Innovation and discovery have always been a double edged sword. While our society and culture progress with new inventions, these same inventions can tend to create new problems. It’s a story as old as time. The printing press helped spread knowledge and educate the masses, but also provided a tool for propagandists. Nuclear energy has helped provide electric power to countless households without the need for fossil fuels, but has also allowed for the engineering of weapons of mass destruction. The list goes on.
In the 21st Century, the Internet has helped give everyone a voice; it has connected people and alerted them to injustices taking place halfway around the world, but it has also helped facilitate atrocities. In a recent article, the BBC has highlighted the dangers of sharing newly discovered species on the Internet. While we should rejoice in learning of wildlife discoveries, the article tells of a sordid twist of fate. Due to the rarity of many such species, writing about them can help them become objects of desire for limitless illegal wildlife collectors worldwide. While wildlife enthusiasts read of discoveries around the world, so do smugglers and traffickers.
This reality puts conversationists in a bind. It is difficult to raise money for new discoveries and conservation efforts without sharing findings but sharing findings can make their work more challenging. Some conservationists argue that listing species as endangered can seal their fate. The BBC article offers no solutions to the problem but we ask you: How would you solve this dilemma?
Read the BBC piece here.
So many cool discoveries were made this year. Check out this Top 10 list from National Geographic and learn more about this year’s coolest finds.
The WWF recently published a report on the threats facing the 1000 new species recently discovered in New Guinea. The ilsand is estimated to house 6-8% of the world’s species. 2/3rds of New Guinea wildlife is unique to the area. Deforestation to build palm oil plantations is the biggest threat to the island’s wildlife. You can help too, by only buying palm oil products certified by the RSPO:
The RSPO, or Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil, provides certification to companies which produce palm oil from sustainable resources and ensures that all aspects of the production are environmentally friendly.
Consumers can find retailers in their country selling products made with RSPO certified palm oil by searching the organization’s website for certified companies by type, country, and name…consumers can look for the RSPO trademark - palm tree leaves surrounded with the words “certified sustainable palm tree oil” - which will begin appearing on products by the end of this year.
endangered! by rogersmithpix on Flickr.
Less than 400 Sumatran Tigers are left living in five national parks and two game reserves on the island of Sumatra. Some live in unprotected forests which will soon be lost to agriculture. Almost three quarters of forests have already been destroyed.
Support WildAid's Tiger Trade prevention campaign today to help these majestic creatures!
Inspiring and proof of the importance of endangered species conservation. Listen: if it’s about money to you then it’s in your interests to conserve endangered species! Experts estimate eco-tourism could make up as much as 25% of the tourism industry in 6 years.
An 1100% increase in illegal cattle grazing in the Masai Mara reserve is one of the reasons contributing to the wildlife ‘crash’ causing some native species to decrease by over 75%!
Unprecedented prices for gold have led to another gold rush in Peru. Much like elsewhere in South America, mining for gold is destroying the Amazon, arguably planet Earth’s most diverse ecosystem.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography report that “rising temperatures and decreases in sea-ice are altering the physical conditions required to sustain large krill populations.” This combined with increased competition for the shrimp-like creatures has led to a decline in penguin populations.