Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A few international perspectives! 5.7.2011

In what I suspect may end up being more than a couple of Blog entries today, it's relevant perhaps to commence with comments associated with the wider canvas!!

May I recommend to all readers an organisation, TRAFFIC, centred on Britain, but with various national constituent members ( see http://www.traffic.org ). Trade in wildlife , and its eradication, is its mission and I'm amazed nowadays how much effort is emerging in other countries and the amount of international co-operation taking place.

A series of newsletters recently highlighted both success and disappointment! In India a reported 12% increase in Tiger numbers has occurred, with a country total now being considered as 1706. Encouraging I accept , but nonetheless look at some of the areas India plays host to and possibly what the total ought to be . A travesty and damning judgement on past activities but, nonetheless a very positive sign and a tribute to all the effort being made on the species behalf.

Perhaps less encouraging was a report on Alexandrine Parrots in India and activities that appear to be impacting on their population. There are 12 parrot species in India but the Alexandrine is a popular constituent of the pet market trade. Seizure reports suggest overseas trade is occurring and that such activities are now beginning to affect the overall population numbers.

A report that I found somewhat bizarre due to its apparent lack of logic!! In Asia the demand for rhino horn products is resulting in a poaching spree in southern Africa with 333 killed in South Africa alone in 2010. Time magazine then, apparently, discovered an initiative in China aimed at a captive breeding process that would have fed the market and, one hopefully, assumes led to poaching being a thing of the past. Such has been vehemently denied by Chinese authorities and a whole plethora of parallel issues have emerged. Personally I feel a captive breeding programme aimed at eliminating the cruelty and population reduction of wild animals is to be encouraged. Surely , rhino horn is rhino horn if you believe in that sort of thing!! I well remember a few years ago my Chief Executive ( RSPB ) making a presentation at an international conference on animal trade issues by saying that if we could solve the problem of the male ego, and its need for artificial stimulus, many of our conservation problems would be improved!! She was that type of cookie!! But think about it, hunting, trophies, potency... it's all in there!

But what about this! A U.A.E. guy arrested at Bangkok airport had 4 Leopard cubs, a bear cub, a gibbon and a marmoset in his luggage. My thoughts extend to the Customs officials!!

Finally, something that needs fairly drastic action. Go on to the Humane Society International's web site and support the following if you feel you can. Very shortly ( a matter of days ) the 63rd International Whaling Commission meeting will take place. There is a proposal that a whale sanctuary be recognised in the South Atlantic where, obviously , no whaling activities would take place. Such an area is adjacent to Caribbean waters where many people enjoy their holidays and many take whale watching trips. And yet four nations ( St.Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, St.Vincent and the Grenadines and St.Lucia ) vote against whale protection proposals year after year after year. By contrast one of their near neighbours , Dominican Republic, has been a leading light in such initiatives. Clearly politics are at play, but politics which must be exposed so that better protection can be afforded these magnificent animals that are a part of our international fauna and, therefore, a responsibility of all nations.

Many of these organizations ask little of us other than our support for petitions and, if you can afford it, some modest contribution to their activities. My fix on this is to simply , and gently , remind everyone that, the next time you go abroad to somewhere exotic, the reason you can enjoy the sight of something equally appealing is because of the efforts that have gone before. I know from being in bird protection most of my life, such efforts are demanding, generally go unrecognised, can be very rewarding, but do deserve support.

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