Soil research aided by citizen scientists, boots and all

first_imgCitizen Science, Diseases, DNA, Mobile, Research, surveys, Technology, Wildtech, Zoonotic Diseases Researchers in England tested a novel approach to detect pathogens in the environment, combining citizen science and lab analysis.They related the presence of Campylobacter bacteria, consistently detected through boot socks worn by volunteers walking outdoors, to environmental variables and probable sources.Their findings highlight the potential for using field data collected by citizen scientists to assess the presence and transmission of pathogens and other particles in the environment. What lurks in the soil beneath your feet?In the soil beneath us live billions of organisms, ranging in size from one-celled bacteria to gophers. These critters aerate the soil, break down decaying organic matter, enhance soil fertility, and eventually provide food for birds and small mammals. Some of them, including bacteria and viruses, are pathogens, which are organisms that cause disease. Soil bacteria may cause diseases such as tetanus, anthrax, and botulism, as well as gastrointestinal, skin, and respiratory illnesses.Both beneficial and pathogenic bacteria rely on new food sources—such as dung, fertilizers, and other residues—to stay active. In addition to food, soil microbes need water and suitable temperatures to survive. As a result, both their presence and activity level vary from place to place.A British research team combined low-tech and high-tech methods to examine the distribution and pathways used by bacteria in soil. They focused on Campylobacter, a global pathogen and the most common bacterial cause of gastroenteritis in the developed world. This genus of bacteria infects hundreds of thousands of people each year in Europe alone. These bacteria live primarily in the guts of birds and mammals, including livestock, but don’t typically make the animals sick. They are known to infect and sicken people through tainted food (e.g. milk, meat) or water, yet the transmission pathways of up to 50% of human cases are unknown. For example, the bacteria can also reside in soil tainted by animal feces and be transferred from soil to people, but the relative role of such environmental pathways in transmitting diseases is not well known.Eating poultry is the primary way to contract Campylobacteriosis, but transmission can also occur from milk, water, wildlife, livestock, and even puppies. Photo credit: woodley wonderworks, Creative CommonsCitizen scientists on the goIn the UK, incidence of Campylobacter infection is higher in summer, possibly because more people are active outdoors and could transfer bacteria from soil to their shoes, hands, and mouths. To investigate the potential for outdoor activity and presence of livestock to translate into greater soil-mouth contact and potential disease transmission, the researchers combined citizen scientist data collection with laboratory analysis.The researchers wanted a sampling approach that mirrored human travel patterns, which they felt would be more representative than traditional sampling of small, discrete sites of water or soil over a large area. They also wanted one that sampled the whole foot of a person, to reflect typical contact with the soil.The research team recruited a brigade of 60 citizen scientists to wear a fabric boot sock over one shoe and walk in the countryside at sites in two regions of England. The northwestern (NW) region supports large numbers of livestock, while the East Anglia (EA) region is drier and dominated by cropland.In each region, the team selected three highly-traveled routes of up to 4 km, in areas with a median numbers of livestock for that region. Routes avoided newly plowed fields—which caused the socks to come off—as well as poultry farms and other likely bacteria hotspots—to avoid skewed data.Electron microscope image of Campylobacter from the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), U.S. Dept of Agriculture. Image credit: De Wood, Pooley, USDA, ARS, EMU. Creative CommonsVolunteers walked the routes every three weeks throughout the year, more frequently in late spring and early summer, which are the peak season for Campylobacter infections, for a total of 40 walks on each route. They also carried a smartphone to record and submit environmental information (weather, trail conditions, and livestock seen). In addition to training, the research team sent reminders to walk leaders and created a newsletter to help keep participants engaged in the project.The volunteers used gloves to remove the soiled socks and ship them to the scientists in bio-hazard bags to avoid contamination. With three volunteers on each walk, the citizen science team submitted 720 boot socks to the research lab.The researchers then tested each boot sock for the presence of one of several Campylobacter species using higher-tech laboratory methods, including DNA and bacterial culture analysis. The culture process included filtering Campylobacter from other bacteria and incubating any Campylobacter colonies present in a sample.For the DNA process, the team used a Campylobacter-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay to confirm the presence of these bacteria in each sample. PCR is a genetic analysis technique that amplifies a small number of copies of a DNA segment to generate thousands to millions of copies of that particular DNA sequence. Additional analyses helped them assign each sample to the probable infection source: cattle, sheep, pig, wild bird, or chicken.Low-tech collection meets high-tech analysis The citizen scientists successfully completed the walks, submitted their dirty, bacteria-laden boot socks, and recorded the livestock observed, the weather, and the underfoot conditions. They also took photos and discussed any data issues with the researchers.The lab techniques enabled detection of Campylobacter on 156 (56%) of 240 total walks. The bacteria were either present or absent in the boot socks of all three volunteers in over 60% of the walks, suggesting the method is consistent. Altogether, the tests found Campylobacter bacteria on 47% of the 720 boot socks.The PCR technique is more sensitive than the culture analysis and detected the Campylobacter in more cases, including those where the bacteria was present in low numbers, was dead, or was stressed. PCR was needed far more frequently to detect the bacteria in socks in the EA region, suggesting the bacteria there may be weakened or present in low numbers.Wild birds, particularly waterfowl, were a source of environmental Campylobacter in East Anglia, UK. Here is a pair of Northern shovelers minding their own business. Photo credit: Rhett ButlerThe Campylobacter came mostly from wild birds in the crop-dominated EA region and from a mix of sources (mainly sheep, chicken, wild birds) in the NW region, where livestock are more abundant. According to boot sock data, the bacteria were also more prevalent in the NW region.The researchers found that environmental conditions for the seven days before each walk had the strongest association with presence of Campylobacter in the soil. Cooler temperatures and more rainfall were each related to higher likelihood of soil contamination, a result consistent with previous studies of this pathogen. The researchers suggest it is possible that the wet conditions also increased the probability of material sticking to the boot socks.While the study found a peak in Campylobacter-laden boot socks in the winter months, there is no corresponding seasonal peak in infection in humans, likely because people visit the countryside less often in winter.Impala and zebra in a natural savanna environment. As human development expands into natural areas, greater contact between domestic and wild animals may increase the spread of disease. Photo credit: Sue PalminteriUnderstanding pathogen movement The researchers state in their paper that successfully extracting the Campylobacter from a high proportion of boot socks worn by the volunteers “…highlights the potential of spatially distributed, citizen science based, environmental sampling for pathogens or potentially other particles in the environment.”Working with the volunteers required substantial investment, including identifying and training them and providing them with support and feedback.Adult Western Lowland Gorilla in Gabon. These apes are threatened by habitat loss, poaching, and disease. Photo credit: Rhett Butler“However,” say the authors, “…if these are in place then citizen science can be used for successful, independent, long term, and systematic environmental sampling. All walks were successfully completed, every boot sock posted to the laboratory, and all additional observations submitted.”Scientists have not yet identified all the ways pathogens transfer from the environment to humans. Beyond testing the citizen science approach, therefore, the research team also aimed to better understand the pathways taken by Campylobacter in the environment and across human populations, and ultimately to identify interventions that can reduce the risk of disease to humans.The bacteria are also harbored in wild animals, often at low levels, which presents the potential of cross-contamination between domestic and wild species as humans and their animals expand across previously natural landscapes. Tracking the patterns and pathways of pathogens transmitted between humans and wildlife, including apes, could help scientists design interventions to reduce such transmissions to the benefit of both.CitationNatalia R Jones, Caroline Millman, Mike van der Es, Miroslava Hukelova, Ken J Forbes, Catherine Glover, Sam Haldenby, Paul R Hunter, Kathryn Jackson, Sarah J O’Brien, Dan Rigby, Norval J C Strachan, Nicola Williams, Iain R Lake. (2017). A novel sampling method for assessing human-pathogen interactions in the natural environment using boot socks and citizen scientists, with an application to the seasonality of Campylobacter. Applied and Environmental Microbiology; AEM.00162-17 DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00162-17 Article published by Sue Palmintericenter_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

‘Tracking Gobi Grizzlies:’ Book excerpt and Q&A with Douglas Chadwick, wildlife biologist and author

first_imgAnimals, Bears, Climate Change, Conservation, Critically Endangered Species, Endangered Species, Environment, Interviews, Mammals, Mining, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Article published by Mike Gaworecki Gobi bears, or mazaalai in Mongolian, actually belong to the species Ursus arctos, more commonly known as brown bears or grizzly bears, though they’re the only bear of any species known to make their home exclusively in desert habitat.Due to the impacts of climate change in their already punishing environment, it’s believed that there may be just 30 or so Gobi bears left in the world.In this Q&A, Chadwick discusses why now was the right time for Tracking Gobi Grizzlies to be written, the conservation status of Gobi bears, and just how important the endangered bear’s survival is to the overall Gobi Desert ecosystem. The cover of Tracking Gobi Grizzlies. Image courtesy of Douglas Chadwick.When wildlife biologist and author Douglas Chadwick first heard tales of Gobi bears, he was dubious.Stretching across 1,295,000 square kilometers (or about a half million square miles) of southern Mongolia and northern China, the Gobi Desert is a vast, harsh, and unforgiving environment. Could a bear really thrive there? Chadwick wondered. While he had his doubts, he immediately resolved to find out for himself, as he relates below in a Q&A with Mongabay and an excerpt of his latest book, Tracking Gobi Grizzlies: Surviving Beyond the Back of Beyond.Gobi bears, or mazaalai in Mongolian, are actually a subspecies of Ursus arctos, more commonly known as brown bears or grizzly bears. But Ursus arctos gobiensis are the only bear of any species known to make their home exclusively in desert habitat. And due to the impacts of climate change in their already punishing environment, it’s believed that there may be fewer than 40 Gobi bears left in the world.Chadwick, who has been a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine since the late 70s, reports that Gobi bears are distinct from their closest relatives in a number of other ways, as well. Their coats, for instance, “are often more bronze than brown and show blazes of white on the forequarters and neck.” The bears also “tend to be smaller than most North American grizzlies, whose living conditions are plush by comparison.”Tracking Gobi Grizzlies is an adventure memoir in which Chadwick looks at how this extremely rare mammal has adapted to life in the world’s fifth-largest desert, one of the most remote and extreme landscapes on Earth. He also lays out a case for why it’s so critical that Gobi bears receive more conservation attention, because, as an umbrella species, saving the bears would also benefit the entire ecosystem and its inhabitants, from desert roses to Asiatic lynx, ibex, black-tailed gazelles, corsac foxes, snow leopards, and wild double-humped camels.An excerpt of the book is below (click here to jump to it), as is a Q&A with Chadwick, who discusses why now was the right time for Tracking Gobi Grizzlies to be written, the conservation status of Gobi bears, and just how important the endangered bear’s survival is to the overall ecosystem.Mongabay: As a wildlife biologist and author who has studied and written about everything from mountain goats and grizzlies to elephants and whales, how did you first come across the Gobi bear, and what intrigued you about the species?Author, Doug Chadwick. Photo by Joe Riis.Douglas Chadwick: High in the Altai Mountains of northern Mongolia, where the peaks gleamed with glacial ice, I was following snow leopard sign with an interpreter, Nadia Mijiddorj, when she started talking about bears. There were brown bears (Ursus arctos, also commonly called grizzlies) here, but Nadia wanted to tell me about a subspecies that lived at the southern end of the country. Where? In the heart of the Great Gobi Desert, she replied. The wind was blowing hard. Had I misunderstood? I’d spent hundreds of hours in Alaska and the Rockies watching grizzlies, fascinated by their blend of power and intelligence. I knew they were also found in wildlands across Eurasia. But the Gobi? I couldn’t begin to picture grizz in a place that dehydrated. Yet Nadia repeated the English name for the subspecies: Gobi bears. Mongolians knew them as mazaalai. They used to be more widespread in the desert, but their home today was a single rugged reserve. It held around 30 Gobi bears, she said. That was all that were left in the world. And before I’d given the slightest thought to when or how, I’d decided I was going to go find them.Mongabay: Why was now the time to write this book?Chadwick: It was 1943 before an explorer finally confirmed that, yes, instead of the desert Yetis or hairy wild race of forgotten humans that Mongolian legends told of, there were actual bears wandering the Gobi. Somehow, a unique variety of grizzly managed to contend with temperatures of -40 in winter and 120+ (F) in summer and long, parched, mostly barren stretches between the region’s few pools of water. Despite my wildlife background, I had never heard of this extraordinary fellow Earthling, Ursus arctos gobiensis.After I returned to the U.S., nobody I told about Gobi bears was aware of them either. People aren’t going to push hard to save an imperiled life form unless they really care about it, and they can’t care if they don’t know it exists. So the next time I went to Mongolia, I had dual goals. One was to volunteer with the Gobi Bear Project in the field, assisting with research aimed at discovering ways to help the animals regain some of their former range and numbers. My second goal was to start getting information about these dustiest, thirstiest, and rarest of all bears out to the public. Otherwise, the next book about mazaalai might be written as a memorial for a creature that once animated a remote and storied corner of the globe but does so no more.A Gobi bear. Photo by Joe Riis.Mongabay: What bear species are the Gobi bear’s closest relatives? What are some of the most striking adaptations the Gobi bear has had to make in order to live in its desert habitat?Chadwick: Brown/grizzly bears arose in the heart of Asia and then spread westward to Europe and eastward all the way across the Bering Land Bridge to North America. In fact, Gobi bears may be the lineage most directly related to those ancestral bears. The nearest modern relatives of mazaalai appear to be the Himalayan brown bear, Ursus arctos isabellinus; the Tibetan brown bear (often called the blue bear or horse bear), U. a. pruinosus; and the East Siberian brown bear, U. a. collaris. Compared to those neighboring subspecies in more generous habitats, gobiensis tends to be smaller and generally leaner. In lieu of body fat, it grows long, thick, unruly fur to serve as extra insulation. In a stony landscape without deep soil to burrow into for hibernation, mazaalai spend the winter in a mountainside cave or thicket of brush partly exposed to the Gobi’s winds and bitter cold. A distinctive blaze of white fur along the upper shoulder or part of the neck often marks the brown or golden coat, while stubby claws and heavily worn teeth tell of lives spent walking on rock, digging through rock rubble to get at plant roots and burrowing rodents, and taking in grit with many a mouthful of food.The longer I tracked mazaalai movements, the more I came to realize that a good part of what allows these mammals to adapt to such a demanding environment are qualities they share with all grizzlies: an omnivorous diet coupled with a large, nimble brain. They were thinking their way through the Gobi’s uncompromising drylands, remembering routes they followed as cubs at their mother’s heels between far-flung waterholes, gauging and later recalling where the wild rhubarb grows thickest, which hillside is most likely to hold a flush of wild onion and grasses after a rain, when to concentrate on meals of wingless grasshoppers or ground beetles as conditions favor those insects, or perhaps shift to seeking out the carcasses of mammals to scavenge if a prolonged drought suppresses plant growth.I know a lot of folks tend to think of big, fanged, potent animals such as grizzlies being driven mainly by raw instincts. Gobi bears seem to clearly illustrate instead that grizzlies are, like us, both what they are born to be and very much what they learn to be.Mongabay: The Gobi bear is extremely rare, with possibly just a few dozen living in the wild. What are the chief threats to its survival? What are the most important conservation initiatives seeking to protect Gobi bear numbers, and in what direction are the bear’s numbers trending today?Chadwick: The bears’ sole home, Great Gobi Strictly Protected Area-A (GGSPA for short), is immense – 18,000 square miles, with vast gravel plains separating mountain chains carved into mazes of canyons and cliffs. At that scale, it is virtually impossible to be sure every individual has been tallied at the water sources where automatic cameras are set up and fur samples collected for DNA identification. For all we know, some bears may rely on springs or small seeps that have not yet been located.Since 2005, when the Gobi Bear Project team of GGSPA rangers, Mongolian scientists, and American grizzly bear specialist Harry Reynolds began catching an average of two mazaalai every year and fitting them with GPS radio collars, the known population appears to have slightly increased. From somewhere between 22 and 31, it grew to between 27 and as many as 36. That’s a small difference in numbers but a significant rise percentage-wise and cause for optimism.On the other hand, even if the actual total turned out to be twice as large, the proportion of mature, successfully reproducing females among them would still be worrisomely small. The genetic diversity of gobiensis is already among the lowest recorded for a bear subspecies. For now, what counts is that those females are continuing to produce babies, and the young are surviving to adulthood. How does inbreeding in this isolated population compare with other challenges to survival? Polar bears have become a universally recognized symbol of the harmful changes in habitats wrought by global warming; they are starving and even drowning as the ice caps they depend upon vanish. In my mind, an ancient line of grizzlies now facing greater heating and drying of their extreme desert environment makes an equally compelling case.Genetic specialist Odbayar (Odko) Tumendemberel passes blood samples to Harry Reynolds while other members of the Project team collect and record measurements. Photo by Doug Chadwick.Mongabay: Mining is an incredibly important and booming sector of the Mongolian economy, and mining projects typically have pretty severe impacts for ecosystems and wildlife. But is the government’s commitment to protecting the Gobi bear enough, in your opinion, to protect the species?Chadwick: Livestock grazing is allowed within outer portions of GGSPA and too often strips away the sparse desert plant cover, leaving little for native wildlife. It’s a serious problem but a politically sensitive one because herding has been at the center of Mongolian culture for thousands of years. A newer threat comes from mining activities. Month after month, illegal gold-seekers slip far into the reserve, displacing the bears and other wildlife through mining activities and even more by occupying precious sites with water.In addition, mineral companies continually lobby the Mongolian government to allow road-building and large-scale commercial gold mining inside GGSPA. So far, such proposals have been voted down in the country’s parliament, though sometimes by a slim margin. Mongolia remains a predominantly rural country with a growing but still relatively small economy. While the nation deserves credit for remaining committed to protecting its wildlife reserves, it is not always able to provide funding for adequate staff and equipment – or even enough fuel for rangers to properly patrol at times. Another reason to focus more attention on Gobi grizzlies is to increase international support for protecting critically important strongholds like GGSPA.These are the front claws of a Gobi bear that move across that same rock terrain month after month and dig deep into the gravel for roots. Photo by Joe Riis.Mongabay: Contrary to what most people might expect, the Gobi Desert is not an altogether barren wasteland. What are some of the other species the Gobi bear shares its terrain with? How important is the Gobi bear to the overall ecosystem?Chadwick: The most rewarding of the Gobi’s many surprises for me was the array of other large mammals sharing the stark terrain with the bears. The mountains within GGSPA are high enough to catch just a little more moisture than the plains, the deeply etched canyons offer shade for plants, and enough water surfaces at some springs to nourish an oasis-like setting of poplar trees, tamarisk, willows, tall reeds, and fruiting nitrebush. As a result, the area supports an herbivore community that includes a majority of the world’s remaining wild Bactrian, or double-humped, camels (listed as an endangered species); a significant population of Mongolian khulan, or wild asses (dwindling elsewhere in Mongolia and northern China and recently listed as threatened); the wild sheep known as argali; Siberian ibex with great scimitar-length horns; and black-tailed gazelles. They in turn support a carnivore complex of snow leopards, Asiatic lynx, wolves, and two species of foxes.On a long morning stroll before the day heats up, I might come across smaller fauna ranging from hares and hedgehogs to native gerbils and hamsters. It’s hard to say exactly how important mazaalai might be to this ecosystem, given how few remain and how much of their daily life and activities has yet to be observed. Interestingly, it is the wild asses that appear to play more of a keystone role, for they create some open drinking sources by sensing underground water and pawing down with their tough hoofs to expose it. Elsewhere, their pawing serves to widen and deepen existing seeps or small pools that a wild camel could otherwise drink dry in a few heartbeats. We now know that if you want to save the Gobi’s bears and camels, you’d better plan to take good care of the wild asses in the neighborhood at the same time.A heavyset Gobi bear, probably a male, captured by an automatic camera anchored to the wall in the narrowest part of a canyon. Photo by Joe Riis.Mongabay: Do you have any good stories from your field research about the bears that you can share with us?Chadwick: Sorry. This question is too hard to answer. I’ve got memories from five years’ of springtime expeditions in the Gobi competing to get to the front of the line inside my head right now. Here comes the one about Canadian researcher Michael Proctor briefly riding a mazaalai. It had been immobilized and was lying on the ground when he straddled it to secure a radio collar around its neck. All at once, the drugs wore off, and the Gobi bear rodeo was underway, and….Wait. That memory just got pushed aside by the night we ended up lost, choked, and blinded in a dust storm that seemed to send the whole desert airborne. And now I’ve got scorpions and camels spiders scuttling to cut in line. Yeah, and camel ticks, not-so-affectionately known by some of us as dick ticks for reasons nobody wants to hear in detail.Now it’s the rangers coming to the fore, racing full speed across the desert to intercept illegal miners in the dead of night.Here’s the ranger that got wounded by gunfire for his trouble, the sick old Gobi bear that died soon after I watched it trudge away from the far oasis called Barantooroi, the newborn ibex scrambling straight up a canyonside precipice behind their mothers as if immune to gravity, Geerlee Namkhai, the camp cook, pounding dried domestic camel jerky with a tire iron to soften it up for dinner as rations ran low….But how about a round of vodka toasts later on inside that yurt, or ger, built underground for shelter from the Gobi sun and winds? Or just sitting outside on a still desert night beneath more stars than I had ever known could fit into the sky. And waking to a dawn the color of tamarisk blossoms and hiking off into boundless wildness, a place beyond the back of beyond, utterly silent, unpeopled, and yet marked by hoof and paw prints on a webwork of paths that last for decades and speak of life that endures even where rain so seldom falls.The Desert-Dwelling Grizzly Bears of MongoliaBy Douglas ChadwickExcerpted from Tracking Gobi Grizzlies: Surviving Beyond the Back of Beyond © 2017 by Douglas Chadwick. Used with permission of Patagonia.Before I flew to northern India, I’d been doing fieldwork for the snow leopard story in the Altai Mountains of northwestern Mongolia. My wife, Karen Reeves, and I traveled there with Bayarjargal (Bayara) Agvaantseren and her assistant, Tserennadmid (Nadia) Mijiddorj, both with the Snow Leopard Trust. Through an arm of the Trust called Snow Leopard Enterprises (SLE), Bayara oversaw more than two dozen community-based programs built around the production and sale of handcrafted wool goods.In traditional Mongolian culture, fur shorn from a household’s goats, yaks, camels, and other livestock is wetted and tightly compressed to form sheets of felt. Wrapped over a light wooden framework, felt made the roof and rounded walls of the house itself—the ger—before sturdy but lighter modern fabrics became available. Felt is also turned into blankets, sleeping mats, and articles of clothing for the families living inside. A soft-spoken former schoolteacher, Bayara trained the women to make smaller felt items—children’s booties and caps, placemats, trivets, and so on—incorporating more decorative designs than the practical nomadic herders ordinarily bothered with. The Trust then sold these handicrafts as well as skeins of yarn from camel hair or ne goat wool (cashmere) online and through select outlets in the West. Bayara would pay well for the specially made goods. In return, the families that benefited were expected to lead the way in convincing the rest of their community to cease killing snow leopards.While Bayara continued on her rounds, Karen and I would take o into the high country for several days at a time, bringing Nadia with us as a translator. Not long out of high school, Nadia had been entering inventory data on a computer in an office when we met in the capital city, Ulaanbaatar. Soon, we were tracking snow leopards and their prey—ibex and wild boars—on the slopes of Altai Tavan Bogd National Park with Khazakstan on the west, Russia on the north, and massifs like 14,201-foot Kuiten Uul looming overhead. We followed more leopard and ibex signs farther east in the Siachen Mountains. I remember how easily Nadia slipped into the role of a field naturalist and practical campmate as we bivouacked in the snow, and I can recall the highlights of each trek we shared. Yet I have completely forgotten where it was that she told me something that would that open a new phase in my life.I had asked Nadia for more information about Eurasian brown bears, Ursus arctos arctos. They were supposed to be present in the Altai region and other portions of far northern Mongolia. We hadn’t found evidence of them even within protected areas. Although hunting of bears was no longer legal anywhere in the country, it looked as though they were being shot by poachers and herders anyway. That was when Nadia mentioned that there was another kind of bear in Mongolia—one even more scarce. Where? Not in the north, she said, but in the Gobi-Altai, where the southern end of the Altai Range curves eastward and becomes a succession of smaller mountain chains rippling deep into the Great Gobi Desert.“These bears are in the true Gobi—the really dry lands?” I asked.“Yes.”“Brown bears like the brown bears here?”“Yes. But different brown bears. They are called mazaalai. Gobi bears.”I remember that part well enough, because it was first I had ever heard of the animals. Nadia’s English was good but uncertain at times, and I had maybe ten words of Mongolian in my entire vocabulary. I assumed there was a mistake in the translation or else this brown bear actually lived somewhere else but had become associated with the desert in folklore.Ursus arctos is an adaptable omnivore able to live in a variety of habitats by exploiting a wide range of high-energy foods. That makes it a direct competitor of humans. Over the centuries, we eradicated this species from so many favorable environments in temperate regions that we’ve come to envision grizzlies as naturally most at home in cold northern forests, rugged mountains, and tundra—places we haven’t yet overrun. Who thinks of these bears swiping at salmon in streams of the British Isles as late as King Arthur’s time? They did. Who remembers that in the nineteenth century, grizz populations flourished alongside the bison of North America’s Great Plains? Others lingered in the US desert Southwest into the early decades of the twentieth century. I once went to check out rumors of holdouts in northern Mexico’s Sierra del Nido Range with its slopes of oak, manzanita, and agave, where grizzlies were reported as recently as the late 1960s. But the Gobi? From the photos and videos I’d viewed, it was all I could do to imagine lizards squeezing a living from that landscape. Yet Nadia was insistent about mazaalai being at home there.I must have looked exactly like most of the people I’ve since told about Gobi grizzlies: Baffled. And politely trying not to give the impression that I didn’t believe what I was being told. I was making a mental note to look into the fauna of the Gobi at a future date, hoping to clear up our obvious miscommunication, when Nadia went on to say that her father had personally studied these bears for years. He was a wildlife scientist and the head of a special nature reserve within the Gobi.The gears in my brain unfroze and began to spin. Some of the communities Bayara and Nadia worked with through the handicrafts program were in the Gobi-Altai. If snow leopards could make a living in those remote desert mountains, why not a population of some type of Ursus arctos? Gobi bears! What were they like? How did they differ from others? And then the all-important question:“How many are there?”“My father thinks maybe about thirty,” Nadia said. “They are the only ones left.”“In all of Mongolia?”“In the world.”And I instantly yearned to see them. Visiting their haunts in the Gobi outback would surely open up my view of what a grizzly bear is and what it is capable of. Perhaps I’d find a way to help the survivors. I thought about this fairly often after returning to the United States. But when I took off again on natural history reporting assignments, they landed me in other corners of the globe. In between, I was busy with volunteer conservation activities in the Rockies. Many were aimed at recovering the United States’s own grizzly population, still listed as threatened south of Canada. Bit by bit, my intention to explore the Great Gobi Desert in search of improbable-sounding grizzlies, more mysterious than snow leopards and far more rare, was becoming like a New Year’s resolution—readily made but not quite as readily as excuses for putting it off.Douglas Chadwick is the author of fourteen books, including Tracking Gobi Grizzlies: Surviving Beyond the Back of Beyond (Patagonia, 2017). A wildlife biologist who has studied mountain goats and grizzlies in the Rockies, elephants in Africa, and whales in the world’s oceans, he began writing about natural history and conservation for national magazines and has been a frequent contributor to National Geographic since 1977. Chadwick is a board member of Vital Ground (www.vitalground.org), a nonprofit land trust that has helped safeguard more than 600,000 acres of wildlife habitat in Alaska, Canada, and the western US. He is also a director of the Gobi Bear Fund (www.gobibearproject.org) which seeks to restore population of the most endangered of all the yellow bears. Chadwick lives in Whitefish, MT.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.center_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

On World Elephant Day, troubling times for African elephants

first_imgAnti-poaching, Critically Endangered Species, Elephants, Endangered Species, Illegal Trade, Ivory Trade, Law Enforcement, Poaching, Wildlife, Wildlife Trade Small ivory trinkets at the ivory crush had price tags of nearly $10,000 each. Photo by Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS August 12 is World Elephant DayWorld Elephant Day was founded in 2012 by Patricia Sims and the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation. Every year on August 12, the world celebrates elephants, but recent years have not been great for these iconic animals.According to research published last year, the African elephant population dropped by more than 100,000 in just ten years to just over 400,000 today. Poaching for ivory is the top threat to elephants.However there have been important developments of late. Most notably, China — the largest market for ivory — has banned the elephant ivory trade.See our elephant news feed to keep track of the latest developments.This slideshow below comes via Mongabay’s partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Wild View blog. All photos by Julie Larsen Maher. 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 Article published by Erik Hoffner The future of elephants has reached a critical point. Photo by Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS Elephant teeth are made into artwork and trinkets. Photo by Julie Larsen Maher ©WCScenter_img Elephants of all ages are hunted for their tusks. Photo by Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS Elephants are keystone species in their environment. Photo by Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS Nearly two tons of ivory were crushed at Central Park on August 3, 2017, to send a message to poachers. Photo by Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS 1234567 read more

Indigenous group scores legal victory as dam floods their lands

first_imgClimate Change, Climate Change and Dams, Controversial, Dams, Endangered Environmentalists, Energy, Energy Politics, Environment, Environmental Activism, environmental justice, Environmental Politics, Featured, Flooding, Forests, Hydroelectric Power, Hydropower, Indigenous Cultures, Indigenous Groups, Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Rights, Infrastructure, Land Conflict, Land Rights, Land Use Change, Rainforest Destruction, Rainforests, Rivers, Social Justice Article published by Rebecca Kessler A brief legal battle related to the Barro Blanco hydroelectric project in western Panama concluded late last month in a rare triumph for indigenous communities who have opposed the dam’s construction for a decade.The dam’s construction company had accused three Ngäbe-Bugle leaders of instigating project delays and causing financial losses during protests at Barro Blanco’s entrance in July 2015. On September 20, a judge acquitted all three defendants of any wrongdoing.Nevertheless, the dam is now fully operational and its reservoir has flooded the land of three Ngäbe-Bugle communities.Leadership of the Ngäbe-Bugle is deeply divided between members who support the dam and those who oppose it, claiming that they had not been adequately consulted prior to the dam’s approval. A brief legal battle related to the Barro Blanco hydroelectric project in western Panama concluded late last month in a rare triumph for the impacted indigenous communities who have opposed the dam’s construction for a decade.Located along the Tabasará River, Barro Blanco has been the center of an intense human rights and environmental conflict that has generated countless protests by local Ngäbe-Bugle people over the flooding of their lands. The dam has also fueled deep divisions within the ruling body of their “comarca” — a semi-autonomous indigenous region located upstream of the dam.The project, partly funded by two European development banks, has also been condemned by national and international NGOs for failing to solicit the free, prior, and informed consent of the Ngäbe-Bugle people before being built. The conflict has pitted the local communities against the dam’s construction company, Generadora del Istmo S.A. (GENISA), and successive Panamanian governments.The recent legal case was brought before a district court in the province of Chiriquí on August 18. In it, GENISA accused three Ngäbe-Bugle leaders of instigating project delays and causing financial losses during protests at Barro Blanco’s entrance in July 2015. On September 20, a judge acquitted all three defendants, Manolo Miranda, Toribio García, and Clementina Pérez, of any wrongdoing.Manolo Miranda, one of the three Ngäbe-Bugle leaders acquitted on September 20. Photo by Camilo Mejia Giraldo for Mongabay.“This decision was completely in line with justice and the law,” said Miranda, a resident of the community of Kiad, which has had a large portion of its riverside land and crops flooded by the dam’s reservoir.According to Miranda, the company provided no concrete proof during the court proceedings that he or any of the other 60-plus protestors had trespassed on GENISA’s property or impeded the work of their personnel.Miranda and his opposition group, M10 (for “Movimiento 10 de Abril” or “April 10th Movement” in English), have continually called for the cancellation of the dam. This latest legal process was GENISA’s attempt to “criminalize their cause,” he said.“They persecuted our cause judicially, and with the endorsement of the national government,” Miranda said. “This decision reflected the real proof we provided that our land, crops, and homes are being inundated right now, and that our protests [in 2015] were to stop it from happening,” explained Miranda.GENISA did not respond to repeated calls and emails from Mongabay requesting comment for this story.Toribio García (right), at a protest over the Barro Blanco dam in August, 2016. García is one of the three Ngäbe-Bugle leaders a Panamanian judge acquitted of wrongdoing on September 20. Photo by Camilo Mejia Giraldo for Mongabay.Government allows flooding over local oppositionThe same year that Miranda protested at Barro Blanco’s gates, Panama’s National Environmental Authority suspended construction of the dam, citing noncompliance by GENISA with their previous environmental impact assessment standards and a “lack of definition of agreements with communities and those affected.”In August 2016, however, the government reached a widely publicized “definitive” agreement with key Comarca leaders to complete construction of the Barro Blanco dam and flooding of its reservoir. During the signing ceremony, the agreement was firmly rejected by members of the affected communities, who claimed that they had not been adequately consulted. A month later the document was voted down during an extraordinary session of the Ngäbe-Bugle General Congress, the comarca’s key decision-making body.During that same session, the General Congress ousted its head leader, Cacica Silvia Carrera, for having signed the agreement without properly informing the indigenous decision-making body.Panama’s National Authority of Public Services (ASEP) had allowed GENISA to conduct “test flooding” of the Barro Blanco’s reservoir just days after the initial document was signed in August. Despite the General Congress’s rejection of the agreement in September, the flooding was not halted and three nearby Ngäbe communities — Kiad, Nuevo Palomar, and Quebrada Caña — began losing land, homes, and crops to the rising river in the ensuing months.In March of this year, ASEP’s administrator Roberto Meana told Mongabay that Barro Blanco was allowed to continue flooding the reservoir as the indigenous General Congress failed to provide the government with the necessary paperwork outlining its rejection of the agreement.Mongabay recently confirmed with Meana that the 28-megawatt dam has since entered into full commercial operation. This amount of electricity, according to government figures, will be able to power 67,000 homes in the country.The Barro Blanco dam in the Province of Chiriqui, western Panama, as seen in August, 2016. The dam is now operating commercially and has flooded indigenous lands. Photo by Camilo Mejia Giraldo for Mongabay.An agreement disputed, a community dividedMeanwhile, according to local newspaper La Estrella de Panama, the government tried unsuccessfully to pass the failed August agreement through the Ngäbe-Bugle General Congress on two separate occasions — the latest of which was on April 8 this year.Panama’s Deputy Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Feliciano Jiménez, told Mongabay that during the last session the General Congress, which was without the required quorum, decided to ratify the agreement based on an internal rule.This statement, however, has been strongly rejected by Weny Bagama, a Ngäbe-Bugle General Congress delegate and leader of the M10.“Up until this point there has been no accord and no further negotiations with the government,” she told Mongabay. She explained that the government had “split the congress delegates” by negotiating with its former president, Demesio Casés, despite his having been ousted from his position in March this year.“The delegates [of the General Congress] have named a new president, but the government has kept Demesio there because it’s convenient for them,” Bagama said. Furthermore, she added, the government also continued to recognize the ousted Cacica, Silvia Carrera, as the leader for the same reasons even after her removal from office last year.“But the Congress is divided,” she said, referring to the issue of Casés’s position. She added that the General Congress was organizing an extraordinary session to resolve who should fill the disputed post of president.Deputy Minister Jiménez, who is a Ngäbe himself, confirmed that the government was aware of the division and was actively seeking unity on the issue to fully implement the accord.Since the test flooding commenced, the M10 and members of the three affected communities have asked for the dam’s water’s to be lowered to the comarca limits. Jimenez said this request cannot be granted as it would render the dam useless.“The government has responsibly accepted many failures of previous governments. We have to remedy this in another way, not simply by completely cancelling the project, because the state would have to pay millions,” he said.The Tabasará River near Kiad, in August 2016, before the flooding of the Barro Blanco dam reservoir was completed. Photo by Camilo Mejia Giraldo for Mongabay.Legal pressure as flooding continuesAll the bureaucratic back and forth, and the divisions that are becoming increasingly apparent within the comarca’s leadership, has left the three affected communities in a precarious situation.According to Manolo Miranda, the reservoir has made a deep psychological impact on the communities. It has impeded their mobility, flooded their crops, and bred swarms of mosquitos that have transmitted disease among the elderly and young children.Furthermore, the last of the community’s legal avenues within Panama to challenge the existence of the dam was rejected by the country’s supreme court last December. As these decisions cannot be appealed, the communities are now relying solely on international processes. A request for precautionary measures has already been filed by the local NGO Alliance for Conservation and Development (ACD) with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to try to protect the affected communities. The commission may “request that a State adopt” precautionary measures to protect the fundamental rights of individuals, organizations, or communities, and prevent “irreparable harm.”However, the nature of this latest legal process against Manolo Miranda and the two other leaders has raised concerns within ACD, which has supported the communities for years.Susana Serracín, ACD’s president, said that although this latest legal decision sets an important precedent for environmental activists fighting legal battles against development companies, the persecution of activists around the country is a worrisome reality.“As environmentalists, we see this [court] decision as the right and just one, because each day we see a concerning trend of social and environmental activists being persecuted by companies,” she told Mongabay.Serracín explained that this type of “criminalization and persecution” is relatively new because activists are now beginning to have a bigger impact on certain interests, specifically those of “mega projects.”“These are tactics of intimidation, although in other countries there have already been more serious situations,” she said, giving the example of the Honduran activist Berta Cáceres, who was shot dead in 2016 over her opposition to a hydroelectric dam.“We have not reached these extremes here, but there is no state mechanism to defend these activists,” Serracín added.But this bleak national picture painted by Serracín for anyone opposing development plans, from extraction projects to housing developments, is not shared by Deputy Minister Feliciano Jiménez.“False. It’s totally false,” Jiménez said. “As deputy minister, we have been able to approach and work with all the traditional authorities and traditional leaders to address these types of topics.”Whether this latest legal case against him is part of a trend or not, Manolo Miranda says the process has only propelled his community forward.“We are happy that the judge has come to a decision. We are analyzing how to move forward with our fight, because this makes it clear that the truth was never on the company’s side but on our side, and that gives us strength to continue our cause,” he said.A Ngäbe family fishes and collects fruit near the rising Barro Blanco dam reservoir at the community of Quebrada Caña in August, 2016. The roof of a flooded house is just visible as a bright spot across the water. Photo by Camilo Mejia Giraldo for Mongabay.Banner image: Manolo Miranda, an indigenous leader recently acquitted of charges in a suit brought by the Barro Blanco dam’s construction company, at a protest over the dam in August, 2016. Photo by Camilo Mejia Giraldo for Mongabay. FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_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

Was Sierra Leone’s one-month fishing ban enough to replenish fish stocks?

first_imgArticle published by Rebecca Kessler The Sierra Leone government closed the country’s waters to fishing by industrial vessels during the entire month of April to give flagging fish stocks a chance to rebuild. During that period artisanal fishers were allowed to fish.Both industrial and artisanal fishers appeared to support the closure, the first of its kind, amid declining catches and an influx of virtually unregulated foreign fishing vessels.Officials declared the closure a success, as part of Sierra Leone’s broader effort to formalize and gain regulatory control of its fisheries.However, outside experts have expressed doubt that the move would do much to improve the state of the country’s fisheries. FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — The Sierra Leone government closed the country’s waters to fishing during the entire month of April to give flagging fish stocks a chance to rebuild. During that period industrial fishing companies were not allowed to fish, but artisanal fishers were.Both industrial and artisanal fishers appeared to support the closure, the first of its kind, amid declining catches and an influx of virtually unregulated foreign fishing vessels that locals complain are wiping out fish stocks and putting them out of business. Officials declared the closure a success, as part of Sierra Leone’s broader effort to formalize and gain regulatory control of its fisheries. However, outside experts have expressed doubt that the move would do much to improve the country’s fisheries.Fishermen tend their nets in Tombo. Image by Uzman Unis Bah for Mongabay.The fisheries minister, Emma Kowa Jalloh, said at a March 28 press conference that the main reason for the closure was to give the fish an opportunity to breed. She expressed concern over the numerous challenges the country is facing as a result of illegal, unreported and unregulated (often called IUU) fishing.Kowa Jalloh said the government is taking a suite of measures beyond the one-month closure to ensure the country’s enormous fisheries potential is fully harnessed. Among them, she said, will be pushing for co-management of the country’s fisheries by stakeholders from industry, government and civil society; improving the reliability of data to enhance marine resource management; registering artisanal fishing boats; and appointing a national master fisherman to handle the affairs of fisherfolk. She pointed to a newly built fish-landing facility in the town of Tombo as an example of progress.Sierra Leone’s fisheries minister, Emma Kowa Jalloh spot checks a cold-storage facility in the capital Freetown to see that fish is available for the local market. Image by Uzman Unis Bah for Mongabay.“Guinea and Senegal implemented closed seasons, other countries also have closed areas,” the ministry’s director of fisheries, Khadijatu Jalloh, told Mongabay. “Sierra Leone is trying to implement both.”In addition to the closed season Jalloh described the ministry’s restriction of industrial trawlers from working within 6 nautical miles (11 kilometers) of shore and the designation in 2012 of four marine protected areas closed to certain kinds of fishing. Seven years on, however, these protected areas have yet to be implemented. She also pointed to efforts to make artisanal fishing more sustainable by training local fishermen to report crimes to the authorities.Sierra Leone’s director of fisheries, Khadijatu Jalloh, at her office. Image by Uzman Unis Bah for Mongabay.Despite the difficulties, the fishing sector is growing: according to Jalloh, in 2012 a comprehensive canoe registration effort recorded 10,700 canoes; in 2018 the number had grown to 12,000. “Everybody sees fishing as a lucrative business; you go in the morning, by the time you come back in the evening you have something to sell and make money,” Jalloh said.Despite taking a hit to their bottom lines, the country’s industrial fishing sector cheered the recent closure. “The close season affected our business; certain overheads have to be covered by our own reserve,” Bassem Mohamed, president of Sierra Leone’s industrial fishing association and managing director of Freetown-based Sierra Fishing Company, one of the country’s top seafood suppliers, told Mongabay. “But in the end we support the idea because it is a big step the government took to tackle the challenge of fish depletion.”An artisanal fisherman from Tombo, Mohamed Suma, said he and his colleagues were elated about the closure. For the first time, he said, locals felt the government was concerned about them and had taken a step to protect their interests. “The closed season is relevant for the restoration of the fish stock; however, the period is too short,” he told Mongabay.Fishing boats set to go to sea in Tombo. Image by Uzman Unis Bah for Mongabay.According to Suma, things have gotten so bad that fishermen now spend days at sea, only to return with smaller catches than before. He outlined a number of grievances against the industrial fishing vessels: encroachment into the coastal zones meant for exclusive use by artisanal fishers, accidental yet costly destruction of artisanal fishers’ gear, and tragically, collisions at sea that have injured and killed artisanal fishers. He called on the government to take immediate action to protect artisanal fishers’ interests and safety.Officials were likewise positive about the effect of the closure. A public notice from the ministry declaring the end of the closed season states that the navy, Joint Maritime Committee, Maritime Police and Artisanal Fishermen Consortium monitored the waters during the closure, and a specially formed task force monitored the supply chain to ensure no illegally caught fish entered.“I consider the closed season a success; for the first time in the history of Sierra Leone there is a breathing space for fish,” said Salieu Sankoh, director of the World Bank’s West African Regional Fisheries Program (WARFP) in Sierra Leone, which funded two seven-day surveillance boat patrols during the closure. “You will liken it to every day 10 thousand boats are in the sea running after these fish stocks and about 100 industrial fishing boats rove those waters 24 hours, chasing the same fish stocks.”Since 2010 the World Bank has been attempting to assist Sierra Leone and other West African countries improve governance and sustainable management of their fisheries and reduce illegal fishing. This has included helping artisanal fisherman develop local bylaws that restrict fishing using certain kinds of gear and during certain days, according to Sankoh.A key principle of the overall effort has been controlling access to fish stocks, he said. “In Sierra Leone people don’t need to obtain permission to engage in fishing activities, so one can build a canoe in the morning and go fishing the evening,” he said.However, not everyone was so optimistic about the effect of the closure. “A fishery closure is always welcome, but it has to make sure that it is long enough, and that backdoor fishing (illegal fishing) is controlled,” Dyhia Belhabib, a fisheries researcher at the NGO Ecotrust Canada, with expertise in the fisheries of West Africa, including Sierra Leone, told Mongabay in an email. “If we look at the case of Sierra Leone, and how rampant illegal fishing is, there is no way a one-month ban of industrial fishing achieves much.“Even if it did, and even if there was effective control of all fishing (legal and illegal), the moment the fishery opens again, the fishing frenzy by industrial vessels will start again,” Belhabib added.She said about 20 percent of the industrial vessels licensed to fish in Sierra Leone have been involved in criminal activity and nearly 80 percent of fishing companies operating in the country have vessels involved in IUU fishing — and that’s not counting unlicensed vessels. “We are talking about banning high risk vessels from fishing in a country where MCS [monitoring, control and surveillance] is relatively weak,” she said, adding that satellite tracking of automatic identification system signals from fishing vessels indicated there was plenty of fishing taking place in Sierra Leone’s waters during the April closure.An artisanal catch in the town of Tombo. Image by Uzman Unis Bah for Mongabay.“While I think that a fishing ban for industrial vessels is urgent, if this ban is not accompanied with a strong monitoring control and surveillance strategy, it may only increase illegal fishing and mask its effects,” Belhabib said.Weak enforcement of fisheries laws is an acknowledged problem in Sierra Leone. According to a fisheries ministry official who requested anonymity to avoid putting their job at risk, even when illegal fishing vessels are detained, no sooner they are brought to shore than they are released again. “Our efforts seem futile, and there is not much we can do, as the orders from above upturn our good work,” the source told Mongabay. “Mostly, we are caught between the lines; they see us as the bad people,” the source said, referring to upper-level ministry officials.Uzman Unis Bah’s work has been featured in print and online in Pan African Visions Magazine. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from the University of Sierra Leone and a certificate in media campaigns for development and social change from the Radio Netherlands Training Center. In 2018, he represented Sierra Leone at the forum for Internet Freedom Conference in Accra, Ghana.Fishermen arrange their gear in Tombo. Many local artisanal fishermen supported the recent one-month closure of Sierra Leone’s waters to fishing by industrial vessels. Image by Uzman Unis Bah for Mongabay.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the editor of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Crime, Environment, Environmental Crime, Environmental Policy, Fish, Fisheries, Fishing, Food, Governance, Illegal Fishing, Law Enforcement, Marine, Marine Conservation, Oceans, Overfishing, Regulations, Saltwater Fish, Sustainability center_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

Khawaja, Burns hurt struggling Windies

first_img Taylor got his revenge in his next over, the fifth of the morning, with the score on 29 when Warner tried to pull a short one from outside off, but only succeeded in lobbing a catch to cover where Marlon Samuels took the offering on the third attempt. Khawaja, who missed the opening Test through injury, then joined Burns to end any hope West Indies had of taking the advantage. Left-hander Khawaja faced 227 balls and struck six fours and a six while Burns, a right-hander, hit 16 fours and a six in an innings requiring 230 balls. They took the Aussies to lunch at 70 for one, and then controlled the second session to be in sight of triple figures by the time tea arrived at 193 without further loss. Burns, unbeaten on 27 at lunch, was the first to his half-century. He moved into the 30s with two boundaries off debutant fast bowler Carlos Brathwaite in the second over on resumption and was quickly into the 40s a couple of overs later when he steered Taylor the ropes at third man. In Taylor’s next over, Burn collected three runs to cover to complete his fourth half-century in his seventh Test. Khawaja, meanwhile, erred on the side of caution. On 18 at lunch, he was measured after the break and needed a further 43 deliveries before bringing up his half-century with a cut to the backward point boundary off Roach. Khawaja was 84 at tea and Burns, 83, and both batsmen sped to three figures on resumption. Burns cleared the ropes at extra cover with left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican in the first over and followed up with a flowing drive to the cover point boundary. Not to be left out, Khawaja’s retort was two back-to-back boundaries off Taylor in the next over, as he joined his partner in the 90s. Burns reached his second Test hundred in the fifth over after the break with three square on the off-side off Warrican, and Khawaja joined him two balls later when he took a single to square leg. For Khawaja, it was his third hundred in consecutive Tests. Part-time off-spinner Kraigg Brathwaite eventually got the breakthrough when he had Burns stumped in his fifth over at 287 for two and Khawaja added 41 with Smith for the third wicket before he dismissed five overs before the close, brushing a leg-side catch behind off Taylor. AUSTRALIA 1st innings J. Burns st Ramdin b K Brathwaite 128 D. Warner c Samuels b Taylor 23 U. Khawaja c wkp Ramdin b Taylor 144 *S. Smith not out 32 A. Voges not out 10 Extras (lb3, w3, nb2) 8 TOTAL (3 wkts, 90 overs) 345 To bat: M Marsh, +P Nevill, J Pattinson, P Siddle, J Hazlewood, N Lyon Fall of wickets: 1-29 (Warner), 2-287 (Burns, 3-328 (Khawaja) Bowling: Taylor 18-2-83-2, roach 10-1-53-0, Holder 17-6-33-0 (nb2), C Brathwaite 20-1-71-0 (w3), Warrican 16-1-71-0, K Brathwaite 9-1-31-1. Toss: West Indies. Umpires: M Erasmus, C Gaffaney; TV – I Gould. Taylor’s revenge MELBOURNE, Australia (CMC): Hundreds by Usman Khawaja and Jose Burns condemned under-fire West Indies to another torrid day in the field, as Australia dominated the opening day of the Boxing Day Test yesterday. Opting to field first at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in the second Test of the three-match series, West Indies quickly came under the sword as Khawaja stroked 144 and opener Burns, 128, two innings which propelled the hosts to 345 for three. Fast bowler Jerome Taylor was the best of the bowlers with two for 83, but the remainder of the attack struggled to make an impression on an MCG surface good for batting. West Indies made a good start, claiming the dangerous David Warner for a cameo 23 off 12 balls inside the first half hour following a delayed start due to rain, but Khawaja and Burns added 258 for the second wicket – a partnership that killed off the tourists’ chance of making any immediate future inroads. Captain Steve Smith was unbeaten on 32 at the close. Needing a strong start following their disaster of the opening Test in Hobart, West Indies got exactly the opposite with the left-handed Warner collecting boundaries off the first three deliveries of the day’s second over sent down by seamer Kemar Roach. Warner followed up with another two fours off Taylor in the next over as Australia raced to 27 without loss after only three overs. SCOREBOARDlast_img read more

Cartoon: October 6, 2014

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Liberia Courts Israel to Strengthen Security

first_imgWith the looming threat of terrorism in the West Africa region, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is seeking assistance from the Jewish State of Israel to beef up Liberia’s security preparedness, especially at a time when the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), which has provided security for the country for the past 13 years is scaling down its operations by June 30.President Sirleaf said at the Roberts International Airport upon arrival to Liberia after a week-long visit, which ended in Israel, that her trip to that country was to seek help to train Liberian security forces.“Our trip in Israel was simply to see how we can ask that country’s government to further train Liberia’s security apparatuses,” she told Executive Mansion reporters.The recent attacks in neighbouring Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire along with the wave of terror being carried out by Boko Haram in Nigeria are serving as grave threats to West Africa. President Sirleaf said at a meeting with Israeli authorities, it was agreed that these emerging threats must be tackled collectively.Defense Minister, Brownie J. Samukai, Jr. was also part of the delegation that made the trip to that Middle Eastern country.The United Nations Mission in Liberia’s (UNMIL) mandate in Liberia comes to an end June 30, though authorities say that some staff or officers would be stationed on the ground until the 2017 elections. The government insists that it is prepared to take over its securitywhen UNMIL departs, though many continue to doubt this assertion. Prior to visiting Israel, the President paid official visits to the United States as well as Dakar, Senegal, where she attended the ECOWAS Summit of Heads of State and Government. There she was unanimously elected as the new ECOWAS Chair.President Sirleaf noted that as new Chair for the regional body, she intends to work closely with the ECOWAS Peace and Security Council (ECOWAS-PSC). “I will support the leadership of the PSC,” she said. The PSC is chaired and co-chaired by a Beninois and a Gambian respectively.President Sirleaf said she met with the PSC’s new leadership right after her election as Chair of ECOWAS. This meeting, she said, shows how serious the issue of security in the region is, especially at a time when terrorism is menacing the region.“These two men have the agenda that comes from the authority, which is the group of Presidents, which I chair. We approve the agenda in summits that are held like the one in Dakar recently,” she said.“ECOWAS has a Peace and Security Council; and this council has an agenda for security in the region. I’m willing to work with them to achieve the agenda of the commission,” she said.“My role is simply to work with the PSC heads and their staff to carry on that agenda, and as well stay in consultation with my colleagues, take their pieces of advice and counsel and make sure that collectively we carry out what we have set as the goal for the region.”As for the benefits her country would enjoy following her election to ECOWAS chairmanship, President Sirleaf said that there is no particular preference that comes to one’s country for occupying the highest office of the regional body, rather Liberia will benefit as it has been all along during the reigns of past chairmen.She noted that she intends to work with her colleagues to promote the ECOWAS Agenda that will ensure all the countries are able to carry out their development objectives; to have interconnectivities in all the things we want to do – particularly our peace and security as well as infrastructure.“We will work together collectively for our people in all of the 15 countries of ECOWAS” she added.Meanwhile President Sirleaf noted that her delegation also used the Israel visit to see how Liberia could benefit from the extreme technical works that Israel has done in the agricultural sector.“As you may know, we are now focusing on agriculture for our economic diversification and Israel has done tremendously well in this sector. We all are so surprise to know that with the desert land that they have they grow all sorts of things, some of which they are exporting. So we asked the Israeli authorities for people to come and give some technical supports to our farmers,” she said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Chelsea want Dani Alves, Arsenal eye £25m Monaco star, Valdes to join Man City?

first_imgHere are the top transfer-related stories in Thursday’s newspapers…Chelsea are keen on Juventus right-back Dani Alves. The Brazilian has had a fine season with Juve and starred in both legs of their Champions League semi-final win over Monaco. Now Chelsea want to bring in Alves, 34, ahead of their return to Europe’s premier competition. (Sport)Arsene Wenger has identified Monaco’s £25m-rated Thomas Lemar as a top midfield target this summer. The Arsenal boss is a huge admirer of the 21-year-old, and is desperate to strengthen his Gunners in that department during the next transfer window. (Daily Mirror)Manchester City are considering a move for Middlesbrough goalkeeper Victor Valdes. City boss Pep Guardiola is a huge fan of Valdes after enjoying a trophy-laden four-year spell together at Barcelona. (ESPN)West Ham have offered Pablo Zabaleta the chance to make a new start away from Manchester City. The veteran full-back is out of contract this summer and there has been no talk of fresh terms. (The Sun)West Ham will have to buy Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi outright if they want him. The Hammers are among a number of clubs interested in the £33million striker, who is on the way out of Stamford Bridge this summer after one disappointing season. (Daily Mirror)Tottenham Hotspur are not worried about Eric Dier’s head being turned by Manchester United. Jose Mourinho is eyeing up a £40million mega-money move for the 23-year-old England international, but Spurs are not interested in losing their key players. (Daily Mail)Riyad Mahrez is set to kick-start a £100m exodus at Leicester this summer. The Algerian winger wants out of the Foxes with French side Paris St-Germain expected to spark a £35m auction for his services. Kasper Schmeichel, record signing Islam Slimani, flop Ahmed Musa and striker Leonardo Ulloa are all set to move on. (Daily Star)Watford face another battle to hang on to Troy Deeney this summer with the forward tempted to leave Vicarage Road. West Brom are thought to be keen on Deeney, who would be able to return to the Midlands to be closer to his family. (London Evening Standard)Watford want to sign former Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen on loan. The 31-year-old Belgium international is on loan at Roma from Barcelona but has managed only 12 competitive appearances due to injuries and suspensions. (Daily Mirror)And here are the latest talkSPORT.com headlines…?Mikael Silvestre believes Arsene Wenger will still be Arsenal manager next season because he’s ‘stubborn’ and the club is ‘in his blood’ Scott Sinclair has told talkSPORT he joined Celtic last summer in an attempt to rediscover the ‘happiness’ in football, having hit a ‘crossroads’ in his career Southampton assistant manager Eric Black is hoping Virgil van Dijk remains at Southampton this summer, though he accepts the Netherlands defender will have options to leave St Mary’s Manchester United target Dries Mertens is finally set to snub interest from the Premier League by signing a new deal at Napoli Manchester United and Tottenham have both sent officials to Istanbul to open talks about a potential deal for Galatasaray winger Bruma, according to reports in Turkey Ajax have told Liverpool and Manchester City to forget about signing teen star Kasper Dolberg this summerlast_img read more

PAT THE COPE WELCOMES AMENDMENT TO EU FISHERIES POLICY

first_imgToday in Brussels, the Committee on Fisheries in the European Parliament voted by 13 in favour to 10 against to amend the Common Fisheries Policy.Ireland’s member on the Committee, Pat the Cope Gallagher welcomed today’s vote as “a first but significant step taken by the European Parliament to amend the Common Fisheries Policy in its responsibility as a co-legislator with the Council of Ministers.”Mr. Gallagher went on: “I am pleased with the majority of the decisions taken today. In particular, I believe that the Committee has adopted a more realistic approach to the problem of discards by supporting my proposal to introduce new measures to help avoid and to minimise the amount of unwanted catches. “However, I believe that substantial work is still needed on the issue of discards so as to develop a workable solution for all the stakeholders. These matters will be further negotiated in the context of trialogue negotiations with the Council Presidency.“I welcome the decision by the Committee to recommend greater regionalisation and localised decision making especially for technical and conservation measures. The one size fits all policy has failed to support the sustainable management of our fishery resources in the past and a new approach to decision making is long overdue.“I am also pleased by the recommendation of the Committee to provide special support for the small scale sector. It is vitally important that we support small scale, inshore and small island fisheries. I am delighted that my amendment which relates particularly to offshore islands received the backing of the Committee.“Small islands like those off Donegal are characterised by their dependence on small vessels at the mercy of adverse weather conditions on the Atlantic seaboard. It is a unique, dramatic and harsh aspect of our common European heritage which we lose at our peril. “I am also very pleased by the decision of the Committee to support my amendment which recommends the introduction of a standardised control and enforcement regime across the EU. It is very hard to understand why a criminal sanction in one Member State is considered as an administrative sanction in another Member State.“The introduction of a common sanctions and enforcement regime would significantly help to address key issues surrounding illegal fishing.“I am also pleased that the committee has voted overwhelmingly to reject the proposed introduction of transferrable fishing concessions and a mandatory system of fishing concessions.“I am extremely disappointed that my amendment to enshrine the Hague Preferences into the basic regulation was narrowly defeated by two votes. However, I fully intend to re-table this amendment at the plenary session of the European Parliament and I will be seeking the support of all Irish MEPs to lobby their respective European political parties to ensure support.”MEPs on the Committee have recommended the following key changes to the basic regulation of the Common Fisheries Policy: A strong commitment to rebuild and to restore fish stocks by 2020 at the latest by the principle of Maximum Sustainable YieldThe introduction of avoidance and minimisation measures before a landing obligation is in place.The removal of the proposal to introduce transferrable fishing concessions and the proposal to introduce mandatory fishing concessionsGreater regionalisation and localised decision making especially for technical and conservation measures. Special support and recognition for small scale, inshore and island fisheries.The introduction of a standardised control and enforcement regime throughout the EU.The Irish Box which is a Biologically Sensitive Area is extremely important in the management of fish stocks in western waters. The Committee voted to treat it similarly to those sea areas surrounding the Azorses, Madeira and the Canary Islands.The Northern Agreements which manage shared stocks will come within the remit of the Common Fisheries Policy according to the Committee’s recommendation.Next Steps:The Plenary of the European Parliament will debate and vote on the Basic Regulation during the February or March session (TBC) in Strasbourg.Following the approval of the plenary, trialogue negotiations will commence between the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers under the Irish Presidency. Pat the Cope Gallagher MEP will represent the third largest group in the European Parliament, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) during these forthcoming negotiations in 2013.PAT THE COPE WELCOMES AMENDMENT TO EU FISHERIES POLICY was last modified: December 18th, 2012 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:PAT THE COPE WELCOMES AMENDMENT TO EU FISHERIES POLICYlast_img read more