Category: Deforestation


 

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July 27, 2015

by Rob Wallace

The notion of a neoliberal Ebola is so beyond the pale as to send leading lights in ecology and health into apoplectic fits.

Here’s one of bestseller David Quammen’s five tweets denouncing my hypothesis that neoliberalism drove the emergence of Ebola in West Africa. I’m an “addled guy” whose “loopy [blog] post” and “confused nonsense” Quammen hopes “doesn’t mislead credulous people.”

Scientific American’s Steve Mirksy joked that he feared “the supply-side salmonella”. He would walk that back when I pointed out the large literature documenting the ways and means by which the economics of the egg sector is driving salmonella’s evolution.

The facts of the Ebola outbreak similarly turn Quammen’s objection on its head.

Guinea Forest Region in 2014

Guinea Forest Region in 2014 (Photo Credit Daniel Bausch)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The virus appears to have been spilling over for years in West Africa. Epidemiologist Joseph Fair’s group found antibodies to multiple species of Ebola, including the very Zaire strain that set off the outbreak, in patients in Sierra Leone as far back as five years ago. Phylogenetic analyses meanwhile show the Zaire strain Bayesian-dated in West Africa as far back as a decade.

An NIAID team showed the outbreak strain as possessing no molecular anomaly, with nucleotide substitution rates typical of Ebola outbreaks across Africa.

That result begs an explanation for Ebola’s ecotypic shift from intermittent forest killer to a protopandemic infection infecting 27,000 and killing over 11,000 across the region, leaving bodies in the streets of capital cities Monrovia and Conakry.

Explaining the rise of Ebola

The answer, little explored in the scientific literature or the media, appears in the broader context in which Ebola emerged in West Africa.

The truth of the whole, in this case connecting disease dynamics, land use and global economics, routinely suffers at the expense of the principle of expediency. Such contextualization often represents a threat to many of the underlying premises of power.

In the face of such an objection, it was noted that the structural adjustment to which West Africa has been subjected the past decade included the kinds of divestment from public health infrastructure that permitted Ebola to incubate at the population level once it spilled over.

The effects, however, extend even farther back in the causal chain. The shifts in land use in the Guinea Forest Region from where the Ebola epidemic spread were also connected to neoliberal efforts at opening the forest to global circuits of capital.

Daniel Bausch and Lara Schwarz characterize the Forest Region, where the virus emerged, as a mosaic of small and isolated populations of a variety of ethnic groups that hold little political power and receive little social investment. The forest’s economy and ecology are also strained by thousands of refugees from civil wars in neighboring countries.

The Region is subjected to the tandem trajectories of accelerating deterioration in public infrastructure and concerted efforts at private development dispossessing smallholdings and traditional foraging grounds for mining, clear-cut logging, and increasingly intensified agriculture.

The Ebola hot zone as a whole comprises a part of the larger Guinea Savannah Zone the World Bank describes as “one of the largest underused agricultural land reserves in the world.” Africa hosts 60% of the world’s last farmland frontier. And the Bank sees the Savannah best developed by market commercialization, if not solely on the agribusiness model.

As the Land Matrix Observatory documents, such prospects are in the process of being actualized. There, one can see the 90 deals by which U.S.-backed multinationals have procured hundreds of thousands of hectares for export crops, biofuels and mining around the world, including multiple deals in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Observatory’s online database shows similar land deals pursued by other world powers, including the UK, France, and China.

Under the newly democratized Guinean government, the Nevada-based and British-backed Farm Land of Guinea Limited secured 99-year leases for two parcels totaling nearly 9000 hectares outside the villages of N’Dema and Konindou in Dabola Prefecture, where a secondary Ebola epicenter developed, and 98,000 hectares outside the village of Saraya in Kouroussa Prefecture. The Ministry of Agriculture has now tasked Farm Land Inc to survey and map an additional 1.5 million hectares for third-party development.

While these as of yet undeveloped acquisitions are not directly tied to Ebola, they are markers of a complex, policy-driven phase change in agroecology that our group hypothesizes undergirds Ebola’s emergence.

The role of palm oil in West Africa

Our thesis orbits around palm oil, in particular.

Palm is a vegetable oil of highly saturated fats derived from the red mesocarp of the African oil palm tree now grown around the world. The fruit’s kernel also produces its own oil. Refined and fractionated into a variety of byproducts, both oils are used in an array of food, cosmetic and cleaning products, as well as in some biodiesels. With the abandonment of trans fats, palm oil represents a growing market, with global exports totaling nearly 44 million metric tons in the 2014 growing season.

Oil palm plantations, covering more than 17 million hectares worldwide, are tied to deforestation and expropriation of lands from indigenous groups. We see from this Food and Agriculture Organization map that while most of the production can be found in Asia, particularly in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, most of the suitable land left for palm oil can be found in the Amazon and the Congo Basin, the two largest rainforests in the world.

Palm oil represents a classic case of Lauderdale’s paradox. As environmental resources are destroyed what’s left becomes more valuable. A decaying resource base, then, is no due cause for agribusiness turning into good global citizens, as industry-funded advocates have argued. On the contrary, agribusiness seeks exclusive access to our now fiscally appreciating, if ecologically declining, landscapes.

Food production didn’t start that way in West Africa, of course.

Natural and semi-wild groves of different oil palm types have long served as a source of red palm oil in the Guinea Forest Region. Forest farmers have been raising palm oil in one or another form for hundreds of years. Fallow periods allowing soils to recover, however, were reduced over the 20th century from 20 years in the 1930s to 10 by the 1970s, and still further by the 2000s, with the added effect of increasing grove density. Concomitantly, semi-wild production has been increasingly replaced with intensive hybrids, and red oil replaced by, or mixed with, industrial and kernel oils.

Other crops are grown too, of course. Regional shade agriculture includes coffee, cocoa and kola. Slash-and-burn rice, maize, hibiscus, and corms of the first year, followed by peanut and cassava of the second and a fallow period, are rotated through the agroforest. Lowland flooding supports rice. In essence, we see a move toward increased intensification without private capital but still classifiable as agroforestry.

But even this kind of farming has since been transformed.

The Guinean Oil Palm and Rubber Company (with the French acronym SOGUIPAH) began in 1987 as a parastatal cooperative in the Forest but since has grown to the point it is better characterized a state company. It is leading efforts that began in 2006 to develop plantations of intensive hybrid palm for commodity export. SOGUIPAH economized palm production for the market by forcibly expropriating farmland, which to this day continues to set off violent protest.

International aid has accelerated industrialization. SOGUIPAH’s new mill, with four times the capacity of one it previously used, was financed by the European Investment Bank.

The mill’s capacity ended the artisanal extraction that as late as 2010 provided local populations full employment. The subsequent increase in seasonal production has at one and the same time led to harvesting above the mill’s capacity and operation below capacity off-season, leading to a conflict between the company and some of its 2000 now partially proletarianized pickers, some of whom insist on processing a portion of their own yield to cover the resulting gaps in cash flow. Pickers who insist on processing their own oil during the rainy season now risk arrest.

The new economic geography has also initiated a classic case of land expropriation and enclosure, turning a tradition of shared forest commons toward expectations whereby informal pickers working fallow land outside their family lineage obtain an owner’s permission before picking palm.

Palm oil and Ebola

What does all this have to do with Ebola?

Fig. 1 Palm Oil and Ebola

Fig. 1 Palm Oil and Ebola

The figure at top left (of Fig. 1) shows an archipelago of oil palm plots in the Guéckédou area, the outbreak’s apparent ground zero. The characteristic landscape is a mosaic of villages surrounded by dense vegetation and interspersed by crop fields of oil palm (in red) and patches of open forest and regenerated young forest.

The general pattern can be discerned at a finer scale as well, above, west of the town of Meliandou, where the index cases appeared.

The landscape embodies a growing interface between humans and frugivore bats, a key Ebola reservoir, including hammer-headed bats, little collared fruit bats and Franquet’s epauletted fruit bats.

Nur Juliani Shafie and colleagues document a variety of disturbance-associated fruit bats attracted to oil palm plantations. Bats migrate to oil palm for food and shelter from the heat while the plantations’ wide trails also permit easy movement between roosting and foraging sites.

Bats aren’t stupid. As the forest disappears they shift their foraging behavior to what food and shelter are left.

Bush meat hunting and butchery are one means by which subsequent spillover may take place. But to move away from the kinds of Western ooga booga epidemiology that wraps outbreaks in such ‘dirty’ cultural cloth, agricultural cultivation may be enough. Fruit bats in Bangladesh transmitted Nipah virus to human hosts by urinating on the date fruit humans cultivated.

Almudena Marí Saéz and colleagues have since proposed the initial Ebola spillover occurred outside Meliandou when children, including the putative index case, caught and played with Angolan free-tailed bats in a local tree. The bats are an insectivore species also previously documented as an Ebola virus carrier.

Whatever the specific reservoir source, shifts in agroeconomic context still appear a primary cause. Previous studies show the free-tailed bats also attracted to expanding cash crop production in West Africa, including of sugar cane, cotton, and macadamia.

Indeed, every Ebola outbreak appears connected to capital-driven shifts in land use, including back to the first outbreak in Nzara, Sudan in 1976, where a British-financed factory spun and wove local cotton. When Sudan’s civil war ended in 1972, the area rapidly repopulated and much of the local rainforest—and bat ecology—was reclaimed for subsistence farming, with cotton returning as the area’s dominant cash crop.

Are New York, London and Hong Kong as much to blame?

Clearly such outbreaks aren’t merely about specific companies.

We have started working with University of Washington’s Luke Bergmann to test whether the world’s circuits of capital as they relate to husbandry and land use are related to disease emergence. Bergmann and Holmberg’s maps, still in preparation, show the percent of land whose harvests are consumed abroad as agricultural goods or in manufactured goods and services for croplands, pastureland and forests.

The maps show landscapes are globalized by circuits of capital. In this way, the source of a disease may be more than merely the country in which it may first appear and indeed may extend as far as the other side of the world. We need to identify who funded the development and deforestation to begin with.

Such an epidemiology begs whether we might more accurately characterize such places as New York, London and Hong Kong, key sources of capital, as disease ‘hot spots’ in their own right. Diseases are relational in their geographies, and not solely absolute, as the ecohealth cowboys chronicled by David Quammen claim.

Similarly, such a new approach ruins the neat dichotomy between emergency responses and structural interventions.

Some disease hounds who acknowledge global structural issues tend to still focus on the immediate logistics of any given outbreak. Emergency responses are needed, of course. But we need to acknowledge that the emergency arose from the structural. Indeed, such emergencies are used as a means by which to avoid talking about the bigger picture driving the emergence of new diseases.

The forest may be its own cure

There’s another false dichotomy to unpack—this one between the forest’s ecosystemic noise and deterministic effect.

The environmental stochasticity at the center of forest ecology isn’t synonymous with random noise.

Here a bit of math can help. A simple stochastic differential model of exponential pathogen population growth can include fractional white noise of an index 0 to 1 defined by a covariance relationship across time and space. An Ito expansion produces a classic result in population growth:

When below a threshold, the noise exponent is small enough to permit a pathogen population to explode in size. When above the threshold, the noise is large enough to control an outbreak, frustrating efforts on the part of the pathogen to string together a bunch of susceptibles to infect.

Never mind the technical details. The important point is that disease trajectories, even in the deepest forest, aren’t divorced from their anthropogenic context. That context can impact upon the forest’s environmental noise and its effects on disease.

How exactly in Ebola’s case?

It’s been long known that if you can lower an outbreak below an infection Allee threshold—say by a vaccine or sanitary practices—an outbreak, not finding enough susceptibles, can burn out on its own. But commoditizing the forest may have lowered the region’s ecosystemic threshold to such a point where no emergency intervention can drive the Ebola outbreak low enough to burn out on its own. The virus will continue to circulate, with the potential to explode again.

In short, neoliberalism’s structural shifts aren’t just a background on which the emergency of Ebola takes place. The shifts are the emergency as much as the virus itself.

In contrast to Nassim Taleb’s Black Swan—history as shit happens—we have here an example of stochasticity’s impact arising out of deterministic agroeconomic policy—a phenomenon I’ve taken to calling the Red Swan.

Here, sudden switches in land use may explain Ebola’s emergence. Deforestation and intensive agriculture strip out traditional agroforestry’s stochastic friction that until this point had kept the virus from stringing together enough transmission.

Under certain conditions, the forest may act as its own epidemiological protection. We risk the next deadly pandemic when we destroy that capacity.

Rob Wallace is an evolutionary biologist and public health phylogeographer currently visiting the Institute of Global Studies at the University of Minnesota. He also blogs at Farming Pathogens.

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SF Gate

The silence of the birds: When nature gets quiet, be very afraid

three_dead.jpg

Image 2 of 9 | The silence of the birds: Be afraid

Researchers say “the [destructive] changes in bird habitats and behavior between now and 2070 will equal the evolutionary and adaptive shifts that normally occur over tens of thousands of years.” Yay humans!

Brutal wildfire images too much to bear? Fatigued by non-stop news of extreme weather, record-low snowpack, emaciated polar bears, unprecedented this and fast-receding that, a natural world that appears to be going more or less insane?

Maybe you need some quiet. Get outside, sit yourself down and let nature’s innate healing powers soothe your aching heart.

Sounds good, right? Sounds refreshing. Sounds… well, not quite right at all. Not anymore.

Have you heard? Or more accurately, not heard? Vicious fires and vanishing ice floes aside, there’s yet another ominous sign that all is not well with the natural world: it’s getting quiet out there. Too quiet.

Behold, this bit over in Outside magazine, profiling the sweet, touching life and times of 77-year-old bioacoustician and soundscape artist Bernie Kraus, author of “The Great Animal Orchestra” (2012), TED talker, ballet scorer, and a “pioneer in the field of soundscape ecology.”

Krause, last written about on SFGate back in 2007, is a man whose passion and profession has been making field recordings of the world’s “biophony” for going on 45 years, setting up his sensitive equipment in roughly the same places around the world to record nature’s (normally) stunningly diverse aural symphony – all the birds, bees, beavers, wolves, babbling streams, fluttering wings, the brush of trees and the rush of rivers – truly, the very pulse and thrum of life itself.

 

Read More Here

MAN 

Steve Cutts Steve Cutts·

Published on Dec 21, 2012

Animation created in Flash and After Effects looking at mans relationship with the natural world.

Music: In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg.

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Description  :  Boomstronken; foto door Fruggo, juni 2003.

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New Research Shows Tree Roots Regulate CO2, Keep Climate Stable

Climate News Network | February 19, 2014 8:30 am

The argument, put forward by a team from Oxford and Sheffield Universities in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, begins with temperature. Warmer climates mean more vigorous tree growth and more leaf litter, and more organic content in the soil. So the tree’s roots grow more vigorously, said Dr. Christopher Doughty of Oxford and colleagues.

They get into the bedrock, and break up the rock into its constituent minerals. Once that happens, the rock starts to weather, combining with carbon dioxide. This weathering draws carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, and in the process cools the planet down a little. So mountain ecosystems—mountain forests are usually wet and on conspicuous layers of rock—are in effect part of the global thermostat, preventing catastrophic overheating.

The tree is more than just a sink for carbon, it is an agency for chemical weathering that removes carbon from the air and locks it up in carbonate rock.

That mountain weathering and forest growth are part of the climate system has never been in much doubt: the questions have always been about how big a forest’s role might be, and how to calculate its contribution.

Keeping climate stable

U.S. scientists recently studied the rainy slopes of New Zealand’s Southern Alps to begin to put a value on mountain ecosystem processes. Dr. Doughty and his colleagues measured tree roots at varying altitudes in the tropical rain forests of Peru, from the Amazon lowlands to 3,000 meters of altitude in the higher Andes.

They measured the growth to 30 cm below the surface every three months and did so for a period of years. They recorded the thickness of the soil’s organic layer, and they matched their observations with local temperatures, and began to calculate the rate at which tree roots might turn Andean granite into soil.

Then they scaled up the process, and extended it through long periods of time. Their conclusion: that forests served to moderate temperatures in a much hotter world 65 million years ago.

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Jan 16, 2014 by Sci-News.com

According to an international group of scientists led by Dr Nate Stephenson of the US Geological Survey, most of tropical and temperate tree species grow more quickly and sequester more carbon as they grow older.

Eucalyptus bridgesiana tree.

Eucalyptus bridgesiana tree.

The report, published in the journal Nature, is based on repeated measurements of 673,046 individual trees belonging to 403 species, some going back more than 80 years.

“Rather than slowing down or ceasing growth and carbon uptake, as we previously assumed, most of the oldest trees in forests around the world actually grow faster, taking up more carbon. A large tree may put on weight equivalent to an entire small tree in a year,” said co-author Dr Richard Condit from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute.

“This report would not have been possible without long-term records of individual tree growth. It was remarkable how we were able to examine this question on a global level, thanks to the sustained efforts of many programs and individuals,” added co-author Dr Mark Harmon of Oregon State University.

“Extraordinary growth of some species, such as Australian mountain ash – also known as eucalyptus – (Eucalyptus regnans), and the coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) is not limited to a few species,” Dr Stephenson said.

“Rather, rapid growth in giant trees is the global norm and can exceed 600 kg per year in the largest individuals. In human terms, it is as if our growth just keeps accelerating after adolescence, instead of slowing down. By that measure, humans could weigh half a ton by middle age, and well over a ton at retirement.”

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Anyone  with even  an  inkling  of  compassion  would mourn the  suffering  and  the loss of  this innocent life.  The  mourning is  doubled  by the  knowledge  that more and  more  often  it is  becoming  obvious  that  humans  are  losing their  humanity.  There  is  no  regard  for  life, there  is  no regard for suffering.  Humanity  has  been  lost  to  greed  and callous  indifference.  I choose  not to  use ignorance  because  even  one  who is  ignorant  understands  that a living  being   has  the capacity  to  suffer.  Ignorance does not  nullify  the   ability to feel  compassion.  This  cruelty  , this  callous indifference  to  life is  not  ignorance  it is  EVIL.

~Desert Rose~

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The terrible fate of Raja the baby elephant, chained and held hostage by an angry mob: An image that will haunt you and a story that will enrage you

  • In this shocking expose the Duchess of Cornwall’s brother reveals how baby elephant Raja was shockingly mistreated as he was kept captive in Sumatra. Following the deforestation of the land to produce palm oil, elephants have been forced to live with humans, destroying farms, flattening houses and sometimes killing people. Villagers took Raja, and demanded compensation after his family ruined crops in the area.

By Mark Shand

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In all the 30 years I have been working in Asian elephant conservation, I thought I had seen it all – blatant corruption, the rape and total disregard of our beautiful planet and sickening wildlife atrocities, to name but a few. All due to the most dangerous animal of all: homo sapiens.

Not much shocks me any more, but something happened in recent weeks that shook me to the core when the charity Elephant Family and the Ecologist Film Unit set out to document the environmental genocide that is out of control on the island of Sumatra,  Indonesia.

Sumatra is special to me because I spent a lot of time there on expeditions when I was younger. It was a paradise – vast pristine forests, intact coral reefs and abundant wildlife.

 

Raja is a male baby elephant found in north Aceh, villagers found him roaming community plantation and held him captive

Raja is a male baby elephant found in north Aceh, villagers found him roaming community plantation and held him captive

All this has changed now and their elephants are the most endangered on the planet. In a single generation, the population has been cut in half, with countless other animals disappearing at breakneck speed.

During the filming, a helpless, emaciated baby male elephant called Raja, who was barely a year old, was found in a village, shackled with heavy chains to a tree. He had been taken hostage by the villagers, who were demanding compensation from the Sumatran  government for the damage his family had done to their crops.

Can you believe that we are now  living in a world where people are actually holding baby elephants to ransom? It is almost unthinkable. But just look at the photographs – look at Raja, as he strains against his chains, waving his little trunk for food and reassurance. He is bellowing in desperation for his mother.

Can you believe that we are now living in a world where people are actually holding baby elephants to ransom?

Can you believe that we are now living in a world where people are actually holding baby elephants to ransom?

He strains against his chains, waving his little trunk for food and reassurance. He is bellowing in desperation for his mother.

He strains against his chains, waving his little trunk for food and reassurance. He is bellowing in desperation for his mother

I have heard that sound of distressed calves many times in my life. It never fails to haunt me. But it is his eyes that haunt me more than anything – pleading for help – innocent, desperate and helpless.

A war is being waged across Asia. In the face of relentless deforestation, elephants are being forced out of their natural habitats and they have no choice but to share their living space with humans. As the elephants’ forest home is destroyed, stressed and starving herds flee from the chainsaws straight into villages.

They demolish everything in sight, trampling crops, flattening houses and often killing people. Frankly, you really cannot blame the villagers for taking such drastic steps in the sheer desperation to survive and feed their own families.

Capturing a baby elephant and holding it to ransom is grisly and depressing, but it is reality as humans and elephants fight for space.

People need to know why this is  happening. They need to understand what is driving this madness.

Read More  and  View  Video Here

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World Heritage Centre has extended heritage listed boundary by more than 170,000 hectares

Scoured out old growth forest tree at Mt Field National Park, Tasmania.
Scoured out old growth forest tree at Mt Field National Park, Tasmania Photograph: James Lane/AAP Image

Almost 200,000 hectares of Tasmania’s old growth forest have been world heritage listed, bringing hope that a three-decade fight between environmentalists, politicians and loggers is over.

The World Heritage Committee has extended the heritage listed boundary of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area by more than 170,000 hectares after accepting a proposal from the Australian government which will give the areas the highest level of environmental protection in the world.

The old growth forest areas now added to the heritage listing are in the Upper Florentine as well as within the Styx, Huon, Picton and Counsel River Valley.

Logging will continue in the forest in areas Environment Minister Tony Burke described as “less contentious”.

The proposal the government put to the World Heritage Committee was the work of people within the forestry industry as well as environmentalists, including Miranda Gibson who famously spent 457 days living in a tree in the old growth forest in a campaign for extended environmental protection.

Speaking from Hobart where she had watched a livestream of the World Heritage Committee handing down the decision, Gibson said she was thrilled and had contemplated returning to the tree if she was unhappy with the decision.

“It’s good to know I don’t have to go back to the tree unless I want to visit,” she said.

“The hardest part [of living in the tree] was not knowing how long I would be up there or if the loggers would come and log around me.

“It was obviously also very isolating.”

Gibson started living at the top of the 60 metre eucalypt tree in December 2011 and was driven out by bushfires in March this year. By then the proposed extended areas for world heritage listing had been granted temporary protection.

She decided to campaign from the ground until the committee handed down their official decision.

 

Read More Here

Peggy Atwood

Published on Jan 30, 2013

A song I wrote when I visited the site after 9/11; always thought a little heavy, but it is time to get it out there. All photos taken from the web, if there is any infringement, please contact me, I will include credits. Included on my CD “Renegade of the Light Brigade” during the remix and urging of the late, great Steve Burgh.

Socio-Economics History Blog

  • Government’s climate watchdog launches astonishing attack on the Mail on  Sunday… for revealing global warming science is wrong! 
    by David Rose, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/ 
    The official watchdog that advises the  Government on greenhouse gas emissions targets has launched an astonishing  attack on The Mail on Sunday – for accurately reporting that alarming  predictions of global warming are wrong.

    We disclosed that although highly influential  computer models are still estimating huge rises in world temperatures, there has  been no statistically significant increase for more than 16  years.

    Despite our revelation earlier this month,  backed up by a scientifically researched graph, the Committee on Climate Change  still clings to flawed predictions.

    Leading the attack is committee member Sir  Brian Hoskins, who is also director of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change  at Imperial College, London. In a blog on the Committee on Climate Change’s  website, Sir Brian insisted:…

View original post 108 more words

A noble undertaking to  be  sure.  Were  it not for the  simple  fact that  Science has  not  , for the  most  part, respected the  right of creatures  to  exist in an environment  that  is suitable  for  their rightful existence.  Science  and  mankind  alike  have, for the  most  part,  considered  only it’s pleasure  and curiosity where   animals  are  concerned.  They have  neither  respected  their  lives  nor  their  habitats.  Always  putting their  selfish  needs  before  anything else. 

Which  leads  one  to  wonder as  to the  why of  this  undertaking?  I  would  venture  to say   it is  all for the  greater  glory  of their  Scientific  careers.  They  nether  care  nor  are  concerned  with the  well being  or  happiness of  any of these  creatures.  The  proof is in the lack  of impetus where pollution, experimental animal  research and  deforestation are  concerned.  Just  look  at the  palm oil plantations  flourishing  at the  expense of  the  Orangutang ,  the  bees  and  pollinators   dying off  due to  GMO’s.   The  Whale, porpoise and a  long  list  of  sea life.   The endless  list  of   animals  that  are  endangered,  being  poached and savaged on a  daily  basis, and then  there is  always   the commercialization of the  creatures.    Aquariums for  profit,  Zoos that confine  these  poor  animals to cages or  concrete  pens in many  cases in   environments that  are  completely  alien  and  detrimental to the  species.  Exotic  animals  captured and  sold for the  highest dollar to people  who think they  are  pretty  and since they  have  the  money   why  not ?   Of course if they  can  afford it  they  want  what  no one  else has, regardless of the morality of  such a desire.  Avarice and social standing know  no  limits to   satiating  these desires

Photograph by Tim Laman

A lesser bird of paradise flaunts his flank plumes to entice females.

Purchase this print »

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Who  cares  what  these poor  creatures  had to endure  to  make it  to  that pet shop or  dealer.  The only thing that  matters is they  got  what they  wanted , the  animal  be  damned.  After  all it is  just  an  animal  isn’t it ? 

Let’s not  forget  the  Circus,  animals  taken  from their  mothers  at  a young  age   that  are  savagely   beaten and traumatized to  conform for the  amusement  of those  willing to  pay for the entertainment  and for the profit of  those unethical beasts  that mistreat and terrorize  them on a  daily  basis.  Their  suffering is  of  no consequence and  trivial  to those  who  want to  possess  them.

 

 Image Source                                                             Image Source

 

Image Source                                                 Image source

In light of  the cruelty  and  callousness with  which  humanity has  treated  the  creatures  of this planet,  I  would venture  to  say  they are  better  off  as  a part  of  history   than   part  of the  next  series of  experiments  for the  glory  of greedy  and  soulless enterprises.

~Desert Rose~

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Jennifer Welsh | Mar. 17, 2013, 10:39 AM

On Friday at a National Geographic sponsored TEDx conference, scientists met in Washington, D.C. to discuss which animals we should bring back from extinction. They also discussed the how, why, and ethics of doing so.They called it “de-extinction.”

There are a few guidelines for which ancient species are considered, and sadly, dinosaurs are so long dead they aren’t in the picture. Their DNA has long ago degraded, so researchers are fairly sure that Jurassic Park will never happen.

But there are plenty of other animals on the table. The list of candidates is actually pretty long, considering.

Here are the 24 animals they are hoping to one day resurrect.

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10 Animals That Were Hunted To Extinction

Tasmanian tiger (Extinct since 1936)

Tasmanian Tiger

Wikipedia

Tasmania Tigers were hunted by humans to extinction

Woolly Mammoth (Extinct for ~10,000 years)

Dodo Bird (Extinct since ~1681)

Stellar’s Sea Cow (Extinct since 1768)

Passenger Pigeon (Extinct since 1914)

Passenger Pigeon (Extinct since 1914)

Stuffed passenger pigeon on display at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Wikipedia/Keith Schengili-Roberts

Bubal Hartebeest (Extinct since ~1954)

Javan Tiger (Extinct since ~1970s)

Zanzibar leopard (Extinct since ~1990s)

Pyrenean Ibex (Extinct since 2000)

Western Black Rhino (Extinct 2011)

Western Black Rhino (Extinct 2011)

Na Son Nguyen/AP

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For Those Of Us who Love Animals And  Understand  Why They Need To Be  Protected.  This  One Is For You !!
British photographer Tim Flach is known for taking human-like photographs of animals. His latest body of work, called “More Than Human,” captures the emotions of wild creatures through intensely close shots — like the stunning picture of a gorilla below.

The intimate animal portraits, which feature everything from a featherless chicken to a pair of affectionate chimpanzees, are meant to illuminate the similarities between animal poses, gestures, and gazes, and our own.

Photographing animals on a set, as opposed to in their natural habitat comes with a unique set of challenges.

“You can never predict an animal’s mood,” Flach says on his website. “So you have to plan beforehand to get what you want.” To make the animals feel as comfortable as possible, Flach may adjust the temperature of the studio or play music.

You can purchase a hardcover copy of Flach’s animal portraits here or visit his website to see more of the award-winning photographer’s work.

A chimpanzee affectionately cradles its child.

A chimpanzee affectionately cradles its child.

See The Animals

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