What’s New March 2013

This page lists changes to this site for March 2013.

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19% of the world’s reptiles are estimated to be threatened with extinction according to a study by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Zoological Society of London. Reptiles include snakes, lizards, crocodiles, turtles and tortoises. But some species are at more risk than others. For example, freshwater turtles alone are at a 50% risk of extinction. Reasons vary, but include the usual suspects such as climate change and loss of habitat.

A recent study also estimated that some 100 million sharks are being killed each year — an unsustainable rate, given how long some species take to mature and reproduce. Much of the demand is driven by Chinese rising affluence and demand for shark fin soup in the mistaken belief it has various health benefits.

This small update to the biodiversity loss page has further details.

A recent study found that coral reefs will face severe challenges even if average global warming temperature rise is restricted to 2 degrees Celsius. This is a rise that most countries are struggling to negotiate and meet. But reefs are very sensitive to temperature changes, experts fear the window of opportunity to prevent massive reef loss is very small.

Despite conservation efforts, criminal elements are killing rhinos in record numbers due to demand from Asia, in particular Vietnam, China, Thailand and Malaysia, in the mistaken belief that rhino horn can help with things like hangovers or cure cancer. In 2009 it was feared that rhinos were being killed at 3 a month which was concerning enough given the low numbers of rhinos. In 2012, it had shot up to 2 a day in South Africa alone.

For lions, another iconic animal whose numbers are in decline, countries like Zambia and Botswana are banning hunting. Zambia for example has banned hunting on lions and leopards due to a big decline in their numbers, and because they believe tourism revenues by those who want to see these animals in the wild will bring in more revenue than blood sport tourism.

This small update to the conservation page has further details.

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