For archives, these articles are being stored on TheWE.cc website.
The purpose is to advance understandings of environmental, political,
human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues.

 
Gorillas, orangutans, and corals are among the plants and animals which are sliding closer to extinction.

The Red List of Threatened Species for 2007 names habitat loss, hunting and climate change among the causes.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has identified more than 16,000 species threatened with extinction, while prospects have brightened for only one.

Photo: M Watson and A. Shah 2007 IUCN Red List/BBC
The 2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species shows there has been little success in stemming the slide of Earth's biodiversity.
Gorillas, orangutans, and corals are among many plants and animals sliding closer to extinction.
 


Humankind’s Closest Living Relatives on Brink of Extinction
From UNEP
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
PARIS/NAIROBI, 26 November, 2003 — Twenty-five million dollars is urgently needed to lift the threat of imminent extinction from humankind’s closest living relatives, delegates to an international crisis meeting on the great apes were told today at UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
Such a sum, says the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is essential for reducing the risk of extinction of the world’s remaining gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orang-utans, and for establishing areas where ape populations could stabilise or even increase.
“$25 million is the bare minimum we need, the equivalent of providing a dying man with bread and water”, said Klaus Toepfer, UNEP Executive Director.  
“The clock is standing at one minute to midnight for the great apes, animals that share more than 96 percent of their DNA with humans.   If we lose any great ape species we will be destroying a bridge to our own origins, and with it part of our own humanity”, he said.
“Great apes form a unique bridge to the natural world”, said Koïchiro Matsuura, UNESCO Director-General.
“The forests they inhabit are a vital resource for humans everywhere, and for local people, in particular, a key source of food, water, medicine as well as a place of spiritual, cultural and economic value.
Saving the great apes and the ecosystems they inhabit is not just a conservation issue but a key action in the fight against poverty.”
Every one of the great ape species is at high risk of extinction, either in the immediate future or at best within 50 years.
“Research indicates that the western chimpanzee has already disappeared from three countries — Benin, the Gambia and Togo”, said Samy Mankoto, a UNESCO expert on biosphere reserves in Africa, which are home to several great ape populations.
UNEP and UNESCO, co-ordinators of the Great Apes Survival Project (GRASP), fear that if urgent action is not taken the next wave of country-level extinction could take place in Senegal, where a mere 200 to 400 wild chimpanzees remain.
Other countries where the fate of the western chimpanzee hangs in the balance include Ghana, which has just 300 to 500 left, and Guinea-Bissau where the population is down to less than 200 individual animals.
The plight of the western chimpanzee is just one of the great ape species on the agenda of the unprecedented gathering of experts and government representatives in Paris this week.
Under the auspices of UNEP and UNESCO, representatives from the 23 great ape home “range States” in Africa and South-East Asia as well as donor Governments, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other GRASP partners are meeting to draw up nothing less than a survival plan for the great apes.
GRASP has four patrons — namely, Jane Goodall, the celebrated primate conservationist, Russ Mittermeier, head of Conservation International, Toshisada Nishida of Kyoto University, one of the world’s most famous and longest-serving primatologists, and Richard Leakey, world famous conservationist and palaeoanthropologist.
“I doubt if there is any challenge of greater importance than that presented by the current status of the great apes”, said Richard Leakey.   “Conservationists and Governments must come together to put the necessary measures in place to ensure that the bonobos, chimpanzees, gorillas and orang-utans are saved from extinction.   This must be the point of departure for the Paris meeting.”
The great apes are under increasing threat of extinction as the result of various human activities.   Growing human populations encroaching on their habitat, civil wars, poaching for meat, the live animal trade, and, above all, the destruction of forests are increasingly taking their toll.
According to a recent UNEP report, “The Great Apes — the road ahead”, less than 10 percent of the remaining forest habitat of the great apes of Africa will be left relatively undisturbed by 2030 if road building, construction of mining camps and other infrastructure developments continue at current levels.
Findings for the orang-utans of South-East Asia appear even bleaker.   The report indicates that in 28 years time there will be almost no habitat left that can be considered “relatively undisturbed”.
Many great ape populations live in extremely remote areas, which are difficult to map, let alone monitor.   To improve the data, UNESCO works with the European Space Agency, which brings together all international space agnecies, to use satellites or remote sensing to better monitor the rate of habitat destruction.   The project has begun by mapping the habitats of the mountain gorilla.   Only about 600 are alive in Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The project will compare satellite image archives to assess changes in gorilla habitats since 1992 in the Virunga National Park (DRC) and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (Uganda), which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.   The Parc National des Volcans (Rwanda) and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park (Uganda) may soon join this list.
At the same time, UNESCO is working with local rangers to help improve law enforcement and monitoring in all five of the DRC’s World Heritage Sites, which are home to several great ape species.
“Law enforcement is an essential but single element in any conservation effort.   We cannot just put up fences to try and separate the apes from people”, said Samy Mankoto of UNESCO.   “Great apes play a key role in maintaining the health and diversity of tropical forests, which people depend upon.   They disperse seeds throughout the forests, for example, and create light gaps in the forest canopy which allow seedlings to grow and replenish the ecosystem.”
To better understand great apes, studies are underway in several UNESCO biosphere reserves that are home to chimpanzee, gorilla and orang-utan.   One of the most important populations of wild chimpanzees lives in the Taï Biosphere Reserve in Côte d’Ivoire, where a team of zoologists has been studying their behaviour since 1979.   Much of what we know today about orang-utan tool making is from studies in the Tanjung Puting Biosphere Reserve in Indonesia.   These studies are combined with a variety of projects to reconcile conservation with the needs of local communities.
Since it was launched in May 2001, GRASP has seen 16 of the 23 great ape range States apply new conservation measures specifically designed for these species.   Policy-making workshops have already been held in six of these countries, bringing together stakeholders from government, academia and private industry as well as NGOs and the United Nations.   These have lead to the drafting of national plans that show exactly how the necessary funds can be applied to make a real difference to ape numbers on the ground.
“It’s basic arithmetic”, said Rob Hepworth, Deputy Director of UNEP’s Division of Environmental Conventions: “The multiplication of threats to the endangered apes; the division of their habitats; the subtraction in overall ape numbers.   To get the sums right, we need the addition of the value which the GRASP WSSD [World Summit for Sustainable Development] Partnership is already providing — a focused effort by two major UN agencies, four wildlife conventions, and 18 NGOs to raise awareness, raise funds, and raise our conservation game so we stop the great apes from becoming history.”
The meeting in Paris this week will develop a Global Great Ape Conservation Strategy.   It will also prepare for an intergovernmental ministerial meeting on great apes and GRASP to be held in late 2004.
****
Note to Editors
UNESCO has a network of more than 400 biosphere reserves in over 90 countries, many of which have extremely important populations of great apes that are also found in dozens of World Heritage Sites.   For a full list, www.unesco.org/mab
UNEP Report: “Great Apes — the road ahead” (available on-line at www.globio.info) Download the full report at: http://www.globio.info/download.cfm?File=region/africa/GRASP_5.pdf
Africa and South-East Asia map animations (graphics) are available.
“Great Apes — the road ahead” is edited by Dr. Christian Nellemann of UNEP’s GRID-Arendal in Norway and Dr. Adrian Newton of the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre in Cambridge, UK.
The results are based on a pioneering new method of evaluating the wider impacts of infrastructure development on key species that, in this study, are the chimpanzee, bonobo or pygmy chimpanzee, the gorilla and the orang-utan.
The report looks in detail at each of the four great ape species to assess the current, remaining habitat deemed relatively undisturbed and thus able to support viable populations of apes.   The experts have then mapped the likely impact and area of healthy habitat left in 2030 at current levels of infrastructure growth.
Gorilla The study estimates that around 28 percent, or some 204,900 square kilometres of remaining gorilla habitat, can be classed as relatively undisturbed.
If infrastructure growth continues at current levels, the area left by 2030 is estimated to be 69,900 square kilometres or just 10 percent.   It amounts to a 2.1 percent, or 4,500 square kilometre, annual loss of low-impacted gorilla habitat in countries including Nigeria, Gabon, Rwanda and Uganda.
Chimpanzee The study estimates that around 26 percent, or some 390,840 square kilometres of remaining chimpanzee habitat, can be classed as relatively undisturbed.
If infrastructure growth continues at current levels, the area left by 2030 is estimated to be 118,618 square kilometres or just eight percent.  It amounts to a 2.3 percent, or 9,070 square kilometre, annual loss of low-impacted chimpanzee habitat from countries including Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire and Gabon.
Bonobo The study estimates that around 23 percent, or some 96,483 square kilometres, of remaining bonobo habitat, can be classed as relatively undisturbed.
If infrastructure growth continues at current levels, the area left by 2030 is estimated to be 17,750 square kilometres or just four percent.  It amounts to a 2.8 percent, or 2,624 square kilometre, annual loss of low-impacted bonobo habitat from the Democratic Republic of the Congo-the only country in which they are found.
Orangutan The study estimates that around 36 percent, or some 92,332 square kilometres, of remaining orang-utan habitat, can be classed as relatively undisturbed.
If infrastructure growth continues at current levels, the area left by 2030 is estimated to be 424 square kilometres or less than one percent.  It amounts to a five percent, or 4,697 square kilometre, annual loss of low-impacted orang-utan habitat from the islands of Sumatra (Indonesia) and Borneo (Indonesia — Kalimantan and Malaysia — Sarawak and Sabah).
More about GRASP A list of GRASP partners can be found at www.unep.org/grasp/partners.asp.
For more information about the UNEP/UNESCO GRASP meeting in Paris from 26 to 28 November 2003 go to http://www.unesco.org/mab/grasp/prepIGM.htm
Governments, the private sector, NGOs and the public can learn how to donate money to GRASP by accessing http://www.unep.org/grasp/Help.asp
GRASP is registered with the UN Commission for Sustainable Development as a Partnership under the World Summit for Sustainable Development (September 2002 in Johannesburg).  As a WSSD partnership, GRASP endeavours to ensure the conservation of the great apes and their habitat, now and in the future, and thus support the continuation of diverse ecosystems and viable wildlife populations.  The WSSD’s Plan of Implementation emphasises that “biodiversity, which plays a critical role in overall sustainable development and poverty eradication, is essential to our planet, human well-being and the livelihood and cultural integrity of people.”
www.unep.org

ENN is a registered trademark of the Environmental News Network Inc.  Copyright © 2003 Environmental News Network Inc.
Restless gorillasBoston.com


(Globe Staff Photo / David L. Ryan)

Little Joe's escape
On Aug. 13, Little Joe, above, escaped from the gorilla enclosure at Franklin Park Zoo.

SOURCE: Franklin Park Zoo


Graphic: Globe Staff / Alejandro Gonzalez and James Bennett
Sumatran orangutan.

Gorillas, orangutans, and corals are among the plants and animals which are sliding closer to extinction.

The Red List of Threatened Species for 2007 names habitat loss, hunting and climate change among the causes.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has identified more than 16,000 species threatened with extinction, while prospects have brightened for only one.
The orangutan — an icon in peril... like so many other species
BBC — Wednesday, 12 September 2007
Gorillas head race to extinction
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website
Gorillas, orangutans, and corals are among the plants and animals which are sliding closer to extinction.
The Red List of Threatened Species for 2007 names habitat loss, hunting and climate change among the causes.
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has identified more than 16,000 species threatened with extinction, while prospects have brightened for only one.
The IUCN says there is a lack of political will to tackle the global erosion of nature.
Governments have pledged to stem the loss of species by 2010; but it does not appear to be happening.
"This year's Red List shows that the invaluable efforts made so far to protect species are not enough," said the organisation's director-general, Julia Marton-Lefevre.
"The rate of biodiversity loss is increasing, and we need to act now to significantly reduce it and stave off this global extinction crisis."
The rate of biodiversity loss is increasing

Julia Marton-Lefevre
One in three amphibians, one in four mammals, one in eight birds and 70% of plants so far assessed are believed to be at risk of extinction, with human alteration of their habitat the single biggest cause.
Critical list
The tone of this year's Red List is depressingly familiar. Of 41,415 species assessed, 16,306 are threatened with extinction to a greater or lesser degree.
The main changes from previous assessments include some of the natural world's iconic animals, such as the western lowland gorilla, which moves from the Endangered to the Critically Endangered category.
Numbers have declined by more than 60% over the last 20-25 years.
RED LIST DEFINITIONS
Extinct - Surveys suggest last known individual has died
Critically Endangered - Extreme high risk of extinction - this some Critically Endangered species are also tagged Possibly Extinct
Endangered - Species at very high risk of extinction
Vulnerable - Species at high risk of extinction
Near Threatened - May soon move into above categories
Least Concern - Species is widespread and abundant
Data Deficient - not enough data to assess
Forest clearance has allowed hunters access to previously inaccessible areas; and the Ebola virus has followed, wiping out one-third of the total gorilla population in protected areas, and up to 95% in some regions.
Ebola has moved through the western lowland gorilla's rangelands in western central Africa from the southwest to the northeast. If it continues its march, it will reach all the remaining populations within a decade.
The Sumatran orangutan was already Critically Endangered before this assessment, with numbers having fallen by 80% in the last 75 years.
But IUCN has identified new threats to the 7,300 individuals that remain.
Forests are being cleared for palm oil plantations, and habitat is being split up by the building of new roads.
Governments know they are going to fail to reach that target

Jean-Christophe Vie
In Borneo, home to the second orangutan species, palm oil plantations have expanded 10-fold in a decade, and now take up 27,000 sq km of the island.
Illegal logging reduces habitat still further, while another threat comes from hunting for food and the illegal international pet trade.
So fragmented have some parts of the Bornean forest become that some isolated orangutan populations now number less than 50 individuals, which IUCN notes are "apparently not viable in the long term".
Straight to zero
The great apes are perhaps the most charismatic creatures on this year's Red List, but the fact they are in trouble has been known for some years.
Perhaps more surprising are some of the new additions.
Galapagos coral

The first formal assessment of corals shows many are at risk.

Gorillas, orangutans, and corals are among the plants and animals which are sliding closer to extinction.

The Red List of Threatened Species for 2007 names habitat loss, hunting and climate change among the causes.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has identified more than 16,000 species threatened with extinction, while prospects have brightened for only one.

Image: Cleveland P Hickman Jr.
The first formal assessment of corals shows many are at risk
"This is the first time we've assessed corals, and it's a bit worrying because some of them moved straight from being not assessed to being possibly extinct," said Jean-Christophe Vie, deputy head of IUCN's species programme.
"We know that some species were there in years gone by, but now when we do the assessment they are not there.   And corals are like the trees in the forest; they build the ecosystem for fish and other animals."
IUCN is now embarking on a complete assessment of coral species, and expects to find that about 30% to 40% are threatened.
The most glaring example of a waterborne creature failed by conservation efforts is probably the baiji, the Yangtze river dolphin, which is categorised as Critically Endangered, Possibly Extinct.
This freshwater species appears to have failed in its bid for survival against the destructive tides of fishing, shipping, pollution, and habitat change in its one native river.
Chinese media reported a possible sighting earlier this year, but the IUCN is not convinced; with no confirmed evidence of a living baiji since 2002, they believe its time on Earth may well be over.
Baiji river dolphin.

Gorillas, orangutans, and corals are among the plants and animals which are sliding closer to extinction.

The Red List of Threatened Species for 2007 names habitat loss, hunting and climate change among the causes.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has identified more than 16,000 species threatened with extinction, while prospects have brightened for only one.

Image: Stephen Leatherwood
Last rites for river dolphin
If so, it will have become a largely accidental victim of the various forces of human development.
Not so the spectacular Banggai cardinalfish; a single decade of hunting for the aquarium trade has brought numbers down by an astonishing 90%.
Many African vultures are new entrants on this year's list.
But birds provide the only notable success, with the colourful Mauritius echo parakeet making it back from Critically Endangered to Endangered.
Intensive conservation work has brought numbers up from about 50 to above 300.
But the gharial, a crocodilian found in the major rivers of India and Nepal, provides a cautionary tale of what can happen when conservation money and effort dry up.
A decade ago, a programme of re-introduction to the wild brought the adult population up from about 180 to nearer 430.
Deemed a success, the programme was stopped; numbers are again hovering around 180, and the gharial finds itself once more on the Critically Endangered list.
Female and infant mountain gorilla.

Gorillas, orangutans, and corals are among the plants and animals which are sliding closer to extinction.

The Red List of Threatened Species for 2007 names habitat loss, hunting and climate change among the causes.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has identified more than 16,000 species threatened with extinction, while prospects have brightened for only one. 

(Image: WildlifeDirect)
Conservation is not enough
Climate of distraction
IUCN says that it is not too late for many of these species; that they can be brought back from the brink.
It is something that the world's governments have committed to, vowing in the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity "to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level".
"Governments know they are going to fail to reach that target," said Jean-Christophe Vie, "and not just in terms of a few species — the failure is really massive.
"We know that it is possible to reverse the trend, but the causes are so huge and massive and global, and there is still a lack of attention to the crisis that biodiversity faces."
Many in the environmental movement argue that too much money and attention has gone on climate change, with other issues such as biodiversity, clean water and desertification ignored at the political level.
IUCN's assessment is that climate change is important for many Red List species; but it is not the only threat, and not the most important threat.
There are conflicts between addressing the various issues, with biofuels perhaps being the obvious example.
Useful they may turn out to be in reducing greenhouse gas emissions; but many conservationists are seriously concerned that the vast swathes of monoculture they will bring spell dire consequences for creatures such as the orangutan.
 
Wellington's solitary coral under threat of extinction
Galapagos coral under threat of extinction
BBC — Wednesday, 8 August 2007
Rare river dolphin 'now extinct'
Baiji river dolphin.

An extensive survey of its habitat failed to find any sign of the baiji

Gorillas, orangutans, and corals are among the plants and animals which are sliding closer to extinction.

The Red List of Threatened Species for 2007 names habitat loss, hunting and climate change among the causes.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has identified more than 16,000 species threatened with extinction, while prospects have brightened for only one.

Image: Stephen Leatherwood
An extensive survey of its habitat failed to find any sign of the baiji
A freshwater dolphin found only in China is now "likely to be extinct", a team of scientists has concluded.
The researchers failed to spot any Yangtze river dolphins, also known as baijis, during an extensive six-week survey of the mammals' habitat.
The team, writing in Biology Letters journal, blamed unregulated fishing as the main reason behind their demise.
If confirmed, it would be the first extinction of a large vertebrate for over 50 years.
The World Conservation Union's Red List of Threaten Species currently classifies the creature as "critically endangered".
Sam Turvey of the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), one of the paper's co-authors, described the findings as a "shocking tragedy".
"The Yangtze river dolphin was a remarkable mammal that separated from all other species over 20 million years ago," Dr Turvey explained.
"This extinction represents the disappearance of a complete branch of the evolutionary tree of life and emphasises that we have yet to take full responsibility in our role as guardians of the planet."
'Incidental impact'
The species (Lipotes vexillifer) was the only remaining member of the Lipotidae, an ancient mammal family that is understood to have separated from other marine mammals, including whales, dolphins and porpoises, about 40-20 million years ago.
We have yet to take full responsibility in our role as guardians of the planet
Dr Sam Turvey,
Zoological Society of London
The white, freshwater dolphin had a long, narrow beak and low dorsal fin; lived in groups of three or four and fed on fish.
The team carried out six-week visual and acoustic survey, using two research vessels, in November and December 2006.
"While it is conceivable that a couple of surviving individuals were missed by the survey teams," the team wrote, "our inability to detect any baiji despite this intensive search effort indicates that the prospect of finding and translocating them to a [reserve] has all but vanished."
The scientists added that there were a number of human activities that caused baiji numbers to decline, including construction of dams and boat collisions.
"However, the primary factor was probably unsustainable by-catch in local fisheries, which used rolling hooks, nets and electrofishing," they suggested.
"Unlike most historical-era extinctions of large bodied animals, the baiji was the victim not of active persecution but incidental mortality resulting from massive-scale human environmental impacts - primarily uncontrolled and unselective fishing," the researchers concluded.
 
Gharial crocodile under threat of extinction
BBC — Monday, 10 September 2007
Conservation alone 'is not enough'
Richard Leakey
VIEWPOINT
Richard Leakey
Ahead of Wednesday's publication of the 2007 Red List of Threatened Species, Dr Richard Leakey argues that conservation alone cannot save threatened species such as the mountain gorilla.
In this week's Green Room, he calls for action on humans' needs as well.
Rangers standing next to the four dead gorillas

Gorillas, orangutans, and corals are among the plants and animals which are sliding closer to extinction.

The Red List of Threatened Species for 2007 names habitat loss, hunting and climate change among the causes.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has identified more than 16,000 species threatened with extinction, while prospects have brightened for only one.

(Image: Altor IGCP Goma)
These deaths were repulsive for the fact that the gorilla corpses served no use to the killers
 Millions of people were horrified by the recent slaughter of mountain gorillas that dominated headlines for the inhumanity that seems to cling to this corner of the world.
In the space of a month, nine gorillas — more than 1% of the known population of these charismatic relatives of ours — were wiped out.
All were from the Democratic Republic of Congo's (DRC) Virunga National Park.
Predictably, the slaughter drew an outraged response.
Wildlife conservation organisations leapt into action and began raising funds to deal with it, and a crisis team went in on the ground.
In the following four weeks, peoples' compulsion to do something to save the species produced donations amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.
Living at the epicentre of the bloodiest conflict since the Second World War, the mountain gorillas share their habitat with heavily armed militia.
In other lawless regions, where wild meat comes into contact with hungry gunmen, species are slaughtered for food, or for trophies to be traded for cash and weapons.
But these deaths were repulsive for the fact that the gorilla corpses served no use to the killers.
On the contrary, it is the very presence of mountain gorillas in the Virunga National Park that threatens them, for the animals draw attention to an area that unscrupulous people would rather have us forget.
Fuelling conflicts
At the heart of the crisis is charcoal — the main form of household energy in Africa.
And making charcoal means felling forests, destroying wildlife habitats, damaging ecosystem services such as water catchments and soil fertility.
Gorilla protection rangers.

Wildlife protection rangers earn just $5 a month for risking their lives.

Gorillas, orangutans, and corals are among the plants and animals which are sliding closer to extinction.

The Red List of Threatened Species for 2007 names habitat loss, hunting and climate change among the causes.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has identified more than 16,000 species threatened with extinction, while prospects have brightened for only one.

Image: (Image: WildlifeDirect)
Wildlife protection rangers earn just $5 a month for risking their lives
Charcoal production has been going on for millennia, but recent events in eastern DRC have led to a sharp escalation in demand.
In neighbouring Rwanda, an enormous human population has stripped almost all its indigenous forests bare; while in the Congolese border town of Goma, refugees fleeing the region's crises have swelled the population to more than half a million.
Together, they've created an insatiable demand for charcoal worth an estimated $30m (£15m) a year.
To save Rwanda's few remaining forests and the gorillas that have become a major source of tourist revenue, President Paul Kagame has installed a surprisingly efficient and effective ban on charcoal production.
Ironically, however, that has driven the black industry across the border into DRC, threatening the habitats of the very same gorillas in the park which straddles both countries.
Given the lack of any form of effective government in eastern Congo, and the ludicrously small government salaries - a ranger earns about $5 (£2.50) per month - it is not surprising that the parks' forests have become a commons and virtually everybody is involved in the scramble for resources, from peasants to high ranking government officials and rebel militia.
If gorillas focus unwelcome global attention on the park, it is hardly surprising that those getting rich on charcoal will want to remove that attention by getting rid of one of our closest biological relatives.
As shocking as the gorilla executions were, this is fundamentally a human tragedy, with very human solutions.
There must be alternative sources of energy to meet the demand in both Rwanda and eastern Congo. There must be a return to the rule of law in DRC, where the forests are saved for the long term good of all, rather than looted for the short term riches of a few.
In it together
Although it seems to be a very local problem, we all have an interest in protecting the forests.
Rainforest

Gorillas, orangutans, and corals are among the plants and animals which are sliding closer to extinction.

The Red List of Threatened Species for 2007 names habitat loss, hunting and climate change among the causes.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) has identified more than 16,000 species threatened with extinction, while prospects have brightened for only one.

BBC
It will take a focused global initiative to end the conflict, introduce alternative sources of household fuel, and create alternative livelihoods
Not only do we risk losing one of the most charismatic and important species on Earth, but we are in danger of doing more damage to the world's warming climate.
In that respect, the forests' destruction is a double whammy.
Burning charcoal is one of the greatest sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide, but it also strips away the trees that otherwise soak up so much of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
While the alarm has been raised by conservation organisations concerned about gorillas, and the global public has responded, it is clear that the problem is much greater than one of conservation alone.
This is a human development crisis and it will take a focused global initiative to end the conflict, introduce alternative sources of household fuel, and create alternative livelihoods for the population living in eastern Kivu.
If the underlying demand for charcoal is ignored and we focus too much on the gorillas alone, we will not only see the extermination of the mountain gorillas, but the forests, woodlands and all the unique species that inhabit this biologically diverse landscape.
We will also lose the climate mitigation services that the intact forests provide.
In the end, we could see a human crisis that will dwarf the tragedy of nine gorillas.
Dr Richard Leakey is the founding chairman of WildlifeDirect, a former head of the Kenyan Wildlife Service and a leading palaeontologist
 
Banggai cardinalfish under threat from overfishing
Humphead parrotfish victim of overfishing
 
 
 
 
 
For archives, these articles are being stored on TheWE.cc website.
The purpose is to advance understandings of environmental, political,
human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues.