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 bit.ly/LCaHSX
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 bit.ly/LCaHSX
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 bit.ly/JKTUyX
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 Denmark’s 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.
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
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
”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
”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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
in Eastern India, Odisha is home to Simlipal National Park, the only known
habitat of the elusive melanistic, or black, tigers.
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.
Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) believes the security and management
of critical ecosystems such as Simlipal must be on the agenda during his visit.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.”
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 http://www.kuenselonline.com/2011/?p=30968
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 http://www.kuenselonline.com/2011/?p=30883
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 http://www.tribuneindia.com/2012/20120513/himachal.htm#4
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 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17537845
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
Kathmandu Post, The Himalayan Times
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.
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 http://www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/registrationandaccreditation.html today. If your speakers do not belong to an accredited organizations, you may register them under your delegation or please visit our FAQs http://www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/majorgroups_faq.html.
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.
Life seen and heard:
1. Raccoon tracks
Many Red-winged blackbirds
Black cap chickadees
Tree swallowsAmerican Redstart
Possible Chimney swift (Heard)
2 Mallard ducks
3 Green frogs (Adults)
3 Blue-spotted salamanders
2 Painted turtles
1 Garter snake
1 Damselfly larva
Four-spotted skimmer (First for 2012)
20.Several Red admirals
1 Black swallowtail
1 Angle-winged butterfly (Comma?)
1 Cabbage white
1 Sulphur butterfly
Many Camel crickets
26. 1 Black cricket
27. 1 Tiger beetle
28. Bronze coloured beetles
29. 1 Small round ground beetle
Ants (Orange variety)
1 Jumping spider
1 Velvet mite
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
50.1 Green earthworm
52. Forget-me-not flowers
53. Strawberry flowers common
Thistle- not in flower
55. Garlic mustard flowers
Hosta- not in flower
Dandelions very common
Sweet rocket (First for 2012)
Milkweed- not in flower
Knotweed- not in flower
Buttercup (First for 2012)
– not in flower
79. Hop clover in flower (First for 2012)
Colt's foot in seed
82. False Solomon's Seal flowers beginning to
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
benefits such as houses, vehicles and education which were promised to
impoverished landowners by the plantation company have not materialised.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 bit.ly/LfbwiB
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 bit.ly/KR2V2Y bit.ly/IJlw0
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 Nagrik
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
trade simply serves to perpetuate demand, undermining enforcement efforts and
sending mixed messages to consumers,” added Banks.
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
country has yet reported on what action is being taken to fulfil the CITES
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.
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
“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.
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