Archive for the ‘World Wide Fund for Nature’ Tag

DNR: Gray wolves have spread across entire Upper Peninsula   Leave a comment

From The Outdoor Journal on August 2, 2015 by Howard Meyerson

Gray wolves now live in every Upper Peninsula county/

Gray wolves now live in every Upper Peninsula county.

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. – One or more wolf packs now live in every Upper Peninsula county, having spread from west to east over the past 20 years. Most –for now – are concentrated in Western counties, according to state wildlife officials.

“More live in the Western U.P. than East, but it’s not a huge difference,” said Kevin Swanson, the statewide wolf and bear program coordinator for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. “There is at least one pack in every county now, and many more in some.”

In all, there are 125 packs, approximately 636 wolves, according to data from the agency’s last winter wolf survey in 2013/2014. The survey was not conducted last winter because of the “controversy over them and because they were listed again as an endangered species,” Swanson said.

“We are looking to do a winter survey to see how many there are,” he said. “We haven’t seen (U.P.) deer density this low in decades, probably not since the early 1980s. We’re wondering what we will see because deer are their main prey. The winter started out very badly last year, but we had an early break up and deer were able to get away. I’ve seen more fawns this year. It looks like we have had good fawn production.”

Two to five wolves per pack

Wolves travel in packs, but pack sizes vary. Survey data indicates that 23 packs were roaming pairs. Other packs were larger, averaging five wolves. Wolf territories also varied widely, from 5 square-miles to 291 square miles, averaging 45 square miles. Wolf territories have shrunk as the population has grown, Swanson noted.

“We had exponential growth from the 1990s to early 2000s:  68 packs in 2003 and 125 packs in 2013 and 2014,” Swanson said, adding that wolf reproduction is assumed to be good. The next survey will tell more.

Livestock depredation continues to occur. Eleven incidents have been recorded so far in 2015.  Ten cows have been killed, along with one pig. Dogs have been spared, but it is still early in the season.

“Last year (2014) we had 43 total depredation incidents – 26 cattle and 17 dogs,” Swanson said. “The vast majority (of dogs killed) were hunting dogs. Most were bear hounds, but some were beagles out hunting snowshoe hare. The dogs were all far from the hunter or owner when they were attacked and killed.”

Attacks on dogs typically occur in mid-to-late summer or fall once the dog training season opens in early July, Swanson explained.

No wolf presence has yet been confirmed in Lower Peninsula, according to Swanson. There are signs, but no hard-evidence.

“We haven’t confirmed any since 2008 when one was confirmed,” Swanson said. “We’ve seen tracks that are wolf-like, but their presence has not been confirmed. I’d guess we might have a few (in the northern Lower Peninsula, but they are hard to detect.”

______________________

© 2015 Howard Meyerson

Appears in Michigan Outdoor News.

Wolves, Grizzlies, Coyotes and an Elk… Yellowstone’s Primeval Wonders   Leave a comment

From nomadruss on July 28, 2015

Yellowstone is full of wonders. There are of course the geysers, the splendor of the morning light, and the ancient forests. There is the primeval wonder of what the forest holds. Once in a while, for a short time, the life hidden in the forests reveals itself. I learned one evening of a wolf that had taken down an elk cow and decided to catch a glimpse of such life revealed.

When I arrived on the scene, a grizzly bear had chased a wolf away from its kill. Grizzlies can smell meat from over 2 miles away. The grizzly had sprinted across the meadow, stealing the female elk away. It was enjoying fruits of the wolf’s labor. The wolf was lying in the grass, waiting, hoping to retrieve its kill.

The wolf attempted to get the carcass back, but the grizzly is much too powerful. The wolf was time and again chased away.

As the bear stood over the carcass, the wolf watched.

The bear finally said, I’m going to drag the carcass over here, and bury it. That way others won’t be able to smell it. The wolf could only watch dejectedly. Finally at dusk, the wolf wandered the six miles back to its den.

The following morning a coyote wandered onto the scene.

It too was chased away when it approached too close.

The coyote was wily indeed. Many times it circled close, and was chased away. It kept circling the area in front of the kill, and finally it found a piece it could steal. The angry bear could only watch in disgust.

For some reason the grizzly wandered up the hill for several minutes. It was the coyote’s chance to get a meal. It had the carcass all to itself for a short time.

The grizzly then returned, feeding on the carcass for a second day. By the end of this day the grizzly was blissfully full. It laid on its back, on the buried carcass, paws in the air.

On the third day a younger grizzly appeared on the scene. It too was chased away. Indulging in a carcass seems to require a lot of work.

The younger grizzly wandered across the meadow, but would eventually return.

The big grizzly, having had its fill, wandered up the hill, never to return. The younger grizzly then fed on the remnants of the carcass. The cycle of life was once more complete, and the forest would soon grow dark and secret once again.

‘Wildlife at risk without funds’   Leave a comment

From:  The Star Online

Clear and present danger: Wildlife poachers in Lahad Datu transporting sambar deer carcasses in the back of their truck in this photo provided by WWF Malaysia.

Clear and present danger: Wildlife poachers in Lahad Datu transporting sambar deer carcasses in the back of their truck in this photo provided by WWF Malaysia.

 

KOTA KINABALU: WWF Malaysia has called for more funding for enforcement agencies such as the Sabah Wildlife Department to boost conservation efforts.

This is especially in view of the fact that overhunting and illegal wildlife trade remained a serious threat to conservation efforts.

WWF Malaysia executive director and chief executive Datuk Dr Dionysius Sharma said the department should be strengthened by hiring more staff to carry out enforcement activities such as patrols and roadblocks.

The increasing number of arrests, successful prosecutions and heavy penalties imposed by courts would act as a strong deterrent to poachers and therefore reduce wildlife crimes, Dr Dionysius said.

To sustain this pressure on poachers and increase the enforcement efforts, he said it was crucial that adequate resources be made available to the enforcement agencies.

Dr Dionysius said global wildlife population had declined by 52% over the past 40 years.

He said Sabah was a state within the biodiversity-rich island of Borneo with numerous species of mammals, birds, reptiles and insects that had become the target of poachers.

“These animals have crucial roles in forest ecology and forest regeneration and are indicators of the environmental health of Sabah,” Dr Dionysius added.

Over the past month, the department had successfully prosecuted three people found to be in illegal possession of various wildlife.

On Nov 19, Sabahan Fedly Jinpin was fined RM12,000 by the Tawau magistrate’s court for possessing three dead red leaf monkeys, a Malay civet and 37.5kg of bearded pig meat that were hunted illegally.

Jinpin was caught at a routine roadblock check by the Sabah Wildlife Department’s enforcement unit in Tawau on July 11.

The second case involved Philippine national Gabson Pindatun, who was fined RM15,000 by the same court on Nov 20 for possession of 72.4kg of hawksbill and green turtle meat and shells.

Gabson was caught with the turtle meat inside four gunny sacks in his boat by the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency in Pulau Siamil on Aug 9.

He could not pay the fine and was jailed 18 months in default.

Both Gabson and Jinpin pleaded guilty to charges.

In the third case, Johorean Carlvin Cher Jia Wei was fined RM10,000 on Nov 26 by the Beaufort magistrate’s court after he admitted to illegally possessing 10 pangolins.

He was caught having the pangolins in his car during a police roadblock on Oct 30.

 

Poaching and Civil War Aren’t the Only Threats to Africa’s Dwindling Population of Mountain Gorillas   1 comment

From:  Vice News

By Elaisha Stokes

November 5, 2014 | 8:35 pm

Wildlife poachers and the African continent‘s seemingly perpetual civil wars were long thought to be the greatest threats facing the last remaining population of mountain gorillas in the world. Now, say conservationists, disease transmission from humans to primates might pose an even greater danger to their existence.

“Gorillas are not immunized against a lot of the viruses we get as humans,” explains Eddy Kambale, a veterinarian with Gorilla Doctors, a group founded in 1986 and dedicated to treating sick or injured gorillas in the wild. “One virus can kill an entire population.”

Mountain gorillas are critically endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Fewer than 900 of them remain in the lush forests that straddle the borders between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Uganda. Kambale and the Gorilla Doctors aim to ensure that the population remains healthy and stable.

VICE News caught up with Kambale in the Virunga National Park in the DRC. He was checking up on a family of gorillas, but was particularly anxious to locate an injured adult male named Mawazo, who he treated two weeks previously.

Eddy Kambale, a veterinarian with Gorilla Doctors, records data on a family of mountain gorillas. (Photo by Elaisha Stokes)

Gorillas share about 95 percent of their genetic make up with humans. This makes disease transmission between the two species particularly easy. The recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, which may have originated from infected bushmeat, is just the latest instance of how the health of humans and wildlife are sometimes intimately connected.

But the problem cuts both ways.

“The most common illness we see in gorillas is respiratory disease, like influenza,” Kambale told VICE News. Gorillas, he adds, are most likely to pick up the virus from visiting tourists. Because of this, wildlife enthusiasts, who want to catch a rare glimpse of a gorilla in its natural habitat, must wear a face-mask covering the mouth and nose. The stakes are high — infectious disease accounts for about 20 percent of gorilla deaths in the wild.

Kambale has worked with gorillas since 2004 and is accustomed all sorts of setbacks. He’s been charged by angry primates and detained by rebel armies that patrol the contested eastern region of the DRC. But, standing in the lush Virunga National Park, a different sort of problem has frustrated his search for the injured gorilla — bush elephants, which cut a huge path through the jungle, obscuring the mountain gorillas’ tracks.

South African Environment Minister: We appreciate western help against poaching but we need Asia’s. Read more here.

“It’s difficult to find the real trail, the one that belongs to the gorilla,” he told VICE News, as the roar of several elephants echoed through the trees. “Not to mention, elephants are very aggressive. They can kill you.”

Park rangers tasked with tracking the gorillas join Kambale on each of his expeditions, providing assistance and security. They’re armed in case of stumbling upon angry elephants, or worse, a poacher.

Kambale says that with so few gorillas remaining in the wild, national park officials check up on the animals every day. But the daily interaction between trackers and primates, like the presence of tourists, comes with the risk that the trackers might infect gorillas with some sort of sickness.

After hours of trekking through towering groves of bamboo and avoiding vicious army ants and thorny bramble, Kambale and his team locate Mawazo and the family over which he presides. The group has eight gorillas, most of which are males. Mawazo and another silverback named Kidogo, says Kambale, are at war over the few females in the group. While Mawazo had consistently emerged the winner, the fights are taking a toll. On Kambale’s last visit, a chunk of skin hung from above Mawazo’s left eye, making him more susceptible to infection.

Mawazo suffered a wound when fighting with another silverback, making him more susceptible to illness. (Photo by Elaisha Stokes)

When an gorilla gets sick, Kambale and his team might administer an injection of antibiotics using a dart gun. In critical cases, the team sometimes separates an injured gorilla from the rest of the group in order to suture wounds. It’s risky work — family members often become enraged when one of their kin is isolated, sometimes becoming aggressive and charging at the veterinarians.

“It’s hard to make the decision to intervene,” Kambale told VICE News. “In life, there is never zero risk, anywhere.”

Kambale takes notes on the health of each individual. He monitors the pace of their breaths and scans their eyes and nose for any liquids that might indicate the onset of illness. Everyone seems healthy, says Kambale, snapping a few photos of the group, particularly Mawazo, whose wound seems to be healing well.

A young scientist makes a remarkable discovery in New York City. Read more here.

An hour has passed since finding Mawazo and his group and the sun is beginning to slip behind the mountain. It’s time for Kambale and his team to make the trek back home. The gorillas too must start to build their nests where they will sleep for the evening.

Kambale will return in a couple weeks to check upn on Mwazao. By then, he may have lost his fight to Kidogo. Either way, Kambale says he will be there to help keep the family healthy.

In the last 25 years, Gorilla Doctors has performed over 400 medical interventions. This year alone they have treated two outbreaks for respiratory disease among mountain gorillas. Neither resulted in casualties. With the right approach to veterinary care and a well-managed tourism program, Kimbale remains hopeful that these animals will continue to inhabit Virunga National Park for generations to come.

“Our job is to save the gorillas, one at a time,” he said.

Elaisha Stokes is a 2014 International Women’s Media Foundation reporting fellow in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Follow Elaisha Stokes on Twitter: @ElaishaStokes

Image via Flickr

 

How Wearable Technology Is Helping Save Rhinos from Poachers   7 comments

ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY

How Wearable Technology Is Helping Save Rhinos from Poachers

Conservationists in South Africa are using computerized bracelets powered by Intel Galileo technology to help regenerate the critically endangered rhino population.

Thin and light he is not. An adult male black rhinoceros can tip the scale — if you can coax him onto one — some measuring nearly 1.5 tons, or 1,350 kilograms.

Not only that, black rhino are the fastest kind of rhino, reaching  a top speed of 55 km per hour, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNBSW4tdtWU

The WWF documents how “the Daily Mirror, in 1961, said that rhinos were doomed to disappear from the face of the earth due to man’s folly, greed, neglect.” Ever since, poachers have continued to push rhinos into the brink of extinction.

Today, people in southern Africa are trying to help save these critically endangered animals, including white rhinos, using Intel’s super-tiny Intel Quark system on a chip (SOC).

 

In 1981, only 10,000-15,000 black rhino remained, according to the WWF, which states that since 1980, the species has probably disappeared from Angola, Botswana, Chad, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Somalia, Sudan and Zambia.

When poachers kill rhinos, they typically hack off the rhinos’ prized horns, which often get ground into powder and sold for medicinal or aphrodisiac value. A single rhino horn can reportedly fetch as much as $3 million. The carcass is most often left to rot.

The WWF reports that after dipping to only 2,475 black rhinos recorded in 1993, conservation and anti-poaching efforts have helped the population grow to nearly 5,000.

In a unique pilot project now underway in South Africa, Intel is contributing a number of credit card-sized Intel Galileo motherboards — complete with processor, 3G communications and data storage — which are affixed to the big beasts.

The project is the outgrowth of a partnership between Intel South Africa and Dimension Data, a cloud services and data center company.

Organizing the work in the field is the Madikwe Conservation Project and i-Detect, a global software company that helps companies manage risk.

Attempting to affix technology to a rhino is risky. The rhino is not an easy customer. It hangs around in the baking hot African sun. It lounges in mud. It rolls in dirt. It stomps its massive 3-toed feet on stuff it doesn’t fancy. With a charge of 55 km per hour, it strikes a mighty blow.

The low-power Intel Galileo board is encased in an utterly rhino-proof, Kevlar-based ankle collar, which also features a durable solar panel to recharge the board’s battery.

What is the best way to attach a “wearable” to a rhino? Very carefully. And not until the huge animal is sedated.

 

Cellular provider Vodafone is contributing wireless connectivity. Each collared rhino’s geolocation and movement data is encrypted to ensure poachers cannot get to it, then sent to the cloud.

When the wild animals are sedated for their collar fitting, teams embed a tiny RFID chip in each animal’s horn. If the Galileo board detects a break in proximity between ankle and horn, anti-poaching teams can be alerted with helicopters, drones and ground-based vehicles to apprehend the poachers.

While the current pilot is focused on five animals, the technology is working and the cost is proving to be modest and appealing enough to expand to more rhinos.

The project’s next phase will monitor each rhino’s vital stats, such as heart rate. In this way, anti-poaching teams will be able to detect a stressed rhino and swoop in on criminal poachers before they do the deed.

“This incredible creature is in real threat of extinction if we cannot help stop the poaching.” said Gordon Graylish, Intel’s EMEA-based sales and marketing VP who recently checked out the rhino-saving project.

“The ease with which our local team could take our technology and apply it to a real world issue in a novel way was amazing. It also points to the way to even more work like this for us in the future,” he said.

“At Intel, we constantly strive to enable new possibilities, not just for the human race, but for all species of flora and fauna,” said Intel South Africa Country Manager Videsha Proothveerajh. “This project helps us holistically care for our planet.”

By Walden Kirsch, iQ Contributor & Intel Communications

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