Be for Boreal Forests


Canada’s boreal region covers almost 60 percent of the country’s land area, essentially spanning from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It is one of the largest and most complex ecosystems on the planet. PHOTO: Canada’s boreal region covers almost 60 percent of the country’s land area, essentially spanning from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It is one of the largest ecosystems on the planet. PHOTO:

Question time. What is the largest intact forest on the planet? If you guessed Amazon, firstly you aren’t the only one; more importantly, you’ll have to know the answer is the Canadian boreal forests. Here are some facts: It covers a staggering 1.5 billion acres, between 1-3 billion birds flock nest and breed here each year, it alone stores 208 billion tonnes of carbon i.e 20 years worth of the world’s emissions from burning fossil fuels, and contains 200 million acres of surface fresh water alone. Yes, that’s a lot of numbers; but they are only some of the reasons for making sure these forests stay intact.

So, whether you enjoy a morning chasing warblers in Central…

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Meet the ‘Water Man’ of India


The 2015 Stockholm Water Prize has been awarded to Rajendra Singh for his consistent attempts to improve the country's water security  PHOTO: SIWI The 2015 Stockholm Water Prize has been awarded to Rajendra Singh for his consistent attempts to improve the country’s water security PHOTO: SIWI

Twenty years ago, when 28-year-old Rajendra Singh arrived in an arid village in Rajasthan, he came with degrees in Ayurveda and Hindi and a plan to set up clinics. That’s when he was told the greatest need was not medical help but clean drinking water. Groundwater had been sucked dry by farmers, and as water disappeared, crops failed, rivers, forests and wildlife disappeared and people left for the towns. In 2008, The Guardian listed him as one of its “50 people who could save the planet”. In March 2015, he was awarded the Stockholm Water Prize, known as the Nobel Prize for water.

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France passed law making rooftop solar or gardens mandatory on new commercial buildings

The Secular Jurist

Two months ago, France passed a law that requires the rooftops of new commercial buildings to be partially (at least) covered by solar panels or plants. The law, passed back in March, was a compromise with French environmentalists and more conservative* members of society.

Continue reading:

Related story:  California’s largest lake is slipping away amid an epic drought

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A Case for the Wildebeest


According to the UNEP, wildebeest populations have declined in areas of southern and eastern Africa. PHOTO: Natural Habitat Adventures

The Great Migration of Serengeti National Park, designated a World Heritage Site, is legendary. The stars of this 1,200-mile odyssey are the wildebeest – 1.5 million of them – accompanied by 200,000 zebras. Every year is an endless journey for them, chasing the rains across 150,000 square miles of woodlands, hills and open plains. With them having firmly established their caliber as a species built literally for the long run, the migration spectacle should probably be the only space where the wildebeest find a mention. But conservation debates are hovering over these beasts – categorized as non-threatened by the IUCN – and looking at them as a keystone species.

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Galapagos volcano calms, pink iguanas safe

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This is a David Attenborough video on Galapagos pink iguanas.

From AFP news agency:

May 26, 2015

Galapagos volcano calms, pink iguanas out of danger

A volcano in the Galapagos Islands whose fiery eruption raised fears for the world’s only population of pink iguanas has calmed, sparing the unique critters from danger, officials said Tuesday.

Wolf volcano is still showing signs of activity but has died down since a tour boat to the area found it breathing tongues of fire, puffing smoke and spilling bright orange streams of lava Monday, said officials at the Galapagos National Park and Ecuador’s Geophysics Institute.

“We haven’t had any more explosions like yesterday’s, which suggests a decrease in activity. However, there are still lava flows, which is normal in these cases,” said Alexandra Alvarado of the Geophysics Institute.

The island, Isabela, is home to the only known pink land iguanas in the world…

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75% of people in Hong Kong support ivory trade ban

75% of people in Hong Kong support ivory trade ban

Wildlife News×300.jpg – As elephant poaching crisis continues, over three quarters of citizens living in key ivory market support comprehensive ban on sales
The Hong Kong public overwhelmingly supports a comprehensive ban on elephant ivory sales, according to a new survey conducted by the University of Hong Kong’s P… –

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Ring Mt. Flowers, Birds, Butterflies & Photos 5/25/15

Natural History Wanderings

Tiburon Mariposa Lily/Calochorus tiburonensis Tiburon Mariposa Lily/Calochorus tiburonensis

Ring Mountain is part of the Marin County Open Space District. It was mostly cloudy providing good light for flower photography, but fairly breezy so patience was required.

Ring Mt. is a habitat of mixed grassland and woodland as well as areas of serpentine rock. The plants are a mix of  natives and aliens. Trees and Shrubs included Coast Live Oak, Monterey Pine, Toyon, Buckeye, Bay, Coyote Bush, Blue Elderberry, and Poison Oak. Lots of alien grasses.

The goal of today’s hike was to see Calochortus tiburonensis/Tiburon Mariposa Lily which is a rare and endangered plant that is endemic to Ring Mt. There were many other plants in bloom as well. There was a fair amount of bird song when we arrived and although I was able to identify a number of the birds by sound, I am sure I missed more than a few. By the time…

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Victory! Another Major Airline Bans Hunting Trophies

Exposing the Big Game

by Alicia Graef May 19, 2015

Victory! Another Major Airline Bans Hunting Trophies
In more good news for wildlife, things just got a even harder for sport hunters looking for a way to transport their trophies home.

Emirates Airlines, the world’s largest international airline, just announced that hunting trophies will no longer be allowed and that the change would be effective immediately.

In a statement, the airline said the ban will be applied to all trophies, whether or not they’re from species protected by Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), and it will include trophies from species that aren’t currently threatened with extinction.

It further said, “This decision is to support international governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, that are managing wildlife population towards sustaining the task to eliminate illegal trade and transportation of hunting trophies worldwide and saving wildlife heritage.”

The announcement comes just weeks after South…

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India: Helping 540 turtles get back home to the wild




By Shakuntala and Debashish Majumdar, Thane SPCA


Two consignments of 540 Indian Soft Shelled Turtles (Nilssonia Gangetica)  and Spotted Pond Turtles ( Geoclemys Hamiltonii ) were seized by the Mumbai International Airport Air Intelligence Unit. All these Schedule 1 species of turtles were handed over to the Maharashtra Forest Department. The smuggling of these turtles was done in a very cruel manner, which involved packing them in zipper bags, then wrapping them in plastic bags and taping them with transparent adhesive tapes. Various wildlife offences were lodged with the jurisdictional magistrates. The judiciary then accorded its permission to release the seized wildlife in its natural environs in the respective cases.

3. RAWW volunteers cleaning Turtle Tank


Thane SPCA and RAWW (Resqink Association for Wildlife Welfare) started coordinating with the Forest Department from the very first hour of seizing the turtles, with logistical help. While RAWW assisted in the physical distribution of the turtles at Dahanu and Karnala and Thane SPCA’s wildlife veterinarian checked each of these turtles for their physical condition, Thane SPCA also admitted the sick ones to their hospital and started to co-ordinate for the most suitable spot for the release of the turtles. This would be the first interstate repatriation of rescued aquatic turtles in the country and needed intense coordination between all parties involved. Finally, Turtle Survival Alliance, an organization dedicated to saving turtles, was identified as the agency for the translocation.


The Chief Wildlife Warden and the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife), Uttar Pradesh, accorded his approval for translocation and rehabilitation of the seized turtles at Kukrail Facility, Lucknow, from where, after a suitable quarantine, the turtles would be released in the Sarayu River.

7. Packing Turtles


The translocation was carefully planned for May 23, 2015, which happens to be World Turtle Day. To prepare the turtles for the long journey tomorrow (courtesy Air India) each of them were numbered, checked by Dr Deepa Katyal, our wildlife veterinarian and packed individually in netted bags. Each turtle was adequately hydrated and kept comfortably in well ventilated crates. 23 such crates were prepared. They will be hydrated every four to five hours until their unloading at the Cargo point tomorrow. Thane SPCA is privileged to carry the turtles to the airport in their ambulance at the request of the Forest Department.

9. Packed for air lifting


Five weeks after they were seized, the turtles will swim free in their own natural habitat, thanks to the incredible example of co-operation between Government departments and the Non Governmental sector, dedicated to saving the lives of these small creatures, so vital for the health of our ecology.


We wholeheartedly thank the Deputy Conservator of Forests, Thane Shri K. Thakre and the staff of the Forest Department, the PCCF and CWW (Wildlife), Uttar Pradesh, the officers of Turtle Survival Alliance, Air India and the staff and volunteers of Thane SPCA and RAWW for making this relocation an unprecedented success.


Top photo: Howard Cheng / Wikimedia Commons / “This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.” / Spotted Pond Turtle.

Second photo: Courtesy of Thane SPCA / RAWW volunteers cleaning a turtle tank.

Third photo: Courtesy of Thane SPCA / Courtesy of Thane SPCA / Counting, numbering and packing the turtles.

Fourth photo: Courtesy of Thane SPCA / Turtles all packed and ready for airlift.


To visit the website of Thane SPCA, click here 


To visit the Facebook page of RAWW, click here 


Travels with a rock art guardian

Echoes in the Mist


By Suzanne Cordrey

I was invited to travel with a friend who is one of the “guardians” of the most ancient rock art paintings in the United States. I had no idea what I was going to see nor that it even existed when I just felt that old familiar pull from within that said “Go with her.”

Truth be told, I have not been to many places in Texas since I moved here. The only thing I knew was that we were headed for the Mexican border. Lots of emotion around that, since Texas has had such a big influx of illegals, including lots of children on trains from all over central America.  Such heartbreak, trauma, families torn apart, and such divisive opinions amongst the people here. We had been told that the cabin we were to stay in had been broken into by illegals just a couple of weeks ago. Feeling’ real safe…

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