Friday, January 16, 2009

Turtle Love Goes Beyond the Grave [CNN]



Stop the Slaughter of Sea Turtles in Bali!
Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles are killed in Bali each year...


The Island of Bali in Indonesia has been the hub of the sea turtle trade for two decades. The buyers of turtle meat, shells and eggs are mainly found in the Asian markets as well as in Indonesia itself. Turtle meat and eggs are not going to feed the poor, instead they are a privilege of affluent societies. Turtle shell is being used for jewellery and ornaments for tourists... all unnecessary objects, for which hundreds of thousands of turtles have to lose their lives.

All eight species of sea turtles are threatened with extinction and therefore strictly protected by CITES, the Convention of International Trade of Endangered Species. Nevertheless, the number of animals - who have inhabited our oceans for over 150 million years - is constantly declining. Until four years ago, in Bali alone, an average of 25,000 sea turtles a year were brutally cut out of their shells alive! As a result of several action and campaigns by Indonesian and European animal welfare organizations, this number has dropped to around 3000 a year.


DivePhotoGuide is a strong supporter of the SOS Sea Turtle campaign, and we ask you our loyal readers, as champions of the ocean and its inhabitants to sign the petition to let the Indonesia government know that we want this stopped, forever.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Man Decides Disabled Dog Rabid, Shoots and Decapitates It

A Standfordville, NY man, Stanley Jablonka, 50, decided a dog that belonged to a friend staying with his family was potentially rabid and rather than turn to authorities, he took matters into his own hands shot the dog then decapitated it.

The 3-year-old Great Dane, Humphry, belonged to Tracey Sturgess, his ex-wife’s sister who was staying with Jablonka while he fixed her car so she could be on her way to California. Not only was Humphry up to date on his shots, he was also blind and deaf and chained up in the garage at night where the atrocity took place.

Jablonka’s brother, Michael said the dog was aggressive and was barking at him and had him pinned.

When Jablonka was told he decided the dog probably had rabies so he shot him and being the real brainiac figured he had to chop the poor dog’s head off so it could get tested for rabies, even though Tracy had shown him Humphry’s up to date vaccination prior to that.

Sturgess said that Jablonka’s brother woke her up around midnight Sunday and told her there was a problem with her dog. She rushed out only to find a pool of blood but no dog and that was when they told her they had shot Humpgry and cut off his head.

“[Stanley] tried to say that the dog went after his brother,” she said, “but they shot the dog at the end of the chain. He was chained.”

“It’s a horrible act of violence,” Joyce Garrity, executive director of the DCSPCA said. “I’m extremely distressed.”

Just imagine, a blind and deaf dog, chained, in an unfamiliar environment, now would you expect he would probably be scared and wary, especially when people he doesn’t know come around him. By all accounts, Humphry was known as a friendly and non-aggressive dog. Sturgess said Humphry was well known in her previous hometown of Woodstock as being a sweetheart.

Even if for some reason the dog was acting aggressive, he was chained. A normal, sane person would have just stayed away from the dog and gotten the owner to deal with the situation, not resort to such a heinous act or they could have called animal control or the police.

Early Sunday morning police arrested and charged Jablonka with a misdemeanor violation of the state’s Agriculture and Markets Law. A misdemeanor! He shot and decapitated a defenseless, disabled dog!

What the hell is this world coming to?

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

SPECIES: Palm oil frenzy threatens to wipe out orangutans : North County Times - Californian

SPECIES: Palm oil frenzy threatens to wipe out orangutans : North County Times - Californian

SPECIES: Palm oil frenzy threatens to wipe out orangutans
- Palm oil frenzy threatens to wipe out the primates

TANJUNG PUTING NATIONAL PARK, Indonesia ---- Hoping to unravel the mysteries of human origin, anthropologist Louis Leakey sent three young women to Africa and Asia to study our closest relatives: It was chimpanzees for Jane Goodall, mountain gorillas for Dian Fossey and the elusive, solitary orangutans for Birute Mary Galdikas.

Nearly four decades later, Galdikas, 62, the least famous of his "angels," is the only one still at it. And the red apes she studies in Indonesia are on the verge of extinction because forests are being clear-cut and burned to make way for lucrative palm oil plantations.

Galdikas worries many questions may never be answered. How long do orangutans live in the wild? How far do the males roam? And how many mates do they have in their lifetime?

"I try not to get depressed, I try not to get burned out," says the Canadian scientist, pulling a wide-rimmed jungle hat over her shoulder-length gray hair in Tanjung Puting National Park. She gently leans over to pick up a tiny orangutan, orphaned when his mother was caught raiding crops.

"But when you get up in the air you start gasping in horror; there's nothing but palm oil in an area that used to be plush rain forest. Elsewhere, there's burned-out land, which now extends even within the borders of the park."

The demand for palm oil is rising in the U.S. and Europe because it is touted as a "clean" alternative to fuel. Indonesia is the world's top producer of palm oil, and prices have jumped by almost 70 percent in the last year.

But palm oil plantations devastate the forest and create a monoculture on the land, in which orangutans cannot survive. Over the years, Galdikas has fought off loggers, poachers and miners, but nothing has posed as great a threat to her "babies" as palm oil.

There are only an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 orangutans left in the wild, 90 percent of them in Indonesia, said Serge Wich, a scientist at the Great Ape Trust of Iowa. Most live in small, scattered populations that cannot take the onslaught on the forests much longer.

Trees are being cut at a rate of 300 football fields every hour. And massive land-clearing fires have turned the country into one of the top emitters of carbon.

One of her main projects today is her rehabilitation center in a village outside Tanjung Puting, overflowing with more than 300 animals orphaned when their mothers were killed by palm oil plantation workers.

With forests disappearing, the red apes raid crops, grabbing freshly planted shoots from the fields.

"Many come in very badly wounded, suffering from malnutrition, psychological and emotional and even physical trauma," says Galdikas, as she watches members of her staff prepare six young orangutans for release one overcast Saturday afternoon.

It is a three-hour journey along bumpy roads to the release site. By the time they arrive, it is raining and the last gray light is feebly pushing its way through the deep canopy of trees.

After years of being cared for, fed and taught the ways of the woods, the young orangutans scramble nimbly to the tops of trees. Branches snap as they make their nests for the night.

"It is getting harder and harder to find good, safe forest in which to free them," says Galdikas, who today spends half her time in Indonesia and most of the rest teaching at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

Forestry Minister Malem Kaban says the government is committed to protecting Indonesia's dense, primary forests and that no permit should be granted within a half-mile of a national park. Even so, one palm oil company has started clearing trees within Tanjung Puting's northern perimeter, leaving a wasteland of churned-up peat and charred trunks. Four others are seeking concessions along its eastern edge.

Derom Bangun, executive chairman of the Indonesian Palm Oil Association, says while his 300 members have vowed to stay clear of national parks, others have been known to operate within areas that should be off-limits. Sometimes it is not their fault, he notes, pointing to the need for better coordination between central and local government on border issues.

Galdikas, a passionate field researcher, says one of her great regrets is that she does not share Goodall's skills in raising awareness and funds for the great apes. But she is happy Tanjung Puting has over the years grown into a popular tourist destination. She says there's no better advertisement for conservation than being in a rain forest.

Some visitors are even lucky enough to come face to face with an orangutan on a slippery jungle trail.

"As he passes you, you nod and he nods back to you and continues on his way," she says, adding that when you look into the eyes of a great ape, it instantly becomes clear that there is no separation between humans and nature.

"If they go extinct, we will have one less kin to call our own in this world," says Galdikas, who is also president of the Los Angeles-based Orangutan Foundation International. "And do we really want to be alone on this planet?"

More Stories:--> OrangutansLastStand

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Planet Earth - Earth Sciences for Society

Planet Earth - Earth Sciences for Society

International Year of Planet Earth 2007-2009

The International Year of Planet Earth aims to capture people’s imagination with the exciting knowledge we possess about our planet, and to see that knowledge used to make the Earth a safer, healthier and wealthier place for our children and grandchildren International Year of Planet Earth 2007-2009

What is the International Yearof Planet Earth?The International इयर of Planet Earth aims to ensure greater and more effective use by society of the knowledge accumulated by the world’s 400,000 Earth scientists। थे इयर ’s ultimate goal of helping to build safer, healthier and wealthier societies around the globe is expressed in the इयर ’s subtitle ‘Earth science for Society’।

The International Year runs from January 2007 to December 2009, the central year of the triennium (2008) having been proclaimed by the UN General Assembly as the UN Year. The UN sees the Year as a contribution to their sustainable development targets as it promotes wise (sustainable) use of Earth materials and encourages better planning and management to reduce risks for the world’s inhabitants.
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