Category: Wildlife


We Could Lose the Tiger

‘The roar of a wild tiger could soon be replaced by silence if the global summit fails to target the illicit demand driving its decline,’ writes Robert Zoellick of the Guardian.

In 1894, when the Jungle Book was first published, 100,000 tigers roamed the wild. Today, that number has plummeted to 3,200. And Shere Khan’s hunting grounds, the habitats in which all wild tigers live, are disappearing. Tigers now occupy only 7% of their 1894 range.

The extinction of the wild tiger would be an extraordinary tragedy. It would be a tragedy not only because of the appalling loss of these animals, but also because it would pose a threat to the health of the habitats in which they live and the prey that support them. Tigers are an umbrella species – their health reflects the health of surrounding plants and animals.

We know what is causing the decline in numbers of wild tigers: illegal poaching; illegal wildlife trade; loss of habitat through conversion, encroachment, and land degradation. But the good news is we have also found that tiger populations can recover. For them to do so, we have to target the illicit demand that drives tiger decline – because the illegal trade in wildlife is nothing more than organised crime.

This year, 2010, is the Year of the Tiger. During 21-24 November, the global tiger summit in St Petersburg, Russia, will bring together the 13 countries that still have wild tigers, along with some wildlife conservation and development partners. The summit will be an historic occasion, where world leaders will undertake specific commitments with the goal of doubling tiger numbers to 7,000 by 2022, the next Year of the Tiger, and protecting their habitats.

By working to save the wild tigers, we’re protecting a majestic animal so it can continue to stir our imagination, just as it did in Kipling’s day. At the same time, we’re arousing attention about all the biodiversity of our planet.

Although there is an important role for skepticism in science, for almost 30 years some corporations have supported a disinformation campaign about climate change science.

While it may be reasonable to be somewhat skeptical about climate change models, these untruths are not based upon reasonable skepticism but outright falsification and distortions of climate change science.

These claims have included assertions that the science of climate change has been completely “debunked” and that there is no evidence of human causation of recent observed warming. There are numerous lines of evidence that point to human causation even if it is not a completely settled matter.

According the New York Times article, the fossil fuel industry has “created and lavishly financed institutes to produce anti-global warming studies, paid for rallies and websites to question the science, and incorrectly reduces statistics to do with climate change.”

Disinformation about the state of climate change science is extraordinarily – if not criminally – irresponsible, because the consensus scientific view is based upon strong evidence that climate change:

• Is already being experienced by tens of thousands in the world;

• Will be experienced in the future by millions of people from greenhouse gas emissions that have already been emitted but not yet felt due to lags in the climate system; and,

• Will increase dramatically in the future unless greenhouse gas emissions are dramatically reduced from existing global emissions levels.

It’s horrible that anyone is thinking to dupe public as a whole into believing falsities to do with climate change.

Poor Polar Bears…

While the US and southern Canada relish a golden, warm autumn, way up north the polar bears of Churchill, Manitoba, are heading to the shores of Hudson Bay.

They are waiting for the bay to freeze so they can end their months-long fast and hunt seals. But these days their wait for the ice can be four to six weeks longer than in decades and centuries past. And in the spring the ice melts earlier, forcing them back to land where they fast again throughout the longer warmer seasons.

“It makes you appreciate how fragile the ecosystem is,”  Churchill zoo communications manager Steve Pine said. “It’s really too bad that it’s come to this- how can polar bears be expected to survive and multiply in these conditions? And what can one group or one person actually do?”

Personally, I certainly wish one person could make a huge difference. But it takes the agreement of corporations, the government, and the population to do anything real and substantial- this is why it’s so hard to actually tackle the (SUPPOSED) climate change. I only say ‘supposed’ because naysayers provide reasonable evidence, but how can you say that nothing is happening when a fragile ecosystem is getting ruined and not melting and freezing on time?

The melting of the polar ice caps is as real as the world we live in. How come we can’t solve these environmental problems?

Alberta’s oil sands are a reasonably sized source of oil located in one of Canada’s Prairie provinces, Alberta. Ezra Levant is a Canadian lawyer and blogger with an interesting opinion on the oil sands.

Environmentalists are constantly thinking about what they could be doing better to sell action on climate change. The folks on the other side, possibly including Ezra Levant, apparently are not afflicted with the same sense of self doubt.

How else can you explain a rebranding exercise being embraced by conservative commentators in Canada to market the produce of Alberta’s tar sands as “ethical oil”?

The case is being made in a new book by conservative activist Ezra Levant called: “Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s Oil Sands”.

From what I can glean in press reports, the gist of Levant’s argument is that yes, Canadian tar sands oil is really, really bad for the planet — it produces three times the greenhouse gas emissions as convention oil, poisons rivers and destroys ancient boreal forest — but it’s politically smarter than buying from the Middle East or Venezuela.

Or as Levant so subtly puts it:

“You can’t fill up your car’s gastank with solar panels or windmills or cold fusion or dilithium crystals. It’s Canadian ethical oil, or Saudi terrorist oil.”

It’s pretty clear to me that Ezra Levant cares more about politics than the environment. To Levant, Canadian ‘ethical oil’ is better than the alternative, Saudi ‘terrorist’ oil. But at what price does it come? Is it REALLY ethical if it means three times the emissions and destroying ancient forest?

For the larger part of my childhood, I grew up in and around these forests. It is NOT ethical oil if beautiful boreal forest is destroyed, no matter how great the political benefit.

Paul Watson, the captain of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, was recently interviewed and I found his comments on what he does very interesting.

As a little bit of background, Watson is a Canadian, was co-founder of Greenpeace, and has been captain of the Sea Shepherd and its ships for 30 years, putting himself and his fleet between whaling ships, mainly the Japanese, for that time.

When he was asked about why he does what he does, and how killing a whale is any different than killing a pig or cow, he replied:

‘How can anybody compare the killing of a pig to the killing of a whale? First of all, our ships are vegan. Forty percent of the fish caught from the oceans is fed to livestock – pigs and chickens are becoming major aquatic predators.

You cannot compare the killing of animals in a domestic slaughterhouse to the killing of a whale. What goes on with those whales and dolphins would never be tolerated in a slaughterhouse. Those slaughterhouses would be shut down. It takes from 10 to 45 minutes to kill a whale and they die in horrific agony. That would be completely intolerable and illegal in any slaughterhouse in the world.

Also they’re an endangered and protected species – pigs and cows are not. They’re part of a natural ecosystem, which [the] pigs and cows [we eat] are not. ‘

If we are to support his work to stop Japanese whaling and generally the slaughter or sea life, he said we should:

‘Stop eating the ocean– there is no such thing as a sustainable fishery. When you eat meat, make sure it’s organic and isn’t contributing to the destruction of the ocean because 40 percent of all the fish that’s caught out of the ocean is fed to livestock – chickens on factory farms are fed fish meal. And be cognizant of the fact that if the oceans die, we die. Therefore our ultimate responsibility is to protect biodiversity in our world’s oceans.’

It sounds to me like an ESS class, but he does bring up valid points that we depend on the ocean and we ought to be more protective of the oceans and their biodiversity. Definitely an eco-centric guy with some extreme views and a set of morals on him; he ‘does it all for the whales and creatures of the sea’. If I lived his experiences, I probably would too.

It’s really too much for me to write all here. See the link below for the stories of how he made eye contact with a whale as it bled to death, how a whale almost crushed his ship, and some captivating thoughts on the whale hunt and, of course, more.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/sep/21/sea-shepherd-paul-watson-whales