The World Wildlife Fund, in collaboration with Global Footprint Network and Zoological Society London, has released its 2012 Living Planet Report.
The findings are less than optimal. The study shows that:
Biodiversity declined 30% between 1978 and 2008.
We currently use 1.5 planets’ worth of natural resources to support our activities. It is projected that by 2030, two planets would not support our rate of consumption.
High income countries use five times the amount of natural resources as low income countries.
But there are steps we can take to change this destructive path. The report suggests:
Preserving and restoring biodiversity.
Optimizing our food production by reducing waste, using better seeds and cultivation techniques, restoring degraded land, and lowering meat consumption and reducing food waste in high income countries.
Conserving water with smarter irrigation techniques and planning.
Using clean, abundant energy sources like wind and sunlight, as well as increasing the energy efficiency of our buildings, factories, and cars.
In February 2010, we posted about Ratu, a rare Sumatran rhino, being pregnant. Unfortunately, she miscarried after two months. However, the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia has announced that Ratu is pregnant again! Currently, she is in her eleventh month of gestation. Her pregnancy will most likely last another four or five months.
To help prevent Ratu from miscarrying again, sanctuary staff give her a hormone supplement daily. Within the sanctuary, she is free to roam and graze in a large forested area with natural plants and mud, just as she would in the wild.
Ratu was originally a wild rhino. She was taken into the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary, which offers 250 acres of protected land, after coming in contact with villagers nearby. Andalas, who mated with Ratu last year to produce this recent pregnancy, was a captively-bred rhino from the Cincinnati Zoo.
Sumatran rhinos are in grave danger of becoming extinct. According to the International Rhino Foundation:
The Sumatran rhino is one of the world’s most critically endangered species, numbering no more than 200 individuals in Indonesia and Malaysia. The species is seriously threatened by the continuing loss of its tropical forest habitat and hunting pressure from poachers, who kill rhinos for their valuable horns. Every Sumatran rhino birth – in the wild, in a zoo or in a special sanctuary – represents hope for the survival of this species, which runs the risk of going extinct by the end of this century.
Did you know you can FedEx a panda? On January 15, two pandas named Huan Huan and Yuan Zi, who were born at the famous Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, boarded a specially-chartered Boeing 777F flight known as the “FedEx Panda Express.”
During the non-stop flight to Paris, France (5,489 miles away), the pair of pandas passed the time snoozing and eating bamboo in custom-built enclosures. They were accompanied by a Chinese veterinarian and animal handler as well as the managing director from ZooParc de Beauval, their new home.
(Click image for larger PDF of the infographic.)
FedEx Express has a long history of transporting rare and delicate cargo, including other pandas, polar bears, white tigers, elephants, penguins, mountain lions, gorillas, eagles, and even a 13-foot tiger shark used in filming the movie “Jaws.”
For more information about Huan Huan and Yuan Zi’s trip, see the FedEx Blog.
To learn more about pandas, see Animal Fact Guide’s article, Giant Panda.
A mother leopard grooms her cub. You can help big cats like these with "Trick-or-Treat for Big Cats".
This Halloween, you can make the holiday extra special by helping big cats! National Geographic has organized a campaign called Trick-or-Treat for Big Cats, which encourages kids to collect donations for National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative as they trick-or-treat.
According to Alexander Moen, VP of Explorer Programs at the National Geographic Society, “The Big Cats Initiative is working with scientists and conservationists around the world to halt the decline of these iconic animals. By supporting their work, together we can ensure that future generations won’t talk about big cats the way we now talk about dinosaurs.”
Free Trick-or-Treat for Big Cats collection boxes are available at Pottery Barn Kids stores nationwide, participating schools, National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at causeanuproar.org, where people can request boxes sent directly to homes, schools, clubs and other community locations.
Everyone who participates is eligible to receive a thank-you gift, including magazine subscriptions, apparel and digital downloads (eligibility based on the amount of funds submitted by November 30, 2011). Detailed information on gifts and how to participate can be found at www.causeanuproar.org.
Semeru, a zoo-born Sumatran orangutan, will be released into a national park in Indonesia to help save the species from extinction.
Semeru, a six-year-old male Sumatran orangutan who was born and raised in the Perth Zoo in Australia, will be released into Bukit Tigapulah National Park in Sumatra, Indonesia.
Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered in the wild, and Semeru’s introduction into the park would increase the genetic diversity of the orangutan population there.
To ensure Semeru will be able to survive in the wild after living his whole life only in captivity, zoo keepers and veterinarians spent a year preparing him for the transition.
According to Environment Minister Bill Marmion, “Semeru will be closely monitored and supported on a daily basis with two dedicated trackers for two years and longer if necessary while he adjusts to life in the forest.
“Semeru’s pre-release preparation has included the introduction of Indonesian fruits, enrichment items to sharpen his foraging skills and access to a large fig tree to increase his fitness and hone his climbing and nest-making skills.
“Semeru has also been fitted with a radio transmitter implant which will help trackers monitor him in the dense terrain of Bukit Tigpauluh.”
Sumatran tiger cub at Oklahoma City Zoo. (Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman and Newsok)
The Oklahoma City Zoo recently put its four Sumatran tiger cubs, which were born on July 9, out for public display. According to Oklahoma City Zoo’s Mammal Curator Laura Bottaro, “These beautiful cats are a critically endangered species and every birth enables us to further the health and conservation of the species.” In the wild, Sumatran tigers live on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and are the smallest subspecies of tiger. To learn more about the Sumatran tiger cubs, see the Oklahoma City Zoo website.
The Toledo Zoo is proud to announce the arrival of two Amur tiger cubs, which were born September 26. They will go on public display in January. Amur tigers (aka Siberian tigers) are endangered and reside in a small region in southeast Russia. They are also located in small numbers in China and North Korea. Amur tigers are the largest subspecies of tiger. To learn more about Amur tigers, see Animal Fact Guide’s article, Siberian Tiger. To learn more about the new tiger cubs, see the Toledo Zoo website.
September 22nd, 2011 is World Rhino Day! Rhinos around the world are in trouble, with only 27,000 rhinos left. The main cause for the population decline is from poachers, who sell the horns for Asian medicines.
However, according to Susie Ellis, executive director of the International Rhino Foundation, the world rhino populations can still be saved if we can find ways to stop poaching.
“After so much effort and funding has been ploughed into rhino protection in Africa, we cannot lose the momentum. We look to each country’s national authorities to hold up their side of our shared commitment to conserve rhinos,” Ellis asserted in a press release.
“We know how to bring these species numbers back up. But we have to get poaching and other human-induced losses under control. Along with all of our partners, we hope to call attention to the good, the bad and the hopeful news through World Rhino Day this Thursday.”