The international trade in parts and products of wild animals is worth more than $150 billion per year. Yes, billions. International illegal wildlife trade is considered by some experts to be the fourth largest illegal trade in the world (after drugs, weapons, and human trafficking). It involves animals and plants used for collectibles, food, pets, ornaments, curios, leathers, medicines, and cosmetics. It includes tens of millions of wild mammals, reptiles, birds, fish, and other species.
Many important areas would remain un-protected in the Alberta government’s draft Regional Plan, which would establish new Wildland Parks in about 25% of the area. In fact, the government’s proposed parks would cover only a small portion of each species’ vital habitat. Several of the more productive habitats along the upper river valleys and higher tributaries would be excluded from protection.
For more than a decade, scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society have conducted research and worked with partners to protect pronghorn migration to and from Grand Teton National Park along a more than 100-mile long migration corridor known as the Path of the Pronghorn. The animals migrate along this corridor between summer range in and around Grand Teton National Park and winter range in the Upper Green River Valley south of Trapper’s Point in western Wyoming. If this migration corridor is severed, pronghorn will be lost from Grand Teton National Park.
Human society clearly wants raw materials to fuel economies of sufficient size to meet the needs of what will soon be nine billion people. Yet promoting the disturbance and degradation of the few places on the planet that remain intact and most resilient to climate change is, at the very least, short sighted.
By K. Ullas Karanth, Director for Science-Asia at the Wildlife Conservation Society Tigers are the largest of all living wildcats. Over the course of two million years, nature fine-tuned them as master predators through a trial-and-error process we call Darwinian evolution. Hunting alone, a tiger can take down prey four to five times its own…
By John Calvelli [Note: This is the fifth in a series of blogs by Calvelli celebrating the history and conservation of the American Bison.] This Thanksgiving, we celebrate a great milestone for both bison and the modern conservation movement. November 28 marks the 100th anniversary of the transfer and restocking of 14 bison from the…
On October 30, 2013, the U.S. Senate passed, by unanimous consent, a resolution officially designating November 2, 2013, as National Bison Day. The resolution earned the bipartisan support of 25 Senators – representing a quarter of the U.S. Senate. In passing the resolution, Democratic and Republican leaders have teamed up with close to 50 diverse groups in an initiative called the Vote Bison Coalition. The group represents bison producers, Native Americans, conservationists, educational institutions, recreationists, zoological institutions, health organizations, and businesses.
With the support of policy makers, opinion leaders, scientists, business leaders and the public, we can make “the farming we want” a reality in order to grow sufficient, nutritious food for future generations, to bring new prosperity to the countryside, and to make this planet a more diverse – and safer – home for all the species that dwell here.
In a high profile side event to the UN General Assembly next week, UN agencies, NGOs and the private sector will gather at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo to celebrate recent successes in forest protection to combat climate change and call for much greater future investment.
Pollsters say tigers are the most popular animal species on this planet. Unfortunately, they are also among the most threatened. Wildlife biologists like me struggle to monitor the fate of surviving tiger populations.
With the exception of sushi aficionados devouring unagi in rolls of avocado, rice, and a dab of wasabi, American eels do not get a lot of love today. Once a dietary mainstay of native peoples and early colonists, these nutritious animals have been devastated over the centuries by growing fishing pressure and the construction of dams along rivers where they once swam in abundance.
Overfishing of sharks and their close relatives skates and rays across the globe has in recent decades led to sharp declines in shark numbers. Some species have been reduced by more than 80 percent. Much of that reduction is tied to the international trade in shark fins. The fins of as many as 70 million sharks end up in the coveted Asian delicacy shark fin soup each year. At the same time, some of the most heavily fished sharks and closely related skates and rays are prized primarily for their meat.
Hunting regulations can then be formulated and adjusted to reach mutually recognized goals. Communities will need to grapple with how to live with big predators rather than simply whether or not to hunt them. Clear definitions will likely be needed of where large carnivores should never occur in a given landscape, something that has been poorly done if at all previously.
Threats to the Amazon come not only from deforestation, but also from dams, roads, human-induced climate change, gold mining, petroleum extraction, shipping and the unplanned growth of cities, whose expanding populations consume more and more of the Amazon River’s resources.
During the summer, the coastal plain transforms itself from a sub-zero inhospitable place to a vast productive wetland. Millions of migratory birds from all over the world – including waterfowl and shorebirds – return there to breed on the tundra: timing their nesting activities with melting snow and a bountiful flush of insects.