Elephant population in Kenya has doubled since 1989

August 17, 2020 by  
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Amidst the hardships being experienced with the COVID-19 pandemic, there is some good news coming from Kenya. According to the  Kenya Wildlife Service  (KWS), the population of elephants in the country has more than doubled from 1989 to 2019. KWS made this announcement at Amboseli National Park on World Elephant Day 2020. While the news of the growing elephant population in Kenya is worth celebrating, a lot still has to be done toward the conservation of wildlife in Africa at large. Today, the population of elephants in Africa is about 500,000, down from 1.3 million in the 1970s. Kenya is among several countries in Africa that have been making efforts to protect elephants from poachers . According to KWS, the population of elephants in the country grew from 16,000 in 1989 to 34,800 by the end of 2019. While speaking at the World Elephant Day event, tourism minister Najib Balala said that the increase is in part thanks to the strict measures put in place to tame poaching. Related: 154 elephants have mysteriously died in Botswana KWS announced that only seven elephants have been poached in 2020 as compared to 34 in 2019 and 80 in 2018. The killing of elephants for ivory and meat has been a major problem. KWS director John Waweru said that World Elephant Day presents the perfect platform to create awareness about the threat to African elephants. “It is fortunate that Kenya has a conservation and management strategy for elephants in place to guide elephant recovery strategies, which has seen a more than 100% growth in Kenya’s population from 16,000 in 1989 to 34,800 by end of 2019,” Waweru said. In a bid to raise more awareness about the plight of elephants, Kenya is now launching an elephant-naming annual festival. The festival, dubbed Magical Kenya, will collect money to support rangers’ efforts in thwarting poachers. While the news of growing elephant populations is welcomed, it is also a reality check. This reminds us that more has to be done to conserve wildlife populations around the world. + Kenya Wildlife Service Via Lonely Planet Image via Herbert Aust

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Elephant population in Kenya has doubled since 1989

Super trawlers ravage UK’s protected waters amid pandemic

August 17, 2020 by  
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Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.K., super trawlers have increased their activities in protected waters. According to a report released by Greenpeace, the massive fishing vessels have spent far more time in protected marine areas in the first half of 2020 compared to all of 2019. In March, when countries in Europe started imposing lockdown measures, many small vessel fishers were put out of business. But while the small vessels docked, super trawlers took advantage of open waters, including in protected marine areas. According to the Greenpeace report , the amount of time super trawlers spent in the U.K.’s protected waters in the first six months of 2020 is nearly double the time super trawlers spent fishing in the same areas last year. The vessels in question are more than 100 meters in length, and each is capable of catching and ferrying thousands of metric tons of fish . Related: Lapsed fishing moratorium endangers Amazon river dolphins The report revealed that during the first half of this year, super trawlers spent more than 5,590 hours in 19 of the country’s protected marine areas . In 2019, the super trawlers spent 2,963 hours in 39 protected marine areas in the U.K. Further, the data also shows a significant increase in the amount of time super trawlers have spent in protected waters since 2017. In 2017, super trawlers spent 475 hours of the entire year in protected marine areas. Greenpeace and other conservation groups are now calling for a total ban on large-scale fishing in such protected areas. Of more concern to the organization is the fact that most of the vessels fishing in these protected areas do not belong to the U.K. “Our government cannot continue to allow super trawlers to fish with ever-increasing intensity in parts of our waters that are supposed to be protected,” Chris Thorne of Greenpeace U.K. said. “At least 30% of the U.K. waters should be off-limits to all industrial fishing activity, in a network of fully or highly protected marine areas.” In its investigation, Greenpeace used data from automatic identification system satellites. The investigators used the data to track all ships with a length of over 100 meters. The data also monitored the speed of movement of the ships to determine when they were fishing. The data was cross-referenced by the data provided by the vessels. + Greenpeace Via The Guardian Image via Moritz320

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Super trawlers ravage UK’s protected waters amid pandemic

Wild in Africa jewelry supports wildlife conservation charities

August 14, 2020 by  
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When National Geographic filmmaker Shannon Wild moved to Africa in 2013 to make wildlife documentaries, she found herself in the hospital after a near-death experience in Masai Mara. After pushing her body to the point of complete exhaustion for her career, she was medevaced to Nairobi and became bedridden for three months. Unable to even hold a camera initially, and with the knowledge that going back into the field would take months of stamina-building physical therapy, she started a grueling 6-month recovery period. Shannon had built up a collection of beaded bracelets throughout her travels, and one day, yearning for a creative outlet, she began dismantling and redesigning them. Using her past experience in graphic design and marketing, she was able to establish a business, Wild In Africa – Bracelets for Wildlife , to commemorate her healing journey and the love for animals and wildlife that brought her to Africa in the first place. Related: Make a statement with Serendipitous Project’s eco-friendly jewelry Today, Wild responsibly sources beads from all over the world and donates 50% of the purchase price of the Wild in Africa jewelry to 10 separate wildlife charities . The gender-neutral bracelets include a combination of stone beads, tribal charms and pendants that pay homage to the colors and textures found in the natural world. On the company’s website, the charity that each bracelet supports is outlined on the product’s page. It includes a general description of the organization’s values and goals, from bringing an end to the global rhino horn trade to conservation plans for Zambian carnivores. There is also a link to the charity so customers can learn more about where their contributions are going. The packaging is eco-friendly and recyclable , and materials are sustainably sourced. The company also offers a membership for first access to special, limited-edition bracelets and behind-the-scenes looks at featured charities. + Wild in Africa Images via Wild in Africa

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Wild in Africa jewelry supports wildlife conservation charities

Prefab Floating Music Hub to set sail in Cape Verde

July 31, 2020 by  
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International design practice NLÉ has unveiled its designs for the MFS IV, a prefabricated Floating Music Hub for the port city of Mindelo in Cape Verde. Developed as the fourth prototype of the firm’s Makoko Floating System, the project is the first in the series to be built in the Atlantic Ocean. The prefabricated floating hub , which is currently under construction, will consist of a cluster of three buildings of varying sizes that will house a large multipurpose performance hall, a professional recording studio and a small service bar.  Created for ADS (Africa Development Solutions) Cabo Verde, the Floating Music Hub builds on NLÉ’s objective to shape architecture in developing cities and communities. NLÉ first debuted its Makoko Floating System in 2012 with the Makoko Floating School in Lagos; the project collapsed after being adversely affected by heavy rains in 2016. The design firm crafted a second iteration of the school, called MFS II , at the Venice Architectural Biennale 2016. Then, in 2018, NLÉ installed a third iteration, the MFS III, with an improved design in Bruges, Belgium. Related: Floating prefab architecture addresses climate change on Chengdu’s Jincheng Lake NLÉ’s design revisions have led it to bring the Makoko Floating System back to Africa, this time in the beautiful Mindelo Bay in Cape Verde’s São Vicente. “It is designed and engineered to even higher performance specifications and quality for marine environments,” noted the architects, who have teamed up with an array of local and international partners, including the likes of JMP, CFA, SINA and AECOM, among others.  Like its predecessors, the MFS IV Floating Music Hub will be prefabricated out of timber for rapid assembly, mobility and flexibility. The floating community landmark will comprise a trio of triangular buildings — a multipurpose performance hall, a professional recording studio and a service bar — clustered around a triangular floating public plaza designed to promote music, dance, art and other creative industries. + NLÉ Images via NLÉ

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Prefab Floating Music Hub to set sail in Cape Verde

What to do with banana peels

July 31, 2020 by  
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Banana peels. They’re so associated with comedy, you probably crack a smile just thinking about these famous casings. Bananas are a delicious snack and a little taste of the tropics that just about everyone enjoys, but they’re also an environmental problem. So what can you do with banana peels once you’ve eaten the delicious treats they keep wrapped inside? What’s the big deal? Other than being an obvious slip-and-fall hazard, what’s the big deal with banana peels? For starters, they produce methane gas. This gas is 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide, which is already pretty bad stuff for the planet. Related: 10 ways to use up mushy, overripe bananas Americans eat around 3.2 billion — yes, billion — pounds of bananas every year. That is a lot of methane-producing peels. But don’t give up on eating bananas just yet. There are plenty of environmentally friendly uses for banana peels. Banana peels as fertilizer and compost If you’re a home gardener, banana peels are a valuable resource. Wrap your peels around the base of your tomato plants. This works as a great slow-release fertilizer that provides your plants with nutrients, namely phosphorus, throughout the season. You can also soak your peels in water overnight. Take the banana-rich water and mix it with standard water to use for all your indoor plants. You want to get a ratio of about one part banana-peel water to five parts normal water. Banana peels are a great addition to the compost pile or bin because they are so rich in nutrients. The peels break down very quickly in compost. These peels are also great for animal feed as well. If you keep chickens, rabbits or any type of livestock, grind up dried banana peels and add them to your feed. Do you have aphids in your garden ? Cut two or three banana peels into pieces and dig one-inch holes near the base of your plants that are damaged from insects. Drop the pieces of peel inside. Ants and aphids will be drawn to the peels instead of to your plants. Home remedies If you have itchy bug bites or a rash, such as poison ivy, these fruit skins provide soothing relief. Rub the peel directly on the area to reduce the itchiness and help your skin heal. You can even use banana peels as a cheap polish. Rub the outer layer of peels on leather items of all kinds, including shoes and furniture, to polish the leather. Blend a peel with water to make silver polish. Need to remove a splinter? Leave the needles in the sewing kit and grab yourself a banana peel. Tape a piece of the peel to the skin directly where the splinter has embedded itself and leave it there for about 30 minutes. The enzymes in the peel will naturally draw the splinter toward the surface of the skin so it can easily be pulled out. You can integrate banana peels into your daily skincare routine, as they may help fade scars and soothe acne. Rub the fleshy part of the peel directly on your face. Let it sit for about 10 minutes before you rinse your face thoroughly. Do this every day, and you could notice an improvement in scars and acne within a week or two. Banish bugs Grab a container with a lid and poke some small holes in the lid. Place the peel inside and cover the container with the perforated lid. This is a great way to attract and trap fruit flies and other little insects. They’re drawn to the sweet smell of the banana, and then they’re trapped by your DIY trick. You can throw the peel away after a day or two and freshen the trap as needed. Cook with banana peels Get creative and start experimenting with cooking banana peels. They can be made into vinegar, pickled in brine, broiled with cinnamon and sugar to become a unique dessert or even turned into a spicy curry. There are dozens of ways to cook with the peels that you once threw away. Once you start using them in your recipes, you’re going to find all kinds of ways to give new life to those peels. Add a peel to any roasting pan when you’re cooking meat or fish. This helps to tenderize and moisten the meat while it’s cooking. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can actually just eat your banana peels. They’re full of antioxidants and nutrients, so they’re actually really good for you. Boil peels for about 10 minutes in water and run it through the juicer or blend it up with other fruits and enjoy! Banana peels make a great chutney ingredient, too. Soak them in cold water, then boil the peels and chop them up to mix in with other chutney ingredients to add a tasty, nutritious burst to your dish. There are several different recipes for banana tea online, or you can play around with your own recipe . If you boil the peels for about 10 minutes, enough flavor will be released into the water to create a great flavor. You can also candy your peels to use as a topping for cupcakes, cakes, yogurt, ice cream and a variety of other treats. Chop up the peel into small pieces and cook it on medium heat with a half-cup of sugar and a half-cup of water. Once it caramelizes, spread the mixture on a cookie sheet or parchment paper to allow it to cool. Then, you can chop or break it into pieces and have a sweet banana topping any time. Getting serious about banana peels It’s no laughing matter — banana peels have too many uses to simply be thrown away. The peels are a great source of both potassium, magnesium and fiber, and they’re packed with Vitamins C and B6. So if you’re throwing out your peels, you’re losing out on an all-purpose personal care product, household remedy, garden aid and cooking ingredient that can be added to just about anything. Images via Louis Hansel , t_watanabe , Vicran and bluebudgie

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What to do with banana peels

154 elephants have mysteriously died in Botswana

June 18, 2020 by  
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Botswana wildlife conservation officials are investigating the mysterious death of 154 elephants in just 3 months. Wildlife officers in the country have said that there has been a sudden surge in deaths of elephants in the northwestern part of the country. The deaths are not associated with poaching or poisoning, according to the Regional Wildlife Coordinator, Dimakatso Ntshebe. The carcasses of these animals were found intact, suggesting that they were not killed by poachers. Normally, poachers will kill elephants for their meat or tusks. According to the regional coordinator, preliminary investigations have also ruled out poisoning via humans and anthrax as the possible causes of death. Anthrax was the first suspect on the list of possible causes, as it naturally occurs in the soil and harms wildlife in Botswana. But initial investigations by scientists have ruled out the possibility of anthrax and poisoning. Related: Mass poaching in Botswana leaves behind 90 tuskless elephants These recent deaths are raising alarm considering that elephant populations all over Africa have been under threat from poaching , poisoning and anthrax. Today, Botswana is home to almost one-third of all the elephants on the continent. Due to efforts to protect wildlife in the country, the population of elephants in Botswana has risen to 130,000 in 2020 from just 80,000 in the 1990s. The same can’t be said about other countries with less stringent wildlife laws. The deaths of these elephants in Botswana comes at a time when wildlife conservation efforts have been dealt a big blow in the country. Last year, President Mokgweetsi Masisi lifted a 5-year ban on big game hunting, prompting uproar from conservation groups. Although the growing number of elephants in Botswana might seem like a positive move to the rest of the world, it is not much welcomed by the locals. Farmers have raised complaints about the elephants destroying crops; it is such complaints that prompted the president to allow big game poaching again. Besides the mysterious elephant deaths, Botswana still grapples with the problem of poachers. According to the Wildlife Conservation Officers in Botswana, the Okavango Delta alone has lost over 25 elephants to poachers between December 2019 and May 2020. The situation has been compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, as poachers take advantage due to the lack of safari tourists. The Regional Wildlife Coordinator now says that they are intensifying surveillance in high-risk areas to curb poaching. Samples from the dead elephants are also under scrutiny to determine the exact cause of death so that intervention measures can be taken. Via Reuters and Yale Environment 360 Image via Anja

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154 elephants have mysteriously died in Botswana

We are in the sixth mass extinction, and it’s accelerating

June 4, 2020 by  
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The Earth is in the midst of a sixth mass extinction , and it’s picking up speed. New research in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences updates the threats first detailed in a 2015 study. Species are disappearing faster than previously thought, the new study says. The cascading effect of collapsing ecosystems is making the planet steadily less habitable for people as well. “When humanity exterminates populations and species of other creatures, it is sawing off the limb on which it is sitting, destroying working parts of our own life-support system,” said Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich, co-author of the paper, in a press release from Stanford University. “The conservation of endangered species should be elevated to a national and global emergency for governments and institutions, equal to climate disruption to which it is linked.” Related: Trump administration moves to weaken Endangered Species Act amid global extinction risks The researchers analyzed numbers and distribution of critically endangered species. They determined that 515 species of terrestrial vertebrates have fewer than 1,000 individuals left, meaning they’re very close to extinction . Nearly half of those species have fewer than 250 surviving members, mostly due to human encroachment. The first five mass extinctions in the last 450 million years each destroyed 70% to 95% of animal, plant and microorganism species . Huge changes to the environment, such as asteroids, volcanic eruptions or depletion of oceanic oxygen caused the first five. The sixth, the study finds, is our doing. Almost all loss of species has happened since humans developed agriculture , about 11,000 years ago. Back then, there were only about a million of us. Now we number 7.7 billion, and that number is growing fast . “As our numbers have grown, humanity has come to pose an unprecedented threat to the vast majority of its living companions,” the study says. According to the study, it is a “moral imperative” for scientists to do whatever they can to stop extinction via the following suggestions: the International Union for Conservation of Nature should immediately classify any species with fewer than 5,000 remaining members as critically endangered; governments and institutions should elevate conservation of endangered species to a global emergency; illegal wildlife trade must stop now and the ban must be strictly enforced; and alternative food must be provided to low-income communities, especially in Africa, who depend on bush meat for survival. There’s no time to lose. “There is no doubt, for example, that there will be more pandemics if we continue destroying habitats and trading wildlife for human consumption as food and traditional medicines,” the study warns. “It is something that humanity cannot permit, as it may be a tipping point for the collapse of civilization.” + Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Via Stanford News Service Image via Alex Strachan

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We are in the sixth mass extinction, and it’s accelerating

The environmental trail of the global charcoal supply chain

April 2, 2020 by  
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Use of the fuel is alive and well, with devastating implications for forests in sub-Saharan Africa.

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The environmental trail of the global charcoal supply chain

Why protecting soil carbon is a win-win for farmers and the planet

April 2, 2020 by  
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The benefits of protecting and restoring soil carbon go well beyond any one farm or any one year. But not enough people are taking these steps.

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Why protecting soil carbon is a win-win for farmers and the planet

The growing movement to help farmers reduce pollution and make a profit

April 2, 2020 by  
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In Pennsylvania, an innovative program is showing farmers how to plant cash crops in buffer zones to help stabilize stream banks and clean up waterways.

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The growing movement to help farmers reduce pollution and make a profit

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