Posts Tagged With: deforestation

Sumatrans: The Forgotten Rhino

Sumatran rhinos are the smallest of the living rhinos, and probably the most unique in appearance. They are covered in hair and most closely resemble their extinct ancestors woolly rhinos.

sumatran range history and current

Borneo and Sumatra are home to the last Sumatrans.

They are the most vocal, and quite agile. Living in jungle conditions, they climb mountains and riverbanks surprisingly easily.

There are less than 150 Sumatrans left in the wild. In captivity there are only 9; and of them,  just two captive females have reproduced in the last 15 years. Doesn’t make for a bright outlook does it?

Sumatrans live in fragmented areas due to deforestation and an ever shrinking habitat. They also face the same peril as their African cousins-poaching.

The plight to save the remaining endangered Sumatran rhinos has grown more urgent following the death of Gelugob. She resided in Lok Kawi Wildlife Park in Sabah, Northern Malaysia, and passed away of old age on January 11th.

Gelugob

Gelugob

For 19 years, experts had studied her breeding habits with hopes of her giving birth. She was unable to produce eggs and did not respond to hormone treatments.

Across the world, in Ohio the Cincinnati Zoo is making efforts to save the species  as well. Infamous for a previously successful breeding program with Emi (see previous post: Emi: the World-Famous Sumatran), they are now hoping for success again by breeding resident Sumatran Suci with her brother Harapan.

With intense efforts worldwide, the remaining Sumatrans are being studied, bred and monitored in hopes of keeping the species alive.

Ratu and Andalas son-

Andatu, born in June of 2013 at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia.

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What is Overshoot Day?

Worried about our national debt? How about our wildlife debt? We’re living on borrowed time, using resources at an unsustainable rate. It will catch up to us.

This week WWF celebrated Earth Overshoot Day, a.k.a. Ecological Debt Day. Turning resources into waste faster than waste can be turned back into resources puts us in global ecological overshoot, depleting the very resources on which human life and biodiversity depend. Celebrating this day marks the exhaustion of nature’s budget for the year.

The Ecological Debt is calculated by dividing the amount of natural resources produced by Earth annually (world biocapacity) by humanity’s consumption of Earth’s natural resources annually (world ecological footprint) multiplied by 365 or (world biocapacity/ world Ecological Footprint) X 365.

The following countries have already exceeded their biological capacity:

china footprint

CHINA’S Ecological Footprint

south africa

SOUTH AFRICA’S Ecological Footprint

united states footprint

The UNITED STATES Ecological Footprint

UK footprint

The UK’S Ecological Footprint

(For other countries ecological footprints go to Footprints by Nation.)

What does this mean? We’re living on borrowed time.

*African elephants could be gone by 2020.

*Rhinos will be gone by 2026.

*Tigers could be extinct in 12 years.

*9 out of 10 predatory fish in our oceans are almost gone.

*Population growth is expected to cause an energy crisis by 2030.

*Half of the world’s population could face severe food shortages by the end of this century.

*Our rainforests may be gone in 100 years.

Overshoot Day is not just about doom and gloom, it’s a wake-up call. Not all damage can be undone, but we can stop do what you canit here. We can’t afford to be infinite consumers anymore. It’s not a luxury to recycle, and it’s not a “hippie” attitude to go green. Our survival depends on it.

There IS hope! Since 2009, countries representing 80% of global emissions have made economy-wide pledges of action. Economically,  global investment in renewable energies  outstripped fossil fuels for the first time last year. There are programs like REDD ( ‘reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation’) being implemented across the globe.

Overshoot day originally began on December 19. This year it was August 20.  If we don’t stop devouring our resources, Overshoot Day will continue to come earlier and earlier every year. Whatever your cause, your purpose, your “thing” –  it’s imperative we ALL work together to keep our planet, to save ourselves.

Unless

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On the menu: Bushmeat

What is the Bushmeat Crisis?

Bushmeat is the term used to describe any wild animal used for food, living in the “bush”. It is most common in reference to the area of Western and Central Africa. This can be apes, lemurs, rhino, elephant, antelope,etc.

endangered lemurs killed for bush in mada

Endangered lemurs in Madagascar killed for bushmeat.

Today bushmeat is important both as a food source and a trade item for poor families in rural and urban areas in Western and Central Africa. It is also often a status symbol for urban elites trying to retain links to the “village”, and often commands a high price in city restaurants.

The commercial bushmeat trade is in direct competition and threatens the livelihoods of rural communities dependent on these resources to meet their basic needs.

“People in the Congo Basin eat as much meat as do Europeans and Americans; approximately 80% of animal protein is derived from wildlife.”

While wildlife has been hunted and used for food since the beginning of time, things have changed considerably. The population density in these areas is greater than the animal population, in addition, factoring in the number of threatened and endangered species, the wildlife can no longer be viewed as a free, sustainable resource.

forestry road

Forestry road through Gabon.

The Logging Industry’s contribution

The growing problem of the bushmeat industry is exacerbated by the construction of new roads to facilitate logging and mining operations, allowing poachers easy access to remote forests. Truck drivers also get involved, as they are routinely bribed into carrying loads of up to 200kg of bushmeat, including gorillas and chimpanzees, out of the forests.

Why not raise cow, chickens and goats?

Domestic “farm” animals are raised in the rural and urban households, but they are viewed as savings and insurance, since inflation is high and access to banks or credit is extremely limited. Even if they wanted to use their animals for a protein source, the area is plagued by tsetse flies which cause the disease, animal trypanosomiasis, making it unfeasible.

Of course hunting in the short-term yields immediate benefits, yet in the long run, this damages their economies in the future.

What does this mean for the environment?

While deforestation is also a  threat to wildlife, over hunting is comparable, if not  worse to the Western and Central African areas. Even in places where there is intact forests, there are no large animals, This is known as Empty Forest Syndrome.

     “Experts estimate that the bushmeat trade could eliminate all viable populations of African apes       within the next five to 15 years.”

Loss of wildlife means a loss of seed dispersing animals that play a key role in determining tree composition and distribution. Over time this will potentially cause irreversible global damage.

Human health jeopardy

gorilla hands

Gorilla hands are considered a delicacy in the Congo.

In addition to environmental and economic consequence, the increased contact between humans and wildlife populations raises the risk of people transmitting animal-derived diseases. Consumption of bushmeat has been linked to zoonoses, including anthrax, ebola, monkeypox, HIV, SARS and foot and mouth disease. Additionally, there is also risk of transmitting human diseases to apes and other species.

Global Concerns

Not just an African issue, thousands of pounds of primate parts, antelope, and other bushmeat are smuggled annually into the United States and Europe. The environmental concerns, the health risks and the responsibility are ours to share. From Lion meat tacos in Florida to  Rat meat in London it’s becoming a black market pandemic.

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Raja: Hostage to the Palm Oil Industry

baby raja

Straining against his chains, bellowing helplessly for his mother, baby Raja is held captive. He is alone, scared and hungry. The villagers in this Sumatran village are holding him for ransom. His crime: he and his family were searching for food in a deforested area, trespassing on the crops.

deforest

In what is becoming an all too familiar scenario, demands are soaring for palm oil, more forests are being decimated for palm plantations, and the animals’ food and homes are destroyed leaving them displaced and desperate.

Raja’s family, along with other homeless elephants were foraging for food, trying to survive. He was captured and brought into the village, held for weeks in an attempt to bargain with the government for compensation for their lost crops.

One man went so far as to jump on the baby’s back in an attempt to”ride” him, saying the elephant should be trained to do tricks to “earn” his money back.

Various groups tried to get veterinary care to the baby, and fought for his release but sadly Raja died. The stress and inadequate diet were too much for the little elephant.

In the end, it’s not just a matter of saving the elephants (and the Tigers, Rhino and Orangutans in the forests of Asia), but also of saving the people. Deforestation has disastrous effects on the soil, the climate and ultimately the villages.

PLEASE BE AWARE AND RESPONSIBLE!

Palm oil is used in 50% of consumer products, but is NOT a necessary ingredient.  Your ice-cream, margarine, shampoo, lipstick,  and some breakfast cereals all contain palm oil. Please read labels and avoid palm products. For more information on palm oil or other names it goes by please go to : Say No to Palm Oil  or the previous post There’s Orangutan Blood in my Kitchen.

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Making History for Elephants

Since the beginning of mankind, animals have had to make way for people. We come in, build, take over, and run them off their land.  But for the first time in known history, people are moving for animals.

indiaIn Assam India, an entire village is relocating to make room for the Asian Elephants. The Ran Terang village is situated in the direct corridor connecting the Nambor-Doigrung Wildlife sanctuary to the Kaziranga National Park. This “highway” is the lifeline for approximately 2,000 threatened pachyderms. By moving the village, there will be no human  interference allowing the elephants to move freely, as well as making way for other threatened species such as the tigers.

Convincing the village to move has not been easy, but the people will also benefit. In addition to not worrying about the elephants destroying their paddy crops now, the 19 families are being set up with water and electricity in their new homes. The new area will be turned into a model ethnic Karbi village, with the potential to be turned into a tourist destination.

“The Karbi people will create history in the field of environmental conservation by karbi village relocatesthis unique gesture. We have to learn to live with the animals and I’m proud that the Karbis are showing the way to the world,” says Recho Harsing Ronghang, the 40th king of the Karbi Anglong.

The constant demand for land to set up rubber and tea plantations has resulted in deforestation, and in turn  habitat fragmentation in the area. This coupled with growing human population is hurting the threatened species in the area.

Considering that one-fifth of the Asian elephant population resides here in Assam, this is a crucial move.asian elephant herd

The Wildlife Trust of India is behind the move. WTI’s Dilip Deori said “the village was totally supportive in the project and are helping us in every way possible.”  There are eight other corridors in Assam that could benefit from relocation as well, a huge undertaking, yet as the Karbi people have shown, completely possible.

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The Price of Beauty

Orang Utan rescue by VIER PFOTEN in East Kalimantan

In addition to raising  awareness to the horrors of poaching, I desire to educate on the overuse of palm oil. The world’s demand for palm oil is destroying our rainforests and the animals in it.

Experts estimates that we are losing 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation. That equates to 50,000 species a year. As the rainforest species disappear, so do many possible cures for life-threatening diseases. Currently, 121 prescription drugs sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources. While 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients, less that 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists.

Refer to previous post: The Perils of Palm Oil . 

The good news is: this IS preventable. Please please be aware of what you buy! Read labels. Look for the ingredient of palm oil or any of the other names it goes by. Buy palm free alternatives.

Reading the labels is  important.  Not everything says PALM OIL. Here is a list of other names for palm oil.
Foods, Body Products, Cosmetics & Cleaning Agents:

-Vegetable Oil              orang 1
-Vegetable Fat
-Sodium Laureth Sulfate (in almost everything that foams) ^
-Sodium Lauryl Sulfate ^
-Sodium Dodecyl Sulphate (SDS or NaDS) ^
-Palm Kernel#
-Palm Oil Kernel #
-Palm Fruit Oil #
-Palmate #
-Palmitate #
-Palmolein #
-Glyceryl Stearate #
-Stearic Acid #
-Elaeis Guineensis #                                                                               orang 2
-Palmitic Acid #
-Palm Stearine #
-Palmitoyl oxostearamide #
-Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-3 #
-Steareth -2 *
-Steareth -20 *
-Sodium Kernelate #
-Sodium Palm Kernelate #
-Sodium Lauryl Lactylate/Sulphate *
-Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate ^
-Hyrated Palm Glycerides #
-Sodium Isostearoyl Lactylaye ^
-Cetyl Palmitate #
-Octyl Palmitate #
-Cetyl Alcohol ^
-Palmityl Alchohol #

# These ingredients are definitely palm oil or derived from palm oil.

* These ingredients are often derived from palm oil, but could be derived from other vegetable oils.

^ These ingredients are either derived from palm oil or coconut oil.

PLEASE SIGN AND SHARE MY PETITION  to encourage the Body Shop to stop using palm oil and be the environmentally friendly company they claim to be! Afterall, is it worth your face mask to kill an orangutan?

http://www.change.org/petitions/the-body-shop-stop-using-palm-oil-in-your-products

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The Perils of Palm Oil

This orangatan tried to return to his home after his trees were replaced by palm trees. The locals tried smoke him out, but the tree caught fire with him in it. He died from his wounds.

This orangutan tried to return to his home after his trees were replaced by palm trees. The locals tried smoke him out, but the tree caught fire with him in it. He died from his wounds.

How do Nutella, Velveeta, and Colgate toothpaste spell death for elephants and orangutans? They all contain the ingredient palm oil.

This huge scale of deforestization is driving out the animals, many of which are endangered.

This huge scale of deforestation is driving out the animals, many of which are endangered.

Palm oil is derived from the fruit of African oil palm trees. It is utilized in over 50% of todays products on the market. To keep up with the demand, thousands of kilometres of pristine rainforest are slashed and burned in order to make way for more oil palm plantations, almost all of which is produced in, and exported from, Indonesia and Malaysia.

One of the largest worldwide palm oil companies is Wilmar International. They have done illegal logging and set up new plantations, driving peasants off their land as well as finding new subsidiaries and bribing officials to side step the law.

The good news is-we CAN stop this. By being conscientious of  the things we buy, we can send a message to the palm oil companies that we do not want to be willing participants in the destruction of forests and the death of the animals in them.

For more information: http://www.saynotopalmoil.com/palm-oil.php

PRODUCTS THAT CONTAIN PALM OIL

Aldi Supermarkets
-Damora snack foods
-Belmont Biscuit co.

-GoldenVale cereals
-Dominion products
-Choceur chocolates
-Bramwells
-Sprinters chips
-Brookdale
-Milfina ice-cream

Arnott’s Biscuits ~ Click here for more brands
-Shapes (AP)
-Shapes Sensations (AP)
-Tim-Tams (AP)
-Wagon Wheels
-Mint Slice biscuit
-Royals
-Classic assorted
-Venetian
-Lemon Crisp
-Raspberry shortcake
-Arnott’s cookies
-Tiny Teddies
-Jatz Clix biscuits (savoury)
Coles Supermarkets – Coles brand range ~ Click here for more brands
-“You’ll Love Coles” range (ice-cream, garlic bread, milk chocolate etc.)
-$mart Buy
-Coles Pastries: Donuts, Biscuits, Cakes, Muffins & Scrolls (AP)

Colgate-Palmolive~ Click here for more products
-Shampoos (AP)
-Conditioners (AP)
-Body wash (AP)
-Soaps (AP)
-Liquid hand-soap (AP)
-Shower gel (AP)
Colgate~ Click here for more products

-Toothpastes (AP)
-Mouthwash
-Shaving cream
Fonterra dairy products ~ Click here for more brands
-Dairy Milk
Anchor (Fonterra brand)
-Blue top milk
-Cheese singles
-Butter
Mainland cheeses (Fonterra brand) ~ Click here for more products
-Edam cheese
-Colby cheese
-Tasty cheese
-Mild cheese
-Special reserve cheese range (AP)
Tip Top ice-creams (Fonterra brand) ~ Click here for more products
-Joy Bar
-Soft serve
-Ice-creams in tub (AP)
-Ice-creams on cone (AP)
-Ice-creams on stick (AP)

General Mills ~ Click here for more brands
-Old El Paso tacos, dips, salsas & tortillas (AP)
-Betty Crocker products (AP)
-Cheerios breakfast cereal
-Nature Valley granola bars
-Fruit roll-ups
-Latina Pasta (AP)
Olay (owned by General Mills)
-Most cosmetics

Kraft ~ Click here for more brands
-Easy Mac
-Deluxe macaroni and cheese
-Peanut Butter
-Philadelphia cream cheese (AP)
-Toblerone Chocolate
-Velveeta
-Cool Whip cream

Nabisco (owned by Kraft) ~ Click here for more brands
-Oreos (AP)
-Ritz Crackers
-Chips Ahoy! (biscuits)
-Wheat Thins

Heinz ~ Click here for more brands
-Beans
-Spaghetti Spaghetti
-Sauces & dressings
-Soups (AP)
-Frozen meals
-Desserts (AP)
-Wattie’s canned snack foods (AP)
-Weight watchers products


Mars Incorporated ~ Click here for more brands
-M&Ms
-Snickers
-Mars bars
-Milky Way
-Twix -Bounty -Maltesers
-Doublemint
-Dove
Wrigley’s (owned by Mars)
-5 gum  (AP)
-Extra gum (AP)
-Juicy Fruit gum (AP)
-Starburst lollies
-Skittles lollies
-Hubba Bubba bubble gum (AP)
-P.K. chewing gum (AP)

Mars Petcare ~All brands
-Pedigree -My Dog -Dine -Kitekat -Optimum -Schmakos -Advance
-Whiskas
-Royal Canin

Sara-Lee ~ Click here for more brands
-Bavarians
-Cakes & cheesecakes (AP)
-Chocolate Pies & Fruit Pies
-Croissants & Danishes (AP)
-Crumbles & Puddings
-Ice Creams (AP)
-Lasagna
-Quiches (AP)

Snack Brands Australia – packaged chips ~All brands

-Cheezels
-Kettle chips (AP)
-Samboy chips (AP)
-CC’s corn chips
-Thins chips (AP)
-French Fries
-Chickadees
-Colvan chips


Uncle Tobys ~ Click here for more brands
-Fruit Breaks bars (AP)
-Chewy bars (AP)
-Bodywise bars
-Le Snak
-Roll Ups


(AP)= All products:- palm oil is found in all products or flavours of this specific brand. Example – palm oil is found in all flavours of Arnott’s Shapes: Plain, Chicken, Pizza, BBQ etc.
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