Conservation doesn’t mean elephant hunts

Conservation doesn’t mean elephant hunts

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected economies across the world in different ways. The tourism sector in all countries has been one of the hardest affected by the travel restrictions and lockdowns in each country.

Like many, the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority have suffered from a reduction in tourism over the last year. This week they announced a plan to help raise the revenue they’d lost out on – sell the rights to hunt elephants.

One elephant hugging another in the savannah

Photo by Rachel Claire

Zimbabwe has the world’s second largest elephant population. During the next hunting season, tourists can buy the right to kill an elephant. There will be 500 licences issues with different prices depending on the size of elephant slaughtered.

A spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority suggested that anyone who opposes their plan should find another way to help the Authority to reach its required funding goals in order to help maintain the parks and pay their staff.

Several elephants walk through the haze

Photo by Leif Blessing

Wild Browser was founded on the principle of helping wildlife. The Wild Browser app donates all net profits to wildlife charities. The good news is that you can help us with our mission without needing to shoot any wild animals.

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Microplastics threaten coastal ecosystems

A recent study has found that microplastics have ingrained themselves in the essential ecosystems of mangrove forests, with implications larger than just for the fish and wildlife that rely on these habitats.

Blue forests, as they’re called, are made up of seagrasses and mangroves. The dense water-based vegetation and ecosystems are essential for many animals. Above the water, birdlife thrive. Beneath the blue, the mangroves and seagrasses give a protective environment for fish to grow. Deeper in the water, it is common to find mussels and crabs living.

Mangrove forest

Unfortunately, the dense weed and plant life also easily trap microplastics. The plastics are washed into the mangroves by the currents and caught there. The blue forests are a much sought after food source for small fish and other sea life. The small plastic particles can become stuck in the fish or animal’s breathing or eating pathways, or other body part, causing the fish to suffocate or starve.

The inherent danger of microplastics is not just in the plastics themselves. They can also be covered in microorganisms, toxins or diseases, all much more hazardous for the sea life.

A recent study by the University of Southern Denmark has shown that mangroves collect microplastics at a higher degree than seagrass. The study was conducted in blue forests along three points on the coast of China, finding that in mangrove forests the concentration of microplastics were over 17 times higher than in other findings. Among the beds of seagrass, the rate was over four times as high.

The bow of a boat that sails through a mangrove forest

It is thought that the microplastics bind with the blue forests in a similar way to carbon. This makes it essentially impossible to remove microplastics once they have become tangled in the vegetation.

The study indicates that the ramifications go beyond the wildlife that rely on the blue forests for life. Mangrove forests are an essential part of balancing the carbon output of the planet. The seagrass plays an integral part in doing the same in the oceans and seas around the globe.

Improving the conditions for the sea life, and the benefits for the planet, is essential for us all. Join Wild Browser in our mission by helping us raise money while you enjoy fast and secure mobile browsing.

Pride of the Serengeti

The great plains of the Serengeti in East Africa is a unique home for many species. But the plains may not be the idyllic ecology we think it is.

One of the great wildlife wonders of the world, the Serengeti plain across Tanzania, has long been a sanctuary for large mammals and birdlife. As one of the planet’s great wild lands, it’s arguably the best place to see many animals in their natural habitat, including lions, leopards, giraffes, zebras and wildebeest.

The landscape of Serengeti National Park

Photo by Oleg Magni

Questions have been raised recently whether the plain is ecologically intact. Concerns have began to show whether the wild land is, in fact, a great section of unspoiled nature. Or if it is a human created landscape nurtured over generations.

The dangers are, if it is human created, that the ecology is not in balance. And this, at the end of the day, doesn’t help the animals in the best way. At the heart of this is the core question over conservation – is the goal to protect species, or to keep the entire ecology intact?

Giraffes in the Serengeti National Park

Photo by Rachel Claire

An international team of authors have addressed this question in three papers recently released.

In many otherwise protected and pure ecosystems, the lack of key large mammals indicate that they should not be considered intact. The lack of species can affect how these ecosystems work. The absence of predators can lead lead to herbivores increasing in population and a declining vegetation. The loss of large herbivores, like elephants, would reduce the efficiency of recycling nutrients and dispersing seeds.

Lions in the Serengeti National Park

Photo by Rachel Claire

In a study of large nature reserves, including fjords and forests in Chile and rainforests of the Republic of the Congo, there were places that met the strict measures of intact ecological systems. Unfortunately, they were not in the majority. The research found – and this is the good news – that reintroducing only five species would return many of these protected habitats to a pristine ecological standard.

Supporting the work of conservationists and researchers to develop intact ecologies is at the heart of Wild Browser. Share the app with your friends and help make a difference to the natural world, while enjoying secure and fast browsing.

Cayman Island turtles make a return

New studies released on the conservation efforts of sea turtles on the Cayman Islands show the turtles are far from locally extinct, as many feared. The turtle populations are beginning to thrive again.

Cayman Island turtle crawls to the sea

Photo by Jolo Diaz

The Cayman Islands are home to a range of species of turtles. In fact, the islands were originally named Las Tortugas because of the abundance of turtles. Since as early as the 1500s, the turtles have been under threat, with over hunting pushing certain species to the brink of extinction. Other unintentional human elements that have affected turtle numbers include the destruction of habitats, pollution and damage during fishing other sea life.

Conservation efforts have had some effect over the last 30 years but there have been set backs. Illegal hunting has certainly been part of that. In 2001, Hurricane Michelle wiped out 75 per cent of the breeding population of turtles on the Cayman Turtle Centre, harming their captive breeding and release program.

The good news is that studies recently released say that conservation efforts are starting to show their results. A study undertaken by the Cayman Islands Department of Environment and the University of Exeter shows that sea turtle nests increased to 675 in 2019, up from just 39 nests when the study began in 1998.

The Cayman Island Turtle gathering

Photo by Jolo Diaz

The sea turtle was thought to be near local extinction. Now the efforts of decades of ecological management have paid off.

It’s not all good news, unfortunately. While the positive results have come in for the green turtle and the loggerhead turtle, the hawksbill turtle numbers remain low.

All profits made by Wild Browser go to supporting conservation efforts like these that have increased the number of sea turtles. Join Wild Browser in our mission, raising money for these causes while you enjoy secure and fast mobile browsing.