Uganda unveils the world’s first Earth Hour Forest

Earth Hour 2013

Kampala, Uganda / Singapore: February 14, 2013 – Preparations across the globe kick off for Earth Hour 2013 with the creation of the world’s first Earth Hour Forest in the East African nation of Uganda, to fight against the 6,000 hectares of deforestation that occurs in the country every month. WWF Uganda identified close to 2,700 hectares of degraded land, and set a goal to fill it with at least 500,000 indigenous trees as part of their Earth Hour 2013 campaign. Earth Hour 2013 will take place at 8.30pm on…

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Genetic study pursues elusive goal: How many Humpback whales existed in the North Atlantic before whaling?

NEW YORK, February 13, 2013 — Research team of scientists from Stanford University, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), Oregon State University and other organizations has found that North Atlantic humpback whales used to exist in numbers of more than 100,000 individuals. The new, more accurate estimate is lower than previously calculated but still two to three times higher than pre-whaling estimates based on catch data from whaling records. The study appears in the recently published edition of Conservation Genetics. The authors include: Kristen Ruegg…

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Endangered California plant gains 9,600 acres of Protected Habitat

LOS ANGELES / February 12, 2013 — Responding to a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today finalized protection of 9,603 acres of critical habitat for the endangered Coachella Valley milk vetch in Southern California. The new proposal includes four areas within the greater Coachella Valley in Riverside County, Calif., near Palm Springs. The Coachella Valley milk vetch was put on the endangered species list in 1998. In 2004, under the Bush administration, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed just 3,583 acres of…

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WWF urges Indonesian pulp producer APRIL to immediately stop pulping tropical forests

JAKARTA / February 12, 2013 – Following the announcement by Asia Pulp & Paper that it has stopped all clearance of Indonesian forests, WWF is now calling on its competitor Asia Pacific Resources International Limited (APRIL) to stop pulping tropical rainforest. “APRIL is now the single largest converter of natural forest among Indonesia’s pulp producers,” said Nazir Foead, Conservation Director of WWF-Indonesia. “We urge the company to immediately change their unsustainable business model and stop draining our peat soils and converting our forests”. The Sumatran NGO coalition Eyes on the…

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Devastating Bat-killing Disease spreads to Kentucky’s Cumberland Gap National Park

MIDDLESBORO, Ky. / February 11, 2013 — The devastating fungal disease that has already killed nearly 7 million bats has struck Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Kentucky. Since a caver first documented white-nose syndrome in a cave in upstate New York in 2006, the epidemic has spread to a total of 19 states and at least four Canadian provinces. “The arrival of white-nose syndrome in yet another national park is the latest chapter in this tragedy, which is threatening the very existence of several bat species,” said Mollie Matteson,…

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11,000 Elephants slaughtered in Minkebe National Park in Gabon

WCS scientists confirm Africa’s largest elephant population cut by at least half in ten years. LIBREVILLE, GABON / February 6, 2013 -The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced today that a national park, once home to Africa’s largest forest elephant population, has lost a staggering 11,100 individuals due to poaching for the ivory trade. The shocking figures come from Gabon’s Minkebe Park, where recent surveys of areas within the park revealed that two thirds of its elephants have vanished since 2004. The majority of these losses have probably taken place in…

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service releases Roadmap for speeding Protection of hundreds of species under Historic Settlement Agreement

WASHINGTON / February 8, 2013 — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released a four-year work plan detailing how it will implement a far-reaching 2011 settlement with the Center for Biological Diversity that requires Endangered Species Act protection decisions for 757 species. The work plan lays out the years in which all the species in the agreement will get protective decisions or critical habitat designations. Under the settlement, 54 species have so far been protected and 66 have been proposed for protection, including American wolverines, lesser prairie chickens and…

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Indonesian Fishing Communities find balance between Biodiversity & Development

The beach of Tanjung Gelam, Karimunjava National Park.

Co-management approach safeguards marine protected area in Indonesian Coral Triangle NEW YORK / February 7, 2013 — Fishing communities living on the islands of Indonesia’s Karimunjawa National Park have found an important balance, improving their social well-being while reducing their reliance on marine biodiversity, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Western Australia. Over the past 5 years, the Government of Indonesia has turned Karimunjawa National Park, a marine paradise of turquoise seas and mangrove-ringed islands in the Java Sea just south of Borneo, into a model…

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First new Mexican Gray Wolf released into wild in four years recaptured three weeks later

SILVER CITY, N.M. / February 5, 2013 – — A four-year stalemate in federal efforts to reintroduce Mexican gray wolves to the Southwest took another step backward last week when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recaptured a male wolf only three weeks after his release into the wild. “It’s unbelievable that after four years without releasing any new wolves to the wild, that they immediately pick him up again,” said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Both the chronic lack of releases and the recapture of this…

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Bolivia designates world’s largest protected wetland

Trinidad, Bolivia / February 1, 2013 — To mark the annual World Wetlands Day, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance has designated its largest site ever. At more than 6.9 million hectares, the Llanos de Moxos wetland is equivalent to the size of the Netherlands and Belgium together. The wetlands are prized for their rich natural diversity, as well as their cultural value. “WWF applauds the government of Bolivia for taking bold action to protect these vital ecosystems,” said Jim Leape, WWF International Director General. “The Amazon basin,…

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