Liverpool’s prolific attack delivers in 4-1 win over Stoke

first_imgLiverpool’s Roberto Firmino, right, celebrates scoring his side’s second goal of the game during their English Premier League soccer match against Stoke City at Anfield, Liverpool, England, Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016. APLIVERPOOL, England — Liverpool’s prolific forward line delivered again in a 4-1 win over Stoke in the English Premier League on Tuesday, lifting the team back into second place and within six points of Chelsea.Liverpool fought back from conceding in the 12th minute at Anfield, with Brazil forward Roberto Firmino among the scorers with his sixth league goal of the season — three days after he was charged by police with drunk-driving in Liverpool city center.ADVERTISEMENT Playmaker Adam Lallana equalized for the Reds in the 34th and Firmino added the second just before halftime.Liverpool stretched the lead in the second half through an own-goal by Giannelli Imbula and Daniel Sturridge’s first league goal of the season with his first touches after coming on a substitute.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra teammates show love for SlaughterSPORTSWe are youngSPORTSFreddie Roach: Manny Pacquiao is my Muhammad AliLiverpool reacted to wins for Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United on Monday with its own a day later, and it was the sixth time this season that Juergen Klopp’s team has scored four goals or more in a league game. It is no surprise that the Reds are the top scorers in the division with 45 goals in 18 games.“Confidence is not a problem of the team at the moment,” Klopp said. “We know about our quality, but obviously we don’t show it all the time.” Liverpool’s players only got going once they fell behind to a rare Stoke goal at Anfield.Erik Pieters provided the cross from the left and Jon Walters glanced in a header at the near post that Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet got a hand to but couldn’t keep out. It was only Stoke’s third league goal away to Liverpool in 40 years.Stoke was the architect of its own downfall at times, with Lallana finding the net after Glen Johnson — one of three former Liverpool players in Stoke’s lineup — failing to clear a cross.Firmino started despite his off-field issue and repaid Klopp’s loyalty by slamming home an angled left-foot shot that hit one post, careered across the line to hit the other and rebound in.Imbula turned in a 60th-minute cross from the left wing by Divock Origi, who was then replaced by Sturridge.ADVERTISEMENT Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan PLAY LIST 01:31Taiwan minister boards cruise ship turned away by Japan01:33WHO: ‘Global stocks of masks and respirators are now insufficient’01:01WHO: now 31,211 virus cases in China 102:02Vitamin C prevents but doesn’t cure diseases like coronavirus—medic03:07’HINDI PANG-SPORTS LANG!’03:03SILIP SA INTEL FUND MOST READ EDITORS’ PICK Smart’s Siklab Saya: A multi-city approach to esports Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town PH among economies most vulnerable to virus Chinese-manned vessel unsettles Bohol town We are youngcenter_img Smart hosts first 5G-powered esports exhibition match in PH In his first action of the game, Sturridge was alert to intercept a back-pass by Ryan Shawcross, round goalkeeper Lee Grant and slot a finish into the empty net.It was Liverpool’s 100th goal since Klopp took charge in October last year, completing another big win ahead of the visit of Man City on Saturday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Senators to proceed with review of VFA Where did they go? Millions left Wuhan before quarantine As fate of VFA hangs, PH and US forces take to the skies for exercise Harden calls out Mavericks after Rockets’ heated win Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Shanghai officials reveal novel coronavirus transmission modes View commentslast_img read more

Wildlife decimated by the surge in conflicts in the Sahara and the Sahel

first_imgAn escalation in the number of conflicts across the Sahara and the Sahel in Africa is driving down numbers of the region’s wildlife, a new study finds.The authors found that the number of conflicts in the region has risen by 565 percent since 2011.At the same time, 12 species of vertebrate have either gone extinct or are much closer to extinction as a result of conflicts in the region. The surge in armed conflicts across the Sahara Desert and the band of dry savanna to its south called the Sahel is devastating the region’s wildlife, according to recent findings published in the journal Conservation Letters.“As if the harsh, arid landscape isn’t enough, the growth of armed conflict in the Sahara-Sahel region is yet another serious threat that wildlife in this critical region now have to contend with,” biologist Sarah Durant of the Zoological Society of London, an author of the study, said in a statement.The rise of groups like Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, and Boko Haram over the past few years have destabilized Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Mali. These are some of the least-developed countries on Earth, and they’re adjacent to countries like Libya where power vacuums have recently emerged, contributing to the problem. Across the Sahel and Sahara, the number of conflicts has swelled by 565 percent since 2011, the authors report. That means one in five conflicts on the African continent is taking place in this region, and its disputes account for 5 percent of the global total.The carcasses of gazelles killed in the Sahara. Image courtesy of the University of Granada.Research published in the journal Nature in early 2018 found that, in general, wildlife numbers decline across the continent as the number of conflicts rises. In this case, the study’s authors wanted to understand what the rapid uptick in violence would mean for this region’s unique and threatened wildlife populations.“Areas where fauna is seriously endangered due to the rise in conflicts need to be identified, and effective policies need to be implemented in order to reduce the impact of these conflicts on biodiversity,” ecologist José Carlos Brito said in a statement from the University of Granada. Brito is the paper’s lead author, and he works at the University of Porto in Portugal, one of 20 institutions involved in the project.The team compiled data on the locations of battles, explosions and attacks throughout the region, as well as the paths used by smugglers and people migrating through the Sahara and Sahel. They then compared that information with the results of surveys of 10 species of vertebrates that live in the region. They zeroed in on three species: the addax, or white antelope (Addax nasomaculatus); the dorcas gazelle (Gazella dorcas); and the African savannah elephant (Loxodonta africana).Gazelles in Chad. Image courtesy of the University of Granada.The addax, an antelope that lives primarily in northern Niger, is down to “critically low numbers” in connection with rising conflict and oil exploration in the region over the past 20 years. Shortly after the fall of the Moammar Gadhafi regime in Libya in 2011, illegal hunters began killing more dorcas gazelles in the predominantly desert country. And the poaching of Mali’s elephants spiked in 2015 in the wake of several years of violence and failed peace processes there.The scientists figure that 12 of the 14 species of large animal that live in this area have either gone extinct or are perilously close to it because of the region’s conflicts.The team recommends conservation measures should be included in peace deals, along with penalties for groups and governments that don’t abide by them, to address these issues. They also suggest that curbing the number of weapons that flow into the region could help reduce the loss of wildlife in the Sahel and the Sahara.“There’s a vicious circle connecting arms trafficking, conflicts, migration and the extinction of animal species,” the authors said in the statement from the University of Granada.An addax mother and calf. Image in the public domain via Wikimedia Commons.Recognizing this cycle, as well as the role that a balance of conservation and economic development must play, should be part of the long-term strategy to tackle this problem, the researchers argue.And there’s little time to spare: “Such steps need to be taken now, before the unique and iconic biodiversity of the world’s largest desert is lost,” they write in the paper.Banner image of gazelles in Chad courtesy of the University of Granada.CitationsDaskin, J. H., & Pringle, R. M. (2018). Warfare and wildlife declines in Africa’s protected areas. Nature.Brito, J. C., Durant, S. M., Pettorelli, N., Newby, J., Canney, S., Algadafi, W., … & de Smet, K. (2018). Armed conflicts and wildlife decline: Challenges and recommendations for effective conservation policy in the Sahara‐Sahel. Conservation Letters, e12446. Article published by John Cannon Animals, Biodiversity, Birds, Conflict, Conservation, Critically Endangered Species, Deserts, Development, Ecology, Elephants, Endangered Species, Environment, Extinction, Human Migration, Hunting, Mammals, Over-hunting, Poaching, Research, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

African vultures under the gun as lead ammunition takes a toll

first_imgAnimals, Biodiversity, Birds, Conservation, Critically Endangered Species, Endangered Species, Environment, Featured, Forests, Green, Hunting, Interns, Pollution, Research, Scavengers, Vultures, Wildlife Article published by Shreya Dasgupta Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Fragments of lead ammunition in abandoned animal carcasses may be poisoning Africa’s vultures, a new study has found.Researchers found elevated blood lead levels among vultures in hunting areas and during hunting season in Botswana.This study adds to the growing evidence from around the world that identifies lead ammunition as a problem for a number of bird species.South African hunters are sympathetic to vultures but oppose a total ban on lead ammunition, citing the cost and availability of lead-free alternatives. Lead bullet fragments in animal carcasses left behind by game hunters could be poisoning vultures in Botswana, according to a new study that echoes similar findings from elsewhere around the world.The African white-backed vulture (Gyps africanus) is already under grave threat. Its populations have declined by as much as 90 percent across much of its range, and the species is now classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. Much of the catastrophic decline has come from the vultures consuming poisoned carcasses left behind by poachers wanting to prevent the birds from drawing attention to the animals they kill, or by pastoralists intending to kill predators to protect their livestock.A new study published in Science of the Total Environment now suggests that vultures face yet another threat: poisoning from lead ammunition.‘No other logical explanation’Hunting wildlife, both for meat and sport, has long been a popular pursuit across the southern African nations. Botswana was considered a premier game-hunting destination prior to the ban of all hunting on state-owned land in 2014. Hunters often leave the internal organs of carcasses, known as gut piles, or even entire carcasses out in the bush. This poses a problem for the vultures, scientists say.“Hunting is such a huge industry in Africa which led us to investigate whether vulture populations in Africa could be at risk of poisoning from ingesting spent ammunition,” said lead author Rebecca Garbett, a researcher with the non-profit Raptors Botswana and a doctoral student at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. “When an animal is shot, the lead bullet will release fragments widely throughout the carcass. Vultures can then ingest fragments while they are feeding.”To assess the possible risk of lead poisoning from ammunition, Garbett and her team captured and drew blood from 566 vultures at 15 locations, in both hunting and non-hunting areas across Botswana, between 2012 and 2015. The researchers did this all year round to see if blood lead levels changed between the hunting season, from April to November, and the non-hunting season, from December to March.“Thirty percent of almost 600 white-backed vultures that we tested had elevated blood lead levels above what could be considered background exposure,” Garbett said.The team also found some distinct patterns: vultures that had been captured from hunting areas had higher blood lead levels than those captured from non-hunting areas. Moreover, vultures captured during hunting season had higher blood lead levels than those captured outside of hunting season. The researchers say these results suggest that lead ammunition is likely responsible for the vultures’ elevated blood lead levels.“There is no other logical explanation for this pattern, other than these higher levels were linked to lead ammunition associated with hunting,” said co-author Arjun Amar, a conservation biologist at the University of Cape Town, who oversaw the study.African white-backed vultures feeding on a carcass in Botswana. Image by Rebecca Garbett.Vinny Naidoo, a professor of veterinary pharmacology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, who was not involved in the study, agreed that lead poisoning could be affecting vultures.“Lead is a neurological toxin and commonly affects the brain,” Naidoo said. “The most common clinical signs are weakness, stargazing, blindness, seizures, depression and inability to walk.”Lead can also affect vultures in less visible ways, such as reduced breeding success with infertile eggs, and weak or abnormal chicks, he added.However, Naidoo cautioned against stating definitively that ammunition was the only source of the vultures’ high blood lead levels.There is “certainly a strong causal link,” Naidoo said. But it could be argued that there are factors other than lead ammunition that may be poisoning vultures, he added.Where’s the lead from?One finding that Garbett’s team did not expect was that blood lead levels of vultures in both hunting and non-hunting areas increased after the 2014 hunting ban. The researchers think this increase can be explained by the vultures feeding on carcasses in private game farms where hunting still continues (the 2014 ban applies only to state-owned land) or by a possible increase in illegal hunting after the ban.According to Naidoo, the high blood lead levels post-ban could also indicate that there were other potential sources of lead besides ammunition. In a study published in 2016, Naidoo and other researchers concluded that environmental factors explained some of the elevated blood lead levels in three African vulture species that his team examined in South Africa. One factor he identified was high level of lead in soil from leaded fuels regularly used in South Africa until 2006. There was still a proportion of lead poisoning the research team was unable to account for, but they said it could be explained by leaded ammunition.One challenge in pinpointing the source of lead in the blood of vultures is that the birds range widely.“For Lappet-faced vultures [Torgos tracheliotos] that were tagged in Botswana we know they spent time in all of the five countries surrounding Botswana,” Amar said. These are Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Angola.When vultures cover such a wide area, proving conclusively that lead ammunition is the leading cause of increased lead levels in the birds’ blood can be challenging.“Nonetheless, I’m convinced that leaded bullets are a problem,” Naidoo said.A widespread problemThe findings square with similar research done elsewhere.“This is an expected result because it has been found in many other areas around the world,” said Rafael Mateo, a toxicology expert from the Institute for Game and Wildlife Research (IREC) in Spain.In the U.S., for example, conservationists have been concerned since the 1930s about waterfowl being poisoned by lead shot. Shotguns commonly used for hunting waterfowl fire cartridges that contain tiny lead pellets known as shot. When hunters fire over water, a large amount of shot inevitably enters the water. Many waterfowl swallow small, hard pebbles to grind up food in their gizzards, and the birds that mistake the shot for pebbles then become exposed to lead poisoning. Lead ammunition is now a widely accepted threat to waterfowl around the globe, by hunters and conservationists alike.Lead poisoning has also been identified as a threat to the critically endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus), with the state of California banning the use of lead ammunition for hunting within the condor’s range in 2008.In 2012, Myra Finkelstein and Donald Smith of the University of California, Santa Cruz, published a study showing that lead ammunition was still the major source of lead poisoning in California condors despite the 2008 ban. To arrive at this conclusion, the researchers matched the chemical makeup of locally used lead ammunition to the lead found in the birds’ blood.“Our studies show that lead-poisoned condors most commonly exhibit blood lead isotopic signatures that match the signatures in lead ammunition,” Smith said. “We have only encountered a small number of birds lead-poisoned from sources other than ammunition.”Finkelstein and Smith’s research was an important part of the evidence that convinced the California Fish and Game Commission to ban the use of lead ammunition for all wildlife hunting statewide in October 2013. The ban comes into effect in 2019, and Finkelstein said she was hopeful it would reduce lead poisoning rates among California condors.Ammunition has been identified as a source of lead poisoning for the critically endangered Californian condor. Image by Joe Burnett.A loaded subjectGiven the findings of their own study, Garbett and Amar, too, are now calling for a similar ban in southern Africa.“A regional ban on the use of lead ammunition is needed — but a national ban would be a start,” Garbett said.However, “the hunting industry may not be so convinced without more proof,” Naidoo said. The use of lead ammunition has been a hotly debated topic across the globe, with strong opinions on both sides.“The hunting lobby … is very strong and actively engaged in environmental conventions,” said Masumi Gudka, vulture conservation manager with BirdLife International.At the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii in 2016, for instance, conservationists proposed a motion to phase out all lead ammunition. FACE, the European Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation, fought fiercely against this, resulting in a watered-down version of the motion requesting governments to limit the use of lead shot over wetlands and in areas where scavengers are at particular risk.Similarly, in the U.S., a ban on lead ammunition for hunting on state lands was introduced as one of the last acts of the Obama administration in 2017. The ban was immediately overturned by the new secretary of the interior, Ryan Zinke, a keen hunter himself — a move that was strongly applauded by pro-gun groups like the National Rifle Association.In both instances, pro-hunting organizations questioned the scientific basis on which the bans were proposed, and the issue became highly politicized.A researcher with a California condor being investigated for lead poisoning. Image by Zeka Glucs.There are no major hunting associations in Botswana, but Mongabay spoke with three executive members of the South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association (SAHGCA). Although all three members were opposed to an all-out ban on lead ammunition, their position was sympathetic to the plight of Africa’s vultures.“We cannot condone any activities or products that could be detrimental to scavenging birds,” said Gerhard Verdoorn, president of the SAHGCA.The SAHGCA reviewed the evidence on lead two years ago and says it believes it’s possible to mitigate against vulture lead poisoning without banning lead ammunition. According to Fred Camphor, chief executive of the SAHGCA, the only “materially supported evidence” they were able to find directly linking lead ammunition to lead poisoning in vultures was that of the California condor.Based on this evidence, the SAHGCA has advised its members to remove the wound channel, the path that a bullet takes through the animal, and burn any removed material to ensure it is not ingested by vultures or other scavengers.Alternative ammunition is available: premier bullets have the lead core bonded to the outer shell or jacket of the bullet, leaving minimal lead scatter in the target’s flesh upon impact. There are also monolithic bullets, made from solid copper or brass, that are totally lead-free. But at roughly three times the price of regular ammunition, the cost and limited availability of these alternatives remain the main barriers for a ban on lead ammunition, said Brian Reilly, vice president of conservation at the SAHGCA.Despite the higher costs, Verdoorn said he believed that persuading members to switch to alternatives for hunting was a realistic proposition, so long as the cheaper lead alternatives could still be used on shooting ranges.“The percentage of bullets used for hunting compared to that used for target shooting is very small,” he said. “We are already convincing our members to use these [lead-free] bullets for hunting.”Verdoorn added that, in general, hunters had a positive attitude toward vultures, and many were simply not aware that lead ammunition may be poisoning Africa’s vultures.“I am sure once they know, their acceptance of monoliths and premier bullets will rise,” he said. “If we have to make small sacrifices to protect vultures we will do so.”UCSC’s Smith, who has studied the effects of the partial hunting ban in California and found it not very effective, said a total ban on lead ammunition was necessary.“My professional opinion is that industrial uses of lead … should be eliminated, especially when a viable alternative is available, as it is for ammunition,” he said.Despite their precipitous declines, African vultures have not captured the public conscious and support in the same way other charismatic African species like elephants have. And without more support, funding, public awareness and political will, their position remains perilous.Garbett said more research was needed to fully understand the impacts of lead ammunition. But with time running out for Africa’s vultures, lead ammunition should be a comparatively easy issue to address, she said.“We hope that the fight for vultures only gets bigger and stronger,” Garbett said. “However, we may already be too late.”African white-backed vultures assembling at a carcass in Botswana. Image by Rebecca Garbett.Citation:Bellrose, F. C. (1959). Lead poisoning as a mortality factor in waterfowl populations. Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin; v. 027, no. 03.Cade, T. J. (2007). Exposure of California condors to lead from spent ammunition. Journal of Wildlife Management, 71(7), 2125-2133.Finkelstein, M. E., Doak, D. F., George, D., Burnett, J., Brandt, J., Church, M., … & Smith, D. R. (2012). Lead poisoning and the deceptive recovery of the critically endangered California condor. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(28), 11449-11454.Garbett, R., Maude, G., Hancock, P., Kenny, D., Reading, R., & Amar, A. (2018). Association between hunting and elevated blood lead levels in the critically endangered African white-backed vulture Gyps africanus. Science of The Total Environment.Naidoo, V., Wolter, K., & Botha, C. J. (2017). Lead ingestion as a potential contributing factor to the decline in vulture populations in southern Africa. Environmental research, 152, 150-156.last_img read more

Merger of Brazil’s agriculture and environment ministries in limbo

first_imgAgriculture, Agrochemicals, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon People, Amazon Soy, Cattle, Cattle Ranching, Controversial, Deforestation, Drivers Of Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Politics, Forests, Green, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Industrial Agriculture, Land Conflict, Land Rights, Land Use Change, Pesticides, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Saving The Amazon, Social Justice, Soy, Threats To The Amazon, Traditional People, Tropical Deforestation Article published by Glenn Scherer During his campaign, presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro repeatedly called for the merger of Brazil’s Ministry of Environment (MMA) and Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA). Bolsonaro strongly backs agribusiness, while seeing the work of environmentalists as undermining the Brazilian economy.However, the president elect was met in recent days by a firestorm of resistance against the merger from environmentalists, NGOs, scientists, academics, the environmental ministry itself, and from eight former environmental ministers.Even the bancada ruralista agribusiness lobby has come out against the proposal, calling it unworkable, noting that the two ministries have different, incompatible missions and agendas that would be compromised by a merger. Others note that a spirited dialogue between the two ministries is politically healthy for the nation.Bolsonaro, in response to criticism, said he will reconsider his plan, making a final decision on the merger known after taking office in January. Despite being close during the campaign to extreme right ruralists (mostly cattle ranchers), Bolsonaro has selected Tereza Cristina, a somewhat less radical ruralist, as new agriculture minister. A meeting of the ruralista group – major supporters of agribusiness – with then candidate Jair Bolsonaro at center in white shirt. Tereza Cristina, to the right of the new president, is Bolsonaro’s choice as Minister of Agriculture. The Bolsonaro administration takes office in January. Photo: FPA / Flickr.Throughout his campaign, now victorious presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro pledged that he would abolish Brazil’s Ministry of Environment (MMA) and fold its functions into the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (MAPA) – a very controversial position.Two days after winning the race, the former army captain announced the fusion of the two ministries as part of a plan to reduce Brazil’s current 29 cabinet posts by half.His explanation, given in a March interview, seemed to be based on his blame of the environmental ministry for economic harm: “The MMA manages to do damage to what should not be done,” he declared. In comparison, Bolsonaro sees agribusiness as paramount to Brazil’s wellbeing, as seen in an October speech: “We need a president who will not get in the way of the rural producer. We will not have any more conflicts in that area.”Bolsonaro’s reasoning is supported by an outspoken and extreme group within the ruralist agribusiness faction – mostly cattle ranchers – represented by Luiz Antonio Nabhan Garcia, president of the Ruralista Democratic Union (UDR). Garcia was a frequent figure seen alongside the candidate during Bolsonaro’s campaign and also in the first round of official acts as president in Brasilia last week. Garcia has strongly criticized the limits put by Brazilian environmental regulations on Amazon deforestation, and also the Paris Agreement.In talks with other ruralistas, Garcia stated without offering evidence that “the world wants to take over the Brazilian Amazon,” threatening Brazil’s sovereignty. He has also referred to the Paris Agreement as toilet paper, and asked: “What benefits does the Paris Agreement bring to Brazil and us Brazilian [land]owners? Nothing!”Jair Bolsonaro, Nov. 2016. The presidential candidate strongly supported the ministry merger, but he backed off recently, saying he will make a final decision in January. Image by Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom / Agência Brasil.Bolsonaro reverses himselfOpposition to the ministry merger was swift, coming from environmentalists, NGOs, scientists, academics and the environmental ministry itself.Eight former environment ministers – Marina Silva, José Sarney Filho, Izabella Teixeira, Carlos Minc, Gustavo Krause, José Carlos Carvalho, Rubens Ricupero and José Goldemberg – published a joint article in defense of maintaining the Ministry of Environment, along with Brazil’s continued participation in the Paris Agreement. Bolsonaro proposed withdrawing from the accord during his campaign, a position from which he has since somewhat distanced himself.Perhaps surprisingly, another group within Brazilian society ­– primarily representing soy, sugarcane, paper pulp and other crop growers, but not cattlemen ­– came out strongly against fusing the ministries. Just after the first-round election in early October, 40 representatives from the bancada ruralista agribusiness lobby in Congress met with the then candidate, who was awaiting the runoff election, and urged him not to combine the ministries.After that meeting, Garcia, a big defender of the merger, told the press that Bolsonaro would review the issue.Current Minister of Agriculture Blairo Maggi under president Michel Temer during the launching of the Agricultural and Livestock Plan for 2018/2019 in Brasília, in June 2018. Maggi, though a staunch ruralist, came out strongly against the fusion of the two ministries. Image by Antonio Cruz / Agência Brasil.Not a practicable ideaThe reason many ruralists balked: the unworkability and inconsistency of the proposal – MMA and MAPA have different charters and responsibilities, they said, and often take antagonistic positions.Even Blairo Maggi, Minister of Agriculture under current President Michel Temer and one of the largest soybean producers in Brazil, opposed the change: “How can a MAPA minister remark on an oil field or mineral exploration? [which are among MMA activities]. The fusion will bring losses to Brazilian agribusiness, due to demands made by European countries [for the nation’s farmers] to play a role in environmental preservation.”Tereza Cristina, president of the bancada ruralista and House deputy re-elected by Mato Grosso do Sul, also showed her doubts: “I will not say if I am for or against it, but it raises a concern to bring a ministry of that size and complexity to Agriculture.” Since making that statement, Bolsonaro selected Cristina to run the agriculture ministry, replacing Maggi. Cristina’s views in favor of agribusiness and against environmental regulation ­– especially in favor of the relaxation of pesticide rules – are seen as conservative by analysts, but less radical than those expressed by Garcia.The Ministry of Environment, posted a note on its official website, explaining problems with the proposed merger: “The two bodies are of immense national and international relevance and have their own agendas, which overlap only in a small fraction of their competencies. An example is that of the 2,782 licensing processes currently being carried out by IBAMA [the federal environmental regulatory agency], only 29 are related to agriculture… Undermining the authority represented by the Ministry of Environment, at a time when concern about the climate crisis intensifies, would be risky. The world, more than ever, expects Brazil to maintain its environmental leadership. ”Contacted by Mongabay, the environmental ministry declined to discuss the merger further.Federal House deputy for Mato Grosso do Sul Tereza Cristina in November 2017. She has been tapped by Bolsonaro to be Brazil’s next Agriculture Minister. Image by Waldemir Barreto / Agência Senado.Comings and goingsDespite the objections raised, Bolsonaro announced he would join the two ministries less than two days after his victory. But only two days later he stepped back from his decision, though in an ambiguous way. In his first press conference as president elect, he declared: “I have two months to decide, but it looks like [the ministries] will be separate.… But Jair Bolsonaro will be the one to choose the Minister of Environment. And [that appointee] will not be [nominated] by pressure from NGOs or a radical in defense of the environment.”Defending his reasoning for the merger, he said: “There has always been a struggle between the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment, and [I] had to pacify it. In some countries they are only one ministry.”Others dispute Bolsonaro’s contention. According to data gathered by the Climate Observatory (OC), a network of civil society organizations that disseminates climate change data, “no major commodity producer or country” has ever advocated for this kind of ministry “junction or annexation. In the United States, India, China, Canada, Mexico, Argentina and Spain, [and elsewhere] the departments or ministries are separated.”Contacted by Mongabay by email and by phone, the headquarters of Bolsonaro’s Social Liberal Party (PSL) did not respond to queries for this story.A supermarket in the United Arab Emirates (UAR) that sells Brazilian produce. Minister of Agriculture Blairo Maggi and farmers held meetings with the UAR in October 2018 to improve agribusiness relations. Some experts worry a merger of the agriculture and environment ministries could jeopardize future Brazilian agriculture discussions with other nations. Image courtesy of MAPA.Bad for business and the countryCriticism of the merger has continued unabated. The potential combination of the ministries “will bring serious damage to Brazil and will pass on to consumers abroad the idea that all Brazilian agribusiness survives thanks to the destruction of forests, attracting the fury of non-tariff barriers to the disadvantage of all,” said former environmental minister and 2018 presidential candidate Marina Silva on Twitter.Alessandro Molon, a federal House deputy for Rio de Janeiro, told Mongabay that the subordination of the environmental agenda to agribusiness interests is an obsolete vision. “Not even the most expressive part of the bancada ruralista, both in terms of number of representatives and in business values, is in favor of this terrible idea.”The fusion, instead of facilitating agribusiness, as Bolsonaro believes, would be equivalent to shooting oneself in the foot, said Carlos Rittl, executive secretary of Climate Observatory. “When [agribusiness] producers go to Brussels [the EU political center], they will hear demands for sustainability requirements and will not escape from them.”Rittl told Mongabay that if the two ministries are fused, the Brazilian economy, which depends heavily on agribusiness, could face setbacks. “The country is still struggling to get out of recession, and [that] recovery [requires] the support of good agribusiness practices. We would only gain from it – the country, the science, the economy, business and the image of Brazil.”According to Angelo Costa Gurgel, professor of economics at the Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV), the merger would create difficulties for the progress of both agendas: “A ministry that accumulates the responsibility of supervising programs, activities, and developments of both agribusiness and environment would have too many [widely divergent] challenges, making it difficult to be well managed under the coordination of one single ministry and minister. Who would be the [possible] ministers and secretaries with the profile, knowledge and experience to handle so many agendas?”IBAMA seized this mining area licensed by Altamira municipality in Pará state. The mine was found to be in noncompliance with environmental licensing requirements after the Kayapó indigenous group complained it was polluting the Curuá and Trairão rivers. Analysts note that the agriculture and environment ministries both have different and often incompatible missions and agendas, mining being just one example. Image by Felipe Werneck / IBAMA.Open questionThe controversy sparked by the potential fusion shows just how vital the Ministry of Environment is to Brazil, said OC’s Rittl, who added that: “If Bolsonaro realizes this fact, he can make decisions that will benefit the country.”In addition, Rittl noted that Brazilian ministers of agriculture and of the environment, though they may not agree, have long enjoyed a spirited and productive dialogue: “The new president talks about having less ‘ideology,’ but even ruralistas like Kátia Abreu, for instance, with all her bias, was willing to dialogue [with environmentalists] once she sat in the chair of the [Agriculture] ministry.”Brazil has the opportunity to become the largest agricultural and environmental power in the world, said Gurgel, but for that to happen, a consonance of goals is needed: “That harmony will only occur through a long-term alignment of the two agendas, respecting the competencies of each [and] of both and seeking solutions to potential conflicts.”It is worth noting, Gurgel added, that a significant portion of Brazilian agribusiness already recognizes the need to ensure an environmentally sustainable and socially fair production system. And likewise, a considerable part of the nation’s environmental movement is allied with the agribusiness sector to improve best practices and the image of the country.“In short, the commitment of the two agendas through a discussion founded on science and knowledge, and for the sake of sustainable development in Brazil, seems a better alternative than the fusion of the two ministries,” said Gurgel.However, environmentalists, ruralists and the Brazilian public will need to wait until January for Bolsonaro’s ascent to power, before learning his final decision on the matter.Banner image: Jair Bolsonaro. Fábio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Indonesia trains its citizens to deal with sea-mammal strandings

first_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored The waters around Indonesia serve as both a habitat and an important migratory route for dozens of species of whales, dolphins and porpoises.These cetaceans, however, are often found dead on Indonesian beaches, or alive but unable to return to deeper waters themselves.To prevent the deaths of marine mammals that strand themselves on its shores, the government has sought to establish a network of first responders equipped with the knowledge and training to deal with problem.Experts say what’s more important than providing an adequate response is to reduce the threats that lead to the strandings, including by improving the management of marine habitats and tackling pollution in the sea. DENPASAR/JAKARTA — In November 2017, when locals spotted 10 sperm whales stranded on a beach on the island of Sumatra, they had no idea what to do.Stuck in shallow waters, the sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) were vulnerable to dying from injury, suffocation or organ failure. Eventually, government reinforcements arrived to help push the enormous creatures out to sea, but not before four of them died.Such strandings are common in Indonesia, home to the longest coastline in Asia. Its waters serve as both a habitat and an important migratory route for dozens of species of whales, dolphins and porpoises. These cetaceans, however, are often found dead on Indonesian beaches, or alive but unable to return to deeper waters themselves.A pod of sperm whales was stranded in November 2017 on a beach in Sumatra’s Aceh province. Image courtesy of WWF-Indonesia.The incident in Sumatra was one of 54 recorded sea-mammal strandings in Indonesia that year, according to Whale Stranding Indonesia (WSI), a group that logs such events. But little is known about why they occur — or, when it comes to Indonesians living near the coast, how to respond when they do.Indonesia is hoping to change that. To prevent the deaths of animals that wash up on its shores, the government has sought to establish a network of first responders to deal with strandings. With the help of civil society groups, more than 900 people have been trained in some 30 workshops across the country, mostly in Borneo and Bali. Government officials, law enforcers, veterinary students, fishermen and others are taught how to safely return whales, dugongs and other animals to the sea, or how to otherwise provide preliminary care while they wait for the authorities to arrive.“There’s still a lot of people who are clueless [about how to deal with a stranded sea mammal], so a rescue effort can instead become an opportunity for a selfie,” Gustaf Mamangkey, a marine scientist at Sam Ratulangi University in North Sulawesi province, told Mongabay. “Or a rescue has to wait for officials and becomes very ceremonial. It would be very unfortunate if this continues to happen.”Indonesians in West Sulawesi found the beached body of the dugong (Dugong dugon). Two fishermen were arrested after trying to sell parts of the carcass. Image by Muhammad Yusri for Sahabat Penyu (Friends of the Turtles).Mysterious casesThe first known report of a sea-mammal stranding in Indonesia was produced in 1987 by Whale Stranding Indonesia. Over the next 16 years, the group recorded 203 strandings in the country, an average of more than 12 a year.Those figures jumped in 2013, when the group improved its tracking efforts with the launch of an online, open-access database on stranding events. Over the past six years, the database has recorded hundreds of cases, with a peak in 2017 (54 strandings). Thirty strandings were recorded last year. Most of the reports are submitted by WSI itself based on news articles or tip-offs, though it also relies on crowdsourcing.“Right now in Indonesia, we can’t say strandings are increasing — what’s increasing are reports of strandings,” WSI co-founder Putu Liza Kusuma Mustika told Mongabay. “I think we’ll be able to see a trend when [the database] has run for 10 years.”The big question is why these strandings are happening. More often than not, the answers are buried along with the bodies.Indonesian authorities typically do not conduct a necropsy — an autopsy performed on an animal — due to limited funds, a lack of biologists on hand, or even simply a lack of understanding of why the post-mortem examination is important to do in the first place.General theories for why strandings occur include starvation due to a stomach full of marine debris, such as plastic or fishing nets; offshore underwater activities that use sonar, like submarine excursions or oil-and-gas exploration, which can disrupt sea mammals’ echolocation; and getting struck by boats while passing through busy shipping lanes. But for the marine biologists trying to combat the problem, theories aren’t enough.“Suppose there’s a murder; you need to do an autopsy to figure out why they died, right? It’s the same with whales and dolphins,” Liza said. “When we can figure out exactly why they strand, then we can work on the root causes of the problem.”Many coastal Indonesian communities remain unaware of what to do when a marine mammal strands itself. Image courtesy of the East Nusa Tenggara Conservation Agency.A new approachThe plan to establish a network of first responders arose after a pair of mass strandings occurred within a week of each other in 2012.The two strandings saw a total of 57 short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) wash up on beaches in the Savu Islands, which lie between the larger islands of Sumba and Timor in the Sawu Sea. Only six of the creatures survived.An account of the two incidents produced by the Indonesian fisheries ministry said locals tried to rescue the whales by “carrying” and “dragging” them into deeper water, but it proved to be an impossible task. The whales were too heavy.The ministry also noted that a team of experts from Jakarta, more than 2,400 kilometers (1,500 miles) from the Savu Islands, had arrived late to the scene because they “couldn’t get flight tickets.” By the time they showed up, parts of the animals had been severed by locals who wanted to eat the meat or make oil from the skin to use as a substitute for kerosene or pesticide.The whales were eventually buried near the coast, since heavy equipment needed to move the bodies elsewhere couldn’t reach the area, and authorities didn’t want to dump them in the ocean. At the time, experts speculated that more of the animals might have survived if the people living nearby had known how to care for them while they waited for the authorities to show up.“Imagine having a large pod of stranded whales in one location and nobody knows how to handle it,” said Februanty Purnomo, a cetacean expert with WSI. “Imagine the smell, the potential for disease to spread, and the environmental contamination.”The incidents helped catalyze a growing realization that something needed to be done. That year, the fisheries ministry drafted guidelines on how to deal with strandings, and in 2013, two major conferences involving government officials, wildlife experts, veterinarians and civil society groups paved the way for a nationwide initiative to establish a network of first responders to deal with the problem.The fisheries ministry, through its Marine and Coastal Resources Management Agencies, or BPSPL, has assumed the mantle of running and funding the first-responder initiative. Groups such as WSI and WWF-Indonesia provide trainers for the workshops, which are staged with the help of big conservation groups, universities and even local surfing and scuba-diving communities.I Made Jaya Ratha, a veterinarian working on sea turtle conservation in Bali, was one of the first to receive the training. He is now one of the most seasoned volunteer trainers for the national first-responder network, which doesn’t have an official name.“For the trainings, the target participants are those who are highly likely to be involved in the network, as the first people who will handle a stranding event,” Jaya told Mongabay at a turtle conservation center on Serangan Island, just south of Bali.Training on how to handle marine mammal stranding is targeted at fishing communities, government officials, conservationists and veterinarians. Image courtesy of Whale Stranding Indonesia.How to save a beached whaleSo what should Indonesians do when they come across sea mammals washed up on their shores?For smaller animals, like dolphins and dugongs, first responders are taught to carry them back to sea using their bare hands or a large cloth. In the workshops, participants learn how to do this safely.“You must not pull the fins or tail because they are important for swimming,” Jaya said. “If they’re broken because of our handling, then it’s useless to bring it back to the sea, and we’d end up harming the animal further.”If the creature is too big for several people to carry, they’re supposed to report the incident to local authorities, who will usually call in heavy equipment to do the job. In the meantime, the citizens who arrive on the scene need to ensure that the animal stays hydrated.“We should cover parts of the animal’s body with clothing drenched in saltwater or dig a path around it so saltwater can enter and surround the animal,” Jaya said.Sometimes, saving an animal means getting creative.“One time, we had to use a political party’s campaign flags to carry a stranded dolphin back to sea,” Jaya said.If the stranded marine mammal is found alive, keeping it hydrated by covering it with towels drenched in seawater is important before returning it back to the sea. Image courtesy of Whale Stranding Indonesia.The typical training lasts for at least two days. Participants are taught the characteristics of the animals they are most likely to encounter, and how to identify an animal’s condition, the first step in treating it. “Identifying the animal’s condition is important so when you contact the local authorities, you can describe it well and they get a better idea of how to respond,” Jaya said.There are five identification codes, each giving a description ranging from whether the animal is still alive to it being dead and already decaying with missing body parts. Each scenario comes with guidelines on how best to handle the animal, such as keeping it hydrated if it’s still alive, or ensuring that locals aren’t taking parts of the body as it may be contaminated by bacteria that can cause health problems if consumed.How locals should respond largely depends on the animal’s condition. For living creatures, the main goal is to safely bring them back to the ocean. If the animal is too weak or badly injured, it might be best for it to go to a rehabilitation center for treatment.“But that kind of facility is rarely available in Indonesia,” Jaya said. Neighboring countries like Thailand and the Philippines, he said, are more advanced in terms of the resources available for treating stranded sea mammals.Participants are also taught how to bury a dead animal. Proper burial is required to reduce bacterial or viral pollution, and samples can be taken to study the causes of the animal’s death, Jaya said.However, the theories and simulations given at the trainings don’t always play out in reality, Jaya said.“The situation when there’s a stranding event can be very different from what happens in the training,” he said. “In reality, the equipment shown in simulations isn’t always available; not all of the procedures can take place accordingly because of the fact that the location is remote and inaccessible; and getting heavy equipment is difficult.”The typical result of a workshop is the establishment of a new first-responder network. Bali, the Bornean provinces of East and West Kalimantan, and the Sulawesi cities of Kendari, Makassar, Toli-toli and Palu are some of the regions that now have such networks in place. Others include Sumatra (Lampung and Padang provinces), Java (Serang, Yogyakarta, and Surabaya cities), Papua (Sorong city), West Nusa Tenggara (Lombok Island), and East Nusa Tenggara (Kupang city).A chart of the recommended procedures for handling stranded marine mammals. Image courtesy of Whale Stranding Indonesia.Scaling upSome are calling for the initiative to be accelerated. Gustaf, the marine scientist in North Sulawesi, called for one to be established in the province, where strandings are commonplace.The WSI recorded 13 strandings in North Sulawesi between 1996 and 2018, more than any other province on the island of Sulawesi. In Aceh province in Sumatra, where the 10 sperm whales washed up in 2017, 27 strandings were reported from 1987-2018.“Indonesian waters are so expansive that the establishment of a focal point in every province will be very helpful [to handle marine mammal stranding],” Gustaf said, adding that help should not have to come all the way from Jakarta as time is of essence for the beached animals.Gustaf said budget constraints and a lack of sea mammal experts locally are the main reasons for the absence of first-responder teams in some areas.The locally driven initiative could use more guidance from the national level, said Februanty, the WSI cetacean expert. She called for the government in Jakarta to issue a decree formally mandating the establishment of first-responder networks across the archipelago, which would spur local governments in more areas to get with the program.“Even though there are already local networks established, there’s no sense of urgency at the national level,” she said.Dealing with strandings after they occur is only one part of the ideal strategy for combating the problem, said Jaya, the Bali veterinarian. More important, he said, was to reduce the threats to the species by improving management of their habitats. Last November, the government launched its national action plan for marine mammal conservation through 2022.Brahmantya Satyamurti, the director-general of marine planning at the fisheries ministry, which oversees the BPSPL agencies, said his office was committed to expanding the first-responder network across the country.Brahmantya also called for more veterinary students to specialize in sea mammals, and said local authorities should be more flexible and less bureaucratic when handling cases like strandings that involve several government institutions.“Not a lot of people [in Indonesia] are experts in [marine] megafauna,” he said. “Indonesia’s oceans diversity is huge, almost every marine megafauna is present in Indonesia, and it will be a great thing when Indonesia has a lead in that sector for veterinarians who can manage marine megafauna.”The training for handling stranded marine mammals attempts to be as practical as possible. Image courtesy of Whale Stranding Indonesia.The government-led initiative isn’t the only one that has cropped up to deal with strandings.In May 2018, the Indonesian Association of Veterinarians (PHDI) established a team called the Flying Vets, with 19 veterinarians across the country who are on call to respond to strandings in remote areas.The initiative got off to a fast start. In July 2018, a member of the Flying Vets helped with a preliminary necropsy of a stranded dugong in southern Bali. That same month, another flying vet helped with the necropsy of a baby dugong found on the western coast of Java, and another helped with a dead sperm whale in Kupang, on the island of Timor.Ida Ayu Dian Kusuma Dewi, the head of the Flying Vets, said the biggest challenges are bureaucratic. Veterinarians in Indonesia are technically under the authority of the Ministry of Agriculture. But it can take ages, she said, to get a permit to help handle stranding cases and to get samples from the animal for necropsy.She said there are veterinarians under the Ministry of Environment and Forestry who are more flexible when it comes to helping with stranding cases, but they’re often not trained to deal with marine mammals like whales and dugongs.“I also hope that there will be more veterinarians who can dedicate more of their time and skills to help with these strandings,” Dian said.For Jaya, more workshops and first-responder networks to handle strandings must happen to save beached animals, and ultimately to help Indonesia better understand why sea mammals wash up on the country’s shores and prevent more such incidents.“The government might not consider this as a top priority, but we hope they still pay some attention to marine mammal protection and management,” he said.A dwarf fin whale (Balaenoptera omurai) was spotted in 2016 in the waters off Indonesia’s eastern province of Maluku. Image courtesy of Ilham Arch via Instagram.Banner image shows dolphins swimming near the northern coast of Indonesia’s Bali island. Image courtesy of Willem van de Kerkhof via Flickr. FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Article published by Basten Gokkoncenter_img Activism, Animal Rescue, Animals, Cetaceans, Community-based Conservation, Conservation, Conservation Solutions, Environment, Environmental Activism, Fisheries, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Mammals, Marine, Marine Animals, Marine Conservation, Oceans, Wildlife, Wildlife Rescues last_img read more