August 14, 2007
In recent years many western communities have shifted their reliance from drilling, mining and logging to recreational activities like camping, fishing, hunting, skiing, climbing and boating on public lands for jobs, economic growth and vitality.
According to a report prepared by Sierra Club, outdoor recreation across the American West generated more than $60 billion and over 600,000 new jobs in 2006 alone. Western communities situated closest to federally protected public lands showed the strongest
economic growth in recent years. The Sierra Club says it is working to get traction for this information so that policymakers and the public can counter industry propaganda about the need to increase drilling, mining and logging on Western lands.
“Public lands drive the tourist-based economies in our western states,” says the Sierra Club’s Keren Murphy, who authored the report. “If we protect special places, they’ll provide a source of income and enjoyment for generations to come.”
August 12, 2007
Mogiya poachers -Ranthambore
‘Tiger Watch’ is leading a highly successful anti-poaching campaign around Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, led by Dr. Dharmendra Khandal, Field Biologist.
Aditya Singh’s Blog on Ranthambore has more details of their recent raid.
All the pictures are by Dr. Khandal
and were taken when the raid was on. Dharmendra is second from right in the picture below. Read on..............
The Ranthambhore Bagh
August 09, 2007
State Bank of India (SBI) plans to create financial instruments to aid carbon credit trading and management and fund and advise clients in the eco-friendly business.
The business opportunity is linked to a growing global market in which industrial polluters in developed countries that cross administered emission limits of greenhouse gases fund clean technology projects in developing countries like India and China under
a government-monitored trading regime.
SBI said in a statement that analysts peg the global carbon trading market at $100 billion by 2010 and the Indian carbon market has the potential to supply 30-50 per cent of the projected global market of 700 million CERs by 2012.
Source: Hindustan Times, Aug. 8, 2007
August 05, 2007
Computer tools for conservation
This tool — known as the "SWAP model," short for State Wildlife Action Plan — is unique: It considers a habitat’s numerous species all at once and displays the results in maps that are intuitively easy to grasp. A cutting-edge, customized computer
tool that takes 150 years of information on at-risk animals across Tennessee and marries that data to the latest in mapping software — geographic information systems (GIS) has been in use in the U.S.A.
The SWAP model incorporates 150 years of information on:
Animal sightings in Tennessee; Their preferred habitats; Threats to these animals (such as road construction or dam building); and Conservation actions known to counteract these threats. The software tracks 664 at-risk animals across the state — on land,
in water, and in caves — with data mathematically weighted toward most recent sightings, species most at risk, and other key factors.
Then it produces maps that display color areas where at-risk species are proven to live and thrive. The darker the color, the more viable the habitat. Part of what makes the SWAP model so innovative is that it turns the longstanding conservation strategy
of preserving a habitat for the sake of a single rare species on its head.
“That’s the old, standard way of conservation thinking,” “The SWAP model allows us to see all the at-risk species in an area that will benefit by removing certain threats or restoring habitat."
Another intriguing aspect of the SWAP model is its ability to project hypothetical scenarios. What if the Conservancy were to restore a farmland pasture to wooded wetlands, for instance? Would that help the at-risk species in the area?
The SWAP model can predict the outcome.
Read the full article at http://www.nature.org
[Open in new window]
August 05, 2007
Here is a quote from a prominent African film authority, which is applicable to a large extent to the situation here in India as well.
"As an industry, wildlife and natural history filmmaking touches uniquely on three socio-economic issues which are crucial to the future of the African continent:
Firstly, in the wake of globalisation, if our rich natural resources are properly managed and developed, then independent and sustainable development in African countries will continue. It is crucial in the pursuit of African renewal and the new partnership
for Africas development that such resources need to be exploited to the advantage of African people.
Second is the crucial issue of conservation and environmental protection - an issue which is not unique to Africa and requires international cooperation and resources to develop effective strategies in combating threats to our environment. Showcasing these
issues on television internationally is an effective way to raise awareness and support for these causes.
The third issue is the development of the African film industry so that wildlife and natural history filmmaking is representative of all Africans. To achieve this, it is imperative to implement training programmes which will foster the development of black
filmmakers and to change the current status of the industry. Put simply, the challenge is how do we make indigenous Africans not only the observed but the observers and the participants in telling the story about this continent.
We need to be conscious of this fact: if we are to ensure the survival of our environment and the prosperity of this industry, filmmaking must become representative and diverse. Africans are presently the trackers, the translators and the lodge servants
in this industry, perhaps sometimes the odd ranger or national park representative... but rarely the arbiter of the story.
We are following through at pledges made at last year’s Wild Talk Africa conference to spend $1 million on developing the industry here and commissioning up-and-coming natural history filmmakers. From now on, through the NHU AFRICA, e.tv will produce 40 hours
of programming a year, ranging from lower-budget/higher-quality series to blue chip documentaries.
So far we have commissioned films on frogs in Madagascar, a lake in Venda, desert elephants in Namibia, climate change in Africa, ground squirrels in the Kalahari, a southern African travel series, a wildlife rehab series in Johannesburg, a good news conservation
series, and of course where would the NHU AFRICA be without films on cheetahs, sharks, wild dogs and crocodiles! Our aim is to work with international broadcasters on some of these productions and we are currently co-producing HD films with NHK, and Five in
the UK and are in discussion with National Geographic over a few more".
Source: WildFilmNews July 2007
August 03, 2007
To eradicate poverty, we have to regenerate our ecology
Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), New Delhi, announces a five-day refresher workshop on how to use the environment to eradicate poverty in rural India.
For more than two decades, CSE’s campaigns and research have shown that India’s poverty is ecological in nature. This means that to eradicate poverty, we have to regenerate our ecology. Many villages have done this. CSE has been studying their experiences.
The refresher workshop seeks to learn from these models and put in place a framework for sustainable villages. This highly interactive course is designed to clarify the linkages between environment and poverty, and to demonstrate its feasibility through a two-day
field trip to Laporiya, a village of pastoralists who have collectively drought-proofed their village and created sustainable livelihoods. In addition to experienced CSE staff, the course faculty includes eminent development experts.
Understanding India’s biomass economy
Eco-systems, land use and livelihoods: Linkages
Rainfed areas in crisis: Food security
Spectre of jobless growth: Chronic, concentrated poverty
Key indicators: Environment and poverty linkages
Poverty eradication programmes: A critique
Ecological opportunities, economic value
Decentralised governance: Ecology, Panchayati Raj
Ecological Act: The promise of NREGA, experiences
How to evaluate development effectiveness of NREGA
Case studies: Community-led village eco-restoration
Workshops: Create your own ’poverty line’; Prepare a detailed roadmap on how to create sustainable livelihoods using local ecology
Field trip: A two-day visit to drought-prone Laporiya (a community of pastoralists in Rajasthan) to experience a remarkable community-led water management initiative.
For more information
August 03, 2007
A real victory for tigers
In a key win in the battle to save wild tigers, The CITES convention on endangered species rejected a lifting of the 14-year ban on domestic trade in tiger parts in China.
“The international community has sent a clear message that the world cannot sacrifice the last wild tigers for the sake of a handful of wealthy tiger farm investors.”
The International Tiger Coalition said it commended delegates from four countries with wild tigers – India, Nepal, Bhutan and Russia – and the United States in standing firm on behalf of wild tiger conservation during a lengthy debate. The decision was adopted
by consensus, but not before China tried to soften the language.
Privately run “tiger farms” across China have bred nearly 5,000 captive tigers and are putting enormous pressure on the Chinese government to allow legal trade in tiger parts within China. They argue that their captive tigers will meet the demand of traditional
Chinese medicine (TCM) users for tiger-bone tonic wines and medicines.
“A lift of the ban would simply lead to an increase of demand for tiger parts and the ‘laundering’ of skins and parts from poached wild tigers.
“India and Nepal in particular have been heroic and spoken up strongly and passionately in defence of tigers and should be commended for their stance.”
Source: From a report by the EIA The Environmental Investigation Agency
August 02, 2007
African Rats: The Best TB and Landmine Detectives
Trained giant African rats, with their extraordinary sense of smell, can detect whether or not a sputum sample contains TB indicators 48 times faster than a human lab technician. They also are brilliant at detecting mines—and won’t set them off, unlike
dogs or humans, because they are so light.
Ashoka Fellow Bart Weetjens has shown how to put these “HeroRATS” to work in Tanzania. Now he and his HeroRATS organization, APOPO, have been asked to bring this life-saving innovation to the 11 countries of the Great Lakes Region in Africa.
A HeroRAT can screen 40 sputum samples for TB in 10 minutes—a day’s work for a lab technician. HeroRATS are accredited according to International Mine Action Standards (IMAS), just like mine detection dogs, and 23 HeroRAT teams are now deployed
in Mozambique. HeroRATS are cheaper to breed, train, feed, maintain and transport; the use of HeroRATS speeds up landmine clearance and reduces operational costs; the rats are highly intelligent and social creatures, with an highly developed sense of smell;
they are adapted to the environment; and they love to perform repetitive search tasks in exchange for food rewards. Moreover, the African giant rat has a lifespan of eight years, much longer than other types of rats, and can be used for several years after
the one year training period.
APOPO now has a proven, recognized approach—and the challenge to bring it to scale quickly across 11 of Africa’s most troubled countries. APOPO is demonstrating how to do so in Tanzania. It has established a certified animal training center in Morogoro. Skilled
trainers from there then go out to the most affected parts of the country to help local people learn how to train and use the rats.
For further information (including technical reports, videos and articles), please visit the websites
July 24, 2007
The Curse of Copper
Kenya-born film makers, Jenny Sharman and Richard Jones (True Nature Films) won the ’Best Independent’ award at Missoula (IWFF) with their film ’The Curse of Copper’. The film also picked up a merit for music. Made in Ecuador, the film is having a very positive
impact in drawing attention to the plight of a unique cloud forest and local communities that are being threatened by a Canadian mining company. The film is helping to stimulate a growing public campaign to try to stop this open cast copper mine from going
ahead, but, as yet, the company continues to push forward with its plans. If you’d like to see the film, please go to
July 16, 2007
The Congolese film "Everyone for Conservation"(3 hrs) won the Merit Award for best Conservation initiative at the International Wildlife Film Festival, 2007.
The film was produced to bring about change in behavior and attitude critical for the protection of both human and wildlife populations. Produced by a Congolese production team, it is being disseminated by Congolese educators.
The premise is that awareness efforts must be grounded in the communities where the problems manifest themselves; the issues must be locally determined, the voices recognizable to the audiences that view the films, and produced in the language or languages
of the region, in a manner and style that is culturally appropriate. Dissemination is at the community level, in group settings that empower people to think and communicate with each other through shared experience.