Indigenous peoples in Colombia play crucial role in the fight against climate change

first_imgResearch shows that the rights of the numerous indigenous groups in the Amazon are crucial to help curb global warming.Trading in CO2 emissions prevented by protecting forests instead of cutting them down has been possible since 2008 under a UN mechanism called REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries), but there are complications.Marked by lackluster regulation for years, since the CO2 market under REDD+ (or its predecessor REDD) was introduced, “carbon cowboys” have popped up in the remotest corners of the tropics, trying to profit from the growing trade in CO2 emissions. Elizabeth Apolinar enjoys her job as a lawyer in the bustling center of Bogotá these days. But now and then she misses the traditional life she used to lead deep in the heart of the Colombian jungle.Apolinar is originally from a community called the Sikuani. The Sikuani people are a pueblo indigena, an indigenous people, one of about 100 indigenous ethnic groups in Colombia. These groups are represented by Apolinar’s employer: La Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia (ONIC), or the National Organization of Indigenous Peoples in Colombia.Most Sikuani — numbering about 20,000 according to Colombia’s Ministry of Culture — lead an impoverished and isolated existence in the middle of the vast Amazon rainforest. The trees provide timber for building houses and firewood for cooking. The fruits of the forest are gathered and animals hunted. The community also grows a little cassava on small plots of land.The Sikuani rarely come into contact with the rest of Colombian society. To visit her family, Apolinar has to fly over the impenetrable jungle in a small plane. “Many people in my village don’t even speak Spanish,” she says.Yet in the fall of 2013, the indigenous community received a visit from representatives of the Colombian company Mediamos, who offered them a contract to manage the carbon stored in the Sikuani’s rainforest for thirty years. If the Sikuani were to protect the forest, the contract stated, then Mediamos could sell the resulting reduction in carbon dioxide (C02) emissions on the international market. There was a lot of money to be made in this business, the company said, and the Sikuani would share the profits.But does carbon trading really work that way?The function of the mechanismTrading in CO2 emissions prevented by protecting forests instead of cutting them down has been possible since 2008 under a UN mechanism called REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries). The idea behind REDD+ is simple. A community in a developing country with abundant forests on its land enters into an agreement with a non-governmental organization or property developer. Together they draw up a plan for protecting the rainforest from illegal logging, for example by hiring forest rangers, or finding alternative sources of income for the community.Since tropical forests store huge amounts of carbon, any reduction in deforestation will have a corresponding reduction in CO2 emissions.  Rainforest of Isla Gorgona, Colombia. Photo by Rhett A. ButlerWorldwide, deforestation is responsible for about 12 percent of all greenhouse-gas emissions, according to the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2014 report, not including agriculture.Apolinar’s community lives in a forest covering about 1.8 million hectares (4.4 million acres) that is a storehouse for nearly two billion tons of CO2. The area is home to 12,000 people, spread out over 149 different communities. Besides the Sikuani, indigenous groups include the Puinave, Piapoco, Piaroas, Curripaco and Cubeo. They jointly manage the area.Preventing this CO2 from escaping into the atmosphere is worth a great deal of money. For this, an independent third-party will first determine the emissions reduction. The reduction in CO2 emissions is calculated against a business-as-usual scenario with no protective measures, using 25- or 30-year projections. These tradable CO2 credits can then be sold to airlines, energy companies, or other businesses wanting to reduce their ecological footprint. The profits can then flow back to the project and into the local community.Complications and challengesSitting between piles of paper in ONIC’s office, Apolinar describes how the contract with Mediamos sowed deep discord in her own community.“A few of the elders signed the contract,” she said, despite the fact that the community voted against it in a referendum. She and others have suspicions over the actions of those leaders. “The families who got money are now fighting with the other families, who got nothing but are now bound by the contract.”In an appeal to the Colombian Supreme Court on behalf of the indigenous community in 2015, Pedro Eliceo Roa Gaitán of the Piapoco group stated that the referendum to approve the REDD+ project was unanimously rejected. According to him, an extra page stating that the community ultimately had approved the project was added illegally to the minutes of the meeting.Over a month later, a new council of elders approved the project on the basis of this extra page. Mediamos stated that the company had nothing to do with this issue, and that the decision to participate in the project was an internal decision by the community itself. The legal proceedings are still ongoing in Colombia.The result of the agreement: no one may cut down a tree now, not even for a new house or for fuel for cooking: the forest has to remain undisturbed for thirty years.Internal divisions continue to polarize the community, which was never the intention behind REDD+.Can REDD+ still save the climate?The story of the Sikuani is not unique. The CO2 market has been marked by bad (or lackluster) regulation for years. Since REDD+ (or its predecessor REDD) was introduced, “carbon cowboys” have popped up in the remotest corners of the tropics, trying to profit from the growing trade in CO2 emissions.One of the first REDD+ projects was set up to protect forests in eastern Bolivia from illegal logging. The Noel Kempff Climate Action Plan was a plan to protect the forests around the Noel Kempff Mercado national park, one of the places with the highest biodiversity on the planet. The region was charted in 1910 by the British explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett, whose descriptions of the forests and waterfalls in the park are said to have been the inspiration for the paradise in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous novel The Lost World.Initiated by the US environmental group The Nature Conservancy, the project was funded in part by oil and energy companies BP, American Electric Power and PacifiCorp.But according to several critics, the plan would achieve no CO2 reduction, and would drive the local population from their land. Greenpeace went on the offense, calling the project a “carbon scam.” The major problem, according to the environmental group, was the “leakage” of illegal logging activity to other areas not covered by the project.Natalia Calderon, director of FAN Bolivia, the local NGO that implemented the project at the turn of the 21st century, is still astonished by the controversy that arose at the time.“We were the first to try anything like this. It was a trial project,” Calderon said proudly in her office in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz. According to her, the trial was a success.However, the project neither sold any CO2 credits nor achieved the status of an official REDD+ project. This was partly because it was only intended as a trial project, and the Bolivian government under left-wing president Evo Morales had turned against REDD on principle after 2008.“We verified that there was a real reduction in CO2 emissions,” Calderon said. Although she acknowledges that some illegal logging activity shifted to other forests outside the project area, she explains that this effect was not strong enough to negate the total benefit of the project. “It was primarily a good trial of the setup of REDD+.”The biggest lesson learned was the importance of collaboration with the community.“Today we would give an even larger role to the local communities,” Calderon said. “We have to involve them more and give them more economic opportunities.”This is the paradox that makes protecting the forest difficult: to prevent illegal logging from shifting to other areas, the scope of the approach needs to be expanded. At the same time, there must be greater focus on the position of local communities.In 2009, REDD+ was sharply criticized for its lack of effectiveness, according to a report in The Guardian. ONIC spoke out in 2012 against any additional implementation of the REDD+ program in Colombia.Hope for REDD+The criticism of REDD+’s dubious benefits for the climate has never entirely subsided.“With these kinds of projects, the ecological and moral values are always less important than the money that can be earned from them,” said Diego Alejandro Cardona, an activist with the Colombian environmental organization CENSAT Agua Viva, the Colombian branch of Friends of the Earth International.He said he feels that REDD+ represents a form of land-grabbing by multinational corporations in disguise.Regions of the Colombian Amazon. Map by Peter Fitzgerald, OpenStreetMapFurthermore, according to Cardona, the way the program is used is hypocritical: large energy and other corporations invest a great deal of money in these kinds of projects in order to reduce their own carbon footprints. On the other hand, these same companies continue to seek out and use fossil fuels — sometimes even deep in the rainforest.“This kind of behavior just isn’t right,” Cardona said. He also has concerns about the relationship between people and nature. “By putting the protection of the forest into a contract, the indigenous community is losing its traditional connection with the land and the forest.”To warn local communities about this, Cardona’s organization now shares information, including a brochure that explains how to recognize a carbon cowboy, and what should and should not be in a valid contract.Still the most efficient way to reduce CO2 emissionsDespite all the criticism, paying for forest protection isn’t such a crazy idea. Since such large quantities of carbon are stored in forests, the cost per ton of CO2 is relatively low. For example, capturing and storing CO2 in empty gas fields, often seen as a necessity if we are to stay under the agreed-upon limit to global warming of 2 degrees Celsius, is estimated to cost about $58 per ton of CO2 or even $85 dollars for gas-fired plants, according to the World Resources Institute. By contrast, the average price of REDD+ certificates last year was only $3.40 per ton, according to a report from the nonprofit Forest Trends.This makes protecting the forests by far the most efficient and cheapest way to reduce worldwide CO2 emissions, as the UN emphasized at the November 2016 climate summit in Marrakesh.Since 2012, REDD+ has also been the most widely used form of forest management for compensating CO2 worldwide, even more popular than planting new trees. Last year it was good for 11.4 million tons of CO2, worth $37.5 million, according to Ecosystem Marketplace (part of the environmental group Forest Trends) in its report “State of Forest Carbon Finance 2016.” This figure is only for voluntary carbon trading, or what is known as voluntary offsets.This amount is expected to grow considerably in coming years when projects already well underway put their CO2 credits on the market. Demand will also grow sharply once industries that are required to compensate part of their emissions, such as airlines, become eligible to use REDD+. The UN air travel International Civil Aviation Organization has agreed that all additional growth in CO2 emissions from the air-travel sector worldwide from 2020 will be compensated by trading carbon credits. It is possible that credits from REDD+ projects can be used, although no agreements have been made yet.To meet the growing demand for REDD+ credits, more than $2.76 billion has already been invested since 2009 in international aid to help developing countries implement REDD+ projects. This figure includes both bilateral support and support from within the UN’s REDD+ program. For five years, Colombia will receive $100 million from Norway, Germany, and the UK to work out a national REDD+ strategy.Work with local communitiesDespite these millions of dollars, the major lesson from Calderon in Bolivia stands: local communities must have more of a say. There is also a growing body of scientific evidence to support this. In 2016 the WRI published a report which concluded that protecting the land rights of indigenous populations directly results in a reduction of CO2 emissions.The report found that if indigenous peoples have clear legal ownership of a forest area, there is two to three times less deforestation than when this is not the case. Throughout Latin America, these areas are connected to 40 million people who inhabit, and should control, 23 percent of all the land area, according to WRI.However, territorial claims are often disregarded or violated. Worldwide, only 10 percent of all indigenous land rights have been enshrined in legislation. Without a community having clear legal rights to its land, there is the danger that its forests can be chopped down for timber, or to make room for palm oil plantations.Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN special rapporteur for the rights of indigenous peoples, says that establishing clear land rights for indigenous groups guarantees that these forests continue to exist. Indigenous groups are also experts on the landscape in which they live.“Studies show that where indigenous people are responsible for the forests, the protection is much more effective,” Tauli-Corpuz said.Questions over involvementQuestions linger over how to get local communities involved in international CO2 emissions trading projects and ensure that REDD+’s success, even with the Sikuani, according to Carlos Rodriguez. Rodriguez, a professor with over thirty years’ experience with the peoples of the Amazon, works out of the Bogotá office of the Netherlands-based tropical forest conservation NGO Tropenbos International.From the series “The Blood Forest” by photographer Philippe EcharouxRodriguez says that answering the questions starts with how you explain REDD+. Local communities often have a completely different understanding of climate change and contracts than outsiders.“They often don’t understand that you want to pay money for wood, because the forest has a spiritual value, not a financial one,” Rodriguez said. “The trees are a gift from nature.”Money can also carry seeds of discord, as Apolinar observed with the Sikuani. According to Rodriguez, the first question to ask is: how can these groups collectively earn an income?“Their economy is the food they grow,” he said. “When money suddenly enters the system from outside, it means a drastic change in the community structure.”In his research, Rodriguez concluded that REDD+ can only work if a collective, indigenous organization has control over the project and its revenue stream. They should determine what part of the forest gets protected and what part can still be used for local needs such as timber and fuel, according to a study published by Tropenbos International.From the jungle to the negotiating tableBesides isolated companies selling CO2 credits from REDD+ projects on a voluntary trading market, since 2008 there has also been an international REDD+ program set up by the UN. This program aims to make it a nationwide strategy for combating deforestation in various developing countries. Running it on the national level should prevent leakage and guarantee indigenous land rights.Mario Gonzalez, with the UN’s local REDD+ program in Colombia, emphasizes that it’s also important to find economic alternatives for the communities whose land is covered by the project. “That means also investing in public services in very remote areas,” he explains. “Because people will cut down the forest themselves if there’s no other means of subsistence.”Gonzalez realizes that REDD+ has acquired a bad reputation with many, largely because of the carbon cowboys’ antics in the last ten years. “We have to try to turn this perception around, especially for the Amazon peoples themselves,” he said.Back in the Colombian jungle, the Sikuani are still embroiled in the legal battle to get the contract they signed with Mediamos declared invalid. The community ultimately took the matter to the Colombian Supreme Court with the argument that the referendum was not conducted according to the rules.“In 2013 we only had a negative experience with one company,” Apolinar, the jurist from the jungle, recollects. Now that the Colombian government is trying to set up REDD+ under the aegis of the UN, Apolinar wants to give the program another chance. In 2015 the ONIC signed a covenant agreeing to cooperate in implementing REDD+.The ONIC is now taking the lead to keep millions of tons of carbon in the country’s own forests. The members even traveled from the Amazon rain forest to the recent UN climate summit in Marrakesh to declare proudly to the world that “The governments that have brought on the worldwide climate disaster can continue to count on us to defend the planet.”On the condition that indigenous land rights are reinforced. For the Sikuani, there’s no life without land.Banner image: From the series “The Blood Forest” by photographer Philippe Echaroux.This article was produced in collaboration with Martin Perez and Mauricio Zubieta as part of a series on CO2 compensation, made possible in part by support from the Netherlands’ Postcode Loterij Fonds from Free Press Unlimited. Read more (in Dutch) about the Postcode Lottery’s journalism fund. It was translated from the original in Dutch by Anne Hodgkinson.Bart Crezee is a contributing correspondent on carbon offsets for De Correspondent. This article originally appeared in Dutch on www.decorrespondent.nl. You can find him on Twitter at @bartcrezee.Resources:“Climate Benefits, Tenure Costs: The Economic Case For Securing Indigenous Land Rights in the Amazon.” Read more about this report here. Article published by Genevieve Belmaker Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Avoided Deforestation, Carbon Offsets, Carbon Trading, Deforestation, Forests, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Rainforests, Redd, Redd And Communities last_img read more

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Kaziranga: the frontline of India’s rhino wars

first_imgKaziranga National Park in India’s Assam State is home to around 2,400 one-horned rhinos, as well as elephants, tigers and hundreds of other mammal and bird species.India’s rhinos were hunted nearly to extinction by the early 20th century, but have rebounded since the park was established. However, rhino horn is highly sought in the black market and poaching remains a constant threat.Rangers in Kaziranga rely on antiquated weaponry to face off against poachers, whose links with international crime syndicates mean they are often better armed and better financed than forest guards.The park’s approach to conservation has drawn criticism from indigenous rights group Survival International, a critique that gained prominence in a recent BBC documentary. In the dead of night on February 15, gunshots blasted the guards into action in India’s Kaziranga National Park. Rangers stationed in a nearby camp quickly spread out, searching for the shooters under the light of a nearly full moon — to no avail.By morning, they’d located the victim, the park’s first poaching casualty of 2017: a female Indian rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis). They inspected her 3,500-pound body, which was riddled with bullet holes and collected 11 spent cartridges from an AK-47 assault rifle. The gouged wound on her nose marked the spot where her horn had been hacked off.Welcome to the rhino wars.last_img read more

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Brazil slashes environment budget by 43%

first_imgArticle published by Shreya Dasgupta Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Brazil accounts for nearly two-thirds of the Amazon rainforest, the world’s largest tropical forest.After several years of decline, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is on the rise again.Environmentalists say that the budget cut will “profoundly [impact] deforestation — and, consequently, Brazil’s climate targets.” Last week the Brazilian government reduced the budget for the Ministry of the Environment by 43 percent. The ministry now has a budget of 446 million Brazilian reals ($141 million).The federal science budget has also been cut by 44 percent, making it the lowest budget in at least 12 years, Nature reported.Scientists and environmental groups fear that these budget cuts could hinder efforts to stem deforestation, which has been on the rise in the country.Alfredo Sirkis, the executive secretary of the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change, told Observatório do Clima that the cut was “very serious” and will “profoundly [impact] deforestation — and, consequently, Brazil’s climate targets.”Brazil accounts for nearly two-thirds of the Amazon rainforest, the world’s largest tropical forest. After several years of decline, deforestation — driven by beef, soy and timber industries — appears to be increasing again. Between August 2015 and July 2016, for example, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon increased by 29 percent over the previous year, making it the highest deforestation level recorded in the region since 2008. Forest area about 135 times the size of Manhattan was cut down in just one year.Brazil recently announced its plans of restoring 12 million hectares (~30 million acres) of deforested and degraded forest land by 2030 at the 13th Conference of the Parties on Biological Diversity (COP13) in December 2016. But the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), Brazil’s Environmental Protection Agency, which works to prevent deforestation of the Amazon, is already severely cash-strapped. And the budget cut is likely to exacerbate the problem.“In case of deforestation, the combination of budget cuts and other management decisions, especially with reducing protected areas, it’s likely to increase deforestation,” Paulo Barreto, a senior researcher with environmental monitoring group Imazon, told Climate Wire.Forest fragmentation in the Brazilian Amazon. Photo courtesy of NASAcenter_img Amazon Conservation, Conservation, Deforestation, Environment, Environmental Politics, Forests, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Threats To Rainforests, Tropical Forests last_img read more

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One of the last three rhinos in Malaysia is critically ill

first_imgAnimals, Biodiversity, Endangered Species, Environment, Mammals, Megafauna, Rainforest Animals, Rhinos, Sumatran Rhino Article published by Isabel Esterman Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Wildlife officials fear Puntung, one of the last three rhinos known to survive in Malaysia, is on the brink of death due to an abscess in her jaw.The abscess has not responded to veterinary treatment provided at the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Sabah, where Puntung lives with the other two surviving rhinos in Malaysia.The Sumatran rhino was declared extinct in the wild in Malaysia in 2015. Fewer than 100 are believed to remain, mostly in Indonesia. UPDATE: Rare Malaysian rhino still sick, but showing signs of improvementPuntung, one of the last three Sumatran rhinos (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) known to survive in Malaysia, is critically ill with an abscess deep inside her upper jaw.Wildlife officials in Malaysian Borneo’s Sabah State fear the rhino, one of the few remaining representatives of a critically endangered species, is on the brink of death.The infection has not responded to drainage and antibiotic treatment, Sabah Wildlife Department Director Augustine Tuuga said in an April 5 press statement. “We are worried about sepsis, an infection that can spread quickly through the body and rapidly cause death,” he said.The life-threatening abscess in Puntung’s jaw. Photo courtesy of the Sabah Wildlife Department.Puntung is receiving 24-hour veterinary care at the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary in Tabin Wildlife Reserve in Sabah, a fenced-in facility managed by the Borneo Rhino Alliance (BORA) where she lives in captivity along with Malaysia’s two other surviving rhinos.“All of us here at BORA, are very much affected by this and are desperately doing everything we can to treat her. We want to hope for the best, but the situation does not look good,” BORA said on its Facebook page today.  “We are working round the clock to save one of the world’s rarest and most lovable animals, and we will not give up.”The Sumatran rhino was declared extinct in the wild in Malaysia in 2015. Between 50 and 100 are believed to survive in Indonesia, including seven at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Way Kambas National Park in southern Sumatra.Puntung, who is believed to be around 25 years old, was captured in 2011 and brought to the sanctuary. Prior to her capture — likely in infancy — Puntung lost her front left foot, probably to a poacher’s snare. Hence the name “Puntung,” which means “stub” in Malaysian.According to BORA, Puntung is “perhaps the most endearing” of the rhinos at the sanctuary “due to her disability and her gentle nature.”Puntung’s arrival at the sanctuary in late 2011 brought hope that she could provide a mate for Tam, the sanctuary’s middle-aged male rhino. With a small, dwindling population separated into isolated pockets, many rhino experts believe a captive breeding program is the only hope for the species’ survival.However, Puntung was found to have asevere array of uterine cysts, making her unable to bear a pregnancy. A second female rhino, Iman, who was captured and brought to the Tabin facility in 2014, also has reproductive pathologies. Meanwhile Tam, although still producing some viable sperm, is past his reproductive prime.Since 2014, BORA turned its focus to assisted reproductive technology, specifically in vitro fertilization (IVF) in order to produce a viable embryo — an effort that has so far been unsuccessful.“Loss of Puntung now would be a tragedy, because she potentially has quite a few years of egg production left,” said BORA Executive Director John Payne in a press statement.Banner Image courtesy of the Sabah Wildlife Department.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.last_img read more

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Murky future for freshwater fish in the Amazon floodplains

first_imgAn extreme drought in 2005 decreased many freshwater fish species abundance in areas like Lago Catalão, and many haven’t recovered yet.Drought overturned the ecology of the lake over time – big fish populations declined while little fish boomed.The shift has direct impacts on diets in the region since many local people depend on fish for protein, meaning that climate change is already influencing food reserves here. Life beneath the waters of the Amazon is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the world’s largest rainforest. All of the bright, primary colors direct your eyes aboveground. But beneath the murky waters of the Amazon swims the highest diversity of freshwater fish on Earth. This stunning diversity may be “out of sight, out of mind” for most, but not for Dr. Kirk Winemiller from Texas A&M AgriLife Research and his Brazilian colleagues. The muddy waters of the Amazon river hold the highest freshwater fish diversity in the world. Amazon floodplains house important fish species but, climate change is increasing the intensity and frequency of floods and droughts in these systems. This could have dramatic effects on fish populations. Photo credit: Rhett ButlerInvestigating long-term data from a floodplain lake near the confluence of the Amazon and Negro rivers, Winemiller and his team found that fish populations drastically changed after a severe drought in 2005. And numbers of many species haven’t recovered since. Such changes are not only ecologically significant: fish are an important source of protein for people residing in these regions, and these life-sustaining fisheries are now imperiled by overfishing and climate change. Climate change is increasing drought intensity and frequency – and this is likely to impact freshwater fish populations in the Amazon and beyond.Changes in biodiversity directly affect “the lives of most organisms living in and around freshwater environments, including humans” said Dr. Cristhiana Röpke, the lead author of the paper from the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia in Manaus, Brazil.Floods and droughtsRiver life in the Amazon is extreme. When precipitation levels are high during the rainy season, Amazonian floodplains fill. But when there is not enough water in the dry season, floodplains can suffer droughts. For large rivers like the Amazon, much of the cycling is dictated by how much rain falls on the headwaters.Kirk Winemiller and his Brazilian colleagues analyzed fish survey data collected from Lago Catalão in Manaus, Brazil. Lago Catalão is a floodplain lake located near the confluence of the Amazon and Negro Rivers. The flood cycle consists of four seasons: rising water, flooding, receding water, and drying. Photo credit: Cristhiana Röpke.Cycling between floods and droughts affects water connectivity and quality, species interactions, and primary production – an important ecological step where primary producer like plants make energy available through photosynthesis.Now, climate change is putting its stamp on this naturally occurring cycle, by shifting rainfall patterns and making these extreme events more frequent and intense. But climatic changes are also affecting headwaters differently. For instance, extreme floods are occurring more often in the headwaters of the Negro river, which is the second largest tributary of the Amazon river. The Madeira river – the largest tributary – has seen more extreme droughts. Many studies have focused on how changes in rainfall may affect forest dynamics in the tropics, but few studies look deeper, into the murky freshwater. Fish out of waterWinemiller and his Brazilian colleagues analyzed data from monthly surveys of freshwater fish conducted in Lago Catalão, a floodplain lake near the confluence of the Amazon and Negro rivers. Between 1999 and 2014, the surveys gathered detailed information about the fish, like species identity, primary food source, and size.With roughly 400 species sampled to date, Lago Catalão represents a large portion of the freshwater fish found in the Amazon floodplains. It is also important for tourism. However, there are minimal conservation efforts in the area, the largest of which are local initiatives for fisheries management. A dried up part of Lago Catalão, a floodplain lake located at the confluence of the Amazon and Negro rivers. Photo credit: Daniele Campos.In 2005, the region suffered a severe drought, during which 70 percent of the floodplain lakes dried up. This is a view of a channel connecting Lago Catalão with the Negro River in October 2005. Photo credit: Sidinéia AmadioThe study shows that rainfall patterns have important direct and indirect effects on lake ecology. Indirectly, droughts may cause shifts in what fish are consuming, causing trickle-down changes throughout the ecosystem. Seasonal water changes determine when the floodplain lake is connected to both rivers. Sometimes it can be completely cut off. In October 2005, an intense drought dried up 70 percent of the floodplain habitats in this region. Lago Catalão was disconnected from the Negro river for about three months.After the drought, fish populations dramatically changed. But not every change occurred immediately. This suggests that intrinsic biological factors – like reproduction, range, and diet – changed as well. Currently, many fish species are less abundant in the floodplain lake than before the drought, including many large fish species that are important for human consumption. The team found hundreds of dead fish near the dried regions of the floodplain lake. Photo credit: Sergio Santorelli.Declines in large fish may be a result of an inability to migrate from river to lake. On the other hand, the study found that small fish that reproduce quicker are now higher in abundance than before the drought. One example is the tambaqui (Colossoma macropomum),a seed and fruit eating giant that weighs up to 88 pounds. Tambaqui is a migratory species that declined after the drought. The year before the drought, the catch per unit efficiency (CPUE) – a measure of abundance for fish – of tambaqui was approximately 0.035. After the drought, this declined to approximately 0.0025 – more than a 90 percent drop from the pre-drought CPUE. Unfortunately, this species is also important to local fish markets and has a high-market value.In contrast, the study found only small changes in the abundance of primary consumers, i.e. fish that rely on only plant material as their food source. However, omnivores and secondary consumers – fish that rely on animals like insects or other fish – markedly declined. Fishing in troubled watersDespite the importance of fish for local consumption, many species with consumer value are overexploited, and are not successfully farmed. “Our study found that some of the most affected fish species were also the ones that were valuable in local fish markets. Therefore, climate change in the Amazon region likely will influence fisheries,” explained Winemiller. As climate change increases the intensity and frequency of droughts, these effects could worsen over time. During droughts, fishermen catch more fish. More droughts may lead to more overexploitation. And this would be on top of the declines already seen in this study. As the research shows, this can greatly affect the lake’s ecology and the resilience of the fish communities as a whole. Each fish species fulfills a different role in the community. They may eat different food, reproduce at different times, and live in different parts of the lake. If a specific role is taken away it may not be filled as quickly – or at all – after extreme events.“Reduced supply of fish would possibly result in starvation and migration of these people to other areas,” said Röpke.In the shallow portions of the floodplain lake, riverine people reside in floating houses. These people rely on freshwater fish as their primary source of protein. Photo credit: Thatyla Beck FaragoShe added that the study highlighted the “need for protection areas in large rivers and floodplains because these areas could work as refuges for fish population preventing collapses and biodiversity loss under a scenario of increased frequency of drought.”Between the number of hooks in the water and prevalent drought conditions, the situation looks murky for Amazonian fish. The need for change is clear, even if the water is not. Citations: Röpke, C.P., Amadio, S., Zuanon, J., Ferreira, E.J.G., de Deus, C.P., Pires, T.H.S., Winemiller, K.O. (2017) Simultaneous abrupt shifts in hydrology and fish assemblage structure in a floodplain lake in the central Amazon. Scientific Reports, 7, 40170.doi: 10.1038/srep40170. Animals, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Conservation, Drought, Environment, Fish, Fishing, Food, Interns, Overfishing, Research, Rivers, Weather Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Article published by Maria Salazarlast_img read more

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Documenting the fight to save Borneo’s animals

first_imgAnimal Rescue, Animals, Archive, Conservation, Featured, Interviews, Video, Wildlife Article published by Rhett Butler All images courtesy of scubazooimages.com. After graduating from school, Aaron ‘Bertie’ Gekoski was on a fairly conventional career path for a young businessman.But the more successful his agency became, the more Gekoski felt like something was missing.So he quit the business and embarked on a totally new adventure: wildlife filmmaking.Gekoski spoke about his unusual career path, his passion, and filmmaking during an April 2017 interview with Mongabay.com. After graduating from school, Aaron “Bertie” Gekoski was on a fairly conventional career path for a young businessman, starting out in copyediting for a magazine before launching a modeling agency in London. But the more successful his agency became, the more Gekoski felt like something was missing. So he quit the business and embarked on a totally new adventure: wildlife filmmaking and photojournalism.Today, instead of night clubs and fashion shoots, Gekoski prowls the planet’s oceans and rainforests for wildlife stories for Scubazoo, producing films that highlight the beauty and wonder of nature. His latest project — Borneo Wildlife Warriors — takes him into the rainforests of Borneo with the Sabah Wildlife Department’s Wildlife Rescue Unit, an agency charged with protecting and rehabilitating the Malaysian state’s animals.Gekoski spoke about his unusual career path, his passion, and Borneo Wildlife Warriors during an April 2017 interview with Mongabay.com.Ranger and baby Bornean Elephants, Elephas maximus borneensis, Sepilok, Sabah, Malaysia, Borneo,Bertie holding a baby Pangolin, Manis javanica, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, Borneo,AN INTERVIEW WITH BERTIE GEKOSKIMongabay.com What is your background and what inspired you to get into wildlife film production?Bertie Gekoski: I studied advertising and worked as a copywriter for publishing houses in London, before starting up a modeling agency with my best mate from school. After a few years doing this, it all got a bit much: tax returns, demanding clients, moaning models, a mortgage. Then I remember playing the ‘Alter Ego Game’ with my family at Christmas. In a parallel universe I would have been David Attenborough, or another of the great explorers. It was a lightbulb moment: why spend your life fantasizing about someone else’s? So I went away and discovered diving, before enlisting in the Wildlife Film Academy in the Kruger Park in 2009. I’ve never looked back.The lifestyle is very seductive and has become something of a drug. The more you travel, the more you learn, the more you realize what a critical point we’re at in history. Our oceans are rising, warming, used as dumping grounds, and catastrophically overfished. Every year we chop down billions of trees and we lose thousands of species due to the activities of mankind. I began traveling extensively in Africa, documenting these issues as a photojournalist. It’s only the last couple of years I’ve stepped in front of the lens, when I was approached by Scubazoo CEO Simon Christopher about coming to Borneo and fronting up shows for SZtv.The camera is one of the most potent weapons ever invented, and wielded correctly can be used as a force for good. Our goal is to take these complex issues, package them up, and make them accessible to global audiences through the media. Many view conservation as depressing or for anoraks – however it can be exciting and even entertaining. We’ve a very talented team here, creating compelling content.Mongabay.com You’ve done a lot of work on marine wildlife and ecosystems. What prompted you to launch this series focusing on terrestrial conservation?Bertie Gekoski: I’ve also done a lot of work on terrestrial conservation, particularly with the African elephant. When shooting our underwater series Borneo from Below, I heard about a mass poisoning event in Borneo back in 2013 that wiped out an entire herd. I started researching the elephant situation here: elephants are losing their homes to deforestation and development, are being shot and poisoned, are dying in manmade quarries, and are leaving behind their young in plantations. This brought me to the work of the Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU), a team of dedicated vets and rangers who are doing their best to mitigate this conflict in the state of Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.However, rather than simply covering the story as a journalist, I wanted to actually get out on the frontline of conservation. So I approached the head of the WRU, Dr. Sen Nathan, about joining his team. Dr Sen agreed and enlisted me in a ‘Boot Camp’ before I was allowed out on proper rescues and relocations. Episodes 1-6 details my time training with the WRU, whereas episodes 7 and onwards are in the field.Preparing a radio collar for an elephantA python being released into the wild after a successful relocationMongabay.com What are the biggest challenges with this kind of filmmaking?Bertie Gekoski: Filming in the jungle is a very different experience to shooting underwater. First of all it is hot, sweaty and full of mosquitoes. Then there’s the WRU’s work, which is exhausting and at times dangerous. Once we were charged by an elephant we’d been trying to catch for a week, and a couple of days later a baby orang-utan tried to attack me. You might work for days on end with very little sleep, yet still have to keep your wits about you if you’re pursuing a two-ton elephant. Then once you’ve caught it you still have to lead it into a cage, load it onto a truck, and transport it to a stretch of jungle far away from human settlements. It’s a little different to cruising around beautiful coral reefs photographing fish!I have so much respect for the WRU who work under very difficult circumstances, trying to protect Borneo’s wildlife. They face many challenges: from deforestation and development, to the traditional medicine trade, the illegal pet trade and more. Dealing with constant conflict takes its toll physically and mentally, but they handle the pressure admirably.Asian Palm Civet, Viverra tangalunga, WRU holding pen, Lok Kawi, Sabah, MalaysiaA Bornean Gibbon, Hylobates muelleri, clinging to a finger, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, Borneo,Mongabay.com What was the most memorable moment in the making of this series?Bertie Gekoski: So much happens in the series it’s hard to pick one moment! Along with the hairy encounters mentioned above, I learn how to handle pythons and elephants, adopt a sick pangolin, attend a sun bear medical and more. I became very attached to the gibbons, who are victims of the illegal pet trade – in particular one female called Lilo. It’s easy to see why as they’re very affectionate and beyond adorable. However once kept as pets, rehabilitation is difficult as they ‘imprint’ on their owners and become too trusting of humans. That’s why most can’t be released back into the wild.Team ready for medical check on an orang-utanMale orang-utan being given a health check before being releasedMongabay.com You’ve release this as a webisodes freely accessible to everyone. How are you marketing/promoting these and what is your primary target audience for this series?Bertie Gekoski: All of our episodes are released via Facebook and are uploaded to our website via YouTube. Finding funders is a challenge, particularly as our series are high end and not cheap to produce. Borneo Wildlife Warriors was primarily funded in-house and through one donor, an American philanthropist called Damon Copeland. We have just launched an “Executive Producer Experience” to tempt in funders who have the opportunity to attend shoots, get photography/video lessons, and be listed as Executive Producer in our shows. We are also looking to work with brands that want to be associated with SZtv.The feedback we’re getting is that our shows have a very broad appeal – kids love them, as well as older generations (our producer’s great auntie Doreen is one of our biggest fans!). It’s important to reach new audiences as we don’t just want to preach to the converted.Orphaned baby elephants at the rescue centrePreparing a net to capture macaquesMongabay.com What do you hope viewers take away from this project?Bertie Gekoski: We are dealing with some multifaceted and sensitive subjects. It’s not always black and white or a case of good vs bad – there are many shades of grey. So we are trying to provide a balanced viewpoint, without wagging fingers at people. Palm oil, for example, receives terrible press worldwide. However, it’s one of Malaysia’s biggest exports and is a critical part of the economy. It’s unsustainably sourced palm oil that’s the major problem.We also want to bring attention to some of the lesser-known animals. Whilst the flagship species such as orang-utans dominate the precious column inches dedicated to conservation, other creatures are faring just as badly. Pangolins are now the most trafficked mammal in the world and poaching is pushing them to the brink of extinction – yet if you asked the general public, not many would know what a pangolin was. The overall goal of the series is to highlight the problems facing Borneo’s wildlife and showcase the local heroes who dedicate their lives to mitigating these conflicts.Two baby orphaned elephantsBertie with python in an oil palm plantationMongabay.com What’s next for you?Bertie Gekoski: SZtv have rather a lot on at the moment. We’ve just finished a 6-part series for Smithsonian (also covering the work of the WRU) called Borneo Wildlife Rescue. That comes out later this year. We are currently in the middle of shooting a new series, Borneo Jungle Diaries, which looks at the cutting edge scientific work of the Danau Girang Field Centre. This will be released on 5th June, World Environment Day, as part of our global efforts to connect people with nature. We are also editing together a feature documentary on human-elephant conflict for a series called On the Brink, and are shooting episode 2 – on Pacific leatherbacks – one of the last true dinosaurs left on Earth. We plan to tag nesting females with satellite tags later this year and follow them to where they’re still hunted with spears from dug out canoes in remotest Indonesia. With their populations plummeting from around 120,000 individuals just two decades ago to less than 3000 now due to over-fishing and by-catch, Scubazoo’s been chasing this story for almost two decades so it’s hugely exciting!In terms of underwater productions, Next month we start production on Season 1 of Indonesia from Below in May, off the coast of Kalimantan – this includes whale sharks, mantas, and a unique jellyfish lake. We will shoot the rest of the series towards the end of this year. I’m also talking to Sea Shepherd about potentially joining them on one of their shark finning campaigns. My year is jam packed until January…but bring it on!Subscribe to SZtv’s YouTube channel so you never miss an episode. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

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Deforestation has become big business in the Brazilian Amazon

first_img(Leia essa matéria em português no The Intercept Brasil. You can also read Mongabay’s series on the Tapajós Basin in Portuguese at The Intercept Brasil)FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.In the past, it was cattle ranchers who were notorious for clearing Amazon rainforest. Today, in a process known as “speculative clearance” land thieves lay claim to public land, clear it of trees, then sell it to ranchers. While the transaction process has altered, the end result is the same: the loss of major tracts of rainforest, along with plummeting biodiversity. Photo by Rhett A. Butler Agamenom da Silva Menezes, is typical of modern Amazonian real estate operators: he is a wealthy individual who openly works with those who make a living by illegally laying claim to, deforesting and selling public lands for a high price. Lawlessness in the region means such land theft is rarely punished.Agamenom and others like him use militias, hired thugs, to intimidate landless peasant farmers as well as less powerful land thieves who try to claim Amazonian forests. The land is then deforested and sold to cattle ranchers, with each tract of stolen federal land bringing in an estimated R$20 million (US$6.4 million) on average.In March, the Temer government slashed by over 50 percent the budget of the Ministry of the Environment, responsible for both IBAMA, the federal environmental agency, and the Chico Mendes Institute of Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), which oversees Brazil’s conservation units.As a result, land thieves are likely to get bolder in their theft, deforestation and sale of public lands to cattle ranchers and others. Without a major shift in federal forestry policy and a dramatic improvement in enforcement, land theft and deforestation are likely to worsen across the Amazon basin. (Leia essa matéria em português no The Intercept Brasil. You can also read Mongabay’s series on the Tapajós Basin in Portuguese at The Intercept Brasil)The Tapajós River Basin lies at the heart of the Amazon, and at the heart of an exploding controversy: whether to build 40+ large dams, a railway, and highways, turning the Basin into a vast industrialized commodities export corridor; or to curb this development impulse and conserve one of the most biologically and culturally rich regions on the planet.Those struggling to shape the Basin’s fate hold conflicting opinions, but because the Tapajós is an isolated region, few of these views get aired in the media. Journalist Sue Branford and social scientist Mauricio Torres travelled there recently for Mongabay, and over coming weeks hope to shed some light on the heated debate that will shape the future of the Amazon. This is the thirteenth of their reports.The landless peasant occupation at KM Mil, a settlement located near the Thousand Kilometer marker on highway BR 163 near the town of Novo Progresso in Pará state, Brazil. Photo by Thais BorgesOn the Amazon frontier, where many people operate outside the law, you often hear locals speak in code — something journalists learn to listen for. So our ears pricked up as we prepared to film an interview in the office of Agamenom da Silva Menezes, president of the Novo Progresso Rural Farmers’ Union in Pará state.A man had rushed in, speaking urgently to Agamenom without a glance at us: “They’re taking over the area. We need to do something. Right away.”Agamenom raised a hand to silence the messenger and responded calmly: “OK. Don’t worry. We’ll talk later.” Then he turned to us and said abruptly: “Shall we begin?”It was only later, when Agamenom described the activities of his union during the interview, that the penny dropped: the “something” the man mentioned was likely code for an illegal violent act; the forced eviction of “they” — settlers in the midst of a land occupation carried out by the Castelo de Sonhos Rural Workers Union, at a location known as “KM Mil.”Agamenom da Silva Menezes: “If they [the settlers] leave on their own accord, fine. If they won’t go, we make them. We do what it takes. If they use clubs against us, we use clubs. If they use knives, we use knives. If they use dogs, we use dogs … the way it is done depends on them … but in the end we get them out.” Photo by Thais BorgesShowdown at KM MilCoincidentally, it was this landless peasant occupation that we’d come to talk with Agamemnon about. The so-called “KM Mil” settlement was located near the Thousand Kilometer marker on highway BR 163, a spot 1,000 kilometers from Cuiabá, the capital of Mato Grosso state.Two days earlier we had visited the 80 families taking part in the occupation. They were living in rough shacks, with roofs covered in black plastic sheeting to keep out the rain.Those shacks resembled hundreds of other temporary lean-tos that have sprung up across Brazil in the last 30 years as part of Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement (MST), and of other social movements trying to force authorities to carry out much-needed agrarian reform.Alenquer, the trade unionist occupation leader with peasant farmers at KM Mil. Shortly after this photo was taken, armed thugs raided the camp, warning the settlers that if that didn’t give up their claim to the land, threats would soon turn to violence. Photo by Thais BorgesThe KM Mil settlement, about 10 miles from the highway, was situated at the extreme edge of a large area of slashed-and-burned forest. The peasants had built their shacks right where the forest began and had started the hard work of clearing dense undergrowth and trees.We’d arrived with Aloisio Sampaio, a trade unionist known as Alenquer, the primary leader of the occupation, so the settlers didn’t treat us with mistrust but spoke freely.One settler explained why the community was moving into the forest: “Of course, we’d have like to have occupied the [already] cleared area, but it’s far too dangerous. It’s valuable land. People will fight tooth and nail to keep hold of it. People aren’t so interested in the forest.”On examination, this may sound like bizarre logic, with deforested land and denuded soil deemed to be worth far more than exuberant, life-packed primary Amazon forest. But this is the way it is on the Amazon frontier, where cleared land, which can be sold to ranchers and farmers, is far more valuable (in dollars) than rainforest.Until it is reversed, this way of thinking and acting will make it impossible to end the rampant forest destruction happening all over the region.Land speculators are doing a brisk trade in the Amazon basin. In a process known as “speculative clearance,” land thieves, backed by violent militias, lay claim to public lands covered in rainforest. That land is then deforested and illegally sold to cattle ranchers. Each tract of stolen federal land can bring in an estimated R$20 million (US$6.4 million). Photo by Rhett A. ButlerLandless peasants vs. land thievesThe settlers told us they would never think of moving into large, deforested areas. To do so would almost assuredly draw violence against them. So these landless Brazilians — whether part of official land colonization projects, or informal land occupations organized by social movements — are continually pushed deeper into the Amazon rainforest.It is wealthy land operators who do the pushing. These politically connected land thieves, backed up by their violent “militias,” turn large stolen tracts into no-go areas — even when the land claimed and deforested is publicly owned (which it often is). The state rarely ever reclaims it, meaning that crime pays on the Amazon frontier.This leaves landless peasants with little choice. If they wish to survive economically, they must clear virgin forest. But even that act benefits the land thieves: they use their influence to get officials from IBAMA, the federal environmental agency, to inspect the modest damage the settlers do to the forest, drawing attention away from the much greater harm the land thieves are causing with their own illegal land grabsIn the end, the big land thieves often win; they kick the hard-working peasant farmers off the land they’ve cleared, forcing them deeper into the forest. And so the cycle begins again.A shack at KM Mil near the forest edge. If the landless peasants tried to claim the large tracts of already cleared land, they would likely be subjected to violence inflicted by militias, armed thugs in the employ of wealthy land thieves and speculators. Photo by Thais BorgesThough far from being the main cause of Amazonian deforestation, this dynamic provides a graphic example of how life on the frontier typically works, with the wealthy dominating and exploiting the poor.It is an upside-down world, argue many social critics: studies show that ironically the only legitimate claimants to Amazon public lands are the peasant families. This is because in the 1970s and 1980s large areas of the Amazon, including those currently in dispute, were set aside by the federal government specifically for the purpose of carrying out agrarian reform — but the program was never properly implemented.Smoke and mirrors on the Amazon frontierWhen we arrived at the KM Mil settlement, a woman was cooking lunch for a dozen people, some of whom had been clearing forest. She invited us to join them. While we ate, settler Ivanor da Silva Felizardo told us about his life: “I left Sinop [a town in Mato Grosso state on the BR-163] for lack of prospects. There was no way of getting on. Here everything is more raw; it’s possible to make something of your life. My luck was to get 100 hectares [247 acres] through the trade union.”With the rural workers’ trade union organizing the landless occupation, the peasants felt they had some legitimacy and protection from violence: “The union is a legal organ,” Ivanor told us. “We have been here for about 90 days, and everything has gone well so far.” Even so, tension hung in the air. There were few women or children at the site, and some settlers admitted to often feeling afraid.“They [the land thieves] want to get rid of me,” said leader Alenquer, who wears a flak jacket all the time. “They make threats against me on television, on radio, in the market, at home. I’ve got used to it. They don’t frighten me. And it won’t help them to kill me. We’ve trained various leaders along the BR-163. If they kill me, someone else will take my place.”After lunch, another settler, who didn’t want to give his name, told us how the occupation had come about: a few years earlier, a man he called “the rightful owner” had been “forced off the land, by brute force” by a certain Tião, a much-feared gunman from the AJ Vilela gang. “After [Tião] took over, hardly anyone who set foot in here returned alive,” he said.Aloisio Sampaio, a trade unionist known as Alenquer, the primary leader of the KM Mil landless peasant occupation: “They [the land thieves] want to get rid of me. They make threats against me on television, on radio, in the market, at home. I’ve got used to it. They don’t frighten me. And it won’t help them to kill me. We’ve trained various leaders along the BR-163. If they kill me, someone else will take my place.” Photo by Thais BorgesThere were many murders, the settler told us. But after the arrest of AJ Vilela in 2016 by federal police, the land’s “rightful owner” reappeared. He was keen to regain control of his land, so came to the rural trade union with a proposal: he would give the peasants some land to keep and clear. The peasants were surprised at this act of generosity, but believed “the rightful owner” was a good man who simply wanted to help them.“We signed a contract, it’s all legalized,” the settler told us. “We are very happy. It’s going to work out well.”However, things were more complicated than first appeared. The settlers learned later that “the rightful owner” wasn’t the only one eying this valuable piece of real estate that had become “available” after of the arrest of the gang. And despite calling himself “the rightful owner,” the man behind the deal was, in fact, just another land thief — the first to occupy the land illegally before being driven off by the more powerful and violent AJ Vilela gang.The “rightful owner” refused to be interviewed, saying that publicity would make it more likely that he would be assassinated, but it became clear to us that he likely planned to use the landless peasants as pawns and a human shield. He knew the settlers were determined to keep their plots and would defend their camp fiercely. This was a good deal for the “owner”: if the peasants drove off the militias hired by other land thieves, then he would get to keep an extremely valuable area of cleared land, while “giving” the settlers a relatively small piece of forest.Agamenom da Silva Menezes, president of the Novo Progresso Rural Farmers’ Union in Pará state. Photo by Thais BorgesEnter AgamenomOur interview with Agamenom signalled to us that the settlers would not find it easy to hang on to the land they’d claimed. To him, the peasant families were “invaders” who had to be be evicted, whatever the cost.Though reluctant to talk about KM Mil specifically, Agamenom spoke frankly about how he used militias made up of hired thugs to resolve situations of this nature: “If they [the settlers] leave on their own accord, fine. If they won’t go, we make them. We do what it takes. If they use clubs against us, we use clubs. If they use knives, we use knives. If they use dogs, we use dogs … the way it is done depends on them … but in the end we get them out.”It was surprising to find that Agamenom was willing to talk so openly on camera about sending in his own militia — utterly illegal in Brazil. But since the fall of President Dilma Rousseff’s government and the rise of the agribusiness-friendly Temer government, land speculators appear emboldened, stating brazenly that they operate above the law.Indeed, Agamenom and his fellow speculators openly revealed their plans in the local media. This is what the local newspaper, sympathetic to Agamenom, wrote at the time:Farmers are preparing to mobilize to defend property rights, which they see as threatened by the ineffectiveness of the federal authorities in the region. Their first action will take place in the next few days when they intend to evict those who have illegally occupied land by KM Mil.The following day, a group of six armed men attacked the camp, firing shots in the air and shouting threats. No one was injured and the settlers believed that the gunmen only intended to intimidate them. Before the men left, they promised to return shortly and told the peasants to prepare for something much worse.But Alenquer, highly experienced in these sorts of clashes, made an unusual move: in January 2017 he published a YouTube video in which he accused Agamenom Menezes and Neri Prazeres, the former mayor of Novo Progresso, of being land thieves and of threatening to kill him. The two denied his charges and have said they will sue him for defamation. But the attacks on the camp have stopped, for now, probably because of the publicity.“Everyone here is a land thief” Conflicts of the kind described here are common today on the Amazon frontier, where land thieving is the easiest, quickest way to make money. Possibly to play down his own land grabbing activities, Agamenom told us: “We are all land thieves here! There is no citizen who is not a land thief, because we are all illegally occupying federal land.”Cattle rancher Lincoln Queiroz Brasil argues otherwise, noting that he is not a land thief. In the late 1970s and 80s, impoverished families, largely from southern Brazil, arrived in Novo Progresso by way of the just opened BR-163. Many signed contracts with INCRA, the land colonization institute, agreeing to pay for land plots in ten annual instalments.Cattle rancher Lincoln Queiroz Brasil came by his Novo Progresso land honestly due to a land purchase legally made by his father. In the late 1970s and 80s, impoverished families, mostly from southern Brazil, arrived in the Amazon by way of the just opened BR-163. Many signed contracts with INCRA, the land colonization institute, agreeing to pay for land plots in annual instalments. Photo by Thais BorgesThe Queiroz were one of those families, and Lincoln told us that he remembers his scrupulously honest father travelling each year to Itaituba on the Tapajós river, at the time a difficult journey, to make the payment. But many families didn’t bother paying.Despite the exceptions, Agamenon is right to suggest that land thieving is very common.The absence of a strong law enforcement presence in the region has resulted in land thieves taking over huge tracts of public land, some covering tens of thousands of acres. Agamenom himself bragged to us of being the “owner” of 70,000 hectares (173,000 acres) in 2004 — even though it’s illegal to claim such vast areas under the Brazilian Constitution, which sets a maximum size for any public land plot held by a private individual at 2,500 hectares (6,177 acres). Anything larger than that requires congressional authorization.A map of the Novo Progresso area in Pará state, showing indigenous lands, federal conservation units and large swaths of deforestation. Map by Mauricio TorresBeating the ConstitutionLand thieves have found a way round the Brazilian Constitution: they divide the tract they want to “own” into subplots, each about 2,500 hectares in size. Then they get another individual — famously called a laranja (an orange), probably because an orange is made up of a number of segments — to register the subplot in his or her name.Queiroz said that you can easily purchase a so-called “Citizen Kit” in Novo Progresso which provides all the required documents to become a laranja — an identity card, electoral registration, and so on.The person named in the kit puts him or herself forward as the “owner” of the land, should IBAMA ever come round asking questions or seeking a fine for deforestation. This “owner” is always a very poor person, who is pleased to earn a pittance for his or her participation in the scheme. That’s why the kits are very cheap: “If you’re a friend of the supplier, you might even be given it for nothing,” laughed Queiroz.A demonstration organized by land thieves in Novo Progresso to protest measures taken by IBAMA to conserve the rainforest and protect federal public lands. Photo by Jorge TadeuOver the last decade, the perpetrators of land theft have changed. In the past, cattle ranchers were likely to grab land for their ranches. Now the name of the game is forest clearance.Queiroz explained to us how “speculative clearance” works — the name given to the illegal practice by IMAZON, the Institute for Man and the Environment in Amazonia. “A person takes over a forested area [usually on public land] and fells the forest. He doesn’t want to produce anything on this land, but merely to get it ready for selling on,” said Queiroz. “And, just by clearing the land, he increases the value of the land 100 or 200 times.”The buyers of this newly cleared land will usually raise cattle. These purchasers range from large landowners coming from Mato Grosso or Goiás, who are fully aware of the illegality of their purchase, to more naïve small-scale farmers who have sold everything they own elsewhere to buy what they falsely believe to be a properly registered property in the Amazon.In the process, the land speculators make huge profits, with each tract of stolen land bringing in, on average, R$20 million (US$6.4 million), according to calculations by the MPF, the independent Public Federal Ministry.And so it is that land theft, once carried out by cattle ranchers or crop growers, has become divorced from farming. It is now through illegal “speculative clearance” of public lands that the big money is to be made. Thus, deforestation becomes a business in its own right.Queiroz told us that “the largest deforesters in the region do not own a single head of cattle.” His comment is backed up by a recently published study, showing that those clearing forest along the Novo Progresso section of the BR-163 haven’t planted or created anything, except spectacular profits for themselves coming from the huge boom in the value of cleared Amazon real estate.Novo Progresso is a frontier town in northwest Pará state, a region with a long history of violence and lawlessness. Here deforestation due to land theft is rampant. Photo by Jorge TadeuThe Amazon deforestation racket has gained so much momentum, and become so lucrative, that, after engaging in it for over a decade, one famous land speculator, Ezequiel Castanha, brazenly began offering a turnkey operation: he formed a “partnership” with a person who had taken over a large area of forest, providing him with everything he needed to clear the tract — “oranges” with documentation, poor laborers to cut trees and to seed pastures, and much more. At the end, when the land was sold, Castanha took a hefty share of the profits.Eventually, Castanha was arrested in Operation Castanheira (named after him), which was carried out by the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), the Federal Police and IBAMA.Deforestation in the Novo Progresso region is on the rise — as it has been for the last two years throughout the Amazon. And rainforest prospects are not good: at the end of March, the Temer government slashed by over 50 percent the budget of the Ministry of the Environment, which is responsible for both IBAMA and the Chico Mendes Institute of Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), which runs the federal government’s conservation units.That means that the already understaffed forces protecting the Amazon will be even smaller in the coming year. For the rainforest and the landless peasants this is likely bad news. For the land thieves, this is very good news. Article published by Glenn Scherer Agriculture, Amazon Agriculture, Amazon Conservation, Amazon Destruction, Amazon Logging, Amazon People, Cattle, Cattle Pasture, Cattle Ranching, Controversial, Corruption, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Politics, Featured, Forests, Illegal Logging, Industrial Agriculture, Land Conflict, Land Grabbing, Land Rights, Land Use Change, Rainforest Deforestation, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforest Logging, Rainforests, Roads, Saving The Amazon, Social Justice, Threats To The Amazon, Traditional People Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

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Fantastic Beasts star Alison Sudol talks conservation and inspiration

first_imgIn an exclusive interview, the breakout star of the latest Harry Potter movie argues that it’s deeply important for people to connect with nature“Art has a profound ability to connect people to their own hearts, and to each other,” she says, and uses her art to inspire othersShe is herself inspired by how much more there is to know about nature, and were she not performing for large audiences, would perhaps like to study marine mammals Alison Sudol at IUCN’s World Conservation Congress, September 2016. Photo courtesy International Institute for Sustainable DevelopmentMusician and actress Alison Sudol has been connected to nature since she was a very young child growing up in Seattle. Playing under the name A Fine Frenzy in recent years, her songs have featured both subtle and overt environmental themes, so it was entirely natural that she became a Goodwill Ambassador for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2011.Ms. Sudol attended the IUCN’s most recent World Conservation Congress in Hawaii in September 2016. One afternoon when not busy interviewing conservation luminaries for the IUCN’s official Youtube channel, she played a concert in one of the convention center halls for a huge crowd.The breakout star of the most recent Harry Potter film, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” in the role of Queenie Goldstein, she is now at work on a new film, “The Last Full Measure,” alongside Hollywood icons Samuel Jackson and Christopher Plummer. Despite her hectic filming schedule, she recently took time out to share what motivates her passionate activism for the planet.AN INTERVIEW WITH ALISON SUDOLErik Hoffner for Mongabay: Do you find the arts and activism to be good partners?Alison Sudol as Queenie Goldstein in “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”Alison Sudol: Art has a profound ability to connect people to their own hearts, and to each other. A large challenge in activism, one that I’ve personally struggled with, is how to open my heart enough to care what happens to nature, and how to maintain that openness despite the pain that it inevitably brings. The terrible things happening to the natural world on a daily, even hourly, basis can be devastating to the human being that lets themself feel it. It is also difficult to maintain a positive outlook, when the vastness of the destruction is considered. Honestly, it can get pretty depressing! However, I think it is deeply important to feel the connection to nature, to what we are fighting to protect, to the beauty and wonderment, the magic and the fragility, in order to pick ourselves up when we get discouraged. Art is a way of lending a human voice to nature, it can remind us of the great beauty within ourselves that connects all living things.last_img read more

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Skin slime of Indian frog can kill flu virus

first_imgA team of researchers jolted some of the recently discovered Hydrophylax bahuvistara with mild electricity, collected their skin secretions, and then returned them to their natural habitat in India.Then, from the secretions, the team identified and isolated 32 peptides (building blocks of proteins).One of these peptides can attach itself to the surface of some strains of influenza viruses (such as the H1 strains of flu) and destroy them, the researchers observed. Scientists have discovered anti-flu molecules in an Indian frog’s skin secretions.The slimy mucus of the brightly colored wide-spread Fungoid Frog (Hydrophylax bahuvistara) contains molecules that normally protect the frogs against pathogens. These same molecules can also kill some strains of influenza viruses affecting humans, scientists report in a new study published in the journal Immunity.A team of researchers jolted these recently discovered frogs with mild electricity, collected their skin secretions, and then returned them to their natural habitat in India. Then, from the secretions, the team identified and isolated 32 peptides (building blocks of proteins).One of these peptides can attach itself to the surface of some strains of influenza viruses (such as the H1 strains of flu) and destroy them, the researchers observed.  In fact, when the peptide was introduced into unvaccinated mice, delivered through their nose, it managed to protect the animals against a lethal dose of some flu viruses.“The frogs secrete this peptide almost certainly to combat some pathogen in [their] niche,” co-author of the study Joshy Jacob, an associate professor of microbiology and immunology at Emory Vaccine Center and Emory University School of Medicine, told Gizmodo. “The flu virus most likely shares a common motif with whatever the peptide is targeted to.”The researchers have named the peptide urumin, after “urumi”, a sword with a whip-like blade that was once used in southern India.Urumin can be chemically synthesized in the lab, researchers say. But the team is still figuring out the mechanism by which urumin kills flu viruses, and it will likely take a while before the peptide is developed into a powerful anti-viral drug that remains stable in the human body.“Anti-flu peptides could become handy when vaccines are unavailable, in the case of a new pandemic strain, or when circulating strains become resistant to current drugs,” Jacob said in a statement.Mucus produced by the skin of Indian frog Hydrophylax bahuvistara contains a flu virus-fighting peptide. Photo by Sanil George, Jessica Shartouny.Citation:David J. Holthausen et al. An Amphibian Host Defense Peptide Is Virucidal for Human H1 Hemagglutinin-Bearing Influenza Viruses. Immunity, April 2017 DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2017.03.018 Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Amphibians, Animals, Environment, Frogs, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Research, Science, Species Discovery center_img Article published by Shreya Dasguptalast_img read more

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Meet the winners of the 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize

first_imgActivism, Environment, Environmental Activism, Environmental Heroes, Happy-upbeat Environmental, Indigenous Peoples, Protected Areas The Goldman Environmental Prize, dubbed the Green Nobel Prize, honors grassroots environmental heroes from Europe, Asia, North America, Central and South America, Africa, and Islands and Island nations.The winners will be awarded the Prize today at the San Francisco Opera House.The winners include Uros Macerl from Slovenia, Prafulla Samantara from India, mark! Lopez from the United States, Rodrigo Tot from Guatemala, Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo from DRC and Wendy Bowman from Australia. The world’s most prestigious award for grassroots environmental activism has announced its winners for 2017.Every year, the Goldman Environmental Prize, dubbed the Green Nobel Prize, honors grassroots environmental heroes from Europe, Asia, North America, Central and South America, Africa, and Islands and Island nations.This year’s winners include activists who went undercover to expose corruption, indigenous leaders who fought for the rights of their communities and took on big destructive development projects, and activists who strove to achieve safe environments for their communities, often at great personal risk.The winners will be awarded the prize today at the San Francisco Opera House, followed by a ceremony at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. on April 26.Here are the winners of the 2017 Goldman Environmental Prize.Uroš Macerl (Slovenia)Uros Macerl, Slovenia. Photo courtesy of the Goldman Environmental Prize.In 2003, Lafarge Cement, one of the world’s largest cement companies, took over a 130-year-old cement plant in Trbovlje in Slovenia and began burning petcoke, a carbon-rich byproduct of the oil refining process. Worried that the pollution from the cement plant was making water unpotable and soil infertile, Uroš Macerl, an organic farmer and president of a local environmental group, who lived on the outskirts of the Lafarge plant, got together farmers, residents, and local groups in his community to collect air quality data. He found that there had indeed been a sharp rise in pollutants since Lafarge had begun burning petcoke.When Lafarge, in 2009, applied for an environmental permit to co-incinerate hazardous industrial waste with petcoke, Macerl filed and won a lawsuit that canceled the permit. But when the company continued to burn petcoke and waste, Macerl organized protests and rallied community opposition until the plant was ordered to shut down in 2015.Prafulla Samantara (India)Prafulla Samantara, India. Photo courtesy of the Goldman Environmental Prize.In the state of Odisha in India, an 8,000-year-old indigenous tribe, the Dongri Kondh, lives in the Niyamgiri Hills, a forested region rich in biodiversity. The tribe considers the Niyamgiri Hills to be sacred, and see themselves as its protectors. But for many years, the tribe has been at loggerheads with the Odisha State Mining Company (OMC), which in 2004, signed an agreement with UK-based Vedanta Resources to mine bauxite, an aluminum ore, in the hills.Prafulla Samantara, a social justice activist who grew up in a family of farmers, has fought for the rights of the Dongri Kondh for more than 12 years. He rallied the tribe to make their voices heard about the Vedanta mining project proposed on land they had called home for years, and filed a petition with the Supreme Court to halt the mine. In May 2016, the Indian Supreme Court denied a petition from the OMC that sought to overturn the tribal council votes and to mine the bauxite as a sole venture.mark! Lopez (United States)mark! Lopez, United States. Photo courtesy of the Goldman Environmental Prize.In 2000, Georgia-based Exide took over an old battery recycling plant in Los Angeles, and increased the volume of batteries being processed at the plant. Emission levels of pollutants such as lead and arsenic are believed to have skyrocketed as a result. Following an investigation by a federal grand jury about its operations, Exide agreed to shut down the plant but nobody seemed to address the contamination beyond the smelter site.mark! Lopez, born in a family of activists in Los Angeles, went door to door to inform the community about the dangers of lead contamination, and rallied the residents into pressuring the California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) to test homes around the smelter site. When the tests showed that most homes were contaminated and required remediation, Lopez and his team persuaded the state of California to approve $176.6 million for the testing and cleanup of affected homes.Rodrigo Tot (Guatemala)Rodrigo Tot, Guatemala. Photo courtesy of the Goldman Environmental Prize.In 2006, the Guatemalan government issued a permit to restart the Fénix mine, a nickel mine that had once been operational between the 1960s and 80s. The indigenous Q’eqchi people who lived around the mine claimed that the company was forcibly removing them from their land without their consent.To find out if the community had legal claims to the land, Rodrigo Tot, an indigenous leader in Guatemala’s Agua Caliente, spent years gathering evidence of Q’eqchi’s land ownership. Then, based on the evidence he collected, Guatemala’s Constitutional Court, in 2011, ordered the government to issue land titles to the people of Agua Caliente.The battle over land ownership is ongoing,  but Tot and the community continue to fight for land titles of the indigenous peoples.Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo (Democratic Republic of Congo)Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo, Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo courtesy of the Goldman Environmental Prize.In 2010, the Democratic Republic of the Congo allowed SOCO International, a British oil company, to explore for oil in an area that extends into Virunga National Park. Virunga is Africa’s oldest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.When 41-year-old Congolese park ranger Rodrigue Katembo was offered money by SOCO to let their vehicles pass through Virunga National Park to set up an oil exploration base by the river, he decided to look into their dealings. Together with the park director, Emmanuel De Merode, Katembo began to document evidence of corruption by SOCO, its contractors and others. Katembo even used undercover cameras to record footage of SOCO and its contractors offering bribes and discussing illegal activities.His footage were featured in the documentary film Virunga that became hugely popular through Netflix and generated international outrage over SOCO’s conduct in Virunga. The Church of England, in 2016, announced it would divest its $1.8 million holding in the company, and a few months later, SOCO announced it was giving up its oil license. Katembo continues to to protect Virunga and its wildlife from poachers, militia, and extractive industries.Wendy Bowman (Australia)Wendy Bowman, Australia. Photo courtesy of the Goldman Environmental Prize.Nearly two-thirds  of Hunter Valley in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, has been given away in coal concessions, producing 145 million tons of coal every year. As a result of the widespread coal mining, countless landowners have moved. And for those who remain, coal dust has become a part of their lives, affecting their homes, farmlands, water sources and health.But the now 83-year-old Wendy Bowman, one of the last residents left in Camberwell, a small village in Hunter Valley surrounded by coal mines, managed to take on a powerful multinational mining company and stopped it from taking her family farm and protected her community in Hunter Valley from further pollution and environmental degradation. Article published by Shreya Dasguptacenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

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