Posts tagged conservation.


tsingy de bemaraha national park, a unesco world heritage site in western madagascar, is home to lemurs who, with thick pads on their hands and feet, navigate this six hundred square kilometer labyrinth of three hundred foot tall razor sharp limestone pillars.

photographer stephen alvarez (previously featured) remarked, “it’s an unbelievable experience to watch them [as] they jump like acrobats from the sharp pinnacles” — a feat made more remarkable given the vast chasm bellow.

in the malagasy language, tsingy means “where one cannot walk barefoot,” and alvarez noted that that given the difficulty of the terrain, it takes an entire day to walk half a mile.

nearly impenetrable, the area is described as a refuge within paradise. lemurs, like ninety percent of the species in madagascar, are endemic to the island, and thanks to the isolation of the refuge have evolved into tsingy’s eleven distinct species, including the decken’s sifaka seen here.


Scientists identify 2,370 ‘irreplaceable’ places
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, a new study calculates the ‘irreplaceability’ of ecosystems and ranks their importance to threatened or endangered species.



native to indonesia and malaysia, orangutans are currently found only in the rainforests of borneo and sumatra. the world wildlife fund lists the borneo orangutan as endangered and her sumatran cousin as severely endangered. the IUCN estimates that in a decade the orangutan will be extinct.

from 1992-2000, the population of the sumatran orangutan declined by more than 50%, with only an estimated 7,000 animals left in the wild, while the bornean orangutan population fell nearly 43% in the past decade, with estimates placing their population between 12,000 and 15,000.

the decline is largely attributed to illegal logging and the conversion of borneo rain forest for oil palm plantations, which has shrunk the orangutan’s habitat by 80% in the last twenty years.

products like shampoo, ice cream, margarine, lipstick, and most processed foods contain palm oil. since more than half the world’s palm oil comes from indonesia - much of it at the expense of orangutan habitat - the cheyenne mountain zoo has created a free app to help you chose orangutan friendly products.

orangutan photos from orangutan diary. borneo habitat destruction photo by ardiles rante.

I’m a day late. So what? Every day is orangutan day.

if you don’t spend at least 330 days of the year thinking of orangutan conservation you’re living your life wrong


Gorillas in the Mist

For information about gorilla conservation see:


Community Conservancy Sends Suspected Poachers to Court

May 3, 2013

Community Elders Take Matter Into Their Own Hands  After the Killing of the Only Black Rhino in Northern Kenya

Isiolo, May 2nd, 2013 – On the 2nd of April 2013, Omni, the only black rhino on Il Ngwesi Group Ranch (and in northern Kenya), was speared to death by poachers. His carcass was found two days later, with a poisoned spear lodged inside his body. His horns were intact.

Translocated from Lewa in 2002, Omni’s presence to the people of Il Ngwesi was very symbolic. It was a first for rhino conservation in Kenya when the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) agreed to return a black rhino back into a newly established community-owned rhino conservation area. Until the 1970s, the area had a very large black rhino population that disappeared after the massive slaughter of the years that followed. Omni’s boma was in a sanctuary situated in an area known as osar lemuny, Maa for wilderness of the black rhinos, a spot that was a favourite of the early rhino population.

Omni’s significance in Il Ngwesi could not be overstated; he was the only black rhino to live on the land since the 1970s, and his presence offered the possibility of reintroducing the species to their previous homeland as well as a way to share with the world at large the community’s interest in using conservation to promote the welfare of their people and open up new commercial and employment opportunities through conservation.

Investigation into the poaching

Devastated by Omni’s death, the Il Ngwesi community with help from other stakeholders (KWS, NRT, Lewa and Borana Conservancy) immediately launched an investigation into the killing. Community elders called for a meeting on the 15th of April, and decided to use modern as well as traditional methods to catch the poachers. The elders gave the culprits 10 days (from the 15th to the 24th of April) to confess or face dire consequences, including curses.

On the 24th, during the second community meeting, two men confessed to killing Omni. Three other men were also identified to have participated in planning the act. The community has since pressed charges. One suspect is still at large, but four of them have been arraigned in court and have all confessed to the crime.  The first hearing was on the 26th of April in Nanyuki law courts. The second hearing will be on the 4th of May (to be confirmed).

The entire investigation has been a community-led initiative, using the arm of the law alongside a traditional cultural approach to expose the culprits within this small society. The entire process has been driven by the community’s deep pride in  Omni, recognising the benefits he attracted through tourism and a desire to see an expanding rhino population thrive on Il Ngwesi.


Il Ngwesi was the first community-led conservation initiatives in northern Kenya, set up with a vision to sustainably manage the environment in order to both graze livestock and conserve wildlife, which it was hoped would in turn, encourage tourists. Visit for more information.


photos from LEWA’s facebook


Pups @ 12 Weeks Old - 4 June 2012 (2) - Explored by *Arctic Fox* on Flickr.

Asian Short Clawed Otter pups at The Scottish Deer Centre.

A.Dewar @

Archaeological News: Study Reveals Looting of Archaeological Sites as Massive Global Problem ›


Infuriating. What can be done? I’m quite curious of the techniques on how to protect newly discovered cultural and historic resources. Key passage: “Looting of archaeological sites is significant not so much for the loss of the artifacts themselves, but for the loss of information about the civilizations or human settlements they represent, as the real value of the looted items actually rests with what they say about the context, or ancient site, in which they were found.”



Based on the results of a recently conducted global survey, pervasive looting at archaeological sites is broad based and frequent. The numbers suggest serious implications for the preservation of the world’s cultural heritage and in understanding or rediscovering human history.  

The survey, conducted by Blythe Bowman Proulx, assistant professor of criminal justice in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University, collected information through a structured questionnaire sent electronically to more than 14,400 field archaeologists throughout the world. The survey was designed to collect information about their personal experiences with looting at archaeological sites, with the objective of developing a picture of the nature, geographic scope, and frequency of looting and site destruction within local and global contexts. Read more.


It’s Official: Vietnam’s Javan Rhino Is Extinct.

Which Species Is Next? Poachers and lack of territory have killed off these amazing rhinos in Vietnam. Can we save the 35 left in Indonesia?

by Rachel Nuwer

On April 29, 2010, the Gia Vien ranger station received a disturbing call. Local people foraging in Vietnam’s Cat Tien National Park had stumbled upon the weathered body of a large beast.

To investigate, the rangers headed into the forest, where they found the skeleton lying on a pile of crumpled bamboo at the bottom of a steep ravine. It’s severed skull rested a few meters away, a jagged hollow carved out where a horn once stood. They had found the remains of Vietnam’s last Javan rhino.

“The Javan rhino is only the tip of the iceberg,” said Sarah Brook, a flagship species officer for Flora and Fauna International Cambodia, and lead author of a recently published Biological Conservation paper describing the rhino’s fate. “Many other species are declining rapidly in Vietnam and remain in only fragments of their former ranges with very small populations,” she said…

(read more: TakePart)                    (photo: Cat Tien National Park/WWF)


A rare dog may finally be having its day: The New Guinea singing dog, an elusive canine related to the Australian dingo, has been possibly spotted in New Guinea. Feared extinct in its highlands habitat, the singing dog—whose name comes from its coyote-like howls—was last photographed in the wild 23 years ago. Photo by Tom Hewitt.

Various circumstances surrounding Hewitt’s experience support a singing dog sighting, some experts say. For one, the dog showed no fear—typical of a shy animal that has lived isolated from humans or predators for centuries, said James McIntyre, a Florida-based independent zoologist.

What’s more, the dog was seen exactly where it’s known to exist—an extremely secluded, high elevation that’s “a four-day walk from nowhere,” noted McIntyre. Read more