Picture of the week: Artist impression of Sanganeb reef

This painting of the underwater world of a Sanganeb reef at Sudan was made by Jeremy Stafford Deitsch. We gratefully acknowledge the artist for sharing this lovely image with us.

Highlighted: Australian Sea Lions

(reproduced with kind permission of  Sam Cahir)
 
Australian Sea-Lions are one of the most rare and endangered seal species in the world with fewer than 12,000 left. Unlike most seals that breed annually, Australian Sea-Lions breed only every 18 months and tend to exhibit high site fidelity and stay close to where they are born. Breeding females have little or no interchange between breeding colonies. The small haul-out location of Seal Bay, Hopkins Island located on the Eyre peninsula within the Spenser Gulf, South Australia, offers a year-round opportunity to swim and scuba with these charismatic animals, often likened to underwater Labradors. Here photographer Peter Verhoog, patiently waits for the ideal moment to snap an image of these four precocious pinnipeds.

 — withPeter Verhoog Underwater & Nature Photography,Peter Verhoog and Andrew Fox.

 
 
 
 

News: Trapped in the mouth of a huge whale

Trapped in the mouth of a huge whale

When Jonah was swallowed by a whale it took three days and three nights before he was finally spat back out, alive, on a beach. Fortunately for Rainer Schimpf, 51, his ordeal was of less biblical proportions when he too found himself trapped in the jaws of a huge whale. This happened when he was snorkeling in the middle of a bait ball. No harm was done after the whale spat out Rainer after a few seconds, realizing this was far too big to be plankton.

News: Guyana number one 'Best of Ecotourism'

Guyana has been named the number one “Best of Ecotourism” destination in the world.

The award was presented to the Director of the Guyana Tourism Authority, Brian Mullis, at the ITB global travel trade fair in Berlin, Germany. 

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New platform for Wildlife Intelligence

  • The Clues Tracker and Data Collector app helps to collect and share data easily. That is, to register tracks, offenses, recoveries, observations, and ranger responses to any type of event. The gadget is produced by a foundation from Jan-Kees Schakel,  a Dutch former police functionary who developed a user's friendly new sound and light tracking app sensing clues, implemented in a smartphone.
  • It works with sensors placed at strategic spots in the field or forest. It allows rangers of big wild parks to detect noises like gunshots, or lights used to confuse or spot wild animals on a map of a large territory.  Or to share observations of suspicious signs like footprints or jungle fires.  Wildparks Phudunmad in Zimbabwe and Rukinga Wildlife corridor in Kenia already showed interest in the new gadget.  The gadget could be a small but important step in getting a better grip on the big business of wildlife poachers in Africa and Asia.

News: Blue carbon a solution for Indonesia?

Blue carbon  is the carbon carbon stored in coastal and marine ecosystems. The Blue Carbon Initiative currently focuses on carbon in coastal ecosystems - mangroves, tidal marshes, and seagrasses. Mangroves are tropical forests that thrive in salt water and found in a variety of coastal settings worldwide. Mangroves store greater amounts of carbon than any other terrestrial ecosystem, which helps reduce carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In Indonesia, the shrimp farming boom triggered large-scale mangrove conversion to aquacultures in this country. In 30 year around  40% of Indonesian Mangroves around its numerous island have disappeared. Projects are being developed at sites to protect and restore coastal ecosystems for their blue carbon value. An example is the Surodadi project where attempts are made to protect the mangroves and stimulate new growth of colonies by building protective fences that prevent the mud to flow back to sea at low at low tides. Professor Daniel Murdiyarso is one of the researchers investigating deforestation of the Indonesia Mangroves around the island of Surodadi.

Is Indonesia able (=willing)  to incorporate the Blue Carbon initiative in its financial planning?  It already received 4.4. billion dollars from the UN to bring down the massive deforestation, the major cause of its super high CO2 emissions. While the result of this investment is not yet clear, Indonesia has planned to build some dozens of new coal plants in the coming year.