The Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service announced last week that it will be banning all imports and exports (with extremely narrow exceptions) of elephant ivory within the US.
Conservationists are optimistic that the movie will help to curb the illegal poaching of elephants in Africa, as the United States is home to the second largest ivory market in the world.
Sales of ivory across state lines will be strictly prohibited unless the ivory in question can be shown to be at least 100 years old. Sales of ivory within states will be prohibited unless the seller can prove that the ivory was legally imported before 1990 (the year after the US signed the UN’s Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora agreement).
However, the move is only as good as its enforcement. If the US isn’t willing to adequately fund the program and aggressively pursue those who violate it the move will have little real impact.
Scientists from the Royal Veterinary College may have just discovered the reasoning behind birds’ V-formations.
The researchers attached mini data-loggers to a group of bald ibises that were being re-taught a long-forgotten migration route as part of a project by the Waldarappteam in Austria to bring the bird back in its native European habitat (they were wiped out by hunting).
The birds were being taught the migration route by following a micro-light that they had been previously trained to follow. The mini-loggers, meanwhile, kept track of the position, speed, direction and each individual wing-flap of every bird.
They discovered that by flying in a V, the birds save energy by taking advantage of upwash, the air that is pushed upwards at the birds’ wingtips. By flying just behind and to the side of the bird in front, an individual can use their upwash to make flight less strenuous.
The team discovered that when flying in a V, the individual birds’ heart-rates are lower than when flying alone. They also discovered that the birds coordinated their wingflaps to,
…to match the good air off the bird in front…Each bird [kept] its wingtip in the upwash throughout the flap cycle,”
according to lead researcher Dr. Steven Portugal. He went on to say,
They’re able to sense what’s going on from the bird in front, where this good air is coming from and how to position themselves perfectly in it.”
In the last of the GoPro HERO3+ Adventure Series, Kerri Wolter and Walter Neser (a South African couple) highlight Africa’s Cape Griffon Vulture, ranging from rescuing injured birds to releasing captive bred vultures.
Kerri Wolter and Walter Neser have put together this video to enlighten us on the beauty of the endangered Cape Griffon Vulture. If you wish to learn more about their efforts in Vulture Conservation, they urge you to visit http://www.vulpro.com
The Cape Griffon vulture, the largest bird of its kind in Africa, is also one of the most endangered. Listed as “vulnerable” to extinction by the World Conservation Union (which is similar to “threatened” on the Endangered Species List) the Cape Griffon vulture has suffered a significant population decline over the past few decades. Among the dangers faced by the Capes, which are confined to a small area of south and southwest Africa, is electrocution on power lines. In addition, changes in the migration patterns of large game herds and an increase in domesticated animals (which are usually buried when they die) have diminished the amount of food available to the birds and led to dietary insufficiencies.” -From PBS (Read More about the Cape Griffon Vulture Here!)
It is important to recognize and build awareness on endangered species before it is too late. Kerri Wolter and Walter Neser are doing more than their part in helping to protect the beautiful Cape Griffon Vulture species.
A permit to hunt an endangered African “Black Rhino” was sold for $350,000 at a closed-door auction in Dallas Saturday (1/11/14). Currently an estimated 4,000 Black Rhinos remain in the wild, down from as many as 70,000 in the 1960s. The permit is for a hunt in the African nation of Namibia where nearly 1,800 of the remaining Black Rhinos are located, according to the Dallas Safari Club.
Officials from the Humane Society and the International Fund for Animal Welfare have said that while culling can be appropriate in abundant animal populations, all black rhinos should be protected, given their endangered status.” -Fox News
Steve Wagner, a spokesman for the Dallas Safari Club, which sponsored the closed-door event Saturday night, confirmed the sale of the permit for a hunt in the African nation of Namibia. He declined to name the buyer.
The Dallas Safari Club, describing themselves as an “organization of hunters, conservationists, and wildlife enthusiasts” had come under heavy criticism for sponsoring the auction, despite their insistence that the auction’s proceeds would go toward conservation efforts.
The Safari Club’s executive director, Ben Carter, has defended the auction, saying all money raised will go toward protecting the species. He also said the rhino that the winner will be allowed to hunt is old, male and nonbreeding — and that the animal was likely to be targeted for removal anyway because it was becoming aggressive and threatening other wildlife.
But despite the stated “cause” the auction still received disapproval from tons of critics, including many wildlife and animal rights groups. It has even gotten so bad that the FBI earlier this week said it was investigating death threats against members of the club.
As far as the legality of the permit sale, it is obviously legal technically or the auction wouldn’t have taken place or would have been shut down. But what do you guys think? Should it be legal if the proceeds go to the conservation of the animal (despite how ironic that may sound)? Or should it be illegal to hunt an endangered species no matter what?
Epic idea. The stills from the buggy cam are at the end of the video.
The wild population of lions has been steadily falling. There are only about 20,000 left today, down from 400,000 in 1960. Some even predict that lions could be extinct in 10 to 15 years without drastic intervention.