Entries in nature (87)
We have collected all of this weeks Science Club articles in one easy to read place. This week we have discussed water vole sanctuaries, dung beetles and GPS systems, collaring antelopes, and an international convention discussing the protection of endangered species.
This weeks Science club articles ranging from dolphins mimicing each others calls, vampire squids, sharks that have glow in the dark lightsabers, and squirrel BFF's! We have put them all together in one easy to read place.
We've got two weeks of Science club articles this week, all here in one place for your viewing pleasure. Did you know baboons can be as picky as humans? We've also got the craziest research from 2012! And we look at the possibility of genetically modified mosquitoes combatting diseases.
This week the Into the Wild team has been looking at some of the craziest and most entertaining animal behaviour out there. Today we’re checking out how animals get themselves out of sticky situations bringing you some of the top survival tips from the animal kingdom. So if you ever get yourself into a spot of bother, think what would the animals do?
2011 was a historic year when it comes to the environment. Natural disasters ruled the headlines causing havoc and resulting in the disruption of homes and economies across the globe. However, as Gemma Percy describes in this interesting article, it was not all doom and gloom in 2011 - the year we stood up for Mother Earth.
Continuing this week’s wonderful theme of wildlife photography, today we profile the work of another Frontier favourite: Roger Hooper.
Frontier has wildlife conservation projects all over the world. Despite the vast variety of locations and species on offer, all of the projects share in common the chance to bring you close to some incredible wildlife. Today we look at some of our most popular projects, as well as considering a few of the lesser-known opportunities available.
Australia - Wallaby Resuce
This project will see you working closely with both adult and baby wallabies injured by human activity. Taking you to the spectacular outback of Queensland in the north-east of Australia, this is a hugely rewarding and important project to get involved in. Baby wallabies are frequently left orphaned when older animals are killed for meat or injured in road traffic incidents. Your daily interaction with these vulnerable animals will see you build some strong bonds during your stay.
Madagascar – Marine Conservation & Diving
Learn to dive in some of the most beautiful and unexplored marine habitats on the planet. Your time in this amazing marine habitat will be shared with an extraordinary array of resident wildlife such as rays, reef fish, sea urchins, anemones, octopus and sea turtles. But this is only the beginning; dolphins, sharks and migrating whales are just a few of the larger animals lurking in the deeper waters. Madagascar is renowned for its unique wildlife, with 80% of species endemic to the island. You will be conducting vital research and surveys around these important ecosystems in order to establish future conservation efforts.
Costa Rica – Big Cats, Primates and Turtles
Costa Rica is home to the highest density of species anywhere in the world. You will be staying in the very heart of this unparalleled paradise exploring and documenting all it has to offer. Your base will be the camp on the shore of the pacific coast, from which you will set out on daily trips to survey the country’s wildlife, much of which is critically endangered. With the chance to witness such varied and rare species, such as the elusive jaguar, this project is a popular choice and will appeal to those with a real sense of adventure.
China – Panda Breeding
An iconic species in an astonishing country; little wonder that this project is in such high demand. Offering the chance to play a part in the conservation of a truly remarkable species, the China panda breeding centre is an experience you will never forget. You will learn first-hand about what it takes to run a successful panda breeding programme. Duties will include feeding the pandas as well as the possibility of recording valuable data on the behaviour of these rare animals.
Italy – Dolphin Monitoring & Sailing
You don’t have to travel to the other side of the world to get a Frontier experience. The dolphin monitoring & sailing project in Italy offers an amazing opportunity much closer to home than you might have expected. Based on the island of Ischia off the coast of Naples, you will be sailing everyday to aid scientists in their research into all aspects of dolphin behaviour. All the training you need will be given to you once you arrive, although sea sickness might be a personal challenge to conquer.
Above are 5 excellent examples of how a Frontier project could bring you into contact with some of the world’s most mesmerising and endangered wildlife on the planet. See what else is on offer on the Frontier Website.
Attaching a financial value to the environment has long been talked of as a potential solution to our destructive exploitation of the Earth’s natural resources. The outcome of the Yasuní situation will be an excellent indicator as to the ability of this economic approach to make a significant difference to conservation.
Image @Geoff Gallice
Many will claim that it is impossible to attach a monetary value to the natural world. But the Ecuadorian government has done just that. When an enormous oil field worth approximately $7-10bn was discovered beneath the Yasuní National Park, an area considered by many scientists to be the most bio-diverse region on the planet, the country faced a dilemma; cash in on the oil reserve and let an area of unparalleled environmental significance be destroyed, or resist the cash incentives offered by the oil companies and conserve the area.
Ecuador is a country facing poverty on a large scale, with approximately 33% of the population below the national poverty line; an issue that could potentially be addressed with the correct usage of profits from the Yasuní oil extraction. With this issue to consider, at no point has this been a simple choice between money and morals for the government to make. However, the tough decision was made, with neither of these options being taken. Former oil minister Alberto Acosta, a European-trained economist heavily involved in government policy at the time, was placed in charge of the future of Yasuní. His well-documented decision was to challenge the rest of the world to donate half of the value of the oil ($3.6bn) over 13 years, or they would give the go-ahead for oil companies to begin extraction. Acosta said: "We will leave the oil in the ground and save the forest and the people if you, the world, make a financial contribution.”
This remarkable ultimatum has been backed by 78% of Ecuador’s population, an amazing percentage considering the fact that a significant number of them are suffering the effects of poverty. As well as the support of the public, the plan has been declared a ‘safe environmental investment’ by the UN, which has also agreed to administer the Ishpingo Tambococha Tiputini (ITT) Fund, established in August 2010. The plan is intended to avoid what has been dubbed the “oil curse”, a phenomenon that has seen oil rich, developing countries remain poor after having proceeded with the extraction of their oil reserves. The global community has until December 2011 to come up with $100m as a downpayment on the deal. On 14 August, The Observer claimed that $40m had been raised so far, with Chile, Peru, Spain, and Italy having made significant contributions.
The financial valuation of the environment is clearly a difficult thing to do. A recent attempt in the UK by The National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) aimed to put a price on Britain’s natural environment. Professor Ian Bateman, of the University of East Anglia, and one of the study's lead authors, said: "Why would we want to put economic values on environmental goods and services? It's very simple – it's to ensure their incorporation on equal footing with the market-priced goods which currently dominate decision-making." Clearly this is very different from the situation in Ecuador. But the principle is similar; Oil has a clearly defined value on the world market, whereas a value has never been attached to the land ruined by the extraction of this valuable commodity. Therefore, like in the case of the British countryside, this land has never been on equal footing with the market-priced oil, and has therefore never stood a chance of competing with it.
The situation in Ecuador has forced the government to put a price tag on this land. It is interesting that the price they chose is half that of the oil beneath it: a good illustration of what we consider most important and valuable. However, this price need not necessarily be an accurate valuation of the land (how do you value unique and pristine rainforest with more species per hectare than in any other place?) Rather, the important thing is that the Ecuadorian government receives adequate compensation, and more important still, that the area is protected.
You can donate and follow the latest news regarding the Yasuní situation online.
By Alex Prior
Channel 4’s BAFTA winning ‘Inside Nature’s Giants’ is a truly exciting and eye-opening series. As the name suggests, it takes a look inside some of the animal world’s most amazing creatures. Today, Frontier speaks to one of the shows presenters, Simon Watt, about all things animals and travel. The third series of the show is now on Channel 4, and the first episode aired last night.
In the third and final part of this week’s look at incredible animal journeys, it is today the turn of those down to earth creatures with their feet firmly on the ground, as Frontier considers terrestrial migrations of the animal world.
Wildebeest - Southern Serengei (Tanzania) to Masai Mara (Kenya)
No feature on great animal migrations could be complete without looking at this amazing spectacle made famous by countless natural history documentaries and wildlife photographers. Everyone is familiar with images of this mass movement, which often focus on the various predators gorging themselves as the millions of wildebeest make their annual voyage.
The migration begins in the lush, short grasses of the southern Serengeti, where the herds gather in November. It is here that the animals calve, giving birth to their young at the beginning of February. The heard remain in this location until around April, leaving only when the calves have gained enough strength for the journey ahead. This period sees many predators taking advantage of the vulnerable calves. As the long rains move westwards through the central Serengeti, the wildebeest head north-west in search of the fresh pastures these rains bring. This brings them into the Western corridor and towards the Grumeti River, the crossing of which in June brings about the herd's first contact with the well-documented crocodiles lying in wait for their arrival. July sees the drying of the grasslands, forcing the herds to move north in search of food. The wildebeest will face another croc-infested river crossing as they head for the grasses of the Masai Mara throughout August and September. After grazing in the lush Mara grasslands, the herds eventually begin to move south again during late October and November. A final crossing of the perilous Mara River is made en route to the southern short-grass plains of the southern-Serengeti where the cycle begins once more.
Christmas Island Red Crabs – Forest to Coast
Despite their association with the sea, the annual migration of red crabs on Christmas Island is very much a terrestrial affair. Like all of the migrations covered in this feature, this must be an incredible thing to witness. At some point during October and November, approximately 120 million adult red crabs begin an amazing journey from the forests in which they normally reside. Streams of crabs must climb down steep inland cliffs to reach their destination. Having reached the coast, these adult crabs mate and release eggs into the sea. Each female lays approximately 120,000 fertilized eggs. After about a month in the sea, the eggs develop through various larval stages, before eventually forming into tiny crabs. The surviving individuals then move onto land and begin their journey back to the island’s inland forest.
By Alex Prior