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New census critical for mountain gorillas in Virunga
A new census of mountain gorillas in the Virunga Massif will help gauge the impact of conservation work in the area and play a vital role in guiding future efforts to safeguard the critically endangered great ape and its fragile and restricted habitat.
Led by the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (GVTC) and supported by Fauna & Flora International (FFI) & WWF through the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP) and other partners, the count is the first since 2010 when it was estimated that there were 480 mountain gorillas in the 451 km2 Virunga Massif.
This site, which spans DRC, Rwanda and Uganda, is one of just two places where this gorilla subspecies is still found.
"Mountain gorilla numbers have been rising steadily in the Virunga Massif for the past two decades thanks to the dedicated work of rangers, conservationists and neighboring community members, and collaborative efforts by the three range States," says Anna Behm Masozera, IGCP director. "We are hopeful that the census will confirm that this trend is continuing, despite ongoing threats to the gorillas and their habitat."
#Virunga #gorillas #apes #Africa
Image: Mountain gorilla in Virunga National Park, by Fanny Schertzer ... See MoreSee Less
2 hours ago ·
Poaching threatens Mali's rare desert elephants: U.N. mission
About a fifth of Mali's rare desert elephants have been killed this year as ivory poachers exploit a security vacuum in the country's north, the United Nations said on Thursday.
At least 57 elephants died between January and June among the West African country's only herd of around 300 animals, the U.N. peacekeeping mission MINUSMA said in a statement.
"(The poached elephants) represent about 20 percent of the remaining (Malian) population and were killed in areas where insecurity is present," MINUSMA said, adding that forest rangers were frequently targeted by Islamist jihadists.
The WILD Foundation, which helps protect Mali's northern Gourma herd, estimates that around 90 of the mammals have been killed since late 2014.
Tens of thousands of elephants once roamed the savannahs stretching between West Africa's shores and the Nile basin but poaching and habitat loss have dramatically cut their numbers.
Full story at uk.reuters.com/article/2015/10/08/us-mali-elephants-idUKKCN0S233420151008
#Mali #Africa #elephants #ivory #poaching
Image: Desert elephants in Mali, via Save The Elephants ... See MoreSee Less
2 hours ago ·
Indonesia Loses up to $9b From Timber Clearing: KPK
Jakarta: Unreported forest clearing cost Indonesia up to $9 billion between 2003 and 2014 in lost timber royalties ̶ about three times the royalties it actually received, an investigation by the country's main anti-graft agency showed on Friday.
An eight-month investigation by the country's Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) estimated the value of the lost timber at up to $81 billion, with the cleared land often used for growing crops or mining.
A copy of its report, seen by Reuters and due to be handed to government ministers on Friday, will put further pressure on President Joko Widodo who has been criticized by green groups and other Southeast Asian nations on forestry policy and for failing to stop the annual "haze" problem from forest-burning.
* Want to know more about this issue? Read EIA's 'Permitting Crime: How palm oil expansion drives illegal logging in Indonesia' at ht.ly/TcGhX
"Where does the money go ̶ it goes to the corrupters," Dian Patria, group head of corruption prevention for natural resources at the KPK told Reuters. "It could be $9 billion, it could be more, because these are quite conservative figures.
"This is not only a corruption issue, it's also about the long-term environmental impact."
Home to the world's third-largest tropical forests and a major palm oil and pulp and paper producer, Indonesia will be in the spotlight at the UN's climate change conference in Paris in December.
Unregulated land clearing has long been a problem in the country, which lost 1.5 million hectares of tree cover last year, up from 1.1 million hectares in 2013.
The KPK report cited ineffective law enforcement, inaccurate production data and auditing by timber plantations, a lack of transparency on royalties data within government ministries, and poor coordination between central and regional governments as causes for the lost timber revenue.
Full story at jakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/indonesia-loses-9b-timber-clearing-kpk/
#Indonesia #forests #corruption
Image: A Moi tribesman in West Papua contemplates the devastation wrought on ancestral forests by oil palm expansion (c) EIA ... See MoreSee Less
2 hours ago ·