Hedgehogs now a rare garden sight as British populations continue to decline

GR: Worth noting that even in developed countries with slowing population growth, wildlife decline continues. In Britain, many people do small things to make their gardens more wildlife friendly. However, habitat loss and farming continue to cut carrying capacity for most wildlife species. Hedgehog and other species’ declines are accelerating, suggesting that many wildlife populations are no longer self-sustaining and are falling toward extinction. The Guardian story below includes ideas and links for steps to take to support wildlife. Unfortunately, it does not mention the big step, human population control. Without drastic efforts to cut our needs and begin returning the land and seas to their natural state, most of Earth’s wildlife species will disappear (more on human population impact).

Britain’s hedgehog population has dropped from an estimated 30 million in the 1950s to fewer than one million today. Photograph: Rebecca Cole/Alamy

“The plight of the hedgehog in Britain appears to be worsening, with a new survey revealing a further decline in garden sightings.

“The spiky creature was once a common sight, with the population estimated at 30 million in the 1950s. But that has plummeted to fewer than one million today, with a third of this loss thought to have taken place in the past decade.

“The latest survey, conducted with more than 2,600 people by BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, found that 51% of people did not see a hedgehog at all in 2016, up from 48% in 2015. Just 12% saw a hedgehog regularly.

“The poll’s result is in line with an in-depth analysis in 2015 by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species which found urban populations of hedgehogs had fallen by up to a third since 2000 and rural populations had declined by at least a half. Results from a citizen science survey run by the RSPB in June 2016 also revealed a falling number of sightings.

“The decline is not entirely understood but the main factors are thought to be the loss of their habitat in Britain’s towns and countryside – where farming has intensified – as well as road deaths. The fragmentation of habitat is also a problem as hedgehogs roam up to a mile every night to look for food and mates. A possible rise in badger numbers, which can eat hedgehogs, has also been suggested as a possible cause.” –Damian Carrington (More: Hedgehogs now a rare garden sight as British populations continue to decline | Environment | The Guardian.)

Human habitat destruction is decimating giraffe populations

GR: The needs and desires of humans cause extinction, pollution, desertification, ocean acidification, and global warming. Failure is certain if we tackle any or all of these without first working to reduce the human population.

“In a year filled with many…memorable…milestones, 2016 closed with a truly depressing one, as giraffes were added to a list of “vulnerable” species headed towards eventual extinction for the first time. Their numbers have declined precipitously over the last three decades, according to a report released by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, which maintains endangered species lists.

“The culprit? You guessed it—human population pressures.

“Habitat destruction due to human activity—such as logging, farming, and armed conflicts—is pushing giraffe populations to the breaking point throughout the African continent. An ever-expanding human population, largely unchecked due to a huge unmet need for family planning, is having a frighteningly damaging effect on these majestic animals.

“U.S. funding of international family planning programs has the greatest impact in the developing world, where women desperately want to limit their family size but lack the means to do so. All ten of the countries with the highest total fertility rates are currently located on the African continent. Home to some of the world’s most iconic wildlife, these nations are struggling to meet the needs of their human inhabitants while protecting the natural habitats that these animals depend on.

“And sadly, the implementation of the Global Gag Rule has thrown another huge obstacle into the path of slowing population growth throughout the developing world. It deeply undermines progress made towards smaller families and more sustainable communities. Humans and wildlife alike will suffer the consequences if we don’t keep fighting to make international family planning a funding priority.+ –Natalie Widel (Source: Human habitat destruction is decimating giraffe populations.)

2016: Another fatal year for elephants

GR:  With great sorrow, we watch as poachers eliminate elephants from the Earth.

HAMBURG, Germany, Dec. 22, 2016 — Elephants continued to be slaughtered for their ivory this year. More than 18 tons of illegal ivory, plus 949 elephant tusks and more than 3,000 pieces were reportedly seized in 2016, with at least 15 large seizures in excess of 500 kilograms. Most large shipments were intercepted in Vietnam, although huge amounts were also found in Malaysia, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan, Spain, Austria and Germany.

“It is a sad fact that practically no day goes by without dozens of elephants being killed by poachers and every single week this year enforcers discovered illegal ivory somewhere in the world,” said Rikkert Reijnen, Director of the Wildlife Trade Program for International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). “And this is just the tip of the iceberg as only a small fraction of the illegal ivory on the market is being intercepted.” –International Fund for Animals (Continue Reading:  2016: Another fatal year for elephants)

NPR Poo-Poos Catastrophic Wildlife Collapse; Issues Happy Pills Instead

GR:  I have often lamented the lack of ecological knowledge among our leaders and news media.  Here’s a story by Joe Bish that illustrates the problem of ignorance among reporters.

“If you are like me, you may often wonder why such a great percentage of your fellow citizens do not fully appreciate the ecological crisis. But then, you read a report such as published by NPR below: this odious gem was printed in the wake of the recent World Wildlife Fund Living Planet Report.

“I initially guffawed at the temerity of the reporter to sow doubt about the massive publication’s authenticity, mangle Stuart Pimm’s sentiments, and finally force-feed the reader a good dose of artificial happy pills. However, the more I read the article, the more insidious it became — for the simple reason it just does not convey the dire nature of what WWF published. It’s simply terrible reporting — and therein, perhaps, is one reason so few truly grasp the predicament we face. Recall this is an NPR story that probably reached multiple millions of people.

“The reporter, Rebecca Hersher, seems to have plenty of experience — see below — just hardly any that pertains to ecology. Therefore, she is left with the standard artifice of modern journalism: to manufacture controversy and look for “another point of view.”

“NOTE: Hersher came to NPR from Nature Medicine, where she wrote about biomedicine and pharmaceuticals, and started her career in science, with a B.A. in Neurobiology from Harvard University in 2011. She has been a staff member of NPR’s All Things Considered. She was one of the producers of NPR’s Peabody-winning coverage of the 2014 Liberia Ebola epidemic (work that won her the Edward R. Murrow award for use of sound.) During her time at NPR, she also embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan on an assignment with NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman.”–Joe Bish, Population Media Center (NPR Poo-Poos Catastrophic Wildlife Collapse; Issues Happy Pills Instead).

Living Planet Report 2016

GR:  The Living Planet Index, which measures abundance levels of 14,152 monitored populations of 3,706 vertebrate species, continues to show a downward trend. On average, monitored species declined by 58% between 1970 and 2012.  The report ties the decline to humans and human population growth.  Authors of the report struggle to find optimism to share, but they do not directly deal with population. Unless we begin to cut our population, the continuing loss of wildlife is inevitable.

“The Living Planet Report documents the state of the planet—including biodiversity, ecosystems, and demand on natural resources—and what it means for humans and wildlife. Published by WWF every two years, the report brings together a variety of research to provide a comprehensive view of the health of the earth.

“What’s the status of some animal populations?

“Populations of vertebrate animals—such as mammals, birds, and fish—have declined by 58% between 1970 and 2012. And we’re seeing the largest drop in freshwater species: on average, there’s been a whopping 81% decline in that time period.

“- 38 % The terrestrial LPI shows that populations have declined by thirty-eight percent overall between 1970 and 2012.

“- 81 % The freshwater LPI shows that on average the abundance of populations monitored in the freshwater system has declined by eighty-one percent between 1970 and 2012.

“- 36 % The marine LPI shows a thirty-six percent overall decline between 1970 and 2012.

“This loss of wildlife is startling, and people are at risk, too. Without action, the Earth will become much less hospitable for all of us. We must consider our impact on nature as we make development, economic, business, and lifestyle choices. A shared understanding of the link between humanity and nature is essential to making profound changes that will allow all life to thrive for generations to come.” — Living Planet Report 2016 | Pages | WWF

Bushmeat Demand Overwhelming “Supply” of 301 Mammal Species

GR:  We praise indigenous people for their reverence for nature. The study discussed here shows how population growth and evolving social values have erased the reverence.

“You might rejoice at having some habitat remaining, say a pristine forest, but if is hunted out to become an empty larder, it is a pyrrhic victory.”

“A team of authors recently published a new study in The Royal Society Open Science journal with the title, “Bushmeat hunting and extinction risk to the world’s mammals.” The work shows how bushmeat hunting (mostly for food and medicinal products) is driving a global crisis whereby 301 terrestrial mammal species are threatened with human-induced extinction.

“The abstract notes that nearly all of these threatened species occur in developing countries where major coexisting threats include deforestation, agricultural expansion, human encroachment and competition with livestock. You can click here to read the full study.

“At the beginning of their solution section, the authors write: “Growing human populations, increasing middle-class wealth, access to hunting technologies in developing nations and the modern ease of transporting goods around the planet are facilitating a global demand for wild animals as food and other products that simply cannot be met by current global wildlife populations.”Joe Bish, Population Media Center.

The study: Bushmeat Demand Overwhelming “Supply” of 301 Mammal Species

Eco-Sabotage is Planetary Self-Defense | Deep Green Resistance Blog

Max Wilbert and other members of Deep Green Resistance Seattle participated in a May “ShellNO” protest against Shell’s arctic drilling rig. Their display of signs reading “Sabotage the Machine” and “Eco-Sabotage is Planetary Self-Defense” attracted a lot of attention. Elliot Stoller conducted a short video interview in which Wilbert explains his concern about ineffective tactics and strategies in the face of dramatic threats to biodiversity, climate, and social justice.

Wilbert discusses DGR’s radical evaluation of systems of power and what might actually work to alter their destructive course: targeting critical communication, electrical, and oil infrastructures, and addresses some common questions about what that means for the safety of activists who undertake such work, and what sort of life humans can live without the comforts and elegancies of industrial civilization.  Sourced through Scoop.it from: deepgreenresistance.blogspot.com

GR:  In this video (http://bit.ly/1MA5av2) Wilbert describes eco-sabotage as necessary self-defense for nature.  This radical perspective is gaining momentum as it becomes apparent that Earth ecosystems are deteriorating due to excessive corporate resource extraction and government mismanagement of natural resources.  Worth watching.

Meat-eaters are speeding worldwide species extinction

“To find out [how meat consumption impacted biodiversity], Brian Machovina and his colleagues looked at studies that identified the world’s biodiversity hotspots—those areas that contain the highest percentage of endemic plant and animal species. Most are located in tropical nations. Then, the researchers picked out countries that are most likely to expand their industrial livestock operations, and determined where and how much land will be lost to grazing and growing crops to feed livestock. Using data from the Food and Agriculture Organization and other studies about the production of cattle, pigs, and chickens in these countries from 1985 to 2013 and the amount of land the livestock required, they extrapolated the likely future expansion of agricultural lands. Finally, they created maps of overlap.

“Many of the places expected to see the greatest shift in land use from forest to livestock are in 15 “megadiverse” countries, which harbor the largest number of species, Machovina says. “By 2050, given current trends, these countries will likely increase the lands used for livestock production by 30% to 50%”—some 3,000,000 square kilometers—the researchers estimate.

“The habitat loss is so great that it will cause more extinctions than any other factor, the study notes, particularly when coupled with other deleterious effects of livestock production, including climate change and pollution. “These changes will have major, negative impacts on biodiversity,” Machovina says. “Many, many species will be lost.”  Sourced through Scoop.it from: news.sciencemag.org

GR:  Eventually all human “eaters” speed extinction.  Soybeans, wheat, and cabbages all require land to grow.  As the number of hungry humans grows, the amount of farmed land will grow.  If the coming massive storms do not reverse our growth, the loss of nature will.

Wildlife groups say 41 tigers have died in India in seven months

Conservationists say India is not doing enough to protect tigers.  Six months after India boasted that its tiger population was growing fast, conservationists on Wednesday said 41 big…    Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.theguardian.com

GR:  The prospects for wild tigers in India are not good.  The human population is the only one that is growing.  India was once the nation that was most concerned with curbing human population growth.  But during the period from 1960 to today, the country’s population grew from 400 million to over one billion.  What happened?  Were the programs ineffective, or did they not receive enough support?

Fossil Fuel Ecocide Forces Starving Polar Bear to Hold Breath For Three Minutes in Seal Hunt

Image courtesy of the American Dream (The gaunt, emaciated and obviously starving polar bear that broke the recent diving record in a photo by Rinie van Meurs. Image source: Meurs Study and The Weather Network).

Like so many other innocent creatures on this planet, polar bears are facing ever-worsening life-threatening conditions due to the fossil fuel industry’s insistence to keep burning, and to keep us dependent on their horrific energy sources. The bears’ Arctic home has been transformed in ways that are profound and terrible. The sea ice they used for hunting grounds is greatly depleted. The seals they hunted for prey have ever-more-numerous avenues of escape into dark and warming waters.  Sourced through Scoop.it from: robertscribbler.com

GR:  Painful to see knowing that this is just one victim of our American dream.