Posts Tagged ‘fishing’

Nature Ramble

Off into a far off country.

Madagascar…

No NOT the movie!

…and the world’s rarest bird.

Madagascar pochard, world’s rarest bird, needs new home

Madagascar pochard - I changed the image from the BBC video capture.

Madagascar pochard – I changed the image from the BBC video capture.

The Madagascar pochard, the world’s rarest bird, will not be able to thrive without a new wetland home.

This is according to a study revealing that 96% of the chicks are dying at two to three weeks old.

Conservationists say that human activity has driven the birds to one remaining wetland, but that that site has insufficient food for the ducks.

The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), which led the research, estimates that only 25 individual birds now remain in the wild.

Human activity, including deforestation, farming and fishing, has destroyed their habitat to the point that this last population is now restricted to one wetland in north-east Madagascar – a complex of lakes near Bemanevika.

After the rediscovery of the species at this site in 2006, the WWT and its partners, including the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Peregrine Fund, set up a conservation breeding programme and began to monitor the wild birds.

Dr Geoff Hilton, head of species research at the WWT, said that with such a small number of birds, keeping a close eye on the population was straightforward.

“We had about 10 or 11 females, [and] we were able to tell that most of those females were laying eggs, and those eggs were hatching,” he told BBC News.

But at the point when the ducklings were two to three weeks old, they would start disappearing.

Too deep to dive

Piecing the evidence together, including samples of food from the bottom of the lake, the researchers realised that the chicks were starving to death.

These diving ducks feed from the bottom of lakes, and this steep crater lake was simply too deep for them.

WWT senior research officer Dr Andrew Bamford, who led the study, said: “The last refuge of the Madagascar pochard is one of the last unspoilt wetlands in the country, but it’s simply not suited to its needs.

“Something similar happened in the UK when the lowland red kite became confined to upland Wales, and in Hawaii, where the last nenes survived only on the upper slopes of volcanoes because introduced predators had occupied their favoured grassland habitats.”

Dr Hilton added: “What we think we’re seeing is a bit of a classic wildlife conservation conundrum.

“The place where the species hangs on at the end is not a particularly good place for them – it’s just the place that’s been least badly affected by human activities.”

But the researchers say the species could thrive in Madagascar again if the captive-bred ducks can be found a new wetland home.

“We have been very successful in establishing a captive population,” said Dr Hilton.

“And we have recently identified a lake that we think has potential to be restored and become a reintroduction site.

“The main thing we have to do is work with the local people to reintroduce and restore the pochard, but also to restore the lake and help people to get a better livelihood from the lake they live around.”

Source: BBCNews see more photos and the links

Ramifications

Global decline of wildlife linked to child slavery

Children enslaved as fishing labour in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana

New research suggests the global decline in wildlife is connected to an increase in human trafficking and child slavery.

Ecologists say the shortage of wild animals means that in many countries more labour is now needed to find food.

Children are often used to fill this need for cheap workers, especially in the fishing industry.

The decline in species is also helping the proliferation of terrorism and the destabilisation of regions.

According to a study in the journal, Science, the harvesting of wild animals from the sea and the land is worth $400bn annually and supports the livelihoods of 15% of the world’s population.

But the authors argue that the rapid depletion of species has increased the need for slave labour. Declining fisheries around the world mean boats often have to travel further in harsher conditions to find their catch.

In Asia, men from Burma, Cambodia and Thailand are increasingly sold to fishing boats where they remain at sea for many years, without pay and forced to work 18-20 hour days.

“There’s a direct link between the scarcity of wildlife, the labour demands of harvests and this dramatic increase in child slavery,” said Prof Justin Brashares from the University of California, Berkeley, who led the study.

“Many communities that rely on these wildlife resources don’t have the economic capacity to hire more labourers, so instead they look for cheap labour, and in many areas this has led to the outright purchasing of children as slaves.”

This exploitation also happens in Africa, where people who once found their food in the neighbouring forests now travel for days to find prey.

Fishers to pirates

Children are often used by hunters to extract wildlife from areas that would be too costly to harvest.

The researchers contrast the outcomes of the collapse of fisheries of the north east coast of the US and in the waters off Somalia.

The decline of fish stocks is increasing the need for slave labour to work on the boats

Source: BBCNews Read more

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