BIDBI Eco News Roundup October 2017

  • Jessica Turner
  • 12th October 2017

Tropical Forests Releasing More Carbon

Worrying new research suggests tropical forests are potentially releasing more carbon than they store. Forests across Africa, Asia and Latin America release 425 metric tons of carbon every year. It is thought that 70 percent of this is now caused by small scale degradation.  This is said to be the result of wildfire, drought and logging. Forests are now becoming a source of carbon rather than absorbing the carbon. New efforts are being put towards restoring the forests in these areas in the hopes of reversing the effects. But not all countries are using this initiative. In countries such as Brazil and Columbia deforestation has accelerated rapidly in the last few years and no efforts are being put towards helping the situation.

deforestation in Brazil

Dip in North Atlantic Right Whale Population

This week it has been found that there has been a drastic decline in the population of the North Atlantic Right Whale. The North Atlantic Right Whale can be found primarily along the Atlantic Coast of North America and is known as an endangered species. A total of 15 Right Whales have already died this year and it is being called the deadliest year for them since the times when whaling was popular. In 2010 there was a grand total of 482 of their species then in 2015 there was estimated to be 458 which means there has been a 3% decrease in their population. This year’s figures have not yet been concluded but they are thought to be increasingly smaller than the figures in 2015. Currently a total of 5 calves have been born this year but this is not making up for the deaths.

Most of the North Atlantic Whale Deaths are caused by human related activity. The whales found deceased this year were killed by ship collisions and entanglement. Other causes of whale deaths include separation from calving areas due to shipping traffic and contamination of the water from pollutants. As the North Atlantic Right Whale is a spice that stay close to land and have a slower pace of activity they are the ones that suffer the most from human activity. Governments across the US and Canada have been approached to make a change to the current situation by being cautious of the whale’s habitats and activities. Hopefully a population increase will be on the rise in the coming years.  

a Right Whale

Ivory Sales Ban Proposed in the UK

During the last few years there has been a number of substantial efforts made towards the poaching crisis. The US put in place a near total ban on its ivory market and China will also close its ivory market by the end of this year. September 2017 UK laws were brought in to illegalize the sale of ivory which is less than 70 years old in. However, it fell short of a total ban.

Approximately 20,000 elephants are executed every year to satisfy the demand for ivory. If the murder of these animals continues elephants could become extinct in some African countries in a couple of decades.

On Friday the 6th of October, the United Kingdom released an admirable proposed ivory ban. This proposal will eliminate opportunities for criminals to illegally trade poached ivory and it will cover items of all ages. The exemption of some items will be written into these plans as they do not contribute to the poaching of elephants. These include musical instruments, sales between museums, items that have significant historical, artistic or cultural value and items that contain only a small proportion of ivory. The government will be working with the sectors of exemption during the 12 week consultation period to see how the exemptions will be defined to prevent loopholes. The ban will work overseas and at home to tackle both the poaching and sale of ivory. The United Kingdom’s proposal will send encouragement to China to ensure the new ban is finalised in their country at the end of the year and that it will be strongly enforced.

Elephants will be safer after the new proposed ban of ivory poaching is put in place and it is great news that the UK is making a hugely beneficial move to support the cause as one of the world’s largest domestic ivory markets.  

An Elephant