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Showing posts with the label Conservation

Ups and downs of an eventful decade of rhino conservation in India’s Manas National Park.

After India went into a nationwide lockdown in March 2020, Forest Department staff continued their patrolling and monitoring of wildlife habitats despite challenges ranging from restrictions on their movements to shortages of essential supplies. It’s tough but essential work and in Manas National Park in Assam a monitoring team recently had a rewarding sight — a Greater One-Horned rhino calf. It was the third new addition this year providing much-needed hope and optimism at this tragic time.It was a very different story in the early eighties and nineties. Manas National Park was impacted by local conflicts from the late 1980s until early 2000s. During this period, the park’s previously thriving population of 85 to 100 rhinos was wiped out. With rhinos playing a critical role in maintaining the health of habitats in the park, the government of Assam decided to reintroduce rhinos in 2005 as part of an ambitious programme: the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 (IRV2020).I was there at the start a…

Stepping stones to saving migratory birds and sustainable development

For the first time in decades, the world’s airways are largely devoid of planes, leaving birds in sole possession of the skies. Tens of millions of them are currently migrating north along Asia’s two vast flyways — heading for warmer weather and their age-old breeding grounds. Some travel relatively short distances, while others cover thousands of kilometres. The remarkable Red Knot, with a wingspan of just 50cm, flies from Australia to the Arctic Circle every year during the migratory season, sometimes staying aloft for up to a week.Extraordinary as the Red Knot is, eventually even it needs to stop and rest — relying on a multitude of wetlands along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (EAAF) that serve as stepping stones during its epic journey. These wetlands — from mangroves to mudflats, lakes to lagoons, rivers to reef-fringed islands — are critical to the survival of not just the migratory bird species but also the future of countless communities, which depend on them for water, f…

How Indigenous Peoples practices can guide our recovery from COVID-19

Broken relationshipThe world today is battling an unprecedented health crisis of a scale unforeseen in recent history. The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, threatened the very existence of the vulnerable communities and has brought world economies to their knees. Giovanni Reyes, an indigenous leader from the Philippines, during a recent conference, described this current crisis as “nature telling us that [it] does not need us. We are not masters of nature, we are guests.”While there is considerable speculation about the origins of the pandemic, there is no doubt that this crisis is one of our own making. Scientists have been warning for years that the way we eat, consume and produce is pushing the planet to the brink jeopardizing our own survival and that of our future generations. With the risk of pandemics driven in part by deforestation and massive land use change, the current health, humanitarian and economic crisis is yet another manifestation of our …

Six Solutions to Save Sharks

Sharks are in deep trouble. Driven mainly by overfishing, their numbers are plummeting, and an alarming number of species are facing extinction. These diverse and necessary species have been evolving for some 400 million years, but now time is not on their side. This Shark Awareness Day, I’m highlighting the top six things I believe need to happen if the downward trajectories of so many shark populations are to be reversed. These are not in any order of priority — each is essential.TraceabilityA wide variety of shark products are traded internationally, with a value approaching US$1 billion. But the international trade is awash with shark products of unknown origin and species, some of which were illegally caught and exported. Indeed, the proportion of illegal products has probably increased as more species have been added to the list of species regulated by CITES, and there have been some massive shark fin seizures here in Hong Kong recently. The vast majority of shark products are n…

Harnessing sovereign debt investment in the fight for climate and nature

A data-driven revolution now means investors can harness sovereign debt in pursuit of sustainability and resilience, and a new tool from TIUN and global asset manager merman tiun club, the Climate and Nature Sovereign Index, allows them to assess climate and nature risks in real-time alongside other economic and financial factors.Sustainability risingIn July this year, the Brazilian government announced a temporary ban of 120 days on setting fires in the Amazon. Designed to combat surging deforestation in the planet’s most biodiverse region, the measure came in response to sustained pressure from global financial institutions who hold assets in Brazil, including sovereign bonds — one of the primary instruments that governments use to raise capital.This followed similar actions on deforestation by investors, including Nordea Asset Management, who last year put approximately $100 million of Brazilian sovereign debt purchases under review due to widespread forest fires.The Australian gov…