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The western settlement of Longyearbyen, with a population of roughly 2,000, is the area’s main tourism hub. Currently it’s high-season, which means thousands of international tourists hungering for a glimpse of the Arctic’s natural splendor cruise on both small and large ships, occasionally disembarking for land excursions on remote islands.

On Sunday, 12 crew members from the German ship MS Bremen landed on the northern-most island of the archipelago to prepare for an on-shore excursion with passengers, according to a statement by the Svalbard governor’s office. A 42-year-old crew member was attacked by a polar bear, which was then shot and killed in what the crew member said was an act of self-defense.

The incident is being investigated by authorities, although it is possible that the crew had happened upon a starving bear.

“When you have more people coming to the same area in which the polar bears and other arctic animals live, the risk of conflict and disturbance increases — it’s more of a mathematical law,” said Morten Wedege, head of environmental protection for the governor of Svalbard. “Our challenge is to inform and educate and guide people to know how to behave in the high arctic.”

The incident sheds light on the challenges of tourism growth in the area.

Read the full article here.

By Sarah Hucal for ABC News 

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asian elephants, thailand, thai elephants

A wild elephant investigates a pickup truck in Thiland – Photo: © IUCN / Bampen Chaiyarak

A new study conducted by the Thai foundation Bring the Elephant Home (BTEH) shows that certain types of deterrence measures could reduce human-elephant conflict (HEC) in Thailand, and save lives on both sides. The study’s findings suggest that people’s interest in conserving elephants is more or less proportional to how much they stand to gain from the animals’ presence. It also found that those currently in conflict with elephants show a willingness to shift to alternative methods of deterrence to those currently being employed.

Elephants, revered and loved for ages in Thailand, have lately become a problem. Human settlements are expanding into elephant habitat, leaving wild populations of the species no other option but to invade human territory. Here, they can ravage plantations and destroy houses, which often escalates into direct confrontation. Conflicts between people and elephants result in hundreds of deaths per year on both sides, and pose a significant threat to the survival of Asian elephants, which are classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™.

Read the full article here.

By IUCN.

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tiger, wilderness, sustainable travel, protect wildlife, wildlife protection, conservation, animal welfare

Credit: Shutterstock

Wildlife encounters are one of the most exciting and memorable experiences you can have, but your safety and the animal’s welfare should be your highest priority.

Here are some tips on how to have an exhilarating and responsible wildlife experience:

  • If you can, visit animals in the wild or in sanctuaries where they are kept in the most natural conditions possible. If you’re looking for a more affordable option such as a zoo, do some research on the establishment’s stance on animal welfare before you purchase a ticket.

 

  • Don’t use animals as photo props. Critters such as the slow loris are adorable, but they get distressed when held; therefore, no matter how cute or seemingly harmless, avoid the urge to treat wild animals as cuddly toys.

 

  • Check if your tour operator has taken adequate measures to ensure safety for you and the wildlife. You can reduce uncertainty by booking tours through tour operators that have special accreditations, that show they follow sustainable tourism practices, such as PATA members Khiri and Buffalo Tours.

 

  • Appreciate animals just as they are and respect them. Some attractions may have your favourite creatures behaving in a way they normally wouldn’t in the wild. It’s best to avoid supporting such activities, as it is difficult to access whether the training methods used to tame the animals are responsible or not.

 

 

Spend sustainably because your refusal to engage in potentially dubious activities will bring down the business that profits at the expense of wildlife.

For more background information on the role of elephants in Asia and animal welfare, visit the links below:

If you’d like a more thorough understanding of animal welfare in tourism, check out ABTA’s Animal Welfare Guidelines.

 

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(Credit: World Wildlife Day – The poster was created by Jerry LoFaro, Mohammed Elnour and Patrick George)

 

This year’s World Wildlife Day on March 3 is the purr-fect opportunity to show your love for big cats – the endangered predators fighting to survive in Africa, Asia, and North, Central and South America. These majestic creatures are at risk be-claws of many and varied threats, that are mostly caused by human activities. Big cats include not only lions, tigers, leopards and jaguars – the four largest wild cats that can roar – but also cheetahs, snow leopards, pumas, and clouded leopards.

UN World Wildlife Day celebrates and raises awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants – this day was proclaimed in 2013 as the day of signature the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Please paws for a moment and spend some time to learn about these charismatic and admired animals across the globe. Purr-haps, you would like to participate in an event taking place in your country.

The official World Wildlife Day websites shares furry cool and creatives ideas on how to get involved, or choose one of our favourite ideas:

  1. Bring the World Wildlife Day to your office talk to your co-workers about the day during lunch time. Speak up and share your knowledge, passion and questions about wildlife conservation with your co-workers, friends, family and community – either in person or online. For inspiration on spreading the word via social media, have a look at this social media kit.
  2. Use your talent to show your support in the conservation of big cats and inspire the world. For example, check out the amazing sand art created by an Indian sand artist for last year’s World Wildlife Day. Your own creativity is the only limit!
  3. Watch and share the official outreach video for World Wildlife Day 2018 or hold a screening of wildlife films. Check out this page, if you are interested in hosting the screening of the winning film of this year’s International Big Cats Film Festival.

It’s time to take cat-ion and help the un-fur-tunate predators meow!

#WorldWildlifeDay #BigCats #PredatorsUnderThreat #WWD2018 #DoOneThingToday #iProtectBigCats

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Thanks to a camera trap, a polar bear unwittingly makes a self-portrait in Svalbard. PHOTOGRAPH BY PAUL NICKLEN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Lack of sea ice is making it more difficult for polar bears to find food.

When photographer Paul Nicklen and filmmakers from conservation group Sea Legacy arrived on Baffin Island in late summer, they came across a heartbreaking sight: a starving polar bear on its deathbed.

Nicklen is no stranger to bears. From the time he was a child growing up in Canada’s far north the biologist turned wildlife photographer has seen over 3,000 bears in the wild. But the emaciated polar bear, featured in videos Nicklen published to social media on December 5, was one of the most gut-wrenching sights he’s ever seen.

“We stood there crying—filming with tears rolling down our cheeks,” he said.

Read the full article and watch the video here.

By Sarah Gibbens for The National Geographic.

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Credit: Travindy

Singapore, 11 October 2017 – Mandai Park Holdings (MPH) announced today the appointment of Banyan Tree Holdings (Banyan Tree) as the operator of an eco-friendly resort to be located within the new integrated nature and wildlife destination at Mandai. This partnership marks the debut of the award-winning, Singapore-based hospitality company on home ground after its global success.

Integrated with Mandai’s natural surroundings, it is envisioned the eco-friendly resort will provide an immersive stay close to nature, offering unique experiences that inspire care for biodiversity and sustainable behaviour. It will provide, for the first time, the opportunity for visitors to stay over in a full-service accommodation at the doorstep of Singapore’s wildlife parks. Guests will be able to enjoy and explore the precinct’s array of offerings, including its five wildlife parks, nature-themed indoor attraction and public green spaces.

Read the full article on the new destination in Singapore here.

By Travindy.

 

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White rhinos graze on a ranch belonging to John Hume, one of the rhino farmers who sued to overturn South Africa’s ban on the domestic sales of rhino horn. PHOTOGRAPH BY WALDO SWIEGERS, BLOOMBERG/GETTY

 

It will soon be legal to buy and sell rhino horn within South Africa. The country’s constitutional court dismissed an application to appeal from the government to keep a ban on the trade in place, the South African government confirms.

This ends a lengthy legal battle that pitted rhino owners, who farm rhinos like livestock and want to be able to sell their reserves of rhino horn once again, against the government’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), which placed a moratorium on the trade in 2009 after a jump in poaching. Lower courts have sided with the rhino farmers, but the ban remained in place as the government’s appeal worked through the courts. Knowing that it may lose, the government began preparing for legalization earlier this year by issuing new draft regulations to govern the trade. They say that anyone with a permit will be able to buy and sell rhino horns and that foreigners will be allowed to export a maximum of two horns for “personal purposes.”

Read more on the legislation of rhino horn here.

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Local and National Governments of the Philippines Commit to Country’s Largest Critical Habitat Designation

Newly Declared Critical Habitat In Palawan

Members of the Batak tribe fishing in Palawan, the Philippines (Photo by Robin Moore) | Photo source: Global Wildlife Conservation

One of the world’s most critical and irreplaceable areas for unique and threatened wildlife—in addition to the home to the last 200 – 300 members of the indigenous Batak tribe—has received the largest critical habitat designation in the Philippines.

The newly declared Cleopatra’s Needle Critical Habitat, which protects more than 100,000 acres of forest on the lush island of Palawan, is the culmination of a three-year project led by the Centre for Sustainability, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development, City Environment and Natural Resources Office of Puerto Princesa and the Batak tribe, with support from Global Wildlife Conservation, Rainforest Trust and the Amphibian Survival Alliance. By Lindsay Renick Mayer. Read more.

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China to Shut Down Its Ivory Trade by the End of 2017

Categories: Asia, Planet, Recommended Reading, Wildlife, Wildlife
Comments Off on China to Shut Down Its Ivory Trade by the End of 2017

Advocates applaud the move by the world’s largest consumer of ivory, saying it could help save Africa’s remaining elephants.

With African elephant populations plummeting because of poaching for the ivory trade, China's announcement that it will phase out its legal market by the end of next year comes as welcome news to advocates. PHOTOGRAPH BY BRENT STIRTON, GETTY IMAGES, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

With African elephant populations plummeting because of poaching for the ivory trade, China’s announcement that it will phase out its legal market by the end of next year comes as welcome news to advocates.
PHOTOGRAPH BY BRENT STIRTON, GETTY IMAGES, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

China will shut down its domestic ivory trade by the end of 2017, according to an announcement made today by the Chinese government.

The announcement comes more than a year after China’s President Xi Jinping and United States President Barack Obama pledged to enact “nearly complete bans” on the import and export of ivory, an agreement Wildlife Watch reporter Rachael Bale described as “the most significant step yet in efforts to shut down an industry that has fueled the illegal hunting of elephants.” – By Jani Actman. Read more on National Geographic

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Airport wildlife tracking tool launched to combat illegal wildlife trade

Categories: Planet, Recommended Reading, Wildlife, Wildlife
Comments Off on Airport wildlife tracking tool launched to combat illegal wildlife trade

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has announced the launch of an Airport Wildlife Trafficking Assessment Tool which aims to help defeat smugglers of endangered species. Developed in partnership with the World Customs Organization (WCO) with support from the USAID ROUTES Partnership, the assessment tool is being piloted at Mozambique’s Maputo International Airport in November 2016. A global rollout is planned for 2017. The tool helps airports assess their supply-chain security, intelligence and risk management, staff awareness, and reporting processes, alongside air cargo and passenger screening policy and procedures.

Find more information at the Wildlife section of the IATA website. Read more on Travindy. 

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