“With rampant illegal logging, vague logging concession boundaries and massive blocks of pristine forest destined for the chainsaw, this is a laudable step towards avoiding an ecological disaster,” says James P. Leape, Director General of WWF.
Published in the journal Animal Conservation, the study was based on scientists monitoring catches on 14 different vessels, operating in the Benguela Current, off South Africa; one of the main hotspots for seabirds in the Southern Hemisphere.
The vessels were trawling for hake, and the majority of bird deaths were a result of collisions with wires - known as warp lines - leading from the stern of the vessels.
Furthering their long term commitment to environmental causes, WildSounds has now stepped forward to ‘champion’ Spoon-billed Sandpiper Eurynorhynchus pygmeus. “We are privileged to become a BirdLife Species Champion and help bring attention to the plight of Spoon-billed Sandpiper”, said Duncan Macdonald, Managing Director of WildSounds.
The LIFE project has been improving the Azores Bullfinch habitat since 2003, by clearing exotic plants and planting native trees that provide the food that the birds depend on. Project staff have also been monitoring the population, which seems to be responding well to this habitat management – the population appears to be increasing fast, at least in the transects monitored by the LIFE project team.
"WWF is delighted that Ramsar has recognized the importance of this extraordinary wetland and the efforts of the Democratic Republic of Congo to protect it," said James P. Leape, Director General of WWF International. "This is a significant step forward for the welfare of communities who depend on this wetland for their livelihoods and for the wildlife that lives there."
“This is a very welcome move”, said Paul Matiku the Executive Director, Nature Kenya. “It is victory for the local communities that took the government to court. Nature Kenya and institutions under the umbrella of Kenya Wetlands Forum will now fight even harder to have the sugarcane project permanently stopped”, Matiku added.
The project has mapped the current and future distributions of all bird species on mainland Africa by using climate change models to determine the distance and direction of shifts for each species in the future. A particular emphasis of the work is understanding how well the Important Bird Areas (IBAs) network in Africa can sustain the continent’s bird with future climate change. Dr Julius Arinaitwe, BirdLife International’s Regional IBA Manager for Africa, said “There are very few plans to protect biodiversity from the effects of climate change anywhere in the world.
A plan for the proposed US$3 million, two-year initial phase of the project involving a belt of trees 7,000 kilometres long and 15 kilometres wide, was formally adopted at the Community of Sahel Saharan States (Cen-Sad) summit on rural development and food security in Cotonou, Benin, last month (17-18 June).
North African nations have been promoting the idea of a Green Belt since 2005.
The project has been scaled down to reinforce and then expand on existing efforts, and will not be a continent-wide wall of trees, despite the name of the project.
For this reason the Congo Basin Forest Fund (CBFF) was launched in London on June 17. The initial financing of the CBFF comes from a pair of $200 million grants from the governments of the United Kingdom and Norway.
The workshop equipped project Partners in Africa with the requisite skills for handling data. It also drew attention to data-barriers faced in the conservation community and discussed ways to address these challenges. While some barriers are technical in nature, many are institutional, legal and cultural in origin. The workshop focused on the technical aspects of data collection, management, analysis and presentation. It covered tabular and GIS data, along with the more political aspects of data distribution both to partners in a project and to a wider audience.