BuzzFeed has put together a great interactive story on 16 species desperately in need of our help.
by Julian Moll-Rocek
At first the forest seems still, with only the sounds of busy insects and slight movement of wind betraying activity in the patchy undergrowth. Then, curiously, a Malay civet (Viverra tangalunga), an animal resembling half cat and half weasel, scampers out to claim its prize: a stick smeared with margarine and honey. CLICK! Sensing the animal’s body heat, a camera trap strapped to a nearby tree captures an image of this creature’s inquisitive behavior.
After more than four and a half years of camera trap footage, the results are encouraging: 36 mammal species, of which more than half are legally protected, are prospering in this most surprising of spots: an oil palm plantation in the province of East Kalimantan in Indonesian Borneo.
(read more: Mongabay)
(photo: PT REA Kaltim Conservation Project)
by Daniel Stiles
In what appears to be corruption in high places, the international body charged with protecting endangered species has turned a blind eye to massive illegal trade of endangered Great Apes. This was my distinct impression on reading the Great Apes report prepared by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Secretariat for the 65th CITES Standing Committee meeting, which will take place in Geneva in early July this year.
CITES is charged with regulating trade of live wild animals and plants, or their derivative products, in order to protect them from overexploitation. Too much trade could threaten certain species with extinction, which occurred recently with the West African black rhino, shot into oblivion for illegal trade in its horn.
If CITES were to take any action on the illegal trafficking of great apes, it would start here in this meeting. Yet, the Secretariat’s report said this: “The Secretariat participated in a panel discussion on illegal trade in great apes at the [Jackson Hole] summit, and highlighted the fact that although there is some illegal trade in great apes, data from official sources suggest that the illegal international trade in great ape specimens is currently limited.” Further in the report the Secretariat stated that “…there is very little illegal international trade in great ape specimens”.
The key words in this statement are “data from official sources,” which apparently consist of its own Trade Database and reports compiled by INTERPOL and the World Customs Union. “Official sources” seemingly do not include its sister organization within the UN Environment Programme, Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP), which is charged with great ape conservation. At the last CITES Conference of the Parties, held in Bangkok in March 2013, GRASP released a report entitled Stolen Apes. This report found that between 2005 and 2011, approximately 22,200 great apes were lost in trafficking related incidents. The report estimates that every year approximately 5% of the total great ape population on Earth is lost due to trafficking. Is that really “limited” and “very little”?
The situation has not improved since then. In June this year GRASP released a press statement asserting that “The illegal trade in live chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos and orangutans showed no signs of diminishing – and may actually be getting worse.”
(read more: Mongabay)
(photo: Karl Ammann)
***I hope that this situation gets more attention!