U.S. District Officials Ban Poison Traps In Colorado

Since the Chilean government snubbed a billion-dollar mining project to save endangered penguins, other executives have been following suit. To prevent accidental deaths, district officials in Colorado have placed a ban on cyanide traps.

“Today’s agreement is the latest step in ensuring the federal government and the state of Colorado follow the law and the best science in managing wildlife,”

The M-44 device is spring activated, shooting poison at potential farming predators. Though meant primarily for coyotes, the M-44 has injured an Idaho teen, also subsequently killing his dog. Known for its leniency with hunting measures, Colorado isn’t making an impression on activists. The ban marks its first steps towards respecting endangered wildlife populations.

“This agreement represents a sign of good faith moving forward to do the right thing when it comes to Colorado’s wildlife and ecosystems,” [said] Matthew Bishop with the Western Environmental Law Center.

In just 15 states, over 16,500 traps have been deployed. Since raccoon corpses aren’t really my thing (nor do I think they’re anyone else’s) the ban is doing us and nature a favor.

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Firefighters Rescue Bears In Captivity At Restaurant

While Hollywood VIP Leonardo DiCaprio is looking out for lions, Armenian firefighters have other plans. After years of playing cat-and-mouse, the International Animal Rescue freed two captive bears used for entertainment at a Yerevan restaurant.

“Now the plight of these poor bears has come to light, I know IAR won’t turn its back on them. After years of misery and neglect, an end to the suffering can’t come soon enough.” [said patron Neil Morrissey.]

Bear buddies Dasha and Misha now reside in a mountain sanctuary (hopefully miles from their captors). According to the IAR, there are still some 80 captive and abused bears unaccounted for.

“Some have been living for years in small, barren cages, surviving only on scraps and filthy, stagnant water. Many bang their heads to relieve the boredom. It is ­heartbreaking. We are determined to bring it to an end.” [said IAR chief Alan Knight.]

While The Jungle Book may have us thinking bears are as friendly as the affectionate Baloo, they aren’t. Entertaining or not, these fascinating beasts belong only to one place — the wild.

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Reforestation Project To Restore Brazilian Amazon

Saving cities up to $505 million a year, trees are the underdog we tend to dismiss too often. After planting a record-breaking 66 million trees in 12 hours, Indian volunteers have inspired even greater reforestation attempts. Conservation International is going big, attempting to restore 70,000 acres of the Amazon forest.

“If the world is to hit the 1.2°C or 2°C [degrees of warming] target that we all agreed to in Paris, then protecting tropical forests in particular has to be a big part of that,” [says] M. Sanjayan, CEO of Conservation International.

Stopping the seemingly trivial issue of deforestation can cut up to 37% of carbon emissions. To rehabilitate the Amazon, the group is using the muvuca strategy. This tactic combines over 200 native forest species that have a 90% chance of successful germination.

“With muvuca, the initial outcome is 2,500 species per hectare. And after 10 years, you can reach 5,000 trees per hectare. It’s much more diverse, much more dense, and less expensive than traditional techniques.”

Even better, Conservation International is employing indigenous communities and family farmers. A few million trees have already been planted, and it seems an appetite for change is growing along with them.

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Caribou Herds Rebuilt by Maternity Programs

This is no truth bomb: more and more species are becoming endangered or approaching the brink of extinction. However, there is some good news: more and more global efforts are also being executed to address the problem. In 2017, British Columbia banned recreational bear hunting. This 2018, China is funding a national park to serve as a sanctuary for giant pandas.

And some efforts are already paying off this year. With the special help of a maternity program at Smithsonian Zoo, baby Mokey — the first western lowland gorilla there in 9 years — was born to loving mom Calaya. In the same light, caribou herds are now being helped by the Revelstoke Caribou Maternal Penning Project.

About half [of the calves] are killed and eaten by wolves . . . said Scott McNay, a wildlife biologist. For the past four years, McNay has worked with the West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations, which are taking radical action to reverse the decline of the caribou by protecting cows and calves in “maternity pens” until the newborns are ready to survive life in the wild.

That bears and wolves feed on caribou is a natural phenomenon, but the proportion has been unhealthy for the past decade. Industrial development in the area has also worsened the situation. In addition to a ban on the hunting of caribou herds that have been imposed decades ago by the elders of the First Nations, wolf population control and habitat restoration are now being done simultaneously.

During the first four years of the pilot maternity project, 47 pregnant caribou from the North Columbia herd have been taken into the penning program and assisted in a nine-hectare enclosure. A few weeks ago, another 20 were sequestered. And the results look hopeful.

To date, 36 calves have released to the wild and they have about double the normal survival rate, which has stabilized the herd.

Funded by a variety of government agencies and other organizations, the maternity program wants to commit to protecting and releasing 20 cows and calves every year, in order to successfully restore the caribou herds.

Looking at these probable results, it seems that after all, every species including humankind is just trying to survive, with each other’s help in life.

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Supposedly Extinct Species Resurfaces In Australia

Devoted animal activists are doing what they can to prevent dwindling wildlife populations from perishing. While Kazakhstan is manually reintroducing wild tigers, Indonesian authorities are catching pangolin smugglers red-handed. For the “extinct” crest-tailed mulgara, no human intervention brought the carnivorous critter back to life. It simply showed up after an entire century.

“Next year we are due to begin introduced predator and rabbit eradication for a large area, which will no doubt help the mulgara,” Reece Pedler, project coordinator of Wild Deserts, says.

The tiny, blonde insect-muncher is a cousin to the Tasmanian devil and acts as a midday lunch for foxes and cats. For a hundred years, passersby only experienced the mouse-like creature in bone fragments. Now, Australia is prepared to keep the species alive.

The conservation project will set up Sturt National Park as a sanctuary with two fenced exoclosures to keep predators away. After those have been erected, locally extinct mammals… will be reintroduced.

Looks like athletes aren’t the only ones making a comeback!

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Endangered Starfish Resurface After 3 Years

Efforts to restore coral beds by returning oyster shells to reefs may be making an impact — but not for sea stars. Plagued by star wasting syndrome in 2013, the majestic creatures saw an uneasy population decline. However, a miraculous turn of events has seen the distinguished species resurface in Southern California.

“It’s a huge difference… A couple of years ago, you wouldn’t find any. I dove all the way as far as Canada, specifically looking for sea stars, and found not a single one,” … said Darryl Deleske, an aquarist at San Pedro, California’s Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

While die-offs have occurred in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, climate change has amplified its latest comeback. With no solid explanation to star wasting syndrome, the disease is tricky. Still, researchers have offered a number of theories.

Scientists suggested that parvovirus, which can be carried by other invertebrates, might be linked to the disease, with the viral agent possibly “going rogue.”

The sea star’s resurgence may be a conundrum even the Mystery Gang can’t solve — but a fortunate one at that!

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New Zealand To Plant 1 Billion Trees In 10 Years

Drone technology, among other things, has made reforestation more effective than it has ever been. An abundance of more systematic methods of tree-planting is inspiring many to participate in cutting carbon emissions. For New Zealand in particular, the idea is to go big or go home. Its ambitious government has sworn to plant 270,000 trees a day in order to reach its target of 1 billion in just a decade.

“It’s going to take commitment… we would expect and we would hope that [the Government] is going to try and enlist a private sector investor here because… trying to do it by themselves isn’t a clever idea.” [says Forest Owners Association CEO David Rhodes.]

As a country so heavily reliant on lush forestry, it’s no surprise that New Zealand has previously attempted projects of this scale. The 90s saw some success, with workers planting nearly 100,000 hectares of trees annually. Though 1 billion trees seems to be the government’s greatest obstacle, it’s working with the forest industry that is.

“It’s not just new planting, but sending the right signals to the current investors that it’s worth getting back into the game.”

With hundreds of jobs bound to become available, I can’t imagine seeing this project hit the back burner.

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India Bans Use Of Wild Animals In Circus Shows

When Indian locals set their minds to something, chances are, they will pull through. To demonstrate the importance of lush forestry (and push boundaries), 1.5 million volunteers planted 66 million trees in 12 hours. When the government refused to act, 700 Kuttemperoor villagers restored a beloved river in only 70 days. To top off the year, the country is now putting an end to circus acts that feature wild animals.

India’s Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change… has canceled the recognition of all circuses which were found guilty of torturing wild animals including elephants by locking them in cramped cages and thrashing and intimidating them to perform tricks that are unnatural to their inherent characteristics.

In 1998, India banned the exhibition of wild animals in performances, save for elephants. Simply put, bears and tigers “had it worse” compared to the gentle giants. Furthermore, the industry argued a complete loss of animal entertainment would put livelihoods at risk. Activists, along with Nikunj Sharma of PETA, think the excuse is pitiful.

“Livelihood can never be a justification for cruelty on any living being. More and more people today know that circus means cruelty to animals and want no part in it.”

Let’s stick to juggling and acrobatics, shall we?

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U.K. Passes Ban On Pesticides For Bees

As a vital part of the food chain, bees deserve more attention than they are currently receiving. Though devices such as the BuzzBox are making beekeeping more efficient, they aren’t addressing the steep decline in bee populations. Stepping up to the plate, the U.K. is finally supporting a total ban on bee-harming pesticides.

“The weight of evidence now shows the risks neonicotinoids pose to our environment, particularly to the bees and other pollinators which play such a key part in our £100 billion food industry, is greater than previously understood.

“I believe this justifies further restrictions on their use. We cannot afford to put our pollinator populations at risk.” [said environment secretary Michael Gove.]

The monetary value of pollinating insects in the U.K. has shot up to nearly £680 million per annum. At that price point, it’s difficult to believe that bees are simply an expendable asset in nature. In the long run, pesticides aren’t only a threat to wildlife, but to crop consumers altogether.

“We need to encourage farmers to move away from reliance on pesticides as the solution to the many problems that industrial monoculture cropping create.”

Looks like permaculture farming may be the way to go.

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Leonardo DiCaprio Fights To Save Lions

In the grand scheme of trying to make the world a better place, we sometimes forget about protecting our wildlife. Every now and then, a war veteran will fight for elephant rights, or a president will adopt a dog. Now, Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio, along with the Wildlife Conservation Network, is working to save lions from extinction through the Lion Recovery Fund.

“100% of every dollar raised will go directly to the partners in the field with zero administrative fees or overhead.”

“We’re losing our planet’s wildlife – even such iconic species as the African Lion – at a dangerously rapid pace. An astonishingly small amount of philanthropic dollars go towards protecting wildlife‚ but together we can turn that around.”

Lion conservation is not just about hard work — it demands collaboration. This means wildlife organizations, governments, and donor communities all need to play an active role, and fast. Current lion populations are a tenth of what they used to be just a century ago.

“More than 26 countries have already lost their lion populations and without action‚ lions may disappear from many of their remaining strongholds‚”

We are losing the species to habitat loss via agriculture and deforestation, poaching, and invasion of wild lands. While I wish it didn’t take celebrity endorsements to encourage action, it may be the drive we need at the moment.

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