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Sharkwater: The Explosive Documentary Film on the Costa Rica Shark Fin Trade

Rob Stewart tells the amazing story of the making of the documentary firm Sharkwater.  Rob uncovers the connection between the illegal shark fin trade, the mafia and the Costa Rican government.  Hear the story of how they were chased down by guns boats during the making of the film by the Costa Rican government.  Get the inside scoop of the story behind this remarkable film directly from the Director/Producers mouth.

Also Visit the Sharkwater Website
More  Information Here About Declining Shark Populations in Costa Rica

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Filed under: Wildlife Conservation, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Today’s Mass Extinction: The Call of Life

WASHINGTON: Chances of humans benefiting from nature are receding, as natural habitats are becoming less productive due to the gradual extinction of plant species.

Many scientists now argue that the Earth is in the middle of the sixth mass extinction in the history of life. Some estimates suggest that as much as 50 per cent of all known species could be extinct by the end of this century.

According to an international team of scientists, new analysis shows plant communities as being composed of both stars and supporting players.

Some plants are so productive that they dominate the productivity of natural habitats. Supporting species complement key players and enhance the productivity of plant communities even further.

Lead authors of the study – Michel Loreau of McGill University in Montreal and Andy Hector, an assistant professor at the University of Zurich – further go on to say that species extinction is one of the most pronounced environmental changes of our time.

“Our analysis provide the most comprehensive evidence yet that natural habitats with a greater variety of plant species are more productive. Our analysis show that diverse communities are more productive because plants are ‘complementary’ in how they use biological resources. In other words, different plant species play unique roles in the environment,” said Loreau.

Assistant Professor Hector said: “The results of our analyses suggest that plant communities operate much like a soccer team. Teams are composed of both star players and supporting players. You probably can’t win many games if you lose your top striker because she or he is the most productive player and can dominate a game. But strikers cannot win games by themselves. They need great passes from supporting players and solid goal-tending if the team is going to be successful as a whole.”

“The process by which plants grow and produce more plant biomass is one of the most fundamental biological processes on the planet,” added Bradley Cardinale, assistant professor of biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Plant productivity regulates the ability of nature to take greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, as well as the ability of habitats to produce oxygen, food, fibre, and bio-fuels, according to the authors of the study.

“Therefore, species extinctions could compromise the benefits that nature provides to society,” said Cardinale.

The study summarized the results of 44 experiments from around the world that simulated plant species extinction and showed that ecosystems with fewer species produce up to 50 percent less plant biomass than those with more “natural” levels of diversity.

From:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/HealthScience/Earth_in_middle_of_6th_mass_extinction/articleshow/2521810.cms

Filed under: Climate Change, Wildlife Conservation, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Amphibian Extinction Crisis – Amphibian Ark

amphibian ark

From Amphibian Ark

Amphibians are an important component of the global ecosystem, as indicators of environmental health and contributors to human health. They watched the dinosaurs come and go, but today almost half of them are themselves threatened with extinction. Addressing the amphibian extinction crisis represents the greatest species conservation challenge in the history of humanity.

amphibians frogs lizards toad costa ricaThe global conservation community has formulated a response in the Amphibian Conservation Action Plan, and an integral part of that response is the Amphibian Ark, in which select species that would otherwise go extinct will be maintained in captivity until they can be secured in the wild. Without immediate captive management as a stopgap component of an integrated conservation effort, hundreds of species could become extinct.

Addressing the amphibian extinction crisis represents the greatest species conservation challenge in the history of humanity. One third to one half of all amphibian species are threatened with extinction, with probably more than 120 already gone in recent years. The IUCN Global Amphibian Assessment has alerted us to the fact that hundreds of species face threats that cannot be mitigated in the wild, they require zoos to save them in the short term until adequate conservation measures to secure wild populations can be developed. Comparable calls to action are included in other IUCN documents.

amphibians frogs lizards toad costa ricaThe World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) has joined with two branches of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (IUCN/SSC) – the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG) and the Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG) – to form the Amphibian Ark (AArk). Since 2006 the Amphibian Ark has been helping the ex situ community to address the captive components of the Amphibian Conservation Action Plan, saving as many species as possible by providing global coordination, technical guidance, training, necessary linkages to other IUCN groups, communications, and guiding publicity and capital campaigns.

Without immediate captive management as a stopgap component of an integrated conservation effort, hundreds of species will become extinct. This conservation challenge is one that we, the ex situ community, are uniquely capable of addressing. Never before has the conservation community at large charged zoos and aquariums with a task of this magnitude. This is an opportunity for every zoo and aquarium, regardless of size, to make a vital conservation contribution, and for our community to be broadly acknowledged as a credible conservation partner. Supporting this call to action is clearly within the financial capacity of all zoos and aquariums, and engages the diverse expertise found within all institutions. Our goal is 100% participation of WAZA zoos and aquariums and the regional associations. If we do not respond immediately and on an unprecedented scale, much of an entire vertebrate class will be lost, and we will have failed in our most basic conservation mission as defined in the World Zoo and Aquarium Conservation Strategy.

Filed under: Climate Change, Family Eco Travel, Wildlife Conservation, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Saving Mono Titi Conservation Project Top Donors

Eco preservation Society would like to thank our top donors:

Charles Turner $23,000
Eco Interactive Vacations $10,000
Boyero Tours $500
Firetown $500
David Abernathy $200
Search Feature $100
Judy Orr $100
Jennifer Karlen $100
Milan Cole $100
Lisa Gray $100
Wayne Long $100
William Myers $100.00
Suzie Norvich $35
Robert Kennedy $35.00
Michael Higdon  $35.00

To Help Save Mono Titi – CLICK HERE


Related Stories:
More about the Saving Mono Titi documentary
A history of African Palm Production
Ten Reasons not to feed the monkeys.
Costa Rican company leads Resource Revolution

Other Resurces:
Saving Mono Titi Web Site
Eco Preservation Society

Kids Saving the Rainforest
ASCOMOTI

Filed under: Family Eco Travel, Reforestation, Sustainable Living, Wildlife Conservation, , , , , , , , ,

Declining Shark Populations of Concern in Costa Rica

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Special to A.M. Costa Rica
http://www.amcostarica.com

Sharks are disappearing from the world’s oceans. The numbers of many large shark species have declined by more than half due to increased demand for shark fins and meat, recreational shark fisheries, as well as tuna and swordfish fisheries, where millions of sharks are taken by accident each year.

Now, the global status of large sharks has been assessed by the World Conservation Union, which is widely recognized as the most comprehensive, scientific-based information source on the threat status of plants and animals.

“As a result of high and mostly unrestricted fishing pressure, many sharks are now considered to be at risk of extinction,” explained Julia Baum, a member of the union’s Shark Specialist Group

“Of particular concern is the scalloped hammerhead shark, an iconic coastal species, which will be listed on the 2008 IUCN Red List as globally endangered due to overfishing and high demand for its valuable fins in the shark fin trade,” added Ms. Baum, who is a postdoctoral fellow at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Ms. Baum pointed out that fishing for sharks in international waters is unrestricted, and she supports a recently adopted United Nations resolution calling for immediate shark catch limits as well as a meaningful ban on shark finning, the practice of removing only a shark’s fins and dumping the still live but now helpless shark into the ocean to die.

Costa Rica is a major supplier to the international shark fin trade.

Research at Canada’s Dalhousie University over the past five years, conducted by Ms. Baum and the late Ransom Myers, demonstrated the magnitude of shark declines in the northwest Atlantic Ocean. All species the team looked at had declined by over 50 per cent since the early 1970s. For many large coastal shark species, the declines were much greater: tiger, scalloped hammerhead, bull and dusky shark populations have all plummeted by more than 95 per cent.

A commercial fish factory vessel was boarded this month by Costa Rican officials because they said it was involved in illegal fishing in the protected area of Isla del Coco. However, investigators had to let the 25-person crew go because there was uncertainty in the law regarding this kind of activity. The crew was seeking tuna but sharks, including hammerheads for which the waters around the island are famous are likely victims, too.

The issue still is being discussed in prosecutorial circles.

Shark Finning in Costa Rica (Warning: This video is disturbing)

Filed under: Wildlife Conservation, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

South Korea Joins Bio Prospecting Efforts in Costa Rica

 
By Nick Wilkinson
Tico Times Staff | nwilkinson@ticotimes.net

The government of South Korea has joined the rush to “bioprospect” the country’s wealth of biodiversity.

According to online encyclopedias, bioprospecting is the collection of samples from animals, plants and microorganisms to be used to create new drugs, crops or industrial products.

Representatives from the South Korean government announced a partnership with the National Biodiversity Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to cataloguing and facilitating the exploitation of the country’s dizzying variety of wildlife and plant species.

Bioprospecting manager Lorena Guevara said the South Koreans are investing $643,000 to expand the Institute’s current facilities in Santo Domingo de Heredia and another $1 million in projects, specifically tied to plant research. At least one Korean scientist will also be added to the staff.

With multinational corporations, such as Eli Lilly, Merck, Bristol-Mayer, and universities such as Harvard already partnering with the institute, Guevara said South Korea decided it was time to get on board.

Guevara said the best-known commercial results from bioprospecting so far in Costa Rica include two products – Quassia, a tree extract that helps with hangovers, and Estilo, an herb that serves as a sedative.

“Our mission is the systematic search for genes, molecules, chemical compounds that can be of pharmaceutical, agricultural or biotechnology use,” she said. “We have found some very interesting compounds, especially from microorganisms.”

The manager said the Institute is working on identifying compounds that could be used as cures for cancer, Alzheimer’s, AIDS, malaria and asthma.

Filed under: Bio Prospecting, Wildlife Conservation, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Costa Rica’s Endangered Jaguars

One of the largest of Central American, and Costa Rica’s largest, carnivores, an endangered species, it was once fairly common in coastal mangroves, lowland savannas, and wet and dry shrub lands and forest up to about 1000m elevation. But because its conspicuous tracks, the high value of its pelt, its reputation as a stock killer, and its vulnerability to hound pursuit and still hunting, this cat is now rare except in parts of large unhunted reserves. It occurs in Costa Rica on the Tortuguero, Santa Rosa, Corcovado and Rio Macho National Parks, and lower levels of Cordillera Talamanca.

Jaguars are rarely seen in daylight, but occasionally one suns on a cliff or log . They scratch tree trunks, but its not sure that they urine-mark objects or make territorial scratches on the ground. They are fairly aquatic and easily swim rivers, small lakes, and straits between mangrove islets. They favor damp sites such as streambeds in gallery forests, where footprints often reveal jaguar’s presence, approximate size , and travels. At any season jaguars of any sex may roar at night.

Although jaguars seem to prefer peccaries as prey, they also take monkeys, agoutis, deer, birds, fish, lizard, turtles, and other animals. Mud tracks reveal feeding on dead fish, alligators, iguanas and any other carrion left by receding waters.

Jaguars seem not to avoid the scent of a man, and one may follow a man walking in a trail. Although unprovoked attacks on men are rare, in Panama a jaguar recently charged a man who was carrying a bag of trapped birds.

The season of births probably varies regionally. Gestation is about 3 months, and the usual litter is two. Apparently males take no part on the rising of the young, which may accompany the mother for a year. Females reach sexual maturity at about 3 years of age and do not breed in successive years if their young survive. The main threat to the remaining jaguars in Central America is the clearing of forest for crops and grazing. When roads penetrate a primitive zone, the jaguar and white-lipped peccary ( Tayassu pecari ) are the first mammals to disappear. Jaguars seem to be poor colonizers of cutover lands or new areas regardless of the abundance of prey there. Jaguars range from northern Mexico to northern Argentina. The puma has much greater ecological and geographic range and occurs along with jaguars throughout Costa Rica.

Rare film of a Costa Rican Jaguar in the wild

Also see:
Saving Mono Titi – The Documentary

Filed under: Wildlife Conservation, , , , , , , , ,

Ten Reasons Not to Feed the Monkeys

You might find feeding the monkeys (and other wild animals) to be a thrilling experience, but you are not doing the monkeys a favor. In fact, you are actually harming them. Here’s why:

1.Monkeys are highly susceptible to diseases from human hands. They can die from bacteria transferred off your hand that has no ill effect on you.
2.Migration to human-populated areas to be fed increases the risk of dog attacks and road accidents.
3.Irregular feeding leads to an aggressive behavior towards humans and other species.
4.Contrary to the stereotype, bananas are not the preferred food of monkeys in the wild. Bananas, especially those containing pesticides, can be upsetting to the monkeys’ delicate digestive system and cause serious dental problems that can lead to eventual death.
5.Feeding creates a dangerous dependency on humans that diminishes the monkeys’ survival abilities.
6.Feeding interferes with the monkeys’ natural habits and upsets the balance of their lifestyle centered on eating wild fruits, seeds, small animals, and insects.
7.Contact with humans facilitates poaching and the trade in illegal wildlife.
8.Pregnant females who are fed nothing but bananas during their pregnancy will not give birth to healthy infants. The babies will be malnourished, or never develop to term, and die before birth.
9.Monkeys need to travel an average of 17 kilometers each day to be in good physical condition. If they know that food is available in a particular location, they will not leave that area.
10.Not only do we pass on diseases to animals when we feed them by hand, but they can pass diseases to us as well.

The monkeys do not realize any of this. Now YOU do. Don’t facilitate the extinction of one of Nature’s most amazing creatures for your own pleasure or financial gain. Please help save the monkeys by reporting anyone feeding the monkeys: 777-2592. If you are feeding the monkeys, you now know why you should stop. If you don’t stop we owe it to the monkeys to publish your name with the local media.

Text Courtesy of Jennifer Rice PhD
President
Kids Saving The Rainforest
Tel. 506.777.2592 Fax 506.777.1954
contact@kidssavingtherainforest.org
http://www.kidssavingtherainforest.org

Filed under: Family Eco Travel, Wildlife Conservation, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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