Leonardo DiCaprio launches a new fund to save the lions

August 11, 2017 by  
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Lions are in trouble – there are around 20,000 today, down from 200,000 around 100 years ago. But everyone’s favorite eco-warrior, Leonardo DiCaprio , isn’t going to sit by while the big cats’ populations plummet. His foundation, together with the Wildlife Conservation Network , is starting the Lion Recovery Fund (LRF), a nonprofit with a lofty goal: double the amount of lions by 2050. Lion populations have plunged as they suffer from habitat loss , and the loss of prey to sustain them. The animals are gone from 80 to 90 percent of their range in the past, and the lion populations of 26 countries have vanished. But it’s not too late for lions – if African parks were effectively managed while nearby communities were supported, there could be three to four times the number of lions, according to the LRF. The fund will support groups working for lion conservation in Africa – and 100 percent of every dollar given to the fund will go to partners. Related: West African Lion Alarmingly Close to Extinction, New Study Finds (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10″; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Lion Recovery Fund In just the last 25 years alone, half of the wild lion population has been lost. Proud to launch the Lion Recovery Fund today on #WorldLionDay- an initiative of Wildlife Conservation Network and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Find out how you can help #savelions at: www.lionrecoveryfund.org Posted by Leonardo DiCaprio on Thursday, August 10, 2017 The LRF has already allocated over $800,000 to partners like Panthera in Senegal, the Wildlife Crime Prevention Project in Zambia, and the African Parks Network in Benin. Money will go towards efforts to combat poaching , secure space for lions to recover, and lower conflict between the big cats and humans. Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation executive director Justin Winters said in a statement, “With the population of Africa expected to double by 2050, this is an opportunity to show the world that development does not have to come at the expense of wild landscapes and species. Humans and the natural world can coexist and thrive.” DiCaprio called for people to get involved. In a statement, he said, “We’re losing our planet’s wildlife – even such iconic species as the African Lion – at a dangerously rapid pace. An astonishingly small amount of philanthropic dollars go towards protecting wildlife, but together we can turn that around.” You can donate to the fund here . + Lion Recovery Fund + Wildlife Conservation Network + Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Via the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Images via Bram Vranckx on Unsplash and Christine Donaldson on Unsplash

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Leonardo DiCaprio launches a new fund to save the lions

Manatees taken off the endangered species list – but that may not be good

April 3, 2017 by  
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Manatees are found in Florida yet beloved around the world for their plodding, languid behavior and slightly dopey appearance. Since the 1970s, clubs and groups have raised awareness and funds to protect these so-ugly-they-are-cute “sea cows”, which reside in shallow, slow-moving bodies of water. Citing a consistently growing population and successful regulations and efforts by the government and local community, the US Fish and Wildlife Service officially removed West Indian manatees from the endangered species list last week. But that may not be a good thing. While “downlisting” these manatees from endangered to “threatened” might seem like a cause for celebration, some animal and environmental groups aren’t quite ready to break out the algae, grass, or mangrove leaves (preferred snacks of the species). The Save the Manatee Club, for example, is concerned about habitat destruction for the manatees and motorboat accidents and deaths as well as as a loosening or reversal of environmental regulations under the current administration. The US Fish and Wildlife Service purports that federal and state protections for manatees won’t change, but certain manatee-minded parties are pushing for a long-term manatee recovery plan that would address the boat- and habitat-related problems. Effects of climate change and chemical runoff ( leading, in the past, to toxic algal blooms ) are also continuing causes for concern. Related| How Climate Change is Killing Hundreds of Endangered Florida Manatees Manatees were put on the endangered species list in 1967. While manatee numbers dipped to a population of only a few hundred in the 1970s, their population has increased dramatically with more than 6,000 manatees counted for the past three years. A survey this year found a preliminary total of 6,620 manatees. Efforts including river habitat restoration and regulations targeting speeders in manatee zones are among the reasons for the manatee population’s recovery. Via CNN Lead image © Carlton Ward Jr. for Visit Florida , Wikimedia , flickr user USFWS Endangered Species

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Manatees taken off the endangered species list – but that may not be good

7 ecological charities to support on Giving Tuesday and beyond

November 29, 2016 by  
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‘Tis the season of giving and all through the town, pocketbooks are jingling with the sound of spending. Hang the stockings with care, wrap up the last of the holiday gifts , and pour yourself a glass of cruelty-free vegan nog. With just a few days left on the calendar, it’s time to squeeze in a little more giving before the year is over. Charitable donations are a great opportunity to give back, helping organizations do good deeds around the globe and offering a little boost come tax time. But with thousands of nonprofit organizations asking for contributions, it can be challenging to figure out where best to send your money. To reduce your load during this already stressful time of year, we put together this charitable giving guide so you can rest assured your hard-earned cashola will help high-impact organizations that make the most of every dollar they raise. In order to make this list, organizations had to meet a number of criteria. First, we looked for groups focusing their efforts on protecting our Earth and its inhabitants. We also wanted to identify charities that have figured out how to make donations go as far as possible. That’s measured in two ways: the amount of money the organization spends in order to raise money and the percentage of funds raised that go to programs (as opposed to overhead and administrative costs). Monetary donations to each of these nonprofit organizations is tax-deductible in the United States. © Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice 1. Earth Justice Earth Justice was founded in 1971 “because the earth needs a good lawyer.” This non-profit public interest law firm is dedicated to protecting the environment and wildlife, as well as helping build healthy communities. EJ works on nearly every continent, leveraging legal action to garner cooperation from government agencies. © EWG 2. Environmental Working Group EWG is perhaps best known for its “Dirty Dozen” list which reveals the highest (and lowest) pesticide concentrations in conventionally-grown produce. Regular readers of Inhabitat may recognize the organization from a number of past reports, especially related to safety of consumer products like sunscreen and crayons . EWG reports donations received now will be doubled through a matching campaign. Related: The 6 most pressing environmental problems – and what you can do to help solve them https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YuaxzgNX1bI&feature=youtu.be 3. Wildlife Conservation Society WCS field scientists working in over 20 countries work to protect wild animals and wild spaces. In particular, WCS researchers have been working to combat elephant poaching and the illegal ivory trade with the 96 Elephants campaign. In an effort to stamp out ivory poaching, the organization has even enlisted the help of the Terminator to raise awareness about ongoing legislation in the U.S. that might undermine global efforts to end ivory trading. © Ecotrust 4. Ecotrust Ecotrust’s mission is to inspire innovative ways to create economic opportunity, social equality, and environmental well-being. One of its successful projects is FoodHub, an online marketplace designed to connect wholesale buyers and sellers of regionally grown food. That program is one of many Ecotrust backs that empowers individuals within a system that benefits all parties involved. Via Shutterstock 5. Animal Welfare Institute AWI works on a very specific type of problem – alleviating the suffering of animals caused by people. That ranges from scientific research to agriculture and from wild to domestic life. Most recently, the organization has been working to further legislation in Congress that would phase out orcas in captivity , putting an end to the suffering exposed in the film Blackfish . Via Shutterstock 6. The Conservation Fund The Conservation Fund works hard to protect America’s most important landscapes and waterways. This nonprofit is known for stretching funds far, putting 94 percent of funds towards program costs. In all, the fund reports saving 7.5 million acres of land and water across the United States. Related: Oil-rich Rockefellers divest charitable fund from fossil fuels Via Shutterstock 7. Rainforest Alliance Rainforest Alliance has gained public recognition with their independent certification of common rainforest products, such as chocolate, coffee, bananas, and tea. Producers must meet strict sustainability standards to gain certification. The Alliance also works with foresters and the tourism industry in ecologically vulnerable areas. Their website offers consumer and traveler information, helping us work together to steward some of the most biodiverse, threatened, and globally critical habitats. For information on these and other charitable organizations, check out Charity Watch , an online directory with ratings calculated by the American Institute of Philanthropy. Lead image via Shutterstock (modified)

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7 ecological charities to support on Giving Tuesday and beyond

Rare, one-horned rhinos death terminates two-year zero-poaching streak in Nepal

September 8, 2016 by  
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A rare, one-horned rhinoceros died this week after being shot by poachers in Nepal . The death restarts the clock on the country’s two-year streak of successfully preventing rhino poaching deaths, prompting officials to consider increasing security outside the boundaries of national parks. On Tuesday, an adult male rhino reportedly succumb to his injuries after weeks of medical care at the Chitwan National Park . The endangered animal was found shot in a forest in southern Nepal in August and had started to show signs of improvement, yet the hope that he would recover from his injuries was shattered this week. Related: First baby rhino born in 25 years under community care in Kenya In May, Nepal had celebrated two years free of poaching-related rhino deaths in May of this year. The World Wildlife Fund reports there are 645 one-horned rhinos living in the country today, thanks to a coordinated national effort to patrol national parks, using software to locate poaching hot spots, and improving raid procedures. The penalty for rhino poaching in Nepal is a maximum prison term of 15 years and a fine of 100,000 rupees ($1,000 USD). Via Phys.org Images via Wikimedia , Pixabay

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Rare, one-horned rhinos death terminates two-year zero-poaching streak in Nepal

Giant pandas removed from the endangered species list in huge conservation win

September 5, 2016 by  
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Finally some good news in the animal kingdom – the giant panda has been removed from the endangered species act after significant population growth over the last decade. They are now listed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s red list. In 2009, officials declared the panda would go extinct within three generations without concerted measures to save them, according to Science Alert . Now, despite extraordinary odds, there are said to be roughly 2,060 pandas living in the wild – up 17 percent since China first instilled wide-ranging protective measures. “Evidence from a series of range-wide national surveys indicate that the previous population decline has been arrested, and the population has started to increase,” according to the updated IUCN report . “The improved status confirms that the Chinese government’s efforts to conserve this species are effective.” Related: Adorable photo of panda babies melts the internet Measures to restore the wild panda population in China include forest protection and reforestation – to ensure necessary habitat. There are now 67 reserves throughout China dedicated to preserving two thirds of the global panda population. As Science Alert notes , pandas need to eat up to 14 hours a day – or up to 27.5 pounds of bamboo – in order to survive. That combined with their poor breeding habits, particularly in captivity, makes protecting this species particularly challenging – and leaves them vulnerable to climate change. Although the population is currently increasing, climate change is predicted to eliminate more than 35 percent of the Panda’s bamboo habitat in the next 80 years, and thus the Panda population is projected to decline,” according to the report. “The threat of declining bamboo availability due to climate change could, in the near future, reverse the gains made during the last two decades.” While the future still looks bleak for pandas, it’s not the first time it has appeared this way. The challenges we still face to save this and other species, including our own, are still not insurmountable. Marco Lambertini, WWF Director General, said in a press statement, “The recovery of the panda shows that when science, political will, and engagement of local communities come together, we can save wildlife and also improve biodiversity.” Via Science Alert

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Giant pandas removed from the endangered species list in huge conservation win

3D-printed eggs could radically change how conservationists monitor endangered species

April 5, 2016 by  
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When it comes to monitoring endangered species , the less invasive the method the better. Conservationists have used camera traps and drones to gain insight into wildlife populations, but flashes and buzzes can change animal behavior. Now scientists may have just developed a less obtrusive monitoring device: a 3D-printed egg equipped with sensors. Read the rest of 3D-printed eggs could radically change how conservationists monitor endangered species

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The Heart of Denmark pavilion to bring a fiesta of light and color to the 2016 Rio Olympics

April 5, 2016 by  
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7 charities to support this holiday season

December 22, 2015 by  
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‘Tis the season of giving and all through the town, pocketbooks are jingling with the sound of spending. Hang the stockings with care, wrap up the last of the holiday gifts , and pour yourself a glass of cruelty-free vegan nog. With just a few days left on the calendar, it’s time to squeeze in a little more giving before the year is over. Charitable donations are a great opportunity to give back, helping organizations do good deeds around the globe and offering a little boost come tax time. But with thousands of nonprofit organizations asking for contributions, it can be challenging to figure out where best to send your money. To reduce your load during this already stressful time of year, we put together this charitable giving guide so you can rest assured your hard-earned cashola will help high-impact organizations that make the most of every dollar they raise. Read the rest of 7 charities to support this holiday season

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7 charities to support this holiday season

Darwin’s finches face potential extinction

December 21, 2015 by  
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The finches of the Galápagos Islands are probably best known for their role informing Darwin’s theory of evolution , but researchers say if drastic measures aren’t taken to protect these birds, they could go extinct within next 50 years. The culprit? A species of parasitic fly that first invaded the islands in the 1960s. Read the rest of Darwin’s finches face potential extinction

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China pledges to clean up its power plants after cities struggle with record-breaking smog

December 21, 2015 by  
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China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, is declaring war on air pollution. Chinese officials announced that coal-fired power plants in their country will reduce their output of pollution by 60% before 2020. Those plants that do not meet these stricter standards will be shut down. The announcement comes as Beijing struggles with day after day of thick, sun-blocking, sinus-irritating smog that has raised air pollution to twenty two times the safe limit. Read the rest of China pledges to clean up its power plants after cities struggle with record-breaking smog

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