Thursday, May 31, 2012


Locally known as Tsenden, Cypress trees are facing threat due to excessive logging. Other threats for its conservation are poor management planning for sustainable harvesting, lack of information on Cypress forests and its dynamics, forest fire, cattle grazing and low regeneration. Because of its height and girth, Cypress trees are preferred for the construction and renovation of Dzongs and Monasteries in the country. Illegal felling of Cypress trees for domestic use is also unabated.
16 May


The width of Khuse Lake in the Hoh Xil nature reserve, home for over 70,000 Tibetan antelopes, has increased from 80 m to 600 m due to flood water inundating the migration routes of Tibetan antelopes. Meanwhile, the number of endangered Snub-nose Monkey in the Mangkam Snub-nose Monkey Nature Reserve has increased to over 1,000. Its population declined to 50 in the early 90s due to uncontrolled hunting.
17, 21 May,


According to Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP), about 30 percent of India’s tiger reserves are under militants control including Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal. Local administrative authorities are not able to keep a check on them because of the strong nexus between timber mafia and poachers with militants which is making the situation worse.
19 May


Cement factories in Solan of Himachal Pradesh are using pine needles as a fuel for the plant’s operations. The effort put up by the Kunihar forest division and the cement manufactures has not only helped to keep forest fires at bay but also provided income generating activities to the locals (they are paid IRS 1.5 per kg for the pine needles collection). This month around 50 quintals of pine needles were collected. The collection of pine needles by the locals has become a common sight in the area.
16 May


The population of Western Tragopan in the Great Himalayan National Park in the state of Himachal Pradesh has increased. The pheasant density in the park was 6.5 birds per sq km in this year’s study. Previous recording showed six and five birds in 2011 and 2010 respectively.
16 May


During the last 25 years, Himalayas have witnessed warming about three times faster than the global average temperature, including increase in average annual precipitation and annual mean temperature by 6.52 millimeter and 1.5 degree Celsius per year respectively. The study which covered around 90 percent of the total Nepal Himalayas was based on the satellite imagery from NASA. For the first time this study has documented climatic and phonological changes at the landscape level in the Himalayas.
18 May
The Kathmandu Post
India- Himalaya


According to a recent study, there are only 34 male wild buffaloes compared to 54 in 2004 in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve. But there has been an increase in overall wild buffalo population. Negligence on the part of army personnel deployed in the area and Reserve authority has been blamed for the dwindling population.
15 May
The Himalayan Times


LONDON: Prior to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in July 2012, conservation groups have released a report calling for a change in Denmarks policy on whaling which has caused conflict with fellow European Union members in recent years. There are serious questions about how the Danish presidency of the EU can be maintained, given that its whaling policy doesn’t mesh with EU law.
Breaking Ranks, a new report, is backed by Pro Wildlife, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), and Humane Society International (HSI), and documents how, for the past 20 years, Denmark has actively supported countries that practice commercial whaling, repeatedly leading to conflict within the EU because EU law prohibits whale hunting and the commercial use of whale products.
“Despite its presidency position, Denmark is acting as an outsider to the EU and is undermining the efforts of the EU to better protect whales, something urgently needed,” said Pro Wildlife’s Sandra Altherr, one of the report’s two authors. “We call on Denmark to reconsider its whaling policy.”
Denmark wants to catch more whales – even endangered species
The new Danish Government, which took office last year, seems to be continuing the course of its predecessors. Just before taking over the EU presidency in January 2012, Denmark again opposed a common pro-conservation EU position on whaling.
Denmark’s preparations for the forthcoming IWC in Panama (July 2-6) have been even more diplomatically provocative. Denmark has unilateraly applied for a renewed increase in whaling quotas for Greenland (a Danish overseas territory) without consulting other EU members over such a controversial move.
“This individualistic act causes irritations within the EU, said report co-author Jennifer Lonsdale of EIA. “Especially when holding the EU presidency, a country is expected to conduct itself in a transparent and coordinated way, seeking common ground rather than divisive action.
Altherr added: “We recognise that the IWC grants quotas to those peoples who have a genuine subsistence need; however, Denmark is seeking significantly higher quotas than previously, even for highly endangered fin whales. It has deliberately avoided any debate with the EU, which is obliged to coordinate its position at international fora including the IWC.
Controversial balancing act
In addition to Greenland, Denmark’s other overseas territory, The Faroe Islands, have also been the cause of conflicts as they are not EU members but are represented by Denmark at international meetings such as the IWC. Both territories kill whales; the Faroe Islanders hunt pilot whales that are not subject to IWC quotas and Greenland’s whaling is authorised by the IWC under the special category of Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling, which allows non-commercial whaling for local consumption.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


LONDON: As the European Commission considers revisions to the F-Gas Regulation, the piece of legislation regulating hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a new report published today shows that HFCs can realistically be banned in most new cooling equipment in the European Union by 2020.

Used as cooling agents in refrigeration and air-conditioning, and as blowing agents for foams , HFCs are a family of potent greenhouse gases thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

The new study, Availability of Low-GWP Alternatives to HFCs: Feasibility of an Early Phase-Out of HFCs by 2020, was produced by Michael Kauffield of the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences, with the support of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), and demonstrates that HFCs can be banned from new equipment in 20 sectors by 2020, with energy-efficient and more climate-friendly alternatives able to take their place.

”The EU has a fantastic opportunity, and a responsibility, to phase out the use of HFCs. There is simply no reason for new HFC equipment or products to be allowed on the market when efficient, safe and affordable alternatives are available,” said EIA Senior Campaigner Clare Perry.

The European Commission is currently undertaking a review of its F-Gas Regulation, the law governing the use of HFCs in the European Union. An independent study commissioned as part of the review recently highlighted numerous shortcomings in the Regulation, including a lack of implementation and enforcement in many parts of the EU. Unless additional measures are taken, emissions of HFCs will rise by more than 80 per cent by 2050, jeopardising Europe’s climate targets.

”Banning the use of HFCs in new equipment could prevent the release of 600 million tonnes C02-equivalent by 2030, more than the UK’s entire annual carbon emissions. At the same time, many of the alternatives are more energy-efficient than existing technologies,”said Perry.

The European Commission is expected to bring forward its initial proposals for a review of the F-Gas Regulation in the autumn. One of the key battlegrounds is over whether to rely exclusively on a cap and phase-down approach preferred by the HFC industry or whether to also include bans in sectors when HFCs are not needed. Bans have proven highly effective in other HFC sectors when adopted and are supported by a coalition of environmental NGOs including EIA, European Environmental Bureau, Greenpeace and WWF.

”The Commission has already indicated its intention to propose further legislation and we urge it to seize this opportunity to ban HFCs where they are no longer needed and propose measures that will ensure a swift transition to environmentally friendly cooling,” said Perry.

Saturday, May 26, 2012



Tiger Swallowtail

Eastern tailed Blue

Red Admiral

Black Swallowtail

Eastern Comma

Friday, May 25, 2012

Double celebration for White-footed tamarins in Colombia- UK

Image by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust

The team behind the White-footed tamarin conservation programme in Colombia have two big reasons to celebrate - not only has the programme been given a prestigious award but the first baby tamarins have been born to captive bred parents, illustrating the vast improvements the programme has made to conditions in the country’s zoos and some of the rescue centres that hold the species.

“The Silvery-brown (White-footed) Tamarin International Conservation Programme”, which is led by Durrell, Zoo Beauval and Bristol Zoo, has been declared a “Leader for the Conservation of South American Biodiversity” by ALPZA (Latin American Zoo and Aquaria Association). It is the first time the association has awarded the title.
The award reflects the huge difference the conservation programme has already made to the lives of tamarins in captivity and the impact this and other on-going work will ultimately have on the survival of the endangered endemic species.
The birth of the babies is testament to this important work. Dominic Wormell, Durrell’s Head of Mammals, said: “Before the conservation programme was set up, the mortality rate for confiscated tamarins taken to rescue centres and zoos was at a staggering 90%. They died quickly and never bred. However, through education and practical environmental changes, this mortality rate has been reduced to 20%. A total of 50 baby tamarins have been born to parents brought into captivity but this is the first time that these offspring have gone on to reproduce themselves, demonstrating that the animals are well looked after and content.”
The conservation programme is collaboration between the three European organisations, which lead it, and Colombian zoos and rescue centres. It focuses on improving captive management through teaching workshops and research; learning more about how to protect the remaining wild tamarins through field research to help develop conservation action plans; and education programmes to tackle the illegal pet trade and habitat loss, which is happening on a grand scale – about 60% of the tamarins’ potential habitat has been lost in 20 years and what remains only exists on private land and therefore is not protected.
Since the programme’s implementation six years ago, an average total of 164 participants from 20 institutions have taken part in husbandry-based workshops each year and repeat visits to zoos and rescue centres have provided further advice and progress assessments. The programme’s success includes eight zoos joining, 19 breeding cages being built, the successful birth of the 50 infants and the first babies from captive bred parents.
Mr Wormell, who was in Colombia last year to take part in the workshops and assess the progress of the conservation programme, said: “Six years ago, there was a series of disparate captive efforts in Colombia and institutions facing problems in isolation. Combined with the habitat lost and illegal pet trade, it was the perfect recipe for the extinction of the tamarins. By implementing our conservation programme we have a focused group that is able to work specifically on the problems facing the species in the wild and in captivity, where we now have healthy animals, enriched environments and thriving youngsters.”
In order to build on the award-winning work in Colombia, the conservation team will continue to work with the zoos and rescue centres, as well as carrying out essential fieldwork to establish the density of the various wild populations and a health assessment of the remaining animals. This will provide vital information for the future establishment of any reserve for the tamarins.
The birth of the baby tamarins to captive bred parents also potentially opens the door for some of the species to be brought to Durrell’s headquarters in Jersey. At present, Colombia’s strict laws do not allow any tamarins to leave the country until a second generation has been born in captivity but this has now been achieved. If some of the monkeys were brought to Durrell, it would enable a safety net population to be bred should conservation efforts in Colombia not go well in the future and enable staff to increase their knowledge of how to manage the species.


LONDON: As Naveen Pattnaik, Chief Minister of the Indian State of Odisha, continues his nine-day visit to the UK, campaigners say urgent action is required to stop the destruction of his State’s precious environment and protect the rare tigers living in it.

Located in Eastern India, Odisha is home to Simlipal National Park, the only known habitat of the elusive melanistic, or black, tigers.

Mr Pattnaik is in Britain to promote his home state and to discuss development issues with the UK Government’s Department for International Development. The UK has long been a major donor to the region and since 1999 has invested£183m in projects in Odisha.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) believes the security and management of critical ecosystems such as Simlipal must be on the agenda during his visit.

EIA campaigners visited Simlipal earlier this month and were alarmed to witness the plight of security staff; unarmed and without proper equipment, training or support, they are still expected to protect the forest from poachers, illegal logging and encroachment.

Simlipal is one of India’s oldest tiger reserves. Declared in 1973 under Project Tiger, it contains 2,750 sq km of forest and is prime habitat for tigers, prey species and elephants.

But with frontline staff paid less than US$50 per month and lacking even basic necessities such as mosquito nets, anti-malarial medicines and food rations, protection of the reserve has suffered. In recent years, the park has seen numerous cases of wildlife poaching, elephant killings and incursions by Maoist insurgents. In February 2012, approximately 1,000 armed people entered the park to hunt wildlife, including species upon which tigers depend for food.

Two missions were dispatched by India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to investigate the state of the park following raids by militants in 2009 and the high-profile killing of elephants in 2010. A number of recommendations were made seeking to “seriously shake up” the running of the reserve, but so far the Odisha state government appears unwilling to implement them.

“This is not a question of money,” said EIA Campaigner Alasdair Cameron.“The crisis at Simlipal is due to a failure of political will. There have been several studies highlighting the steps that need to be taken, but there has been very little action on the ground by the State.

“At the most basic level, how can a man with no jeep, no weapons, little training and no malaria nets be expected to look after some of the world’s most precious habitats?”

Among the NTCA’s calls are action to address the involvement of some forest officers in concealing incidents of elephant poaching, creation of an independent monitoring body and a wildlife crime intelligence-gathering system, special efforts to seize illegal firearms, and proper funding for enforcement.

“All the money Mr Pattnaik might need to do this is already to hand – all that’s lacking is his will and that of his administration to responsibly implement the NTCA’s recommendations,” added Cameron.

“The situation in Simlipal is a classic example of the problems facing the tiger. While national governments draft good strategies on protected areas and attend meetings of CITES or the Global Tiger Initiative, on the ground we find mismanagement, apathy and corruption are destroying habitats, endangering wildlife and harming livelihoods.”

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Grade 6 students cleaned and assembled a woodchuck skeleton. 

Grade 3 students learned about the human microbiome using stickers for microbes.

Grade 3 students were welcomed by an American redstart during a nature hike.

At Macoun Marsh, mother painted turtles are laying eggs. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Bhutan’s target of increasing its community forest area from 1.5 percent (43,363 hectares) to 4 percent has hit a snag due to manpower crunch and financial shortage. At present, there are 17,666 community forestry management group members from 388 community forests and 150 forest officials across the country. Some of the dzongkhags have established more community forests than their target.
10 May


Forest and Park Services is all set to revise the forest and nature conservation act which was introduced in 1995 as the cases of poaching in the country has increased over the years. The purpose of the revision is to impose a stringent poaching law and increase poaching fines.  Musk deer is the commonly poached animal because of its highly valued musk and ease of trapping compared to other animals.
8 May


As a new strategy to tackle human wildlife conflict in Himachal Pradesh, the Veterinary and Animal Sciences Department in the state is providing training to the veterinary students to capture, handle and rehabilitate stray animals. In recent years, there has been an upsurge in developmental activities in the state, which has left its trails of destruction in wildlife habitat.
12 May


According to India's second National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, as much as 45 percent of 35,899 forest grids will undergo changes due to climate impact. The report which used high resolution digital forest map suggested that most of the mountainous forests --sub-alpine and alpine forest, the Himalayan dry temperature forest and the Himalayan moist temperature forests-- are susceptible to the adverse effects of climate change.
10, 14 May     


A 75 year old woman from western Nepal is the only person alive in Nepal who fluently speaks the Kusunda language. As per the Central Bureau of Statistics there are about 100 Kusunda tribes people remaining but they neither understand nor speak the language. The unknown origins and mysterious sentence structures of Kusunda have long baffled linguists as it is not phonologically, morphologically, syntactically and lexically related to any other languages of the world.
12 May


Contaminated water and sanitation problems have led to outbreak of diarrhea in Bajura District, west Nepal and in Morang District, east Nepal. Meanwhile, this year Makawanpur District, central Nepal, witnessed 695 patients suffering from tuberculosis (TB), an increase of 25 percent compared to previous year. Similarly an outbreak of an unidentified disease has been reported in a village in Myagdi District, west Nepal, where around 200 villagers (mostly chidren and elderly people) have fallen ill.
11, 12, 14 May
The Kathmandu Post, The Himalayan Times

Monday, May 21, 2012


Marine Biodiversity is the theme for this year's International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) on May 22. Designation of IDB 2012 on the theme of marine ecosystems provides Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and everyone interested in marine life, the opportunity to raise awareness of the issue and increase practical action.

From 2000 to 2010, an unprecedented worldwide collaboration by a global community of scientists set out to try and determine how much life is in the oceans.

By the time the Census ended, about 250,000 species were identified.  In its final report, the Census team suggested it could be at least a million. There are those that believe the figure could be twice as high. 

For more info see:

Images by Mike Leveille

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Rio+20 conference (Canada)

This message is a kind reminder that the hard deadline for registration to
the Rio+20 conference is approaching quickly - *20 MAY*. We want to remind
you that registration is required for all participants accessing Rio Centro
including speakers and panellists for your side events and those that will
participate in the Brazilian-led dialogue days. If your speakers are not
all registered, please visit today. If
your speakers do not belong to an accredited organizations, you may
register them under your delegation or please visit our FAQs

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Canadian Wildlife Federation's magazine "Wild" visits Macoun Marsh with a group of Grade 6s- Canada

We had a bioblitz today! A bioblitz is a biological survey of a given natural space. The challenge is to distinguish as many species as possible in a short amount of time. We held ours from 11:20 am to 1:45 pm. It is far more important to know how to describe a species than to give it its official taxonomic name. More advanced students assisted in the naming process. Here is what we recorded together as a team.   
Black swallowtail
Life seen and heard:
1. Raccoon tracks
2. 1 Woodchuck
3. 2 Gray squirrels
4. 1 Chipmunk
5. Many Red-winged blackbirds
6. 2 Black cap chickadees
7. Grackles
8. 2 Tree swallowsAmerican Redstart
9. Possible Chimney swift (Heard)
10. 2 Mallard ducks
11.1 Gull
12.1 Crow
13. 3 Green frogs (Adults)
14. 3 Blue-spotted salamanders
15. 2 Painted turtles
16. 1 Garter snake
17. 1 Damselfly larva
18. Mosquito
19. 1 Four-spotted skimmer (First for 2012)
20.  Several Red admirals
21. 1 Black swallowtail
22. 1 Angle-winged butterfly (Comma?)
23. 1 Cabbage white
24. 1 Sulphur butterfly
25. Many Camel crickets
26. 1 Black cricket
27. 1 Tiger beetle
28. Bronze coloured beetles
29. 1 Small round ground beetle
30. 1 Earwig
31. Water striders
32. Whirligig Beetles
33. Mining bees
34. Bumble bee
35. Ants (Orange variety)
36. 1 Dipluran
37. Pill bug
38. Sow bug
39. 1 Jumping spider
40. 1 Velvet mite
41. Coiled land snail (Ventridens)
42. Millipedes (Long form)
43. Millipedes (Short form)
44. Black slugs
45. Beige slugs
46. Symphylan (Millipede-like arthropod)
47. Garden centipedes
48. Small Pink earthworms
49.  Large pink earthworms
50.  1 Green earthworm
51. Moss
52. Forget-me-not flowers
53. Strawberry flowers common
54. Thistle- not in flower
55. Garlic mustard flowers
56. Bethlehem sage
57. Hosta- not in flower
58. Violets common
59.  Field pennycress
60. Dandelions very common
61. Sweet rocket (First for 2012)
62. Periwinkle flowers
63. Staghorn sumac
64. Milkweed- not in flower
65. Deadnettle
66. Knotweed- not in flower
67. Buttercup (First for 2012)
68. Lilacs
69. Burdock
70. Celandine flowers
71. Common Cattail
72. Clover – not in flower
73. Ground ivy
74. Horsetails
75. Ostrich fern
76. Lily-of-the-Valley
77. Stinging nettle
78. Bethlehem sage
79. Hop clover in flower (First for 2012)
80. Honeysuckle flowers
81. Colt's foot in seed
82. False Solomon's Seal flowers beginning to emerge
83. Grasses 
84. Blackberry vines
85. Unknown flower
86. Catkins falling from the Quaking aspens
87. Manitoba maple
88. Norway maple
89. Apple tree
90. Native butternut tree
91. Locust trees
92. Spruce
93. Cedar
94. Small brown mushrooms
95. Dryad saddle fungus
96. Shelf fungus
97. Inky cap fungus
98. Yellow coloured lichen
99. Shield lichen
100. Iron bacteria
101. Algae on the water surface

Red-winged blackbird male

Four- spotted skimmer

Giving Muara Tae the skills to fight off palm oil threat

The article - Giving Muara Tae the skills to fight off palm oil threat - concerns our ongoing work to give indigenous peoples the campaigning and evidence-gathering skills needed to effectively fight for their own causes, in this case the Dayak inhabitants of a remote Indonesian community striving to prevent palm oil plantations from razing what remains of their ancestral forests.

You can find the news update at

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Just 65c a hectare for landowners while major investors cash in

LONDON: An Indonesian oil palm plantation in which Norway has a financial stake paid Papuan tribal landowners as little as US$0.65 per hectare for their forestland, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) can reveal.
In the new briefing Clear-Cut Exploitation, EIA and its Indonesian partner Telapak expose woefully low payments by PT Henrison Inti Persada (PT HIP) to marginalised Moi tribe clans for land and timber.

Evidence includes a copy of PT HIPs ‘contract’ with a Moi tribe clan leader, detailing a payment of US$923 for 14.2 sq km of forestlands – just US$0.65 per hectare.

In contrast, when the Hong Kong-based commodities conglomerate Noble Group bought a majority stake in PT HIP in 2010, industry analysts estimated the plantation would be worth US$162 million once developed (based on a US$5,000 per hectare valuation) – or 7,812 times the price received by Moi tribe landowners per hectare.

Clear-Cut Exploitationalso details payments as low as US$25 per cubic meter to landowners for timber harvested during clearance of their forests, including for valuable merbau. EIA research reveals the company then exported merbau for US$875 per cubic metre, making millions in profit.

EIA/Telapak research further highlights a history of legal irregularities in the plantation’s development and in timber harvesting – crimes never punished by Government officials tasked with safeguarding West Papua’s forests and people. Violations include forest clearance and timber utilisation prior to permits being issued, and failure to develop smallholder estates in line with legal requirements.

Development benefits such as houses, vehicles and education which were promised to impoverished landowners by the plantation company have not materialised.

Jago Wadley, EIA Senior Forest Campaigner said: “Papuans, some of the poorest citizens in Indonesia, are being utterly exploited in legally questionable oil palm land deals that provide huge financial opportunities for international investors at the expense of the people and forests of West Papua.”

The briefing also outlines how Norway has a stake in the plantation via the multi-million dollar shareholdings of its sovereign wealth fund – the world’s biggest – in Noble Group.

Norway has been internationally feted as a climate change leader following its significant political and financial investment in efforts to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) in Indonesia and elsewhere.

EIA and Telapak argue that such contradictions highlight how, if left unreformed, investment and commodity markets will continue to destroy forests and undermine local communities in spite of efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation.

“That Norway – Indonesia’s biggest REDD+ donor – will also profit from this destructive exploitation is ironic in the extreme. Norway could be paying Papuans to maintain their forests instead of profiting from deforestation in West Papua,” said Telapak Forests Campaigner Abu Meridian.

Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots- Canada

Are you an enthusiastic youth engaged in your local community with a strong desire to create positive change for people, animals and the environment?

Jane Goodall's Roots & Shoots is seeking enthusiastic, committed youth ambassadors to implement Roots & Shoots programming and conduct outreach across the country! Get to know like-minded youth across Canada, connect with the Roots & Shoots global network of youth, and experience national and/or international opportunities!

APPLY TODAY! Application deadline: May 20th, 2012
Please send completed applications and inquiries to or call 416-978-4799.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Malaria epidemics in the Indian subcontinent in the last century have been linked to indiscriminate canal building projects during the British rule in India. Study based on the meteorological (since 1870s), irrigation and medical reports suggested that third of the deaths at that time were caused by “malarious” fevers. The study revealed that variations in the transmission, incidence and prevalence of malaria were closely tied to the different deltaic environments of the Bengal and Indus basins and to the short-sightedness of many irrigation related engineering schemes.
4 May


A wounded female elephant was rescued from the hills of Karbi Anglong in Assam. After surviving a bullet attack it had entered a nearby human settlement damaging some houses in the area. The elephant is said to be in a very critical condition.
3, 4 May


Dispute over water usage between Nepali and Indian farmers has taken a heavy toll. The irrigation canal which brings water from Thute River in Thori VDC in Parsa District, central Nepal, was being used by both the farmers but conflict sparked up after the Indian farmers vehemently demolished the canal used by Nepali farmers. Furthermore, the situation worsened after Nepali farmers staged protest against this dubious move. Border Security Force of India has extended their support to their Nepali counter parts to stop the violence.
6 May


Fire engulfed over 174 hectares of forest in Okhaldunga District, east Nepal, and property worth NRS 20 million was gutted as fire broke out in Bhutaha VDC of Sunsari District, east Nepal. Meanwhile, around 200 hectares of forest were ravaged by fire in Dhunche of Langtang National Park.
1, 5 May
Republica,The Himalayan Times, Kantipur

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Here are some images taken today!

Painted turtle

Baltimore Oriole male

Mike Leveille with an Eastern Comma butterfly

Red admiral butterfly

Friday, May 11, 2012


Credibility of international programme hangs in the balance

DELHI, INDIA: Tiger Range Countries meet in Delhi, India next week to evaluate progress of the Global Tiger Recovery Programme (GTRP) in what will be a true test of their national commitment to end the tiger trade.
The GTRP was signed into existence in November 2010 in St Petersburg, Russia, with the common objective of doubling the world’s wild tiger population by 2022.
The agenda for the Delhi meeting, from May 15-17, includes issues which to date have received too little attention in this forum – demand reduction and effective enforcement.
With final preparations for the meeting underway, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) today warned that concrete action is needed to shut down tiger breeding operations and destroy their stockpiles of tiger skins and bones if the GTRP is to retain serious credibility.
EIA lead campaigner Debbie Banks said: “Successful demand reduction will be dependent on the closure of operations that breed tigers for trade in their parts and derivatives, and those that provide the living specimens to stock such operations.”
Operations in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam have been implicated in the illegal international trade; in China, breeders are allowed to sell farmed tiger skins on the domestic market.
“This trade simply serves to perpetuate demand, undermining enforcement efforts and sending mixed messages to consumers,” added Banks.
Tiger farming was hotly debated in 2007 at the 14th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the UN Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), where the majority of Parties voted against domestic and international trade in parts of farmed tigers and called for a phasing out of such operations.
No country has yet reported on what action is being taken to fulfil the CITES decision.
While there have been recent high profile seizures and arrests in Thailand, and Vietnam has prosecuted at least one tiger farm owner, there is no report of action against tiger farmers in Laos; China stated in March 2011 that it had inspected tiger breeding operations, but it has not shared information on any convictions of those found selling tiger bone and products.
China also allows tiger breeding operations to maintain freezers full of tiger carcasses, instead of destroying them as urged by CITES. While tiger bone trade is currently prohibited, China has a scheme for registering, labelling and selling the skins but refuses to disclose how many skins have entered the scheme.
“How can these stockpiles possibly be justified?” asked Banks. “Maintaining stockpiles serves no conservation purpose; it only creates confusion and speculates that one day these parts may be traded for profit. That runs completely counter to a commitment to end tiger trade and totally undermines efforts at demand reduction.
“For the credibility of the GTRP, we need to see unequivocal and emphatic action to shut down all commercial tiger breeding operations and to transparently destroy the stockpiles.”