Africa’s elephants are again under siege. The eradication of elephants for “white gold” or ivory as it is commonly called, has increased dramatically since conflict within Africa has risen. Poaching is not just a simple affair anymore. Fast track to 2012, poaching has a reached a completely new level, military helicopters and shooting precision has …
On May 18th, the legislative council of Hong Kong will vote on whether to ban trawling in Hong Kong waters or not. Trawling is a horrible form of fishing that involves pulling a net that is miles wide, on the ocean floor that is in between two boats aptly names ‘trawlers’.
This method of fishing literally scrapes and catches absolutely everything into the net. Trawling is indiscriminate to what gets caught in its nets. Anything that happens to be swimming by at the time will get caught in those nets and die. Marine animals caught can range from sharks, dolphins, fish, sea turtles and many more. The catch, caught also varies from legal to illegally sized fish. As stated before, it is completely indiscriminate to what gets caught. Not only this, but the trawling significantly impacts the ecosystem of the ocean floor. This method is known to destroy coral, damage vital habitats and remove seaweed. As you can already see, if this ban is passed then it will be a tremendous win for the environment and Hong Kong.
Despite all the positive effects this ban will have, there has also been opposition to this ban from the fishing industry. Already stated above, the legislative council is planning to make a final decision on this proposal by May 18th. So every letter sent, and every show of support will be a tremendous action in attempting to sway the opinion to ban trawling. Please note, if you are planning to send the letter, be sure to send it before May 16th.
There is already a website set up that has an automatically generated letter where all you need to do is add your name and email. You can find it here: http://www.livingseas.hk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=171%3Afacebootrawlgroup&catid=70%3Ahkevents&Itemid=133
[UPDATE] The Hong Kong government has officially banned all deep sea trawling and also mid-level trawling on October 13th 2010. Legislation will come into full affect on the 31st of December 2012.
As rainforest destruction continues at an alarming rate, orang-utans or “man of the forest” as their name means are forced to go into villages in search of food. Once entering a village they face capture and severe abuse.
There has been one such case of abuse from a village in Sungai Pinyuh, Indonesia. A mother and baby were captured and beaten then put into a cage tied up withropes. The cage also had no food and water. This treatment of the orang-utans is absolutely atrocious. These creatures whose home is being destroyed have no other choice but to enter these villages in search of food.
If it was a human being starving with a baby clinging to her people would rush to her aid. Treatment of any creature like this is absolutely despicable.
In Indonesia, rainforest’s cover 60% of the land but are quickly disappearing. Legal and illegal loggers are stripping the forests bare for wood and clearing the land to make way for palm oil plantations and farm land.
Farmers are ruthlessly killing adult orang-utans to prevent them from eating their crops leaving many baby orang-utans to be orphaned in the forest to die.
There has been a new scheme developed by the United Nations unveiled in Cacùn at COP13 last year called Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). This scheme developed aimed at rewarding poorer nations for preserving their forests, has the ability to prevent further destruction to forests. One huge loophole in this scheme is that they do not distinguish what a forest is. Under this scheme palm oil plantations could also be classified as a ‘forest.’ Therefore if this scheme is not completely thought out it could be detrimental to forest preservation.
For further reading on REDD click here.
Growing in popularity with the general population of China, you are now able to buy live fish and turtles on a keychain. These animals are sealed in an airtight plastic container, half filled with water. The vendors selling these fish and turtles reassure buyers that the water is full of ‘nutrients’ and that it is enough to sustain the animals for more then a month or two.
How is it possible for the water to sustain the animals for a month or two? It isn’t. The fish and turtles, if they’re lucky will live for a day or two then die, the unlucky ones will most likely die in a few hours.
China has virtually nonexistent animal rights laws and so shockingly enough this act of cruelty is legal. Despite it’s growing popularity, there are also people in China who feel that this is a horrid act of cruelty. Some people are buying these keychains only to let them roam free in the wild.
Understandably people are doing that as an act of kindness to the animals, but as they continue to do so it encourages the vendors to sell more and more fish and turtles as keychains. It will be a never ending cycle of cruelty, unless China puts new animal cruelty laws in motion.
Alex Hoffard has photographed at least hundreds of shark fins drying along the footpaths of Hong Kong. How and why this is still happening is a complete loss to me.