Wildlife Conservation

Climate & Environment
United Nations members failed to reach goals to safeguard biodiversity, UN reports
United Nations members failed to reach goals to safeguard biodiversity, UN reports
Credit: Andreas Weith / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

According to the United Nations' Global Biodiversity Outlook report, zero of twenty goals that had been established in 2010 with the goal to preserve nature have been met fully.

Six of the 20 goals have been "partially achieved" namely preventing invasive species, conserving protected areas, access to and sharing benefits from genetic resources, biodiversity strategies and action plans, sharing information, and mobilizing resources.

The other targets only show slow progress or move in the opposite direction.

Politics • African
Zimbabwe: Coal mining banned in national parks
Elephants at a water hole in the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Elephants at a water hole in the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe Credit: JackyR / Wikimedia Commons

Zimbabwe banned coal mining in all national parks. Previously the country allowed two Chinese firms to explore for coal in the country's biggest national park Hwange. The decision came after campaigners, in an effort to prevent "ecological degradation" in parks, took the government to court.

Numerous species live in the national parks, including 40,000 elephants and the endangered black rhino.

"Steps are being undertaken to immediately cancel all mining titles held in national parks," Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said as she announced the ban. The ban is effective with immediate effect.

Science • Animals
Numbers of elephants in Kenya have doubled over the last three decades
Numbers of elephants in Kenya have doubled over the last three decades
Credit: Kenya Wildlife Service via Facebook

Kenya's Tourism Minister Najib Balala has announced that the authorities of the country have "managed to tame poaching" over the past decades which lead to the doubling of the elephant population in the country.

While in 1989 only 16,000 lived in the country the number has grown to over 34,000 in 2018 according to the Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) John Waweru.

Science • Animals
New Emperor penguin breeding sites have been found by satellites
New Emperor penguin breeding sites have been found by satellites
Credit: contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA (Open Government Licence v3.0)

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) - the national Antarctic operation of the United Kingdom - has discovered new breeding sides of Emperor penguins. Through satellite images from the Europan Union's Sentinel-2 the BAS was able to identify the poo of the Penguins giving information about the location.

This discovery lifts the known global population of Emperor penguins by 5-10% as possibly as many as 278,500 pairs are breeding there. The new images have increased the number of known breeding sites from 50 to 61.

Science • Animals
Ecuador discovers fishing fleet of over 260 trawlers around 200 km from Galápagos Islands
Ecuador discovers fishing fleet of over 260 trawlers around 200 km from Galápagos Islands
Credit: amalavida.tv from Ecuador (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Around 200 miles into off the coasts from the Galápagos Islands, about 260 vessels have been spotted. Most of them have Chinese flags and all of them are outside the protected economic zone of 188-miles around the island.

The former minister of environment and conservationist Yolanda Kakabadse has stated that "this fleet’s size and aggressiveness against marine species is a big threat to the balance of species in the Galápagos".

Science • Animals
India: Tiger population has almost doubled in last 12 years
India: Tiger population has almost doubled in last 12 years
Credit: unsplash.com / satya deep

The Indian Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar has announced that India is home to 70% of the world's tiger population. According to him: "in 1973, there were just nine tiger reserves which have now increased to 50" and added that all of the tiger reserves are in good quality.

The published report covering the status of Tigers in India states that 1,923 tigers live in all reserves combined which makes 65 percent of the Indian tiger population.

Science • Animals
Owl rescued out of 40 metres deep airless well
Owl rescued out of 40 metres deep airless well
Credit: Freiwillige Feuerwehr der Stadt Bad Segeberg

After a citizen from the city of Bad Segeberg in northern Germany reported an animal in distress to the police, the Technical Relief Agency and fire brigade were able to rescue an owl from the bottom of an abandoned 40m deep well.

A special measuring device had been lowered on a long line to determine the ambient air in the weel which indicated poor oxygen levels after a few meters. With the help of binoculars and a spotlight, the owl could be spotted at the bottom of the well. The fire brigade then lowered an oxygen bottle into the well to provide the animal with oxygen and the Technical Relief Agency tried to lure it into a new. As this did not work, one of the emergency helpers was equipped with ropes and breathing protection and lowered into the well.

The owl could then be rescued out of the well and will now be looked after by the professionals from the Noctalis Bat Centre, who supported the rescue work the whole time.

Science • Animals
Vietnam bans import of wild animals
Monkey in Con Son Island, Vietnam
Monkey in Con Son Island, Vietnam Credit: Marek Michalsky

As one of the biggest Asian consumers of wildlife products, Vietnam has announced a suspension of all imports of wild animal species. The prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has signed a directive that bans the import of "dead or alive" wild animals and fathers contains a vow that all illegal markets across Vietnam will be "eliminated".

The order also covers parts of these animals, their eggs or derivatives. The chairman of the anti-animal-trafficking group Freeland, Steven Glaster, has stated that "Vietnam is to be congratulated for recognising that COVID-19 and other pandemics are linked to the wildlife trade".

Politics • African
Malawi: Nine jailed over wildlife crimes
Malawi: Nine jailed over wildlife crimes
Credit: Save-Elephants / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Nine members (seven Chinese nationals, two Malawians) of a Chinese wildlife trafficking gang were found guilty of trafficking protected animal species and parts. These parts include ivory, rhino horns and pangolin scales. Each member will have to serve seven years in jail and will be deported upon release.

Science • Animals
Botswana: Mysterious death of hundreds of elephants
Botswana: Mysterious death of hundreds of elephants
Credit: Bernard DUPONT (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Botswana reports the death of hundreds of elephants since May. The cause of their death is still unknown, and Anthrax poisoning has been ruled out. Elephants were found with their tusks, so poaching was also ruled out. Authorities have collected samples which will be tested in Canada, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

"We have had a report of 356 dead elephants in the area north of the Okavango Delta, and we have confirmed 275 so far," reports the director of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Cyril Taolo.

Science • Animals
Endangered smoky mouse that had been feared to be extinct discovered alive

After the Australian bushfires in the beginning of 2020 the critically endangered smoky mouse had been feared have become wiped out. Now the New South Wales Office of Environment has spotted multiple of them alive in the Australian Kosciuszko national park. Matt Kean the New South Wales environment minister has stated that "We are relieved and delighted by this news as we were fearing the worst as more than 90% of their habitat was burnt".

Climate & Environment
Trump re-allows previously banned hunting methods

While the Obama administration had banned multiple hunting methods such as the use of doughnuts soaked in bacon grease to bait grizzly bears, the Trump administration has now reversed those bans. The new rules that are stated in the Federal Register and published by the National Park Service policy now state that the practices will be allowed again in 30 days.

Science • Animals
First brown bear sighting in Spain National Park in 150 years

Documentary makers captured footage of a brown bear, an extremely rare and protected species since 1973, in the Invernadeiro National Park in Northern Spanish. The park's rangers believe the bear has spent the last couple of months in the park and has probably migrated from the Sierra del Caurel mountains which do have a small brown bear population.

Science • Animals
No whales will be killed in Iceland in 2020

Both of the Icelandic companies that hunt and kill whales have announced that they'll forgo killing whales in 2020. This makes the first time in 17 years that no whales will be killed during the summer season in the waters around Iceland. Thee general manager of IP-Utgerd, one of the two companies, has said that the hunting has become more expensive due to an extension of a no-fishing zone near the coasts of the island. Instead the company will focus on fishing sea cucumbers.

Science • Animals
After Australian wildfires: first koalas released back into nature

After being rescued from the wildfires that destroyed large parts of nature in Australia, 12 koalas have been released back into nature, their natural habitat in the Blue Mountains. The Taronga Zoo in Sydney had taken care of the animals and "while they have coped well in care, we are delighted to finally send our koalas home", said Dr. Kellie Leigh the executive director of the Science for Wildlife organization.

Science • Animals
97 endangered sea turtles hatch on a Brazilian beach

The 91 hawksbill sea turtles have hatched on a beach in Paulista in the state of Pernambuco. Only government workers have witnessed the hatching and successful walk of the endangered seat turtles into the Atlantic ocean.

Science • Animals
Colorado Wild Animal Sanctuary has rescued 39 tigers from zoo shown in "Tiger King" on Netflix

The staff of the Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado has rescued 39 tigers and three black bears from the roadside zoo shown in the Netflix documentary "Tiger King". The Chief Science and Welfare Officer at the sanctuary, Becca Miceli, has said how difficult it was seeing the exploitation of the animals with them being held in "small enclosures, the indiscriminate breeding" and other forms of abuse. After rescuing the animals the sanctuary now provides them with large open spaces for the animals to run and decide what they want to do for themselves.

Business • Economy
Wet markets in China have reopened

The wet markets in China, where scientists believe that Covid-19 has first been transferred from a bat to another animal and then to humans, have reopened. The markets are guarded to prevent pictures from being taken.

Business • Economy
China and Vietnam are planning to impose ban on wildlife trade

Following the worldwide spread of the coronavirus, originating from a "wet market" in Wuhan on which live animals were bought and sold, China and Vietnam are planning to impose a ban on such markets. The formal bans are expected to be signed into law later this year.

Science • Animals
Endangered African Black Rhino population is slowly increasing

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published an update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. In the statement, they announced that the number of the endangered Black Rhino population has grown from an estimated 4,845 to 5,630 wild animals between 2012 and 2018. According to the IUCN, the main reasons for the increase are "continuing law enforcement efforts and successful population management measures". Even though the numbers have increased and further population growth is estimated, the Black Rhino stays endangered.