Posts Tagged ‘extinction’

Nature Ramble

This week…

Polar bears

Polar bears have often been used as the symbol for global warming. Who’s not familiar with this photo of what appears to be a Polar bear clinging to what is purported to be the last ice flow on the planet? If you’re not, then you aren’t spending enough time on the internet. It’s an emotive photo, and it’s design and use is meant to make us feel sorry for the plight of these magnificent animals.

OMG, the last ice flow on the planet!

OMG, the last ice flow on the planet!

But, is this the true story?

Will Polar bears become extinct?

Behind the controversy, what’s the real story about the future of polar bears?

It’s November and that time of year when the sleepy town of Churchill, Manitoba, on the western shore of Hudson Bay in Canada, turns into polar bear central.

Hundreds of polar bears, lean but lethargic – their last full meal eaten in the late spring – pass the hours wandering around aimlessly, mock fighting, or simply lying belly-up catching the dim rays of the Arctic gloaming. They are waiting until the ice freezes over and they can go and hunt seals.

Outnumbering them are the tourists who’ve flown in from around the world to get a unique “up close and personal” view of one of the Arctic’s most iconic species.

And last, but not least, there’s the scientists. While some scientists visit the “Polar Bear Capital of the World” to study the bears, others, such as Polar Bears International’s Steven Amstrup, are there because they also see a unique opportunity to inform people about the plight of polar bears.

Because polar bears, most scientists agree, are in trouble.

Human-caused global warming is causing the Arctic sea, the bears’ habitat and hunting ground, to melt and decline. If the trend of sea ice decline continues as it has done, at the rate of about 13 per cent a decade, then polar bears would suffer a loss of habitat, and consequently food.

“The best estimates we’ve got indicate that we’ll probably lose somewhere around two-thirds of the world’s bears somewhere around mid-century, just based on the simple fact that we’re losing sea ice,” says Andrew Derocher, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Alberta and past chair of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Polar Bear Specialist Group.

The bears simply depend on sea ice to make a living, Derocher says. “No sea ice means no seals. And no seals means no polar bears.”

Skating on thin ice

Despite its size, Ursus maritimus, the largest member of the bear family, is ideally suited to life on ice, its double-layered coat and its furry-undersided paws insulating it from the chilly Arctic temperatures. A polar bear can stand up to 3 metres tall and weigh up to 600 kilograms – hardly the physique of a figure-skater – but it can move with grace and stealth across the ice surface and sneak up on its prey of ringed and bearded seals.

There are 19 subpopulations of polar bears in the world, 13 of which can be found in Canada. Some of these bears live year-round on the ice, but for populations such as the Hudson Bay bears, the ice proves an ephemeral habitat.

In this region, bears spend the winter months on the ice gorging their prey but, when the ice melts each year, they’re forced onshore where they have insufficient food until the sea ice refreezes in the fall. And as the temperatures in the Artic have risen, the sea ice has begun to melt sooner and refreeze later, leaving the polar bears stranded on land for longer lean times.

“When I first started working in Hudson Bay in the early 1980s, the sea ice would have already formed along the shore quite nicely by now,” Derocher says. “There were years when the bears were gone in the first week in November, but this year it is unlikely that we see any significant sea ice for at least a couple of weeks.”

In the last 30 years, bears have increased the amount of time they are on land by almost 30 days – staying another day longer each year – according to Amstrup. That means the bears are coming ashore to face food shortages before they have stored enough fat to last through the season, he says.

“The bears just run out of energy,” Derocher says. The longer summer fasting time impacts bear health and resilience, and influences reproduction rates, he says.

According to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), ice coverage is likely to fall below one million square kilometres by 2050. The current changes, and predictions such as these, led to the listing of polar bears in the US as an endangered species in 2008.

Already the numbers of bears in the western Hudson Bay have declined, Amstrup says. “This population is near the southern extreme of the polar bears’ range and so it is one of the most vulnerable populations,” Amstrup says. “If we don’t get our act together soon we may not be able to save these bears.”

Hope or hoax?

Although most scientists appear to agree with Derocher’s grim outlook for the polar bear, there are a few that question it. One of the most vocal of these is Mitch Taylor who spent more than two decades as a polar bear researcher and manager for the Nunavut government.

“Are we just about to lose our polar bears? No we are not,” Taylor says. “We are seeing 130 years of climate warming that has increased temperature of about 0.75 degrees and that has obviously affected the sea ice, but the polar bears don’t seem to have been affected so far.”

The crux of Taylor’s argument is that the world’s polar bears are thriving, at least in terms of numbers. The current scientific consensus places the worldwide polar bear population between 20,000 and 25,000 animals, more polar bears than existed prior to the 1973 International Agreement worldwide restriction on polar bear hunting.

“This is the time the Inuit call ‘The one with most bears’,” Taylor says.

Source: BBCNews Read more

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Monday Moaning

Why?

Why?

Why?

.

Why do we have to be such bastards?

.

Development could lead to extinction of rare Australian bird

Regent_Honeyeater@bodyThe critically endangered Regent Honeyeater could be at risk of extinction if plans to develop an industrial estate in New South Wales in Australia goes ahead, experts have found.

The bird is endemic to South Eastern Australia and this site contains one of the most important breeding habitats for this extremely rare bird, whose population has declined by more than 80 percent over the last 24 years.

“We are now certain that Regent Honeyeaters rely on this site for food and to breed,” said Samantha Vine, Head of Conservation at BirdLife Australia. “Development of this site will be catastrophic for this imperilled species.”

“In 2007–8 observers recorded 20 nests and around 100 individual birds,” said lead author, Mick Roderick. “With fewer than 400 adult Regent Honeyeaters remaining in the wild, this represents around 25 per cent of this species’ current global population.”

On light of these findings BirdLife Australia has asked the Federal Government  to revoke approval of the site and find an alternative site for the industrial estate.

“The birds’ breeding habitat in the Tomalpin woodlands must be protected to ensure the ongoing survival of the Regent Honeyeater,” Samantha said. “They face increasing pressures from mining developments, climate change and pests, and depend on this area as a refuge”.

Opinion:

When are we going to open our eyes?

Why do the capitalist pigs have to have the final say?

Go and build your indutrial site somewhere else! Just because you own the land financially, doesn’t mean you have to destroy habitats like this.

You don’t have the right!

Source: WildlifeExtra

Nature Ramble

Yet another species nearly extinct.

Man does it again!

Ancient sturgeon in China’s Yangtze ‘nearly extinct’

Chinese scientists released artificially-bred sturgeons into the Yangtze river in April

The Chinese sturgeon, thought to have existed for more than 140 million years, is now on the brink of extinction, according to local media.

Xinhua reported that no wild sturgeon reproduced naturally last year in the Yangtze river.

It was the first time since researchers began recording levels 32 years ago.

Chinese researches say the fall is due to rising levels of pollution in the Yangtze river and the construction of dozens of dams.

Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences also found that no young sturgeons were found swimming along the Yangtze toward the sea during the period they usually do so.

A researcher told Xinhua that in the 1980s, at least several thousand sturgeon could be found in the river. It is estimated only around 100 fish remain.

“Without natural reproduction, the fish population cannot replenish itself. If there are no further steps taken to strengthen conservation, the wild sturgeon faces the danger of extinction,” he said.

Several sturgeon fish are housed in the Beijing aquarium

In recent decades the Chinese authorities have built numerous dams along the 6,300km-long Yangtze river to boost the country’s electricity supply. Such moves have drawn criticism of environmental degradation and displacement of villagers.

The WWF says that one of two species of dolphins native to the Yangtze river, the Baiji dolphin, went extinct in 2006 because of declining fish stocks.

The other species, the finless porpoise, is said to be at risk from illegal and intensive fishing practices and pollution. About 1,200 to 1,800 finless porpoises remain in the entire 1.8 million sq km Yangtze basin.

Source: BBCNews

Monday Moaning

Found this commet:

“The Earth could get along just fine without us.  If anyone can think of an ecosystem function that requires our presence, I would like to hear about it.  Circumstantial and fossil evidence indicates that even when human numbers were small, the fires, animal drives, and plant preferences had harmful effects.  Ecosystem resilience absorbed early human impacts, but now with more than seven billion of us, the impacts are simply overwhelming earth ecosystems. Livestock?  Earth could tolerate a few domestic beasts, but not the billions we have now.”

On this post:

Animals are dying off 1,000 times FASTER now that humans are present

On GarryRogers.com

Man is the enemy of this planet, Mother Nature was doing just fine before we came along and totally upset the delicate balance.

It makes me think how right I was when I made this meme.

The sooner we become extinct, the planet will recover. Our pesence will be for future life forms to discover our stupidy.

And, my guess is, they will make the same mistakes again.

Change the World Wednesday – 20th Aug

watertapWater

Water has often been the subject on CTWW, it is a valuable commodity, one that we need to survive; without water any man, community or country has three days before they are dead. That makes it a tad more than important.

The first world take it for granted, you turn on the tap and cool clear water comes out; right?

Well, I have always subscribed to this theory, and even though I have spent the last 22 years in third world countries that has generally been true in urban areas aslo.

Until now.

MontezumaRunIn the last two months I have suffered two serious bouts of Montezuma’s Revenge.

Not funny. In fact, it’s enought to give you the shits.

Both bouts stretched over eight days, with terrible cramps and diarrhea.

The common denominator, drinking tap water from my kitchen tap. There is obviously a problem with my roof tank that I have to get seen to.

Now I am pretty ‘water conscious’. I conserve water (three-minute showers, etc), I save water (rain), I reuse water (grey water).

I drink sparkling mineral water in place of soft drinks (soda) and commercial fruit juice. I won’t have them in the house because they pure poison and one of the greatest causes of obesity. Here’s a thought, did you know that Zero Coke is more fattening that normal Coke?

20 litre (5 gal) carrafes

20 litre (5 gal) carrafes

To combat this problem, I have had to restort to buying my water.  I hate the thought of buying a comodity that should be free.

I have always been against buying water, unless it is sparkling mineral water.

But recently, with my own experience of swtiching to sparkling mineral water, I have begun to wonder that water may well be a healthier buy than soft drinks full of poison.

I am buying 20 litre carrafes that are returnable, rather than single serve or 1.5 litre bottles. So even with my current dire needs, I am looking out for what is best for the planet.

Hopefully, I can resolve this problem in short time.

This is an abomination!

This is an abomination!

I am, however, totally against water being bottled, trucked, shipped and flown from far flung places around the globe like Fiji Islands to satisfy the need for consumer sales.

“The natural artesian water from FIJI Water comes to you straight from the isolated and idyllic Fiji Islands without ever being touched by man.” – advertising blurb.

This commerce needs to be banned. It is an abomination. Especially when you know that Fijians from Viti Levu (the second largest of the Fiji Is) are denied this water for themselves. The source for this water is guarded by barbed wire and heavy security.

A note for Americans… Obama drinks it. So where is his commitment to water?

Now the good news. Since I have switched from soft drinks to sparkling mineral water, I have dropped 15kgs (30lbs +/-), two jeans sizes and added two new holes to my belt. So if you are serious about losing weight, stop drinking soda and commercial fruit juice!

Click the banner for the full post

This week’s CTWW is a stinker thinker, Population.

This week, let’s open up the discussion on population as it affects the environment. Please leave a comment and/or write a post about your feelings on the topic. You might discuss if, in your opinion, our growing population is a concern. Perhaps talk about such things as the earth’s ability to support growing numbers of people, or if the number of children we have should be regulated (and if so, by whom). While religious considerations are often a factor in a person’s decision to have children, let’s keep this discussion environmental in nature. Let’s take an honest look at the environmental affects of population growth.

 can-of-wormsOh boy, does this open a can of worms.

The world’s escalating population has been among my thoughts for many years.

First of all we have to realise that our dirtball planet does not have infinte resources.

Since the advent of the industrial revolution, we have adopted an attitude of dig & destroy. The more people there are on Earth the more we dig deeper and destroy more.

We have become a consumer society, the more people, the more we consume.

This is a big problem!

More than a year ago I read, link to source is long lost, that the planet has the resources to support a constant population of 500 million people.

But the population is not constant, it is ever increasingly growing, and currently stands a 7 billion.

Earth-iconNow, you do the math. That’s 14 times the population than the planet can support.

We are exhausting planetary resources like never before; and something’s got to give.

And, it won’t be the planet, it’ll be us!

So what’s the problem?

Births – no. Mother Nature designed life that way. She knows what she’s doing.

So don’t talk about controlling the number of births.

The problem is US!

We have medicine.

That’s the problem!

Not enough people are dying.

People are living longer, longer by many years than Mother Nature intended.

Australopithicus

Australopithicus

Let’s go back in history a little… okay, a lot.

Stone Age man, Neanderthals, Australopithicus. They didn’t live much past 20 years. In the ensuing years we have got religion, life became sacred, we learned how to improve our lot and have extended life to 70+ years. That’s 50 more years than we were designed to live. That’s 50 more years of using the planet’s resources. Each person is using 2½ times his allotted resources.

Ancient civilisations knew that populations had to be controlled. Think of the mass sacrifices of peoples like the Maya and Aztecs. Prehistory shows us that people who didn’t contribute to the tribe were eliminated; remote Eskimos still do this, “Oops, he fell in front of a polar bear.” For how much longer? We are running out of polar bears.

In our hankering for longevity/eternal life, we have created a problem. It’s a problem that has no solution. At least not with our current technology.

This planet is too small.

We need to get off it, and go somewhere else. But that’s not feasible. Only a few selected will ever get off this planet, if ever. The problem will still be here.

Can you imagine what the Earth’s population would be if we didn’t have natural disasters, man-made disasters, famines, epidemics and the like?

The numbers become absolutely staggering.

We would have made ourselves extinct years ago. We wouldn’t be here! The planet would have already exhausted itself.

Most of you, especially those who are afflicted by religion, will find some of these ideas unpalatable, but the truth is often a bitter pill; our social conditioning makes it so. We can’t see outside the box of our upbringing. As long as this is the case there is no solution and the problem just gets worse.

Sometime ago I posted a satirically glib comment. “Legalise all drugs and let natural selection take over.” Now that sounds terrible. We are intent on saving people. Maybe we need to think about that some more.

Deforestation on a grand scale for more crops

Deforestation on a grand scale for more crops

Meanwhile, we’ll continue to dig more holes in the planet, to mine more minerals; we’ll keep pumping hot house gases into the atmosphere as we burn fossil fuels; we’ll continue to reduce the forests to create more pasture and farmland for crops; we’ll continue to pollute the waterways, we’ll continue to deplete and damage the oceans; we’ll continue to poison the land with chemicals from agriculture and fracking until there is nothing left.

I hear people shouting “become vegetarian, save the planet!” But the outcome is the same.

Then what?

WE are making US extinct, a long suffering extinction.

How long before we begin to fight our neighbours for, or to protect our food and water?

The social consquences for humanity are dire. We need to think outside the box, to put practicalities first and our fragile sensibilities on the back-burner, however distasteful that may seem.

I am just glad that I won’t be here to see it. In all probability, neither will you. But what legacy are we leaving our children and our children’s children? Will there, in fact, be a legacy?

Pandora's Box

Pandora’s Box

I did say that this was a stinker.

Pandora’s Box has been opened, even though historically it was an urn, and the evils of the world are afoot.

Can we ever put them back?

Meanwhile, I will continue to do my little bit in the ever frustrating hope that the planet can be saved. I’m not doing it for me, my time is nearly over; but I have raised 13 of the next generation, and they have started with seven of the next and one of them is ripe to begin the next.

I shudder to think. Will their choices be even more difficult? While I am talking about letting people die naturally which is repugnant; will they be talking about culling?

The horrors are unimaginable.

Nature Ramble

Another animal in danger.

I have posted about pangolins before, but their plight worsens, and spreads.

The damned Chinese are at it again, this time joined by the Vietnamese. Why can’t the Chinese learn something about medicine? Such quack methods are endangering our ever dwindling species.

Pangolins being eaten to extinction, conservationists warn

Scaly anteaters are now the most illegally-traded mammal in the world, with all eight species listed as threatened

An African white-bellied pangolin – poachers are turning to African pangolins because Asian populations have been denuded. Photograph: IUCN/ZSL

Pangolins are being “eaten to extinction” due to a demand for their meat at banquets in China and Vietnam and their scales for use in Chinese medicine, conservationists have warned.

In an update last week to the authoritative Red List of endangered animals, all eight species of the scaly anteaters were upgraded to threatened status.

Resembling a pine cone on legs, they are the world’s only scaly mammal, using their scales for armour to protect against predators and their long, sticky tongues to catch prey.

According to experts at the Zoological Society of London, the demand for the animals in Asia has been so great that poachers are now turning to Africa, where four of the species are found. Conservationists say there is already evidence of an underground, intercontinental trade in pangolins between Africa and Asia.

More than a million are believed to have been illegally caught in the wild over the last decade globally, giving them the unenviable record of being the most illegally-traded mammal in the world.

Source: TheGuardian Read more

Opinion:

Admittedly the pangolin is not a cuddly furry beast like the panda, therefore the world isn’t really interested.

Pangolins have a right to survive too

Pangolins have a right to survive too

Make you Fink on Friday

deadbutterfly

Reblogged from: Perspectives on life, universe and everything

Funeral of the last butterfly

I was invited
to the funeral
of the last butterfly
All the birds were there
Insects made a wreath
Queen bee sung a melancholy
Grief too great to bear
Colours already left
Now the last butterfly gone
Everyone felt so lonely
Earthlings were alone
Far away in the sky
a thunder cloud
lightning strike,
a Phoenix flew in
Tears in its eyes,
sprayed on butterfly wings
Butterfly come to life
In all our hearts
Light of her soul
removed despair
Humanity wake up
When would you care
Planet is for all
We have to share
Might won’t work
win if we dare
Extinction of plants
Insects, animals all admire
Greenery in gardens
Fields and shire
Everything could go
If we don’t spare
Consume less,
Don’t scare
Nature, heavens
Water, our own air
Wind may blow
So does rain
Last butterfly
may flutter again
I wish, hope and pray

—o0o—

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