Via @theWCS: 17 Rare Siamese Crocodiles Released in Lao PDR by WCS and Partners / Fewer than 1,000 critically endangered Siamese crocodiles remain in the wild.
 
NEW YORK (August 28, 2014) – The Wildlife Conservation Society announced today the successful release of 17 juvenile critically endangered Siamese crocodiles into a protected wetland in Lao PDR.
 
The one-to-two-year-old crocodiles, which range between 50-100 cm (20-39 inches) in length, were raised in facilities managed by local communities working with WCS to protect the endangered reptiles and their habitat.

The juvenile crocodiles were released this week into the Xe Champhone wetland, Than Soum village, Savannakhet Province.  This is one of two RAMSAR wetland sites in the country. Lao PDR became a signatory to the RAMSAR convention in 2010.

A ceremony observing cultural traditions was held prior to the release and involved participants from local communities, government and WCS staff.  Local communities have traditional beliefs about Siamese crocodiles, and events on the day included welcoming the crocodiles to the village area and wishing both them and community residents good luck in the future.

Following the completion of the release ceremony, the crocodiles were transported by boat into the heart of the wetland complex that is managed by local communities to provide habitat and protect the species.

It is estimated that there may be fewer than 1000 Siamese crocodiles remaining in the wild, with a significant proportion of this population located in Lao PDR.

The release of these crocodiles is the culmination of several years of conservation action implemented by WCS, local communities, and the Government of Lao PDR, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Forest Resources and Environment.

Alex McWilliam of the WCS’s Lao PDR Program said: “We are extremely pleased with the success of this collaborative program and believe it is an important step in contributing to the conservation of the species by involving local communities in long term wetland and species management.”

Classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, the Siamese crocodile grows up to 10 feet in length. The species has been eliminated from much of its former range through Southeast Asia and parts of Indonesia by overhunting and habitat degradation and loss.

WCS’s Lao PDR Program designed and implemented the Community-based Crocodile Recovery and Livelihood Improvement Project, whose goal is the recovery of the local Siamese crocodile population and restoration of associated wetlands, linked by socio-economic incentives that improve local livelihoods. 

The program has three key objectives: contributing to local livelihoods by improving coordination of water resource use and zoning of lands used in local agriculture; conserving and restoring crocodile wetland habitat important for local livelihoods, crocodiles, and other species; and replenishing the crocodile population in the wetland complex and surveying and monitoring the current population.

The program has worked with nine villages – each village has a “Village Crocodile Conservation Group” (VCCG) to coordinate implementation of program activities in the Xe Champone wetland complex and surrounding areas.

The program has received extensive financial support from MMG Lane Xang Minerals Limited Sepon. The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund and IUCN support ongoing components of the program. The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of l’Agence Francaise de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the World Bank.  A fundamental goal is to ensure society is engaged in biodiversity conservation. 
 

Via @theWCS: 17 Rare Siamese Crocodiles Released in Lao PDR by WCS and Partners / Fewer than 1,000 critically endangered Siamese crocodiles remain in the wild.

 

NEW YORK (August 28, 2014) – The Wildlife Conservation Society announced today the successful release of 17 juvenile critically endangered Siamese crocodiles into a protected wetland in Lao PDR.

 

The one-to-two-year-old crocodiles, which range between 50-100 cm (20-39 inches) in length, were raised in facilities managed by local communities working with WCS to protect the endangered reptiles and their habitat.

The juvenile crocodiles were released this week into the Xe Champhone wetland, Than Soum village, Savannakhet Province.  This is one of two RAMSAR wetland sites in the country. Lao PDR became a signatory to the RAMSAR convention in 2010.

A ceremony observing cultural traditions was held prior to the release and involved participants from local communities, government and WCS staff.  Local communities have traditional beliefs about Siamese crocodiles, and events on the day included welcoming the crocodiles to the village area and wishing both them and community residents good luck in the future.

Following the completion of the release ceremony, the crocodiles were transported by boat into the heart of the wetland complex that is managed by local communities to provide habitat and protect the species.

It is estimated that there may be fewer than 1000 Siamese crocodiles remaining in the wild, with a significant proportion of this population located in Lao PDR.

The release of these crocodiles is the culmination of several years of conservation action implemented by WCS, local communities, and the Government of Lao PDR, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Department of Forest Resources and Environment.

Alex McWilliam of the WCS’s Lao PDR Program said: “We are extremely pleased with the success of this collaborative program and believe it is an important step in contributing to the conservation of the species by involving local communities in long term wetland and species management.”

Classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN, the Siamese crocodile grows up to 10 feet in length. The species has been eliminated from much of its former range through Southeast Asia and parts of Indonesia by overhunting and habitat degradation and loss.

WCS’s Lao PDR Program designed and implemented the Community-based Crocodile Recovery and Livelihood Improvement Project, whose goal is the recovery of the local Siamese crocodile population and restoration of associated wetlands, linked by socio-economic incentives that improve local livelihoods. 

The program has three key objectives: contributing to local livelihoods by improving coordination of water resource use and zoning of lands used in local agriculture; conserving and restoring crocodile wetland habitat important for local livelihoods, crocodiles, and other species; and replenishing the crocodile population in the wetland complex and surveying and monitoring the current population.

The program has worked with nine villages – each village has a “Village Crocodile Conservation Group” (VCCG) to coordinate implementation of program activities in the Xe Champone wetland complex and surrounding areas.

The program has received extensive financial support from MMG Lane Xang Minerals Limited Sepon. The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund and IUCN support ongoing components of the program. The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund is a joint initiative of l’Agence Francaise de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the World Bank.  A fundamental goal is to ensure society is engaged in biodiversity conservation. 

 

Beautiful radar & on-ground views of tens of thousands of tree swallows erupting from overnight roost on Connecticut River island.

Congo successfully deploys dog teams to sniff out bushmeat. @thewcs (PALF photos). (Works at JFK Airport, too.) More from Wildlife Conservation Society:

 

NEW YORK (April 3, 2014) – The Wildlife Conservation Society reports a major seizure of illegal bushmeat in Congo at Maya Maya International Airport in Brazzaville when authorities recently confiscated approximately 40 animals including monkeys, antelope, and porcupine.

In an unrelated incident, two bushmeat traffickers were arrested transporting 30 carcasses of similar wildlife through the Mila Mila area of Niari. The traffickers are currently awaiting trial.

The seizure and arrests were assisted by PALF (Project for the Application of Law for Fauna – Republic of Congo), a pioneering partnership of the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Aspinall Foundation and supported by the USFWS that is committed to ending wildlife trafficking in Congo.

Conservationists report that recent infrastructure improvements such as better roads and transportation hubs in Congo have resulted in an uptick in illegal hunting and trafficking of protected species.  In addition, traffickers are resorting to threateningwildlife authorities and PALF members in an effort to scare local authorities.

“PALF’s work to stop illegal wildlife trafficking by improving Congo’s legal system is more important than ever,” said James Deutsch, WCS Executive Director for Africa Programs.  “Illegal wildlife trafficking has the potential to strip mine Congo of its world class wildlife and natural heritage.  Only through tough law enforcement and stopping corruption can trafficking be eliminated.”

To aid in future enforcement efforts, PALF launched a sniffer dog program last month that works with local authorities to detect illegal wildlife products including ivory being transported within the country and internationally.

Pre-arrest, alleged tiger trafficker in Indonesia shows off his wares. News via @TheWCS: NEW YORK (January 7, 2014) — The Wildlife Conservation Society congratulates the Aceh Police for smashing a major network of wildlife traffickers. The traffickers allegedly ran five tiger poaching gangs in the Blangkenjeran, Gayo Lues, Takengon, and Ulu Masen forest areas. The two suspects, who were caught with a variety of illegal wildlife including stuffed Sumatran tigers and other rare cats, are allegedly connected with a known tiger kingpin operating in Medan.

The arrests took place in Takengon, in Indonesia’s Aceh Province and were supported by Aceh Police under command of Criminal Investigation Director Joko Irwanto along with Lieutenant General Suhardi Alius of the Criminal Investigation Division National Police in Jakarta.  

WCS’s Wildlife Crimes Unit (WCU) assisted in the case. The WCU operates in Indonesia providing data and technical advice to law enforcement agencies to support the investigation and prosecution of wildlife crimes.

Along with the stuffed tigers, the police confiscated body parts from globally endangered species including, sun bears, golden cats, marbled cats, a clouded leopard, Sumatran serow, as well as leopard cats, and some birds.

Said Joe Walston, WCS Executive Director for Asia Programs: “This recent arrest shows that Indonesia is getting increasingly serious about not tolerating wildlife crime, which threaten its spectacular natural heritage. We congratulate the group of law enforcement professionals that worked together on a local, regional, and national level to make this important arrest happen.” 

Dr. Noviar Andayani, Director of the WCS-Indonesia Program said: “WCS’s Wildlife Crimes Unit continues to work with Indonesian authorities to make a difference.  We are hopeful that the message is getting out that if you violate wildlife laws in Indonesia, you will be caught and prosecuted.”

Last year, a military court in Takengon handed down the first-ever successful prosecutions of wildlife crimes in Aceh Province to two wildlife traffickers convicted of possessing a pair of stuffed Sumatran tigers and one stuffed sun bear. This marked only the second prosecution for wildlife crimes prosecuted by an Indonesian military court. The suspects were arrested by Takengon’s military police after a three-month investigation.

WCS’s efforts to combat wildlife trafficking in Indonesia are made possible through support from the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Tiger Species Survival Plan® Program’s Tiger Conservation Campaign.

Pre-arrest, alleged tiger trafficker in Indonesia shows off his wares. News via @TheWCS: NEW YORK (January 7, 2014— The Wildlife Conservation Society congratulates the Aceh Police for smashing a major network of wildlife traffickers. The traffickers allegedly ran five tiger poaching gangs in the Blangkenjeran, Gayo Lues, Takengon, and Ulu Masen forest areas. The two suspects, who were caught with a variety of illegal wildlife including stuffed Sumatran tigers and other rare cats, are allegedly connected with a known tiger kingpin operating in Medan.

The arrests took place in Takengon, in Indonesia’s Aceh Province and were supported by Aceh Police under command of Criminal Investigation Director Joko Irwanto along with Lieutenant General Suhardi Alius of the Criminal Investigation Division National Police in Jakarta.  

WCS’s Wildlife Crimes Unit (WCU) assisted in the case. The WCU operates in Indonesia providing data and technical advice to law enforcement agencies to support the investigation and prosecution of wildlife crimes.

Along with the stuffed tigers, the police confiscated body parts from globally endangered species including, sun bears, golden cats, marbled cats, a clouded leopard, Sumatran serow, as well as leopard cats, and some birds.

Said Joe Walston, WCS Executive Director for Asia Programs: “This recent arrest shows that Indonesia is getting increasingly serious about not tolerating wildlife crime, which threaten its spectacular natural heritage. We congratulate the group of law enforcement professionals that worked together on a local, regional, and national level to make this important arrest happen.” 

Dr. Noviar Andayani, Director of the WCS-Indonesia Program said: “WCS’s Wildlife Crimes Unit continues to work with Indonesian authorities to make a difference.  We are hopeful that the message is getting out that if you violate wildlife laws in Indonesia, you will be caught and prosecuted.”

Last year, a military court in Takengon handed down the first-ever successful prosecutions of wildlife crimes in Aceh Province to two wildlife traffickers convicted of possessing a pair of stuffed Sumatran tigers and one stuffed sun bear. This marked only the second prosecution for wildlife crimes prosecuted by an Indonesian military court. The suspects were arrested by Takengon’s military police after a three-month investigation.

WCS’s efforts to combat wildlife trafficking in Indonesia are made possible through support from the Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Tiger Species Survival Plan® Program’s Tiger Conservation Campaign.

Initially bummed camera on low-rez, love the abstractions in this video of millions of Bracken Cave bats emerging. Now there’s a webcam thanks to Bat Conservation International, which also is negotiating to buy a huge tract nearby that might otherwise become a housing development. 

@kashishds: "a day in the life of elephants in Nepal." #worldelephantday

@kashishds: "a day in the life of elephants in Nepal." #worldelephantday

Cougars come East. Guy Gugliotta in @nytimesscience on issues & upside in #rewilding North America.

Cougars come East. Guy Gugliotta in @nytimesscience on issues & upside in #rewilding North America.

@nytopinion: Don’t Forsake the Gray Wolf
Can consumers in China and Vietnam (where rhino horn is a club drug!) outgrow taste for rhino horn? Jackie Chan is trying to help. (photo by Vern Evans for WildAid)

Can consumers in China and Vietnam (where rhino horn is a club drug!) outgrow taste for rhino horn? Jackie Chan is trying to help. (photo by Vern Evans for WildAid)

When is a Person Not a Human? When it’s a Dolphin, or Chimp, or… @dotearth (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images, from NYT)

When is a Person Not a Human? When it’s a Dolphin, or Chimp, or… @dotearth (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images, from NYT)