In celebration of 2019 being the Year of Wilderness, European Wilderness Society is running a Wild photo competition! Entry is free and open to anyone, so what are you waiting for? Ends May 31, 2019. Great Prizes. Upload your photos here.
By Anne Pinto-Rodrigues (ILCW, Netherlands) Khonoma village in the Indian state of Nagaland is
spearheading community-led conservation in the nation
“I’ve not hunted since 1998,” says Cayievi Zhünyü. Now in his late-70s, Zhünyü lives in Khonoma village, in the Indian state of Nagaland, near the Indo-Myanmar border. In December 1998, hunting was banned in Khonoma’s forests after a 20-square-kilometer (8-square-mile) area was demarcated by the village council as the Khonoma Nature Conservation and Tragopan Sanctuary (KNCTS). For Zhünyü and other members of the Angami tribe that call Khonoma home, hunting was not a source of income — it was a sacred cultural practice. “As the hunter, I can never eat what I’ve hunted,” Zhünyü says. “It’s bad luck. Instead, I feed my family and friends with it. Those occasions were some of the happiest moments of my life.” The hunting ban called for a huge shift in the lifestyle of the Khonoma people.
The inflection point came in the early-1990s, when villagers killed as many as 300 endangered Blyth’s tragopan (Tragopan blythii) in one week as part of a hunting competition. For some conservation-minded village elders like Tsilie Sakhrie, this was alarming news. “Even with an airgun, the cheapest gun available, an expert marksman can kill nearly 300 to 400 [common] birds in one day. It would’ve been a very short while before our forests were devoid of any wildlife,” Sakhrie says.
Under the guidance of Thepfulhouvi Angami, then the principal chief conservator of forests in Nagaland, and community leader Niketu Iralu, Sakhrie began to campaign for the creation of a protected area within the 125-square-kilometer (48-square-mile) village, as well as a simultaneous ban on hunting and logging. But convincing the villagers wasn’t easy.
“First, we needed to sensitize the hunters,” says Khriekhoto Mor, another village elder who served as KNCTS chairman from 2014 to 2018. “Angami folklore, an important aspect of our tribe’s culture, is replete with stories of animals, birds and forests. So we had to get [the hunters] to understand that if the hunting continued, their children may never get to see these majestic creatures.” Read more.
For a moment or two of peace (and a bonus laugh) check out these videos from talented underwater photographer Mike Boom here.
By Sarah Kearns, NWNL Project Manager
With Earth Day coming up in April – and World Water Day observed just last week –this article will highlight a few important and unique annual observances that are included on the newly updated NWNL Annual Observances Calendar.
International Day of Action for Rivers Sponsored by International Rivers, this day “celebrates our life-giving waters, and honors all those who have worked hard to ensure that our rivers continue flowing.” Celebrated on March 14, this year was its 22nd anniversary. International Rivers encourages actions planned by communities and stewards that coincide with the theme for the year and register them on their website.
World Water Day This annual UN observance day highlights the importance of freshwater. The day annually advocates for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. Observed March 22, this year’s theme was “Leave No One Behind,” suggesting that as sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit.
Earth Day – This famous annual celebration on April 22 has included worldwide demonstrations in support of environmental protection. This year’s theme will revolve around protecting species and how the reduction of plant and wildlife populations is directly linked to the effects of human activity.
American Wetlands Month – Sponsored by the US Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], this annual observance is celebrated during the month of May. The EPA and its partners – federal, state, tribal, local, non-profit and private sector organizations -celebrate the vital importance of wetlands to the nation’s ecological, economic and social health.
Nature Photography Day – Hosted by North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA), this annual observance is celebrated June 15 every year. According to NANPA, this observance “is designated to promote the enjoyment of nature photography, and to explain how images are used to advance the cause of conservation by protecting plants, wildlife, and landscapes locally and worldwide.”
World Water Monitoring Day – Though the day is observed on September 22, the official sponsor, EarthEcho International, encourages participation from World Water Day in March through the end of December each year as part of the EarthEcho Water Challenge. The challenge builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of local waterbodies using kits provided by EarthEcho International
Given these highlights of a handful of the annual observances included on the NWNL Annual Observances Calendar, take a look at the calendar and learn about the rest! Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of any additional observances related to water or the environment missing from our calendar. While on our site, check out our NWNL Upcoming Events Calendar to learn about upcoming lectures, exhibits and expeditions, and the new NWNL Progress page to learn about all NWNL has done in the past 13 years! Too see more blog posts click here.
WILDArt will take place in Majella National Park, Italy, between 1-7 September 2019. Artist applications close 1st May 2019. For more information visit the European Wilderness Society here.
By Louise De Waal and Blood Lions
South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) proposed that the Captive Lion Breeding (CLB) industry should continue as long as it is properly regulated and appropriate legislation introduced, at the Portfolio Committee of Environmental Affairs (PCEA) briefing on 12th March 2019 on the implementation of the Committee’s Report in respect of CLB.
This ignores the PCEA resolutions from the two-day Parliamentary Colloquium on CLB in August 2018, which included the resolution (9.1) specifying that the “DEA should as a matter of urgency initiate a policy and legislative review of CBL for hunting and lion bone trade with a view of putting an end to this practice.” This Resolution was subsequently adopted by parliament making it a Parliamentary Resolution.Currently, South Africa is holding between 9,000-12,000 lions in captivity, in approximately 300 facilities for a number of commercial purposes, including canned hunting, breeding and the lion bone trade.
Blood Lions, a leading organisation that works to end the captive lion breeding, canned hunting and lion bone trade industries in South Africa, is deeply concerned by the outcome of the recent briefing.
To read the entire article, click here.
Blood Lions, the film that exposes the cruelty for profit of the canned hunting industry by the shooting of captive-bred lions in enclosures, will now be released worldwide on the new streaming platform www.ecostreamz.com. The film was produced not only to create global awareness around the captive lion breeding and canned hunting industry in South Africa – where thousands of lions are mass bred to be killed each year for large profits – but it is also a “call to action” to tourists and young international volunteers when visiting that country. Jim Branchflower, founder and CEO of Ecostreamz, said, “For some, lions are just a commodity, cruelly abused to make money from cub-petting, canned hunting and selling their bones for traditional Chinese medicine. We are proud to play a role in this important campaign to end their suffering. Any caring person who watches Blood Lions will want to back the campaign to ban the practice.”
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has released their 2018 World Press Freedom Index showing growing animosity toward journalists world-wide. Many times the hostility towards the media is openly encourage by political leaders and those with authoritarian regimes. To see an interesting map showing the degree of “hatred” toward journalists, click here.
About a half-dozen wolves have been spotted via a trip camera near the Austrian-Czech border near Karlstift. There is also evidence that a third pack may be located on the Czech side as well. Wolves were hunted to extinction in Europe but are making their way back. See more at the European Wilderness Society here.
Last year the European Wilderness Socity hosted the very first edition of the WILDArt Plein Air in Ukraine. Together with 11 artists from different countries, they explored the natural beauty and Wilderness in Synevyr National Nature Park. The event was a great success for the artists, getting inspired in all kinds of ways. The next WILDArt will be in the Majella Wilderness Italy later this year. For more information click here.