August 12 is World Elephant Day

I was alerted to this fact by an email from the National Wildlife Federation. This has apparently been held on the same day, more or less, since 2012.

This is good to know. It helps us pause and think about how we can help elephants. Here are a few simple things you and I can do:

  1. NEVER, ever, buy IVORY. Do you have anything made of ivory? No excuses. Just destroy it. Do not accept any gifts with ivory under any circumstances. Do not help or promote events or people who believe ivory ought to be traded.
  2. Be responsible in how you buy and consume things in general. Do not support organizations that openly or deceptively destroy ecosystems to make products. This is not just for elephants.
  3. Reduce, reuse and recycle. Again, this is not specific to elephants, and generally a good way to help wildlife of all manner.
  4. Elephants are extremely intelligent species that only belong in the wild. Not in temples or zoos. Do not support temples or zoos that host elephants, under any circumstances. A zoo that may house an elephant that cannot survive in the wild is acceptable, but this is very rare. Zoos are the carnivals of the 21st century, essentially, agents of cruelty.
  5. Go on a safari. Visit elephants in the wild, safely and only through ethical tourist agents. The more you support local economies through tourism, the safer the pachyderms and others in their environment will be!
  6. Make children aware of the importance of conservation from as early an age as possible. This is very important. On that note, see this contest that the Elephant Day people are holding for young children:

For students age 9 – 18, here is a contest that might win them a trip to Africa!

Follow this link for details: https://www.everyelephantcountscontest.org/?s_email_id=20170812_ECO_ENG_EveryElephant%7CSLLBot

Go out there. Do your part. Participate in conservation, travel and see these marvels of nature!

References:

  1. National Wildlife Federation: http://www.nwf.org/
  2. World Elephant Day: http://worldelephantday.org/
  3. Photo, Courtesy Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/nature-africa-animals-zoo-33394/

An Interesting Crowdfunded Conservation/Observation Project in New Zealand

 

I may probably never go to New Zealand. However, as a sign of the times we live in, I know, that just like any other island, they have a highly sensitive ecosystem with some very rare, nearly extinct birds. A few weeks ago, I came across a very interesting project, that was simply impossible to pass up and so I joined in the crowdfunding, at a very minor level. I wanted to blog about the project and highlight it back then, but I got busy writing a paper, traveling and such. However, when they sent me the usual Kickstarter survey, I thought at least for posterity I should blog now.

I am going to link the Kickstarter page below, and urge you to spend some time going through this very interesting, useful and model project. It allows for non-native species such as rats and possums to be trapped and (I assume) exterminated. You should understand non-native species can wreak havoc over native species, as they are doing in New Zealand, and while all life is precious, sometimes, solid measures are needed.

The idea though is great in many ways:

  1. It automates trapping, notification etc.
  2. It puts traps on a long term maintenance schedule, freeing staff to do more important work rather than walk to each trap, etc. Infrequent maintenance also means cost savings!
  3. It allows “investors” or backers like me, to gain a sense of ownership on the project.
  4. As mentioned before, it can be replicated, crowdfunded and established elsewhere in the world, where sensitive ecology needs such traps and investment.

There are obviously other benefits small and large you can imagine for such a trapping system. That is why, I absolutely love this project. They have successfully raised money and have further unlocked a second sanctuary option, to install these devices in.

Congratulations to the team. I hope we get to see more such projects elsewhere on the planet!

Reference:

  1. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2041721565/squawk-squad-saving-new-zealands-native-birds

Opinion: A new model for conservation is needed

As a photographer, also dabbling in ecology and conservation, I spend a lot of time wondering about preservation and conservation of resources and biodiversity. Naturally, the model propagated by the United States, stands out, owing to the fact that it was the first nation to create a National Park System, and ostensibly has the largest system of conservation on the planet.

Recent events, (and I know, since everyone is tiring of the discussions, I am going to assume you have kept yourself well abreast, and so will ignore repeating here), though, have shown that democracy itself in the US is full of holes like on a loaf of bread, and therefore the US model of conservation, is imperfect, and prone to distortion through avarice and political motivations.

I felt tempted to put this down in a post, as I embark on the search for a stronger, more sound model of conservation – one that invites preservationists, recreation-ally inclined folks (hunters, if you will), photographers, parents (those who wish to see their progeny enjoy what we are still able to). The model may as well be imperfect, but should be better than what we have now.

I will try to post thoughts on this model I hope, in the future, will weather changing political hues, business goals and just plain greed to help preserve a slice of this planet and her resources for the future.

Thoughts and comments are of course, welcome!

Conservation in California died a little – Charles Lester fired despite public pleas, petitions and outcry

Tis-sa-ack Beckons!

Yesterday I posted a petition defending Dr. Charles Lester, the now fired Executive Director of the California Coastal Commission. Today, I posted a brief update, with a link to the hearing, I watched along with millions of Californians.

It is apparent that due to political reasons and/or commercial development pressure, the California Coastal Commission tried hard to fire Dr. Charles Lester who has been very good at his job for all appearances, including some of the 12 commissioners themselves.

Insolence on Display

On top of all this, I saw dozens of people make impassioned pleas for the commission to renege on its decision. All was to no avail. Ranging from what appeared to be an extremely conservative commissioner who tried to picture Fort Bragg as a “very rural community” (the place has multiple multi-hundred dollar hotels, “coastal” McDonalds, Shell Gas Stations, Round Table Pizzas, Motel 6s, 8s and what not), to a guy who seemed more comfortable in a Manhattan Island conference room with his swanky Mac, the commissioners spoke about how they, and not the man they were firing were the true protectors of California’s Coastline and some changes they offered to exactly ONE project was the apparent evidence.

Absent was, any public opposition to Dr. Lester himself.

Also, that one Macintosh toting commissioner led into one or two of the nonprofits working to defend Dr. Lester.

Conclusion

Today, i experienced first hand, that California may seem very environment friendly, but darker forces have a much tighter grip on the state than the voices of close to a million Californians who spoke up today. Our battle, is now long and hard, and I really hope there is a concerted effort to improve on Proposition 20, to de-fang the California Coastal Commissioners.

Reference: 

http://content.sierraclub.org/press-releases/2016/02/sierra-club-statement-ca-coastal-commission-fires-executive-director-dr

Quick Update: Watch California Coastal Commission Hearing

https://ca.nextgenclimate.org/california-coastal-commission/?utm_campaign=aw_ca_cacoastal&utm_source=fb&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=cacoastalcommission

My last post asked you to sign a petition helping support Dr. Lester, the Executive Director, who may potentially become the victim of Governor Jerry Brown’s treacherous support of selfish developers.

They are predominantly being asked to support Dr. Lester and to hold their deliberations in public.

Will they?

The commission hearing
is here. Watch now!

http://www.cal-span.org/State_Webcast/stream_index.php?agency=CCC&captioned=false&player=jwplayer

Help Conserve the California Coast

Stretching over a 1,000 miles, at least large swathes of the California Coast have stayed protected. Of course, up North, we have a Walmart along the coast and I saw a Safeway down South. If you thought that is disgusting, political and commercial forces are moving to remove an Executive Director who has stood for the Coast, and to maintain its ruddy nature for future generations to enjoy.

Even in a State conscious of conservation such as California, those with money are always attacking (and in many cases succeeding) in completely destroying environments in places like the San Francisco Bay Area. Please stand by nature and help fight back. All you have to do, at a minimum that is, is to sign a petition, so that we don’t end up with even more Burger Joints and Warehouses on the ocean. Click on the image or the link below to sign the petition by Next Gen Climate Change:

https://ca.nextgenclimate.org/california-coastal-commission/?utm_campaign=aw_ca_cacoastal&utm_source=fb&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=cacoastalcommission

The Link to the Petition: https://ca.nextgenclimate.org/california-coastal-commission/?utm_campaign=aw_ca_cacoastal&utm_source=fb&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=cacoastalcommission

Learning Tools: Helping Winter Birds!

I found something cool worth sharing. The Audubon Society (link below image) has some very interesting information and advice on how to help migrating Winter Birds. What I found fascinating is that, in California’s Central Valley, there is as much variety of birds in winter as in summer, all owing to migration! Happy Reading: Audobon

Link: http://www.audubon.org/news/how-welcome-winter-birds

Simple Steps – Please sign a petition to ban pesticides

The Center for Biological Diversity has a Care2.com petition asking you to sign a petition urging the ban on a class of pesticides called “anti-coagulant” pesticides, which can harm pets and other wildlife including Mountain Lions.

Here is the link: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/263/988/539/

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/263/988/539/

Reference

  1. Center for Biological Diversityhttp://www.biologicaldiversity.org/