Saturday, September 15, 2012

Conservation Status of Serbian Moths, 28 Critically Endangered

An insect study by the University of Novi Sad and the Universtiy of Belgrade looked at the conservation status of noctuid moths in Serbia. The data span from 2000 to 2011 and was conducted under IUCN criteria. The results revealed 28 Critically Endangered, 49 endangered and 58 vulnerable species. Moreover 2 species (Acontia titania and Helivictoria victorina) aren not considered regionally extinct. The authors highlight the need for further conservation efforts for noctuid species.

International Red Panda Day - 15th September 2012

Today the world celebrates Red Pandas. The Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) is classified as Vulnerable in IUCN's Red List. Little is known about this animal due to its shyness. It is also because it lives in temperate forests with bamboo-thick understories in Nepal, India, Bhutan, Myanmar, and southern China.  The population trend is believed to be decreasing, particularly due to habitat los.
Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens)
The international Red Panda Day is aimed at raising awareness towards this species and support conservation efforts. The red panda needs to be conserved as its habitat sustain 15% of the human population. Conservation efforts for this species are focused on protecting this habitat, particularly reducing habitat degradation.  These temperate forests are the lungs of Southern Asia, much like the Amazon forest in South America, and thus more than 500 million people depend on the integrity of this forest for clean air and water.

Also, red pandas are incredibly cute! So if you want to help, have a look at the websites below!

Red Panda Network

Petition - Save the Red Pandas

Friday, September 14, 2012

World Rhino Day 22nd September 2012

Only 5 rhino species live in our Planet, 2 are found in Africa and the remaining 3 species live in Southern Asia. All of them are threatened.  The rhino is an example of an umbrella species. An umbrella species is a species whose conservation indirectly benefits the surrounding biodiversity. Such is the case of the rhino. Investing in its conservation will ultimately also protect the habitat it lives in, which is important for the global reduction of biodiversity loss and benefit efforts aimed at improving the well-being of the local communities.

For events, news and information please click here

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Essential Sea Otter Booklist - Guardian

Miriam Darlington,
Otter Country: In Search of the Wild Otter
Warming up to Sea Otter Awareness Week, which is just around the corner (23rd-29th Sept), Miriam Darlington, author of Otter Country: In Search of the Wild Otter, compiled a list of her top 10 literary otters. From children's book, scientific accounts and poems, this collection sure has a little bit for everyone's tastes, and they are all about these cute sea critters.
The sea otter is a rapidly declining species. Its decline is worrying as the species has a critical role in balance of the marine ecosystem and  in the fight against global warming. 

1. Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson 

2. "An Otter" by Ted Hughes 

3. "Otter" by Seamus Heaney 

4. Ring of Bright Water by Gavin Maxwell 

 5. Edal by Gavin Maxwell

6. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

7. The Otter Book by Phyllis Kelway

8. The Life Story of an Otter by JC Tregarthen

9. Otter Moon by Tudor Humphries

10. The Utterly Otterleys by Mairi Hedderwick

read more: Guardian

VIDEO: 5,000 fish identified in less than 24 hours

Speeding Up Science from Facebook Stories on Vimeo.

"In January 2011, Oregon State University ichthyologist Brian Sidlauskas led a research expedition into the little-known Cuyuni River region of Guyana in South America. His team documented more than 5,000 fish, but Guyana’s immigration policies required them to identify and catalog every specimen they wanted to bring back—a nearly impossible task, especially on a tight schedule. Sidlauskas uploaded his research photos to Facebook and tagged members of the scientific community who were able to identify almost all of the photos in under 24 hours."

Stewart McPherson is the first recipient of the David Given Award for Excellence in Plant Conservation.

Nepenthes attenboroughii
 a rat-eating carnivorous pitcher plant

Stewart McPherson in the Guiana Highlands
The David Given Award of Excellence in Plant Conservation is a new award from the IUCN SSC (IUCN Species Survival Commission) and it is aimed at encouraging efforts on plant conservation. The name of the first recipient of this award is Stewart McPherson. Stewart McPherson is a member of the IUCN SSC Carnivorous Plant Specialist Group, travelling extensively to document rare and endangered carnivorous plants. His work branches to both in situ and ex situ plant conservation and the discovery of new carnivorous plant species, such as the Nepenthes attenboroughii, named in honour of Sir. David Attenborough, the latest recipient of the prestigious IUCN John C. Phillips Award, and one of the recently announced 100 most endangered species in the world. He also established Ark of Life, a remarkable ex situ conservation program focused on the most endangered species of carnivorous plants.

read more: IUCN 

IUCN Report: Priceless or Worthless?

Przewalski's Horse
(Equus ferus przewalski),
Central Asia

IUCN and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) released a new list of the most endangered speices on the planet. This new publication entitled ‘Priceless or Worthless?’ was presented in the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Korea.  
Rodrigues fody (Foudia flavicans),
Mauritius Islands
The report looks into the 100 species which aare in the first line to disappear completely. The list was compiled by more than 8000 scientists from the IUCN Species Survival Commission (IUCN SSC) and it includes animals, plants and fungi. Without conservation efforts, these species are the most likely to become extinct. The actions needed to conserve this species are outlined in this publication. Moreover, the report  raises a necessary debate on the value of extinction and  suggests how to set a value to endangered species within our political, legal, social and economic systems. If such value is not recognised by these systems, scientists fear these species will become extinct.
The report also carries a list of extinctions and the most succeful conservation efforts which have been safeguarding oganisms from extinction. Examples include the recovery of the Przewalski’s horse (Equus ferus przewalski), the Rodrigues fody (Foudia flavicans) and the Humpback whale (Megaptera novaengliae).

“All the species listed are unique and irreplaceable. If they vanish, no amount of money can bring them back. However, if we take immediate action we can give them a fighting chance for survival. But this requires society to support the moral and ethical position that all species have an inherent right to exist.”
-Ellen Butcher, ZSL co-author of the report. 

read more:

New bird species can be gone soon

Antioquia Wren (Thryophilus sernai)

Researchers at the National University of Colombia spent 2 years studying the Antioquia Wren (Thryophilus sernai), a new bird species first discovered in 2010. This species is only found in the Cauca River in Colombia's Ituango municipality. This wren is distinct from other wren species due to its colouring and vocalisations

Threats and Mitigation
An increase in mining, tourism and deforestation has resulted in rapid habitat loss for this species. Among the biggest threats to the dry-land forest of Colombia is the hydroelectic project in Pescadero-Ituango. The biggest dam in Colombia is expected to flood the forest, which happens to be the Antioquia wren’s best habitat. The forest is also home to other threatened species such as the military macaw (Ara militaris) and the recurve-billed bushbird (Clytoctantes alixii). 
Mitigation actions between conservation groups and the government  are now underway. Perhaps the most likely solution is to establish a protected area in the unflooded forest upstream of the dam. If the area is big enough to sustain a viable population of wrens and macaws, it might rescue the species from other threats such as logging. 

Conservation of the Colombian dry forest 
Military Macaw (Ara militaris)
The dry forest of Colombia are also believed to be more endangered than the colombian tropical forest and its protection is critical as the dry forest is less studied. The discovery of the Antioquia Wren is an example of the many species that might still be hiding in the dry forests of Colombia and understanding this species and raising awareness towards it will greatly benefit conservation efforts in this little-known dry forest of Colombia.

“Bird conservation efforts have a history of giving back to local communities for the long-haul in a fashion that has been a win-win for all concerned. The conservation programs are helping to not only protect and rehabilitate the land and forests but they also provide improved habitat for birds and other wildlife that ultimately bring in tourism dollars. And we’ve demonstrated a variety of conservation and farming techniques that benefit wildlife while at the same time offer equal or even higher farming returns” 
-Lina Daza Rojas, executive director of FundaciĆ³n ProAves.

NEW STUDY: Are wolves reintroduced to Yellowstone thriving?

Grey wolf in Yellowstone National Park, USA
A new study looked at the grey wolves that were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park. The study focused on the wolves' susceptibility to parasites, as these individuals that had been in captivity would have no defenses.
It was found that the coyotes presented a great health risk to the wolves, transmitting diseases such as the canine parvovirus to wild-born wolves. Moreover other conditions emerged after the reintroduction of the wolves, such as mite infections and canine distemper. These health risks can interfere with the growth of the population of grey wolves in Yellowstone. However it seems that the population of grey wolves is stable and thriving, much due to the efforts in protecting and monitoring infectious diseases in Yellowstone.

“The protection of Yellowstone that has afforded the wolf reintroduction effort such great success has also allowed us to watch the natural transition from population growth to limitation or regulation, in which parasites appear to play a significant role.”
-Almberg, E. S. et al. 2012

"Wildlife reintroductions select or treat individuals for good health with the expectation that these individuals will fare better than infected animals. However, these individuals, new to their environment, may also be particularly susceptible to circulating infections and this may result in high morbidity and mortality, potentially jeopardizing the goals of recovery. Here, using the reintroduction of the grey wolf (Canis lupus) into Yellowstone National Park as a case study, we address the question of how parasites invade a reintroduced population and consider the impact of these invasions on population performance. We find that several viral parasites rapidly invaded the population inside the park, likely via spillover from resident canid species, and we contrast these with the slower invasion of sarcoptic mange, caused by the mite Sarcoptes scabiei. The spatio-temporal patterns of mange invasion were largely consistent with patterns of host connectivity and density, and we demonstrate that the area of highest resource quality, supporting the greatest density of wolves, is also the region that appears most susceptible to repeated disease invasion and parasite-induced declines. The success of wolf reintroduction appears not to have been jeopardized by infectious disease, but now shows signs of regulation or limitation modulated by parasites."

Interactive Map - World's Extinct and endangered species

Interactive map showing the number of extinct
 and critically endangered species worldwide
- Guardian-click to find out more
Earlier this month, the Guardian released an interactive map showing the world's extinct and critically endangered species. The view can be switched from extinct, currently critically endangered and numbers of both divided into 12 regions of the world. Just click on the map and the respective animals to learn more information! The map was based on the IUCN Red List It's a great simple tool that illustrates the past and current state of our species and one can understand the future challenges that lie ahead for conservation worldwide.

"Today, one in eight birds, one in four mammals, one in five invertebrates, one in three amphibians, and half of all turtles face extinction"

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Save the last 3200 wild tigers! -WWF

A message from WWF:

"Vote to help the last 3200 wild tigers! The Wereld Natuur Fonds (WNF) tiger ad 'Here they are. All of them.' has been nominated for the NRC Charity Awards. WWF can win 300,000 euros media exposure in the NRC, a leading Dutch newspaper. We have to stop tiger poachers NOW because we've already lost 97% of our wild tigers in the last century. So help us get our message across by voting for the WWF ad by September 14.

1. Click on 'Bekijken', 2. Then under the Dutch ad, fill in your email address, 3. Tick the box 'Ik ga akkoord met de actievoorwaarden' (agree with the terms), 4. You will receive an email to confirm. 

That's it! Thanks a lot."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dr. Wolfgang E. Burhenne awarded the Harold Jefferson Coolidge Memorial Medal

The Harold Jefferson Coolidge Memorial Medal is a prestigious IUCN award that recognises outstanding contributions to the conservation of natural resources. This year, during its World Conservation Congress in Jeju, Korea, IUCN awarded this medal to Dr. Wolfgang E. Burhenne, the Executive Governor of the International Council on Environmental Law.

Dr. Wolfgang  has been directly involved in many international conventions on conservation. He was one of the 12 signatories for the establishment of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and his insight was critical in the creation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

The medal was first established in 2004.  Dr. Robert Goodland, a tropical ecologists and environmnetal advisor for the World Bank, was the first-ever recipient in 2008 at the IUCN's World Conservation Congress in Barcelona.

"Dr. Burhenne has also provided inspiration and encouragement to many individuals throughout his career who have gone on to become leading figures in the field of environmental law." - IUCN

On the same day, Sir. David Attenborough was honoured with the Dr. John C. Phillips Memorial Award, and 11 Honorary Membership of IUCN were also awarded:
• Dr Abdulaziz Abuzinada, Saudi Arabia
• Ms Angela Cropper, Trinidad and Tobago
• Dr Aila Keto, Australia
• His Excellency, The State President, Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, Botswana
• Mr Veit Koester, Denmark
• Dr Russell Mittermeier, USA
• Dr Ian Player, South Africa• Professor Nicholas Robinson, USA
• Dr Marina Silva, Brazil
• Mr Achim Steiner, Germany
• Professor Randolph Robert Thaman, Fiji

read more: IUCN

Sir. David Attenborough awarded the Dr. John C. Phillips Memorial Medal

The IUCN World Conservation Congress is being held in Jeju, Korea from 6th until the 15th of September.  Today (the 11th) the congress honoured Sir. David Attenborough with the Dr. John C. Phillips Memorial Medal. This medal is considered the IUCN's highest conservation award, with a list of lustrous fellow recipients such as Professor Edward O. Wilson. 

Sr. David Attenborough's contributions to international conservation are known across the globe. Perhaps they are better reflected in science classrooms and lecture rooms at universities where most students will name that the BBC broadcaster as one of the main reasons they want to pursue career in natural sciences.

This memorial medal will join several other prestigious awards that Sir. David has been collecting over the last 50 years

"Sir David has reached the masses with his captivating programmes on natural history (...) inspiring generations to protect and conserve our planet." 

read more: IUCN

Who is Ron Taylor - (R.I.P - 09/09/12)

Valerie and Ron Taylor in 1971.
 Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Many film enthusiasts have seen the exciting shark sequences in Spielberg's celebrated movie Jaws, yet most many not have realised that the man who made them possible has passed away at the age of 78 after battling myeloid leukemia for 2 years.
Ron Taylor was his name and the name will always be associated with his successful wildlife film-making career and his involvement in marine conservation. A shark expert and marine biologist, he began his career as a spear fisherman but then changed weapons and started "hunting" marine life with a camera. Since then Ron and his beloved wife Valerie have been advocates of marine conservation. Their impressive work earned them the title of 'gods of the sharks' and both were awarded the Membership of the Order of Australia, first Ron in 2003 and Valerie in 2010. 
Ron and Valerie Taylor in their Sydney home, 2009
Though Ron Taylor is no longer with us, his work will forever be remembered and treasured. One of the 'gods of the sharks' will be up in the sky looking out for sharks across the globe while people down on Earth will continue to protect the marine ecosystem, inspired by the legacy that Ron Taylor left behind.

read more: Guardian

Signs of Hope for Biodiversity (Infographic) - WORLD BANK

The size and number of protected areas around the world is increasing.
Investment in biodiversity is increasing.
from: World Bank

Why Biodiversity Matters (Infographic) - WORLD BANK

70% of the world's poor live in rural areas and 
depend directly on biodiversity for their survival and well-being.
from: World Bank

Threats to Biodiversity (Infographic) - WORLD BANK

50% of the Earth's wetlands were destroyed in the 20th Century
from: World Bank

We're losing Biodiversity (Infographic) - WORLD BANK

Two species have gone extinct every day since 2010
from: World Bank

What's Happening to Biodiversity? (Infographic) - WORLD BANK

WORLD BANK - What's Happening to Biodiversity?
click here for full view

Joel Sartore's Photo Ark Project

Panamanian golden frog (Atelopus zeteki)
critically endangered frog endemic to Panama
Joel Sartore is a National Geographic photographer who has spent the last 6 years doing studio photography. Though it might sound like a contradictory statement, Sartore's reasons are more than justified. He's photographing as many animal species as he can, most of them endangered. With either a black or white background he hopes to put all species at equal terms. 
Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa)
Vulnerable felid found in Himalayas, SE Asia and China
The project, called Photo Ark, already has more than 2000 animal photographs but despite being busy with animals in the studio, Sartore still finds the time to continue his work with National Geographic magazine, having completed more than 30 projects already.
This is an impressive achievement and the photographs speak for themselves. With Photo Ark Sartore hopes to introduce these species to all corners of the Earth and give these animals a chance of survival.

“You can’t fall in love with something if you haven’t met it.” 
 Joel Sartore

find out more:  

VIDEO: IUCN Red List of Ecosystems explained

Biggest Protected Area In Madagascar

It's official ! Makira Natural Park, with an area of around 380.000 hectares is the largest protected area in Madagascar. This forest in the northwestern part of the island is one of the most biodiverse regions in Madagascar housing almost 20 species of lemurs.
The park will be funded under the REDD+ scheme (Reduce Emissions through Deforestation and Forest Degradation) with some of the money going to the local communities.

“Not only does Makira protect the largest remaining tract of the island’s rainforest, but it is a demonstration of a new model for integrated conservation in Madagascar where local communities – de facto stewards of the forest resources – become partners with the State in protected area management.”
Christopher Holmes, Director of Wildlife Conservation Society’s Madagascar Program

Read more at: Mongabay:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sea Otter Awareness Week 23rd -29th Sept 2012

Sea Otters Fight Against Global Warming
An examination of 40 years of data on the sea otters from Canada do Alaska has revealed that these creatures are important to the fight against global warming.  This is due to the sea otters eating habits as they eat the sea urchins and thus allow the marine kelp forests to flourish.
The kelp forests absorb carbon dioxide and produce organic matter similar to terrestrial forests and thus slow the rising of carbon dioxide in the ocean.
Overall it is believed that the presence of sea otters is critical to maintain the balance of the marine ecosystem.
read more:
Action for our planet:

Paid Volunteer vacancy - Animal Cognition

Cape ground squirrels of The Kalahari
Project set up by the University of Cambridge and Zurich University
Based at the Meerkat Research Station.
Period of 12 months
Accommodation and paid a monthly allowance for food.
If you are interested in this position, please send a CV and a short letter stating your motivation to apply, and two names acting as referees
The closing date for applications is the 10th September and persons shortlisted must be available on either the 17th or 18th September for a Skype video interview.

New Hawk- Owl Species Discovered in the Phillipines

Top: Cebu Hawk-Owl
Bottom: Camiguin Hawk-Owl
Analysis of calls from owls in the Phillipines revealed two new species of owls: The Cebu hawk-owl (Ninox rumseyi) and the Camiguin hawk-owl (Ninox leventisi). It was previously thought that both species were subspecies of the Phillipine hawk-owl (Ninox phillippensis).Both newly described species are found in restricted habitats. The Camiguin hawk-owl is only found in the island of Camiguin Sur. The Cebu hawk-owl was thought to be extinct due to deforestation on the island of Cebu.

The discovery of the Cebu hawk-owl is one of the 3 endemic bird species found in this island and this owl species is believed to be endangered. The other two endemic species are song bird Black Shama  or siloy (Copsychus cebuensis) and the Cebu Flowerpecker (Dicaeum quadricolor). 

Read more: 

mongabay:New owl species discovered in the Philippines

IUCN's Red List of Ecosystems

This new initiative was first conceived in 2008 and is projected to be have complete global coverage by 2025. Based on the Red List of Threatened Species, the project is aimed at assessing the vulnerability of ecosystems based on an internationally accepted criteria for risk assessments of ecosystems.
This list will help conservation action and decision-making, particularly in studies of land use and ecological restoration and provide important link between the health of an ecosystem and human well-being.

“We envision that it could become a one-stop shop for economists, rural communities, local and national authorities, who can use the assessments of the Red List of Ecosystems to better manage the finite resources of our planet,”
Edmund Barrow, Head of the IUCN Ecosystem Management Programme.

An Interview with David Quammen - Mongabay

Spillover - Animal Infections and the
next human pandemic, 2012
David Quammen
Reporters Nandini Velho e Umesh Srinivasan interview David Quammen. David Quammen is a conservation writer, writing for many magazines, including National Geographic and is the author of popular science books such as 'Song of the Dodo'. Now releasing a new book, 'Spillover', Quammen talks about the history and future of conservation science, religion and his literary influences.

Read (click on link): 

An interview with conservation writer David Quammen

By Nandini Velho and Umesh Srinivasan, special to
September 05, 2012

Endangered Spider Found in San Antonio, USA

Northwest San Antonio, USA  - Construction for a $15.1 million highway underpass project on Texas 151 is halted indefinitely. Why? Because a spider that hasn't been seen in the area for 30 years was living there! This spider was confirmed to ben an endangered species of meshweaver. 

Read more:

Friday, May 4, 2012

WWF Pic of the Week #09 - Curiousity

WWF Pic of the Week #09 - Curiousity

Curious about your world? There's always something to suprise you in its infinite variety.

A curious juvenile African Lion (Panthera leo) reaches out to inspect a hidden camera with it's paw, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya.

Find out more about the natural world and - what WWF does to help conserve it.

© / Anup Shah / WWF-Canon

- WWF Pic of the Week