May 29th, 2014
On Thursday, the 22nd of May, 2014 Yasuni National Park, the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, was handed some bad news from Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. Oil drilling will be allowed to move forward in protected areas of the park since a conservation plan has been scrapped due to a lack of funding. Established in 2010 the Yasuni-ITT initiative outlined how Ecuador would forego extracting the untapped oil, 21% of Ecuador's natural reserve, in exchange for $3.6 billion over thirteen years from the international community. Only $13 million of the funds were pledged so the initiative has been dissolved. Now the drilling company Petroamazonas who has a record of destruction and spills has a signed permit to drill in a 6,500-square-mile reserve known as block 43; oil production may begin as soon as 2016.
Yasuni is a special place. Considered one of the most biologically diverse areas on earth it boasts 655 species of trees, 173 species of mammals, 610 species of birds and over 4,000 plant species. One hectare of the area is richer in tree species than the entirety of the United States and Canada combined. In addition, two indigenous tribes, the Tagaeri and the Taromenane, live in voluntary isolation within the Park borders. Increased oil exploitation in the Park will threaten both the human and animal residents of this protected area beginning with the construction of access roads and drilling camps. Click here for a gallery of Yasuni images by Pete Oxford: http://animalsandearth.artistwebsites.com/galleries.html
May 27th, 2014
The NRDC reports that DOW and Syngenta chemical companies have requested permission to expand the use of two pesticides that are particularly problematic for bees. As prime pollinators, honeybees in particular are essential to our production of fruit, vegetables and nuts. For more information visit the NRDC BioGems website at http://bit.ly/1m2CSKm .
May 23rd, 2014
Every year, American Tortoise Rescue sponsors World Turtle Day on May 23rd. The day was created as an observance to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world. Many threats face these animals in the wild, including smuggling, the exotic food industry, habitat destruction, global warming and the pet trade.
May 22nd, 2014
Ranger Rick, the award winning children's magazine of the National Wildlife Federation, is featuring a story on a jungle school for orphaned baby orangutans. Rescued orphans brought to the Orangutan Care Center in Borneo are cared for and taught jungle skills by surrogate mothers. It can be just as challenging, if not more so, to get baby orangutans into the bath. Afterwards they are towel dried, cuddled and given bananas as a treat to make it a pleasant experience. This two-year old seems to be enjoying both its towel and banana. See the whole story in the June issue of Ranger Rick available on newstands at the end of May.
May 21st, 2014
There's still plenty of time to celebrate Garden for Wildlife Month! Browse these projects & tips from the National Wildlife Federation to turn your yard into a haven for wildlife.
May 20th, 2014
The NRDC writes that in Wyoming, prairie dogs are slowly recovering from decades of hunting and disease. Now the U.S. Forest Service is considering a plan to poison an estimated 16,000 prairie dogs, which are essential to the survival of many other species. Urge the Forest Service to reject this heartless and misguided plan.
May 19th, 2014
The United Nations agency that oversees World Heritage Sites has issued an urgent appeal for the end of oil exploration in Virunga National Park. After a field mission to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) property, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) reported “extreme concern” over the prospect of petroleum extraction in the park, which is home to the greatest variety of plants and animals in Africa. “Any oil exploitation inside the property would seriously affect its integrity,” UNESCO said. The World Wildlife Fund website provides more information:
May 16th, 2014
Join us in not celebrating, but recognizing Endangered Species Day, a day to learn about the imperiled birds, fish and plants in your area and to share the importance of wildlife conservation with your community.
May 14th, 2014
In a Huffington Post editorial, Richard Brandon, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Howard Buffett weigh in on oil exploration coming to Virugna National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and stomping ground of the endangered Mountain Gorilla.
May 14th, 2014
Tonight is the night! If you are on the East coast of the US, go out at night to the beach to see the spawning of the amazing Atlantic horseshoe crabs – Jurassic Park come alive. These animals come out in huge numbers during the full and new moon high tides of May and June, but the full moon in May is usually the best time to see them.