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Biodiversity


A Collection of News by Moos
  • 201609FebTue

    Morbid attraction to leopard urine in Toxoplasma-infected chimpanzees

    | News evolution

    Researchers from the Centre d'Écologie Fonctionnelle et Évolutive (Centre for Functional and Evolutionary Ecology) have shown that chimpanzees infected with toxoplasmosis are attracted by the urine of...
  • 201629JanFri

    Animals with larger brains are the best problem solvers, say researchers

    | News zoos

    Why did some species, such as humans and dolphins, evolve large brains relative to the size of their bodies? Why did others, such as blue whales and hippos, evolve to have brains that, compared to the...
  • 201627JanWed

    Zebra stripes are not for camouflage, new study finds

    | News evolution

    If you’ve always thought of a zebra’s stripes as offering some type of camouflaging protection against predators, it’s time to think again, suggest scientists at the University of Calgary and Universi...
  • 201624JanSun

    Biodiversity proves critical to maintaining healthy ecosystems

    | News biodiversity

    Researchers have found clear evidence that biological communities rich in species are substantially healthier and more productive than those depleted of species. Using new scientific techniques, U.S....
  • 201622JanFri

    Evolutionary clock ticks for snowshoe hares facing climate change

    | News evolution

    Snowshoe hares that camouflage themselves by changing their coats from brown in summer to white in winter face serious threats from climate change, and it’s uncertain whether hare populations will be...
  • 201617JanSun

    Progress needed in combating wildlife and forest crime – but how?

    | News biodiversity

    CITES Standing Committee will review progress made in preparing and implementing National Ivory Action Plans, domestic legislation, and additional measures to protect Asiatic big cats, cheetahs, Afric...
  • 201616JanSat

    Man's best friend is also Bear's best friend

    | News biodiversity

    A recently released study from Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) details a new method using “detection dogs,” genetic analysis, and scientific models to assess habitat suitability for bears in an ar...
  • 201611JanMon

    Banning trophy hunting could do more harm than good

    | News biodiversity

    Trophy hunting shouldn’t be banned but instead it should be better regulated to ensure funds generated from permits are invested back into local conservation efforts, according to a new paper co-autho...
  • 201610JanSun

    Oregon Zoo staff contracted tuberculosis from the Zoo's elephants in 2013

    | News zoos

    Seven employees of the Oregon Zoo in Portland have contracted a latent form of tuberculosis in 2013 from three of the Zoo's elephants. This information was published by the Centers for Disease Control...
  • 201609JanSat

    Tiniest chameleons deliver most powerful tongue-lashings

    | News evolution

    Chameleons are known for sticking their tongues out at the world fast and far, but until a new study by Brown University biologist Christopher Anderson, the true extent of this awesome capability had...
  • 201609JanSat

    Second contagious form of cancer found in Tasmanian devils

    | News biodiversity

    Transmissible cancers – cancers which can spread between individuals by the transfer of living cancer cells – are believed to arise extremely rarely in nature. One of the few known transmissible cance...
  • 201521DecMon

    Extinction of large animals could make climate change worse

    | News biodiversity

    New research reveals that a decline in fruit-eating animals such as large primates, tapirs and toucans could have a knock-on effect for tree species and subsequently for forests' carbon storage capabi...
    

    Archived
    201202MayWed

    Overhunting bush animals threatens food security of Central Africa’s rural communities

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    Wild animals such as bonobos and large antelopes are being unsustainably hunted to meet overwhelming domestic demand for bushmeat. This is having serious impacts on both species diversity and rural forest communities

    who depend on wild sources of meat for up to 80% of the protein in their diets.

    Scientists at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) are encouraging Africa’s city dwellers to stop the consumption of protected species and consume sustainable sources of meat, whether from domestic animals or from resilient species that are hunted in a sustainable way.

    For people in the countryside, bushmeat is a crucial part of their diets, and we cannot simply tell them not to eat it – they will always continue to


    Robert Nasi, Director of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry and co-author of the recent study The role of wildlife for food security in Central Africa: a threat to biodiversity?

    Nonetheless, in cities it is somewhat easier to find other sources of protein than in a village in the middle of the forest, so it is here that we have an opportunity to reduce unnecessary demand by shifting their meat consumption to other sources and thus preserving Africa’s biodiversity.”

    bushmeat gabon  bushmeat suriname

    Though the word “bushmeat” may be synonymous with ecological exploitation and species extinction, in Africa it could mean a potentially sustainable source of food: unlike cattle, which require large tracts of forest to be cleared, small, fast reproducing animals can be harvested without significant impacts on the ecology of the forests. Bushmeat is de facto one of the most readily available sources of nutrition and protein in regions of Africa that are struggling with maintaining a secure food supply.

    For a minority of people living in Africa’s growing number of large cities in Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Cameroon, bushmeat is considered a luxury product, due to the exotic nature of the meat compared to farmed animals. New migrants from the countryside often highly value bushmeat over farmed meat due to its cultural familiarity, having eaten it throughout their childhoods.

    But for the majority of the urban poor however, as Nasi points out in another new paper, Empty forests, empty stomachs? Bushmeat and livelihoods in Congo and Amazon Basins, in cities which are neither isolated rural areas nor major capitals, bushmeat is not a luxury but rather a necessity for urban poor as it is one of the most cheaply acquired sources of protein. Unfortunately, due to population growth, deforestation, civil conflicts, weak governance and inadequate law enforcement, hunting for bushmeat is increasing dramatically and many species of wildlife are struggling to bounce back.

    Researchers know that the volumes of meat caught are high: Nasi et al. estimate bushmeat consumption across the Congo basin and the Amazon is in the range of 6 million tonnes a year. However, estimating the true size of total bushmeat catches is extremely challenging, as the ultimate source of the meat is difficult to determine. It is also difficult to know the true size of what is caught, as the volume of meat that reaches markets will inevitably be smaller than the initial harvest.

    To develop a new set of tools for estimating bushmeat harvests, Nasi and colleagues examined the meat on sale in urban markets in the African city of Kisangani and documented which animals were on sale, which were abundant or threatened species, and the pricing for each type of meat. They found that partially protected species represented 50 per cent of the total bushmeat sold in Kisangani in 2002, but had increased to 66 per cent in 2009. Market data thus can be valuable for policy makers and academics for “raising the alarm” when rapid changes in wild population numbers are documented.

    But understanding the importance of bushmeat to local cultures, both in terms of livelihood as well as nutrition, is essential, said Nathalie Van Vliet, Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Copenhagen.

    Appreciating the kinds of meat that regional people value and why, is crucial for developing effective policies and strategies

    In the case of rural communities, where reliable sources of protein may be hard to come by, simply prescribing an abandonment of bushmeat will not work.

    We should not criminalise the whole system – it’s like with any other essential resources, the trade will just go underground and continue with even less options for control,” Nasi said.

    But what can be done, through policies and careful public education programmes, is to discourage the hunting and consumption of animals that reproduce slowly and do not recover quickly from culls, such as fruit bats. Other species, such as rats, are abundant, and due to high reproduction rates recover quickly from hunting impacts. They are also highly valued by local communities. “In some markets, the most expensive form of meat is in fact rat,” Van Vliet said.

    People do in fact like the taste of the meat, showing that neither rarity nor size is the only indicator of price, and that some species that are resilient to the impacts of hunting are preferred, thus creating options for management.” Despite there being only a few policies that effectively manage the levels of bushmeat hunting sustainably, at the governmental level, there has been come recognition of the need to monitor and regulate the trade in bushmeat.

    Since COP11 in 2000, three central African countries have drafted national bushmeat action plans: Cameroon, Gabon, and both the Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo. But these drafts are still very much incomplete and ineffective. Nasi is working with the Convention on Biological Diversity’s liaison group on bushmeat, which recognizes that existing policies and legal frameworks are unpractical or unfeasible. But in his experience, Nasi and colleagues say that working with governments in Africa has not been sufficient. Conversely, they have found that partnering with logging companies – who themselves can become big drivers of hunting through the creation of roads that penetrate forests, combined with remote camps populated with hungry workers – has often resulted in a high degree of success in achieving sustainable hunting.

    In the future we think developing private-public partnerships to manage hunting of resilient species while protecting vulnerable ones would be an effective element of the solution

     

    The above news item is reprinted from materials available at Center for International Forestry Research via AlertNet. Original text may be edited for content and length.

    (Source: Forests Blog CIFOR, 05.04.2012)

    UN Biodiversity decade

    Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

    Tiger range countries map

     

    "Tiger map" (CC BY 2.5) by Sanderson et al., 2006.

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