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Month: July 2018

The Week in Conservation for July 27, 2018

Cover Photo by Jurgen Ott

Proposed Culling of Hippos

Zambia is reinstating a plan to cull 2,000 hippos over the next five years. The plan was initially halted in 2016 but the Zambian authorities have reinstated the plan culling. A trophy hunting organization calling for this so-called “hippo management” is called Umililo Safaris. They claim that the hippo population is too large in the Luangwa Valley. However, conservation organizations argue there is absolutely no evidence that the hippo population is overcrowded. Further, hippos are listed as ‘Vulnerable’ by the IUCN and are a species needing protection.

Zambia reinstates plan to cull 2,000 hippos

How many hippos are too many? Proposed cull raises questions

The Myths of Trophy Hunting

Iceland Continues its Whale Hunt

The call to boycott Iceland continues as authorities this week determined the recent whale killed was in fact an extremely rare Blue Whale/Fin Whale hybrid. These are so rare that there have only been 5 reported sightings of these hybrids since 1983. Furthermore, hybridization is rare and just continues to offer proof of the extreme stress these populations are under. Non-related species very rarely mate.

Additionally, the Fin Whale is an ENDANGERED SPECIES. Again, these animals are heading to extinction and the killing of any endangered species should anger anybody that cares about wildlife. In the 20th Century it is estimated close to 800,000 Fin Whales were killed. Today, throughout the world there are less than 100,000 Fin Whales in all of our oceans.

We suggest everyone boycotts any travel to Iceland until they reinstate the ban on the killing of endangered Fin Whales.

Whale killing: DNA shows Iceland whale was rare hybrid

United States Endangered Species Act Under Threat

President Trump’s administration continues its war over regulations established by both Republican and Democratic politicians. First passed by President Richard Nixon (R) 45 years ago, the Endangered Species Act has helped preserve and save countless endangered species in North America. Republican lawmakers are urging to roll back many protections for endangered species, claiming many of these special protections are harming business (energy, mining, forestry).

We URGE all United States Citizens to contact their politicians and tell them you are absolutely opposed to any legislation that harms our endangered animals and our environment. Also please visit:

2018 Stop Extinction Challenge

The Trump Administration wants to roll back the Endangered Species Act


Scientists Claim Rising Meat Consumption Will Devastate Environment

Global demand for meat consumption has doubled in the past 50 years from an average of 23kg per person to 43kg in 2014. While meat consumption has remained steady in wealthier countries, emerging economies like in China is pushing the higher demand. These scientists argue raising livestock, such as beef cattle, has a significant effect on increasing carbon emissions and habitat destruction (ie. Amazon rain forest). In another study, scientists state that more than 80% of all farmland is used for livestock (also feeds for livestock) but produce just 18% of the average diets calories and just 37% of total protein intake. By reducing meat consumption individual consumers will help combat these negative effects.

Conversely, in another study scientists argue that if every citizen of the United States went vegan greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by 28%. However, meatless diets can lead to deficiencies in key nutrients humans need on a daily basis. While those practicing veganism can actually eat healthy diets with all available nutrients, the United States does not currently produce enough to meet every citizen’s needs. The debate rages on!

Rising global meat consumption will devastate the environment

Avoiding meat and dairy is single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth

What would happen if all Americans went vegan?

New Species of the Week

Maratus unicup spider

Genie’s Dogfish


The Week in Conservation for July 20, 2018

Stories from Little Known Critically-Endangered Species

To highlight some of the less “charismatic” endangered species this week we focused on a story discussing 10 of New Zealand’s little less known endangered (or possibly extinct) species. Species such as the Open Bay Island Leech receives almost no attention but animals like this are just as important as other charismatic species.

Ten Critically Endangered Critters With The Craziest Stories

Conservation Priorities

In New Zealand, 1/3 of the land mass is dedicated land managed by it’s Department of Conservation. Recently, an algorithm was created to evaluated the most important species for New Zealand and which to devote most of the resources to. However, DOC is employing a joint strategy of protecting whole ecosystems in their efforts to conserve as many species as possible.

How Do We Decide Which Endangered Species to Save

Indigenous People Are Needed for Conservation

Indigenous peoples make up only 5% of the total world population but live on ¼ of all the land (excluding Antarctica). Conservation experts now are pushing to engage these cultures in hoping to establish strategies on preserving the natural habitats in these areas.

Indigenous Peoples Are Crucial for Conservation

Women Rangers in Africa

A program in Zambia has worked to establish all-female teams of rangers to protect wildlife. The program is considered a resounding success as the women are less likely to be corrupted and are highly trained.

Zimbabwe’s Women Wildlife Rangers Wage War on Poachers

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2018-07-09 18:34:57Z | |


Tulsa Zoo Program a Success

The Tulsa Zoo announced the hatching of 25 endangered Aldabra tortoises. Since they first started this particular conservation program, the zoo has successfully hatched 161 Aldabra tortoises.

25 Aldabra Tortoises Hatched at Tulsa Zoo


Endangered Species Chocolate

Rain Forest Trust

New Species of the Week

Bandy Bandy Snake

The Week in Conservation for July 13, 2018

Iceland Accused of Killing Blue Whale in Hunt

Update on the whaling situation in Iceland. The whaling company has already slaughtered 22 whales to include the young male blue whale (identified by experts). However, the company claims this is a fin/blue whale hybrid and is “legal” according to them. Regardless this is horrific and pressure needs to be placed on Iceland and its government to stop the hunt of endangered fin and critically-endangered blue whales. #boycottIceland continues.

Humans Are Causing Animals & Plants to go Extinct 1000x Natura Rate

The death of Sudan, the last male Northern White Rhino highlights the plight of many of Earth’s disappearing biodiversity. Extinction is a normal process and has been discussed on the podcast previously, see Episode 1. However, current extinction rates are 1000x a normal healthy ecosystem rate. Scientists are gravely considered at the current extinction crisis and rather than losing a few leaves here and there off the Tree of Life, we may end up losing entire branches. Again, we believe education and awareness are one of the main ways we can help our planet.

Humans are causing animals and plants to go extinct 1,000 times FASTER than their natural rate, warn scientists

 More Inclusive Ecological Planning Needed Argues Scientist

A team of researchers out of Australia published a paper arguing that instead of just setting aside natural areas a more inclusive approach is needed. They describe a shift is needed to a more ambitious ‘nature retention targets’ rather than the current model. In short, these targets would establish the baseline levels needed of for natural systems functions and then work towards supporting these.

Nature retention, not just protection, crucial to maintaining biodiversity and ecosystems: Scientists

Orcas Now Facing Extinction

Bad news coming out of North America with orca populations off the Pacific Northwest in decline. The diets of these Southern Resident Killer Whale populations are primarily Chinook Salmon, but as these salmon populations continue to decline, so are the orca populations. With a proposed gas pipeline leading to Vancouver, Canada, experts warn boat traffic will have detrimental effects on these whales.

Ocean ‘Icon’ in Danger: US Pacific Northwest Orcas Facing Extinction

Palm Oil Disastrous for Wildlife But Is the Best Oil We Can Produce

In an effort to feed over 7 billion people, palm oil is a major source of cheap oil consumed worldwide. In fact, it provided a third of the world’s vegetable oil from only 10% of the land used for oil-producing crops. The IUCN reports that palm oil plantations, particularly in Indonesia and Malaysia are damaging over 190 threatened species. They also report ‘sustainable’ palm oil is not much better in preventing deforestation. Yet, they also report that other crops that can be used could be much more devastating for other wildlife. For example, soy or corn being grown in the Amazon basin. Therefore, strategies to ensure sustainable palm oil is in fact properly certified and maintained is strongly urged.

Palm oil ‘disastrous’ for wildlife but here to stay, experts warn

New Book on De-Extinction

A Swedish Science Journalist, Ms. Torill Kornfeldt has released a book about traveling the world and talking to scientist about their work in bringing back extinct animals. We have an incredible interview next week with a scientist who recently published a paper discussing opinions on de-extinction from conservation biologists. In the provided link is an interview about this book and the idea of ‘de-extinction.’

Jurassic World? Bringing back extinct animals with Torill Kornfeldt

New Species of the Week

Clistopyga crassicaudata Wasp

Whenu Hou Diving Petrel

The Week in Conservation for July 6, 2018

Honey Badger Takes on an Antelope, and It Does Not Go Well

Words cannot describe this. Be sure to catch Episode 10 Hijinks with the Honeybadger and then this series of images will make more sense. BTW the badger walked away with just wounded pride.

Link to Article HERE

Images created by Dirk Theron/Caters News

Giraffe Killing for a Trophy Sets Internet Ablaze

This week a Kentucky (USA) woman shared her image of an 18-year old male giraffe she had shot and killed on a trophy hunt in South Africa. Many shared the image, some defending her, but many condemning her. This brings up again the argument that trophy hunting of endangered species is actually good and leads to money being contributed to conservation of many species. However, in the case of trophy hunting in Africa this is far from true. In fact, very few gaming ranches actually do work and donate money to conservation. In a well referenced write up which will be posted below, the authors argue that ecotourism is far more valuable to helping conserve endangered species compared to trophy hunts. They go on to state many more compelling arguments on why trophy hunting does very little to conserve animals and is nothing more than a selling tag line. We actually visited this issue last November, which can be read HERE.

The Myths of Trophy Hunting

Kentucky Woman Branded ‘White American Savage’ After Posing with Dead Giraffe She Shot

Kenya Plans Death Penalty for Poachers

It is no secret that poaching of many endangered species within the African continent and around the world has only increased in the past two decades. In a bid to save their animals, and understandably to protect their valuable tourism industry, Kenya has proposed to sentence poachers to death for their crimes. The debate is now currently raging in many circles.

SOS Elephants: Kenya Summit on Poaching Crisis

Kenya’s death penalty plan for poachers has stirred a hornet’s nest

Critically Endangered Red Wolf May Lose Critical Protection

In a surprise move, the United States Department of Interior proposed to allow private land owners to shoot any red wolf that may wander on to their property in the state of North Carolina. We recently did a Red Wolf episode and we highly recommend you listen to it if you have not yet it is

Episode 28: Last Howl of the Red Wolf

Episode 29: Autumn Lindey and Red Wolf Conservation

There are less than 50 Red Wolves estimated to be left in the wild. This is clearly misguided judgement and we highly recommend you contact your political leaders (if in the USA) to record your displeasure in this measure.

Interior Department plans to let people kill endangered red wolves

Support the Red Wolf Coalition  and Defenders of Wildlife

NOAA Sending Out Sailing Drones

In a new era of technology and science, NOAA is launching 11 unmanned sailing drones to conduct oceanic research. The drones have multiple measuring capabilities such as temperature, salinity, fish populations using sonar and more. Such an incredible advancement.

Flotilla of saildrones deploy to Arctic and Pacific for earth science missions

Increase of Marijuana Farms Leading to Humbolt Marten Decline

In a story similar to that of the Black Footed Ferret, the Humbolt Marten is facing extinction. Not due to direct causes but by by-products of farmers using poisons to kill off rodents that may harm their crops and equipment. Many farmers in the region, particularly marijuana farmers protecting plastic irrigation tubes from rats and mice, are using anti-coagulant poisons to kill them off.  However, the Humbolt Marten eats these rodents as part of their diet and thus are dying off as well. Fortunately, the state of California is beginning to implement plans to help this species.

Sprawling Marijuana Farms are Driving this Adorable Little Creature to Extinction

Hogle Zoo Masks its Rhino

Jim Weinpress this week talked about one of the animals he used to care for, ‘Princess’ the white rhino. Apparently during the spring and summer Princess suffered from allergies and insects which resulted in irritating her eyes. The Hogle Zoo has worked with multiple agencies to develop a fly mask to help protect her eyes and she now wears it after months of training.

Hogle Zoo rhino ‘Princess’ gets royal treatment, custom mask made for eye irritation

New Species of the Week

Shieldtail Snake

Swire’s Snailfish






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