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A Collection of News by Moos
  • 201522NovSun

    New method to repair elephant tusks has been developed

    | News zoos

    Besides education, conservation and recreation, scientific research belongs to Birmingham Zoo mission fundaments, as do all self-respecting zoos. Although most research that is funded, supported or dr...
  • 201521NovSat

    Climate change most serious threat to Polar Bear, says new assessment

    | News biodiversity

    A global re-assessment of polar bears highlights loss of sea ice habitat due to climate warming as the single most important threat to the long-term survival of the species, according to the latest up...
  • 201518NovWed

    Greater biodiversity makes ecosystems more resistant to climate change

    | News biodiversity

    Can biodiversity help protect ecosystems in unusual climatic events? Given the continued extinction of species and climate-change associated with increasingly extreme and sudden changes in the weather...
  • 201513NovFri

    Extinction can spread from predator to predator, researchers have found

    | News biodiversity

    The extinction of one carnivore species can trigger the demise of fellow predators, conservation biologists at the University of Exeter have confirmed. A ground-breaking study published online on 12 N...
  • 201507NovSat

    Cougars likely to recolonize middle part of U.S. within the next 25 years

    | News biodiversity

    A ground-breaking new study shows that cougars, also known as mountain lions and pumas, are likely to recolonize portions of habitat in the middle part of the United States within the next 25 years. I...
  • 201531OctSat

    Conservationists warn Africa’s vultures are sliding towards extinction

    | News biodiversity

    Six of Africa’s 11 vulture species – the continent’s largest and most recognisable birds of prey – are now at a higher risk of extinction, according to the latest assessment of birds for the IUCN Red...
  • 201530OctFri

    Evolution can happen much faster than thought, chicken study reveals

    | News evolution

    A new study of chickens overturns the popular assumption that evolution is only visible over long time scales. By studying individual chickens that were part of a long-term pedigree, the scientists le...
  • 201527OctTue

    African lion populations face 50 percent decline in next 20 years

    | News biodiversity

    A new study shows that lion populations in much of Africa are in rapid decline. The study estimates that lion numbers in West and Central Africa are declining sharply and are projected to decline a fu...
  • 201525OctSun

    Climate change could push snow leopards over the edge

    | News biodiversity

    Urgent international action must be taken in the face of climate change to save the snow leopard and conserve its fragile mountain habitats that provide water to hundreds of millions of people across...
  • 201518OctSun

    Secrets of female African lion reproduction revealed

    | News zoos

    For the first time ever, zoos will have access to the most comprehensive information about female African lion reproduction as the result of an eight-year study from the Smithsonian Conservation Biolo...
  • 201511OctSun

    Chernobyl turns out to be safe haven for wildlife, researchers find

    | News biodiversity

    A team of international researchers has discovered abundant populations of wildlife at Chernobyl, the site of the 1986 nuclear accident that released radioactive particles into the environment and for...
  • 201504OctSun

    Bringing Devils back into the Tasmanian wild

    | News zoos

    September 25th marks a defining moment in the fight to save the Tasmanian Devil. 20 healthy devils have now been released back into the wild at Narawntapu National Park (NNP) in Northern Tasmania, vac...


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


    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.


    about zoos and their mission regarding breeding endangered species, nature conservation, biodiversity and education, while at the same time relates to the evolution of species.
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