germany
Tel.: +49 (0)30 284 984 1924
Fax: + 49 (0)30 284 984 2900

The gybn kick-off conference will be funded by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (Bundesamt für Naturschutz, BfN).

Logo gybn kick-off conference: Gigih Septianto, Daniel Henkel

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spring at Macoun Marsh in Ottawa, Canada

Here are some pictures from today!

A SPLASH of colour- a Female Eastern Comma

Male Goldfinch showing off his colour!

Red-tailed Bumble Bee on a Periwinkle flower

Red-necked False Blister Beetle on Dogtooth Violet

Green frog with frog-specific mosquitoes

Saturday, April 14, 2012


Although bonobos are our closest living relative, we still know very little about them. What we do know is that there aren’t many of them left – as few as 10,000 left in the wild, making them the world’s most endangered ape. Bonobos only live in one country, the Democratic Republic of Congo, which has seen the bloodiest war since World War II.

For over 15 years, Claudine André has fought for the conservation and welfare of bonobos in Congo. She established Lola ya Bonobo, the world’s only bonobo sanctuary with over 60 orphans from the bushmeat trade, but more than anyone else in the world, Claudine has worked tirelessly to convince everyone from Congolese hunters to politicians that bonobos are a national treasure worth protecting.

How can anyone not want to help these beautiful animals?

  Bonobo Handshake is an amazing book that follows a young woman (Vanessa Woods) who follows her fiance to Congo to study these rare apes.  Check out
A big thank you to Vanessa Woods for the permission to use the above images.

About We Canada:

"We Canada is a nation-wide initiative for Canadian leadership in sustainable development at the Earth Summit 2012. Our goal is to represent the Canadians that otherwise wouldn't have been represented. We aim to bring a diversity of Canadian voices to the Earth Summit 2012 and to the Government of Canada’s attention.

The initiative aims to influence Canadian political actors to adopt progressive policies on sustainable development. The three policy proposals put forward by We Canada are: Measuring What Matters, Getting the Prices Right and Making Trade Fair. We Canada is about talking, about sharing, about creating a community of engaged citizens around common ideas and concerns for our future. We  Canada is about telling our leaders that they must take a stand for sustainability because this is our priority.

We want your voice to be heard when Canada speaks up for you at the Earth Summit 2012. Whether you see sustainable development as a health issue, an environmental issue, a social issue, an equality issue, a political issue, or a global issue - you’re right! Together, WE CAN address all of these challenges and make our voices heard at this globally important event."
Earth Summit Dialogues:

"The Earth Summit Dialogues, is an initiative to encourage Canadians to take action for Canadian leadership at the Earth Summit 2012. Through the dialogues Canadians will have an opportunity to engage in discussions related to sustainability at the local level. These discussions will involve friends, family, students and/or colleagues and will focus on We Canada’s three major policy proposals for the Earth Summit 2012. The results from these dialogues will then be presented at the conference in Rio de Janeiro during the We Canada event. The Earth summit Dialogues will be hosted in Canadian homes from April 15 – May 15, 2012.

The three policy recommendations that are the topic of discussion of the Earth Summit Dialogues are: Measuring What Matters, that aims to establish an efficient method to measure human welfare, Getting the Prices Right that targets the Canadian government to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and place an economy-wide price on carbon and Making Trade Fair, that addresses Canada’s economic activity on a global scale and focuses on ways to ensure that Canadian trade advances the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of other people and places around the world."


Friday, April 13, 2012


Spring at Macoun Marsh with St-Laurent Academy School

Tree Swallow

Eastern garter snake

Enjoying nature

Eastern blue-spots are common here.

Red-wing male defending its territory.

Assassin bug

Raccoon sleeping in a squirrel nest

Thursday, April 12, 2012

PANAMÁ - More Photos From My Easter Break

A hummingbird drinking some sweet honey from a feeder.

A close up shot of a hummingbird.

Some bromeliads from the same family as pineapples, nestled up on some tree branches.

A nut from the Bambito tree. One of the foods the Resplendent Quetzal prefers.

Here is a male quetzal with a nut that he is holding in his beak. Waiting so he can feed it to his chicks. 

A shot I took of a piece bamboo which helps the earth here in Panamá stay firm.
Bamboo is very helpful to avoid corrosion and landslides. 

Mr. Panamá

New insights in biodiversity and sustainability awareness around the world:

Paris/Montreal, 12 April 2012 –The Union for Ethical Bio Trade (UEBT) launched the latest Biodiversity Barometer in Paris today.

The 2012 biodiversity barometer finds that 76% of all respondents from around the globe were aware of sustainable development, 64% of biodiversity. Of the top 100 beauty companies in the world, 54 mentioned sustainability in their reporting and website, while 31 referred to biodiversity.

The barometer provides insights on evolving biodiversity awareness among consumers and how the beauty industry reports on biodiversity. It also illustrates the progress towards achieving the targets of the Strategic Plan of the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This year, the survey was conducted among 8000 consumers in eight countries - Brazil, France, Germany, India, Peru, Switzerland, UK and USA.

Towards Rio+20
Twenty years after the United Nations Earth Summit significant levels of awareness have been reached. UEBT found that global awareness on sustainability is 76%. Yet, over the last years the growth curve has flattened. Rio+20, the UN Summit on Sustainable Development that will be held in Brazil later this year, is aiming to provide new impetus for sustainable development.

A significant number of people surveyed (75%) assign an important role to private sector in achieving sustainable development, in addition to their governments. This highlights the needs to consider the private sector in the outcomes of Rio+20 and the importance of business to take action towards the future we want.

Reaching the 2020 biodiversity targets
Awareness on biodiversity around the world is generally high, with particularly high awareness rates in countries like Brazil, France, Switzerland and South Korea. Significant differences of awareness exist between countries, even within the same region. The understanding of 2 biodiversity, measured through the number of people that provided correct definitions of biodiversity, is often very limited: Nowhere does it exceed 50%.

Governments worldwide are committed to increasing understanding of the values of biodiversity by the year 2020, as part of the biodiversity targets of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. The UEBT Biodiversity Barometer shows that when reaching out to increase understanding, the most important channels are television, magazines, newspapers and schools.

Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, Executive Secretary of the CBD, said: “The first target of 2020 is raising awareess on the values of biodiversity. To reach these targets we need to regain the momentum created by 2010 International Year of Biodiversity. We trust that Rio+20 and the United Nations Decade of Biodiversity 2011-2012 will put biodiversity high on people’s agenda again.”

Rik Kutsch Lojenga, UEBT Executive Director, adds: “Only 19% of people have heard about biodiversity through business communications. So far, the potential contribution of the private sector towards biodiversity awareness remains largely untapped. To understand the vast potential, one only needs to look at Brazil where consumers say that advertising is the second most important source of information on biodiversity. Biodiversity awareness in Brazil is highest among the surveyed countries.”

Ethical sourcing of biodiversity: consumer expectations towards business
The UEBT biodiversity barometer finds that 85% of consumers surveyed look for natural ingredients in cosmetics products, and 69% pay attention to where ingredients come from.  More than 80% would like to be better informed about companies' sourcing practices. Yet, only 31 of the top 100 beauty companies mention biodiversity in their websites or CSR reporting. Only 19 mention biodiversity sourcing practices in supply chains, and consistent and comprehensive reporting on these issues is almost absent.

This year particular attention was paid to emerging economies. “Emerging economies are not only the markets of the future, they are also increasingly influencing the sustainability agenda” said Rik Kutsch Lojenga. “Many consumers in emerging economies are interested in environmental and social issues. When asked about their purchasing behaviour, 41% of consumers in Brazil, India and Peru indicated they pay attention to a brand's social and environmental values. Levels that are higher than those in Western markets.”

“All businesses depend upon biodiversity in one way or another, and similarly all businesses have an impact upon biodiversity. Sustainable use of biodiversity is therefore good not only for the environment, but also important for the ongoing viability and profitability of most business models,” said Braulio Ferreira de Souza Dias, adding: “Sustainable use of biodiversity also needs to recognize and value the rights of the custodians of biodiversity and promote benefit-sharing.

In this regard, the anticipated entry into force of the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit sharing will open another opportunity for businesses to move towards sustainability.”


LONDON: The new BBC documentary Ivory Wars: Out of Africa tonight detailed the ongoing tragedy of rampant elephant poaching and the international ivory trade, but something was absent from its broad overview.

Leading experts featured in the Panorama special failed to confront the most pressing issue – that China’s ‘legal’ ivory trade is driving the slaughter and shutting it down must be made a priority.

Last month, the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) released the new briefing Blood Ivory: Exposing the myth of a regulated market and a campaign film, calling for legal ivory sales to be stopped and for China to be stripped of its Approved Buyer status.

EIA Executive Director Mary Rice said: “Panorama's findings clearly show how China’s unregulated consumption is devastating elephant populations in Africa, and how illegal ivory is even available in State-run Friendship stores.

“China’s voracious demand and its abject failure to regulate the ‘legal’ trade constitute a total failure of the 2008 decision to grant Approved Buyer status to China, allowing it to purchase stockpiled ivory at auctions sanctioned by the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

“The UK, European Union and other governments supported China’s bid to become an Approved Buyer and should shoulder the responsibility for that misguided decision by opposing any further sales and pushing for China’s status to be revoked.”

Recent EIA undercover investigations in China show its ivory trade is out of control, with up to 90 per cent of ivory available coming from illegal sources and evidence that the Chinese Government itself has directly profiteered on the ivory it bought at auction in 2008.

EIA has repeatedly warned of the risk of granting China Approved Buyer status, including in its 2007 report Made in China: “China does not meet the requirements of CITES … and the Standing Committee should not approve China’s request to be an approved trading partner”.

However, the following year, a report by TRAFFIC, which manages the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) on behalf of CITES, and China Arts & Crafts Association claimed “… the legal ivory processing and sales enterprises are not involved in any illegal ivory trade.” In the same year, TRAFFIC endorsed China's application to be an Approved Buyer for legal ivory sales.

In Ivory Wars, TRAFFIC/ETIS spokesman Tom Milliken conceded: “Did allowance of ivory to go into China exacerbate a situation? One could probably argue now, that with hindsight, that indeed it did. It created perhaps an image in the minds of many potential Chinese consumers that it was okay to buy ivory.”

Rice added: “Time is not on the elephant’s side. The failure of the legal trade is evident and it should be immediately shut down.”

Interviews are available on request; please contact EIA Executive Director Mary Rice at or telephone 020 7354 7960.