Environmental News

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Environmental News

Post by Ms. Piggy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:17 pm

http://current.com/1acv84c

South African wildlife experts are calling for urgent action against poachers after the last female rhinoceros in a popular game reserve near Johannesburg bled to death after having its horn hacked off.

Wildlife officials say poaching for the prized horns has now reached an all-time high. "Last year, 129 rhinos were killed for their horns in South Africa. This year, we have already had 136 deaths," said Japie Mostert, chief game ranger at the 1,500-hectare Krugersdorp game reserve.

The gang used tranquilliser guns and a helicopter to bring down the nine-year-old rhino cow. Her distraught calf was moved to a nearby estate where it was introduced to two other orphaned white rhinos.

Wanda Mkutshulwa, a spokeswoman for South African National Parks, said investigations into the growing number of incidents had been shifted to the country's organised crime unit. "We are dealing with very focused criminals. Police need to help game reserves because they are not at all equipped to handle crime on such an organised level,'' she said.

Rhino horn consists of compressed keratin fibre – similar to hair – and in many Asian cultures it is a fundamental ingredient in traditional medicines.

Mkutshulwa said poaching was also rife in the Kruger Park. Five men were arrested there in the past week alone – four of whom were caught with two bloodied rhino horns, AK-47 assault rifles, bolt-action rifles and an axe.

Krugersdorp game reserve attracts at least 200,000 visitors every year. It is also close to a private airport, which may have been used by the poachers.

"The exercise takes them very little time," Mostert said. "They first fly over the park in the late afternoon to locate where the rhino is grazing. Then they return at night and dart the animal from the air. The tranquilliser takes less than seven minutes to act.

"They saw off the horns with a chainsaw. They do not even need to switch off the rotors of the helicopter. We do not hear anything because our houses are too far away. The animal dies either from an overdose of tranquilliser or bleeds to death."

The committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) warned last year that rhino poaching had reached an all-time high. The Cites conference in Geneva in July 2009 heard that Asia's economic expansion had fuelled the market in rhino horns. The horns are also used in the Middle East to make handles for ornamental daggers. Cites said demand for them had begun to soar in recent years. In the five years up to 2005, an average of only 36 rhinos had been killed each year.

Conservationists estimate that there are only 18,000 black and white rhinos in Africa, down from 65,000 in the 1970s. Mostert, who has been a ranger for 20 years, said the animals fetch up to 1m rand (£85,000) at game auctions and cannot be insured.

Cites has praised South Africa for its action against poachers. Two weeks ago, a Vietnamese man was jailed for 10 years for trying to smuggle horns out of the country.


Last edited by Ms. Piggy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:57 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Environmental News

Post by balloon on Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:21 pm

That's despicable.

Everyone out for themselves.


Last edited by sweabs on Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:08 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Environmental News

Post by Ms. Piggy on Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:10 pm

It's sad. I want to cry and find/kill the poachers that did this to her!
I mean they could've at least killed her before they sawed off her horn! Instead she had to lay there dying, probably in a lot of pain, so these sick fuckers can get some money.
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Re: Environmental News

Post by The Toxic Avenger on Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:00 pm

Yup... sick fucks.
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Re: Environmental News

Post by Ms. Piggy on Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:54 pm

http://current.com/1n1084c

China's largest reported oil spill emptied beaches along the Yellow Sea as its size doubled Wednesday, while cleanup efforts included straw mats and frazzled workers with little more than rubber gloves.

An official warned the spill posed a "severe threat" to sea life and water quality as China's latest environmental crisis spread off the shores of Dalian, once named China's most livable city.

One cleanup worker has drowned, his body coated in crude.

"I've been to a few bays today and discovered they were almost entirely covered with dark oil," said Zhong Yu with environmental group Greenpeace China, who spent the day on a boat inspecting the spill.

"The oil is half-solid and half liquid and is as sticky as asphalt," she told The Associated Press by telephone.

The oil had spread over 165 square miles (430 square kilometers) of water five days since a pipeline at the busy northeastern port exploded, hurting oil shipments from part of China's strategic oil reserves to the rest of the country. Shipments remained reduced Wednesday.

State media has said no more oil is leaking into the sea, but the total amount of oil spilled is not yet clear.

Greenpeace China released photos Wednesday of inky beaches and of straw mats about 2 square meters (21 square feet) in size scattered on the sea, meant to absorb the oil.

Fishing in the waters around Dalian has been banned through the end of August, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.

"The oil spill will pose a severe threat to marine animals, and water quality, and the sea birds," Huang Yong, deputy bureau chief for the city's Maritime Safety Administration, told Dragon TV.

At least one person died during cleanup efforts. A 25-year-old firefighter, Zhang Liang, drowned Tuesday when a wave threw him from a vessel, Xinhua reported.

Officials, oil company workers and volunteers were turning out by the hundreds to clean blackened beaches.

"We don't have proper oil cleanup materials, so our workers are wearing rubber gloves and using chopsticks," an official with the Jinshitan Golden Beach Administration Committee told the Beijing Youth Daily newspaper, in apparent exasperation.

"This kind of inefficiency means the oil will keep coming to shore. ... This stretch of oil is really difficult to clean up in the short term."

But 40 oil-skimming boats and about 800 fishing boats were also deployed to clean up the spill, and Xinhua said more than 15 kilometers (9 miles) of oil barriers had been set up to keep the slick from spreading.

China Central Television earlier reported an estimate of 1,500 tons of oil has spilled. That would amount roughly to 400,000 gallons (1,500,000 liters) — as compared with 94 million to 184 million gallons in the BP oil spill off the U.S. coast.

China's State Oceanic Administration released the latest size of the contaminated area in a statement Tuesday.

The cause of the explosion that started the spill was still not clear. The pipeline is owned by China National Petroleum Corp., Asia's biggest oil and gas producer by volume.

Friday's images of 100-foot-high (30-meter-high) flames at China's second largest port for crude oil imports drew the immediate attention of President Hu Jintao and other top leaders. Now the challenge is cleaning up the greasy plume.

"Our priority is to collect the spilled oil within five days to reduce the possibility of contaminating international waters," Dalian's vice mayor, Dai Yulin, told Xinhua on Tuesday.

But an official with the State Oceanic Administration has warned the spill will be difficult to clean up even in twice that amount of time.

Some locals said the area's economy was already hurting.

"Let's wait and see how well they deal with the oil until Sept. 1, if the oil can't be cleaned up by then, the seafood products will all be ruined," an unnamed fisherman told Dragon TV. "No one will buy them in the market because of the smell of the oil."
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Re: Environmental News

Post by Ms. Piggy on Mon Jul 26, 2010 7:41 pm

http://current.com/1gl484c

(CNN) -- Biologists suspect that unusually cold waters off the coast of Brazil were responsible for the deaths of more than 550 penguins that washed up on shore in the past 10 days.
Since July 11, about 556 dead penguins have appeared on beaches, Thiago do Nascimento, a biologist at the Peruibe Aquarium, told CNN.
At the beach of Praia Grande alone, on the Sao Paulo coast, more than 170 penguins have washed up on shore since Friday, according to the local government.
It is not unusual for penguins to show up on the Brazilian coast during their migration, but most of the time, they are alive, said another biologist, Isabelle Nunes.
Necropsies performed on many of the penguins show that they had no food in their stomachs and probably starved to death, Nascimento said, adding that cold weather probably contributed to their deaths.

Nunes said it is possible that the cold waters, brought on by a regional cold front, made the fish that the penguins eat seek other waters.
More tests are being conducted, Nunes said.
Farther north, on the famous beaches of Rio de Janeiro, penguin appearances and rescues have become common in recent years.
It's normal for Magellan penguins to leave their colonies in the Antarctic in an annual migration in search of fish, following the plankton-rich, frigid water currents traveling north along the coast of South America. What has changed is that they are increasingly unable to return home because they get sick, weak or disoriented for reasons that have yet to be determined.
Climate change, overfishing and pollution of the water all could contribute to the penguins becoming lost.
The Niteroi Zoo, near Rio de Janeiro, first began receiving penguins for rescue in 1999. Since then, they have received an increasing number of the birds, peaking with 1,000 penguins in 2008.
CNN's Rafael Romo contributed to this report.
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