Archive for the ‘Conservation and Wildlife’ Category

Gaur killer:

October 17, 2015

“The gaur (/ˈɡaʊər/, Bos gaurus), also called Indian bison, is the largest extant bovine, native to South Asia and Southeast Asia. The species is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1986, as the population decline in parts of the species’ range is likely to be well over 70% during the last three generations. Population trends are stable in well-protected areas, and are rebuilding in a few areas which had been neglected.”

Hugh Paxton’s blog got this from Chang who found it in the Khao Yai National Park in Thailand. It was designed and used by a poacher who killed a gaur. It’s a cunning bit of evil. The man, known to Chang, was small and so was his weapon. So small you can slip it into pockets or in this bloke’s case tie it to your ankle and conceal it beneath baggy trousers. Once in the forest you find a bamboo. Cut it, insert it in the hole and you have a halberd or a short arm axe. The method of killing involves bravery, lies, disguise, stealth and nightwork. You sever the tendons of the gaur while it is at rest, then when it is unable to run, you slit its throat. You then fail to notice that the gaur you have just killed is about to kill you because it is tagged by rangers who are armed with more weapons than Rambo. This axe comes to me from a man who was not shot by park rangers – what a nasty but pitiful weapon if faced with ten angry conservationists with AKs. The rangers could have skipped the paperwork and just buried him. The police and judges for once got off their fat arses and the poacher is in jail. In a way the cruel crudity of his weapon saved this poacher’s life. It posed no threat to the arresting officers. Some poachers from over the border come in with machine guns and every ranger knows that this is a fight to the death.

Tourists to Khao Yai love the park. But by and large they have no idea what is going on beyond the mountains and in the deep forests.

Chang is bringing me another weapon on Monday. This was used to kill a bear. I’ll tell you about it when I have seen it properly.

Cheers from Bangkok!

Hugh

Thai Days: Dhole pics

June 23, 2015

It’s a dhole. And there’s another one. Ten here and there. I saw em all. A couple of pups, too. Sarah had the presence of mind to take a picture. I can’t think why the dhole are so fearful. A leopard might slaughter the entire pack if it was a bad cat day and the dholes were having a bad dog day. Nothing else in the forest to give them anything to worry about. Perhaps the whelps. Everything hits that size. If the little ones were lucky they’d meet a King Cobra. He/she would ignore it. King Cobras eat snakes. Wild dogs? Nahh! Too warm and fluffy. A King Cobra could, should it choose, rear higher than your head. They only bother doing that if you are being a complete twit and poking it with a stick. Or if you are in semi-dusk and think it’s a shower sort of thing and stick it in your face while grabbing its tail to release warm water while wondering why there is another meter of argh!!! Where ??? …

Hugh

From: Sarah Sekhran [mailto:sjsekhran@hotmail.com]
Sent: Monday, June 22, 2015 9:31 PM
To: paxton.bkk@gmail.com
Subject: Dhole pics

Dear Midori,
The email I sent to your U.N account bounced back so am trying your home email. I will also try to send the Dhole video to this email. As I mentioned in the other email, the pictures are not brilliant, but proof we saw the wild dogs:)

Take care,
Sarah

139 Bizarre and Beautiful New Species Discovered in Greater Mekong Region

May 27, 2015

It would appear that Hugh Paxton’s Blog has some newly discovered neighbours! I’ll be keeping a weather eye out for them!

Cheers from Bangkok!

From: Lee Poston [mailto:lee.poston@wwfgreatermekong.org]
Sent: Wednesday, May 27, 2015 9:23 AM
To: undisclosed-recipients:
Subject: 139 Bizarre and Beautiful New Species Discovered in Greater Mekong Region

139 Bizarre and Beautiful New Species Discovered in Greater Mekong Region

Bangkok, May 27, 2015 – A soul-sucking ‘dementor’ wasp, a bat with nightmarish fangs, a stealthy wolf snake and the world’s second longest insect are among the 139 new species discovered by scientists in the Greater Mekong region in 2014. Many are already at risk, according to a new report, “Magical Mekong,” released today by WWF.

In total, 90 plants, 23 reptiles, 16 amphibians, nine fish, and one mammal are detailed in the report. They include a feathered coral whose nearest relatives live in Africa, four moths named after Thai princesses, a colour-changing thorny frog and two orchids discovered already being traded.

This brings the total new species discovered in the Greater Mekong, which includes Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, to 2,216 between 1997 and 2014 – an average of three new species a week.

“The Greater Mekong’s unique ecosystems are truly the gift that keeps on giving, providing sanctuary for a treasure trove of species and critical benefits for millions of people across the region,” said Teak Seng, Conservation Director for WWF-Greater Mekong.

Highlights of the report include:

· Thailand’s Ampulex dementor wasp, which was named after the soul-sucking dementors from the Harry Potter books. Its venom turns cockroaches into passive zombies before it devours them alive.

· Equally fearsome, the long-toothed pipistrelle bat has extremely long fangs. But this bat has more reason to fear humans, as its habitat in Laos could be lost due to dam construction and quarrying.

· A crocodile newt species in Myanmar may also be in trouble as its core breeding habitat – a pond on a university campus – is threatened by a construction project. And it is already in demand from the international pet trade, with two of the newts found in pet stores as far away as Europe.

· Also on the market are two new orchid species discovered in Bangkok’s famous Chatuchak Market. The scientist who discovered them almost didn’t publish his find because he feared it could spark a rush to collect them. But he realised that they need to be recognized by science to gain protection.

· The world’s second largest insect, a stick insect that measures 54 cm, was found less than one kilometre away from a village in northern Vietnam.

· A stealthy wolf snake has a distinctive “flying bat” pattern that helps it to blend in with the tree bark and mosses that characterise its home in Cambodia.

“As Magical Mekong reveals, the scientists behind these discoveries feel they are racing against the clock to document them and strongly advocate for their protection before they disappear,” Seng added.

Threats to the region’s species include a proposed new border crossing and road in Cambodia’s Mondulkiri Protected Forest; two unsustainable dams in Laos; rising deforestation rates and continued illegal poaching.

“We’ve only skimmed the surface of new discoveries in the Greater Mekong,” said Dr. Tom Gray, Manager of Species Conservation for WWF-Greater Mekong. “However, while species are being discovered, intense pressures are taking a terrible toll on them. One wonders how many species have disappeared before they were even discovered.”

WWF believes that rangers urgently need more support, equipment and training, along with enhanced law enforcement efforts targeting criminals involved in the illegal trade in wildlife and timber. A commitment to protecting key wildlife habitat is also crucial, with countries cooperating across borders to make sustainable decisions on issues such as where to construct large infrastructure, like roads and dams.

“Seeing these incredible new species discoveries – from a color-changing thorny frog to the historic 10,000th reptile species — gives me hope for the future of the Greater Mekong,” Gray added. “Whether it’s conducting critical field research or training forest guards, WWF and its partners are working to ensure that these species – and those yet to be discovered — are protected for generations.”

###

For further information: Lee Poston, Communications Director, WWF-Greater Mekong, mob: +66 918 832 290 lee.poston

Notes to Editors:

· To see the digital report, click here

· For photos, a PDF report and other background, click here

· Scientists typically wait to reveal new finds until an animal or plant is officially described as a new species — a time-consuming process — hence the lag between the initial discovery and announcement for some species spotlighted in the report.

· Magical Mekong is the seventh in a series of reports highlighting new species discoveries in the Greater Mekong region. For details on past reports, click here

· Follow us on Twitter: @WWFMekong and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WWFMekong

“We have to be the generation to stop the illegal wildlife trade” – Prince Charles And Prince William Speak Out Against The Illegal Wildlife Trade – In Key Languages !

February 11, 2014


 

HRH Prince Charles says in the Unite For Wildlife video, “We must treat the illegal wildlife trade as a battle.”

This week the London 2014 Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference will mark a key milestone in the campaign to end wildlife crime. UK’s Prime Minister, David Cameron has invited leaders from 50 countries to attend the conference and it is hoped that this will help win the war .

Prince Charles says “It will take action from all of us to beat back this highly organised criminal activity,”

We can all play a part in wildlife protection

The Princes delivered the last part of their message in multiple languages including English, Swahili, Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin and Vietnamese in keeping with the global scope of the campaign which has developed in tune with ambitions of the UN COP16 CITES conference in Bangkok. The campaign aims to address the demand side of the problem as well as the supply side. Getting the message across in all these languages is crucial. The resounding message from this video is “Together we can stop the illegal wildlife trade. Let’s Unite For Wildlife.”

HRH Prince William urges us all to make our voices heard in the social media and to support world leaders and conservation organisations in their efforts to end wildlife crime.

Why not join the social media thunderclap to support action to protect wildlife and habitat from criminal gangs?

To add your voice click  https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/8234-let-them-hear-you-roar

and follow the directions.

 

Wild Open Eye - Natural Vision, News from Wild Open Eye

“Our profound belief is that humanity is less than humanity without the rest of creation. The Destruction Of These Endangered Species Will Diminish Us All”    HRH The Prince Of Wales, Feb. 8th 2014

If you are worried about the illegal wildlife trade, take comfort from the video above.

Sunday morning’s BBC news showed HRH The Prince of Wales and Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, speaking out in defence of  endangered species in their Let’s Unite For Wildlife video. Prince William’s United For Wildlife Foundation is the kind of powerful cooperative partnership of influential organisations needed in the fight against wildlife crime, but if humanity hopes to make headway against the organised criminal gangs responsible for much of the world’s illegal wildlife trade the Princes make it clear that we all need to be supportive and unite for wildlife.  In view of these efforts and long term commitments to…

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Snow Leopards FW: A nice piece on SL by WCS Peter Zahler

February 4, 2014

Hugh Paxton’s Blog got this on snow leopards written by Peter Zahler of the Wildlife Conservation Society for the NYT and forwarded to me, and all, by my friend Doley Tshering. Both Peter and Doley share a keen interest in snow leopard conservation and the welfare of the robust, beleaguered people who share the same formidable high mountain habitat. Doley’s one of em! But if you know the Himalayas you will have spotted that as soon as you read his name. Cheers!

Hugh

BLOG ED NOTE: If this comes through to you in the same way it came through to me, don’t be distracted by the NYT cooking link. All you get is crummy elevator muzak and pictures of sauce with basil leaves on top. Same old stuff! Stick with the snow leopards! More exciting territory!

From: Doley Tshering
Subject: A nice piece on SL by WCS Peter Zahler

Dear all,

Here’s a nice article for Sunday reading and hope you are having a great weekend.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/02/opinion/saving-more-than-just-snow-leopards.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&_r=1

Best, Doley

Doley Tshering

Regional Technical Advisor – Ecosystems and Biodiversity

United Nations Development Programme

Asia-Pacific Regional Centre
3rd Floor United Nations Service Building
Rajdamnern Nok Avenue, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

Tel.: +66 (0)2 304 9100 ext. 2600

Cell: +66 871030505
Fax: +66 (0)2 280 2700

Skype: doleyt
http://asia-pacific.undp.org Follow us:

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

IBIS RICE Supports Conservation Of The Giant Ibis (Thaumatibia giganteus)

February 4, 2014

Hugh Paxton’s Blog rates this a lovely story from Charles. And, incidentally, if you happen to be flying on All Nippon Airways be sure to read the account of Cumbria’s Neolithic and prehistoric remains in this month’s inflight edition of ANA’s Wingspan mag . Also written by Charles. Oh, and buy those prehistoric Trump cards he’s produced (see earlier post). They’re really annoying if you have children – the little stinkers always get the best cards! Always!

Cheers from me in Bangkok. Perfect weather, the shooting’s largely stopped! Life’s good! Hope the same can be said for all of you wherever you are!

Hugh

From: Wild Open Eye [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com]
Sent: Tuesday, February 04, 2014 1:27 AM
Subject: [New post] IBIS RICE Supports Conservation Of The Giant Ibis (Thaumatibia giganteus)

charlespaxton posted: " Have you heard of IBIS RICE? It’s an attractive name brand sure enough, and what it represents is nicer still – wildlife friendly rice production by Cambodian communities who care about preserving their neighbouring wildlife habitat and wildlife popu"

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IBIS RICE Supports Conservation Of The Giant Ibis (Thaumatibia giganteus)

by charlespaxton

Look out for the IBIS RICE brand - each sale supports wildlife friendly farming in Cambodia!

Look out for the IBIS RICE brand – each sale supports wildlife friendly rice farming in Cambodia

Have you heard of IBIS RICE? It’s an attractive name brand sure enough, and what it represents is nicer still – wildlife friendly rice production by Cambodian communities who care about preserving their neighbouring wildlife habitat and wildlife populations.

With support from The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in Cambodia and key partners, the Ministry of Environment and the Forestry Administration, Cambodian farmers from six participating villages in three protected areas are producing high value, fragrant Jasmine rice for retail and wholesale in the Capital City Phnom Penh and in popular visitor centres such as Siem Reap near the glorious UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor.

Visitors can find IBIS RICE in prestigious outlets such as luxury and boutique hotels, restaurants, shops and department stores. Click here for a current list of supporting restaurants and hotels.

IBIS RICE is certified wildlife-friendly. Certified Wildlife Friendly™ develops, certifies and promotes products and practices that conserve threatened wildlife while contributing to the economic vitality of rural communities. For more information on this see: wildlifefriendly.org

So by buying this rice, shoppers support the farmers’ more ecologically sustainable livelihoods – this benefits some rather special birds, including The Giant Ibis Thaumatibia giganteus that will feature on a promotional advertisement for IBIS RICE in a UNDP GEF publication in 2014.

Artwork by C and K Paxton based on photograph by J C Eames OBE from www.prcfoundation.org

Giant Ibis Artwork by C and K Paxton based on photograph by J C Eames OBE from www.prcfoundation.org

Better Wildlife Conservation, Better Livelihoods. How Does This Work?

People are happy paying more for a superior product and IBIS Rice is a premium brand, it costs more than conventionally produced rice and so brings in more income to the producers. The flavoursome rice is sold in quality outlets, department stores and supermarkets and in supportive hotels and restaurants where people don’t mind paying for quality branded products.

Win-win Scenario For Birds, Farming Communities And Customers

Supported by higher value wildlife friendly products, farming and wildlife communities alike are benefiting from the combination of improved farming techniques and higher value marketing that brings better income to the six participating villages in three protected areas on the Tonle Sap flood plain. These protected areas are: Preah Vihear Protected Forest, Kulen Promptep Wildlife Sanctuary and the Bengal Florican Conservation Area.

Sansom Mlup Prey is a collaborative endeavour that links wildlife conservation with improved livelihoods. As partner, Wildlife Conservation Society Cambodia Program is working with communities in these areas and the Cambodian Government to restore wildlife to historical levels.

Shoppers and visitors get to enjoy tasty rice in the knowledge that they are supporting native wildlife conservation and rural communities who are doing the right thing by protecting wildlife habitat for the benefit of native wildlife and people for future generations.

The Wildlife Conservation Society have recently published a report Measuring deforestation on the northern plains showing that deforestation rate in ‘the buffer zone’ outside protected areas is almost ten times higher than in the protected areas. So the protection is paying off!

Where Can I Get Some IBIS RICE?

IBIS RICE products for retail

IBIS RICE products for retail

You can call 017 548 300 to order your rice or see

How Can I Get In Touch With IBIS RICE?

Check out the latest related news and get in touch via IBIS RICE on Facebook

The wildlife friendly IBIS RICE project is supported by donors: UNDP Global Environment Facility, The World Bank Development Marketplace, The UK Department of Environment and Development, New Zealand International Aid and Development Agency, The Asia Foundation, DANIDA, The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund and Asia Pacific Forum for Environment and Development

For more on IBIS RICE see http://collaborations.wcs.org/smp/About/WildlifeFriendlyIbisRiceProject.aspx

For more on Angkor click to view the short film on Angkor Thom produced by Andy Luck in the BBC International Natural Wonder Series on wildopeneye.com’s films page.

charlespaxton | 03/02/2014 at 6:26 pm | Tags: Kulen Promptep Wildlife Sanctuary, New Zealand International Aid and Development Agency, Preah Vihear Protected Forest, Sansom Mlup Prey, The Asia Foundation, the Bengal Florican Conservation Area, The Giant Ibis Thaumatibia giganteus, The UK Department of Environment and Development, The Wildlife Conservation Society Cambodia Project, The World Bank Development Marketplace, UNDP GEF, UNDP Global Environment Facility, wildlife friendly IBIS RICE | Categories: Conservation, Environmental economics, Forest Conservation, Wildopeneye on birds | URL: http://wp.me/p10R9B-ij

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Black rhino hunting

December 23, 2013

Namibia: To Kill a Rhino

Hugh Paxton’s Blog would welcome your thoughts on the following. Practical? Unethical? Good idea? Bad?

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/10/131028-dallas-safari-club-black-rhino-hunt-auction-conservation/

Yellow-naped Parrot/Loro Nuca Amarilla

December 15, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog just got this lot from our heroic correspondent in Guatemala. Read on parrot lovers and conservationists and anybody who gives a damn! Cheers! Hugh

Report South Coast COLORES Tour FINAL ESP.pdf
Report South Coast COLORES Tour FINAL.pdf

THAI DAYS: If You Go Down to the Woods Today (Part two)…. It’s War!

September 27, 2013

Take Hugh Paxtons Blog’s word for it – Thailand’s tropical forests are beautiful. Dawn brings the liquid whoop of gibbons in the forest canopy hundreds of feet above the mist that pools around the gnarled dipterocarp roots– if a tall, cool glass of water could sing it would sound like a gibbon –, the heavy whoosh, whoosh of a giant hornbill’s wings, the startled cough of barking deer smelling dhole hunting dogs, the distant grumble of elephants, tens of thousands of bats leaving crag caves at twilight, after the first rains tens of millions of fireflies drifting and blinking through the velvet dark like tiny constellations…yes, beautiful.

But they can be hard work; a lot of steep, slippery muddy, slopes, snagging vines, streams to forge, leeches galore (and I do mean galore, and those suckers have no respect for leech proof socks), wild boar ticks, sudden torrential downpours, and ridge after ridge of limestone karst formations that stick out above the forest giant canopy like the back plates of long dead stegosaurs.

There are trails made by man or animals (forest pig, elephant, gaur, the giant Asian bison etc,) and I never leave them, unless I have a guide, for the simple reason that I’d get lost and would never be seen again. Despite deforestation and human incursion and population growth Thailand’s forests are still vast. The western forest complex, comprising 17 protected areas including Huai Kha Khaeng, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for example, covers 18,727 sq kms.

Beautiful, yes, tough going, yes…and currently a war zone.

On one side are the poachers drawn by rosewood (highly valued outside Thailand – but not in country where it is considered a sacred tree), tigers, elephants, bushmeat, animals valued in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or the international exotic pet trade , but most of all money.

Some poachers are simply poor, or greedy, opportunistic locals who use the forests for a free meal. But others are mixed up with a slew of illegal activities – drug manufacture and smuggling (particularly methamphetamines or heroin), people trafficking, and of course the killing or trapping of wild animals and birds, the rarer the better. Their backers and customers are powerful criminal syndicates operating out of Lao, Cambodia but principally Vietnam (an increasingly significant final destination for wildlife products due to a burgeoning, not to mention ostentatious, ignorant and affluent, nouveau riche class), and our old voraciously amoral friend, China.

On the other side are the staff and rangers of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP).

When it comes to weapons the good guys are woefully outgunned. Most of them are equipped with either shotguns or Heckler and Koch firearms that are over 30 years old. The poachers have AK-47 assault rifles and automatic carbines. State of the art stuff ideally suited to jungle warfare.

What puzzles me is their willingness to use these weapons so freely.

One of the principle problems facing effective wildlife crime enforcement is the judicial system. Wildlife offences are still perceived by the law as a “victim-less crime” and sentences are lenient, going on ludicrously non-deterrent .

If successfully prosecuted at all, the criminals can confidently expect to be back in their hunting grounds mere weeks or, at most, a couple of years later. And if you have the backing of a multi-million dollar crime syndicate on your side, a $US500 fine is risible.

But shoot they do. Hence the DNP’s declaration of war.

Since 2009, 47 forest rangers have been killed on duty and 48 others injured.

On Sept 12th came the final straw. Hmong hilltribe tiger hunters, part of a well known gang operating in the Huai Kha Khaeng World Heritage Site , shot and killed two rangers and wounded two more. One hilltribesman was killed in the firefight, two were captured, and two fled. They are believed to be hiding in the Bangkok area. If they have been injured, and I hope they were, it will make apprehending them easier – even in Bangkok, bullet trauma raises eyebrows in medical facilities.

But two more deaths, two more injuries – the DNP decided enough was enough. Negotiations were begun with the army to buy or borrow state of the art weaponry for rangers. All protected area managers were ordered to assemble every scrap of information they had on poaching gangs, proven, suspected, rumoured, anecdotal. This exercise to be conducted in close co-operation with local police. All weapons were ordered to be checked for readiness and/or obsolescence.

And this morning, pre-dawn, over 1,000 armed forest rangers deployed throughout the western forest complex on the largest patrol/man hunt ever conducted by the DNP. They are out there as I write.

Time for the poaching gangs and syndicates to reap the whirlwind.

In Part One of this Two Part Post I described meeting Thai park rangers and observing their anti-poaching training. Things have escalated.

It started with a contact between

Petition time again: Peru: Keep Oil Drilling out of the Amazon!

July 5, 2013

Hugh Paxton’s Blog thanks Kathy for this. I’ve signed. Whether it works remains to be seen! Doesn’t hurt to try say I!

Best from Bangkok!

Hugh

From: Kathleen J., Care2 Action Alerts [mailto:actionalerts@care2.com]
Sent: Friday, July 05, 2013 1:29 PM
To: Hugh Paxton
Subject: Peru: Keep Oil Drilling out of the Amazon!

Care2 subscriber since Jul 16, 2012 Unsubscribe | Share on Facebook | Take Action
care2 petitionsite actionAlert

action alert!

Peru has given an enormous gas company approval to search for oil in the pristine Amazon rainforest. We have to take action to save the Amazon before it’s too late.

Please sign the petition today! Peru: Keep Oil Drilling Out of the Amazon!

take action

please share

it helps!

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Dear Hugh,

There are only a few places on the planet that are almost completely untouched by modern life. The Amazon rainforest is one of these places: deep in the jungle, there are indigenous tribes that have had little to no contact with any outsiders. But now, Peru has approved exploration by giant oil companies in these previously pristine areas.

Peru has given Repsol, a large multinational oil and gas company, the green light to search for oil in the Amazon rainforest. Repsol plans to conduct 3D seismic tests across a large area and drill at least 21 wells.

All the planned tests and 20 of the wells are located within a proposed reserve for indigenous people. who are highly vulnerable to contact with outsiders. This proposed drilling could be fatal for indigenous tribes and will only benefit outside economic interests.

Please sign the petition to convince the Peruvian government to halt Repsol’s drilling plans!

care2 Thank you for taking action,

Kathleen
Care2 and ThePetitionSite Team

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