Following a year of devastating fires throughout the Amazon rainforest and the forests throughout Indonesia, as well as continued degradation of boreal forests throughout North America, Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) and bill co-sponsors, Peace 4 Animals, Friends of the Earth, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Social Compassion in Legislation, announced the introduction of Bill AB 416, The California Deforestation-Free Procurement Act.
“By introducing this bill, we’re giving California the opportunity to take real leadership in the fight against tropical and boreal deforestation and primary forest degradation by making our purchases – and our global impact – more transparent, more sustainable, and more ethical,” Assemblymember Kalra, said in a statement sent to WAN. “AB 416 asserts our California values and extends environmental leadership to the protection of tropical and boreal forests, sending a powerful signal to global markets that illegal and destructive commodity-driven deforestation will no longer be tolerated.”
If passed, all California state contracts involving commodities that put tropical and primary boreal forests at risk, such as palm oil, soy, cattle, rubber, paper/pulp and timber, would require contractors to maintain a No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation (NDPE) policy, and provide evidence that their operations in sensitive tropical and boreal regions are not linked to forest destruction and degradation or abuses of indigenous peoples’ rights.
Environmental advocates and industry leaders alike agree that such policies are the best way to prevent ongoing forest destruction. A version of the bill introduced in 2019 achieved strong bi-partisan support but failed to pass the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The world’s forests are in crisis. Tropical forests cover roughly 7% of the Earth’s surface but harbor close to half of all species on Earth. An estimated 18 million acres of forest—an area one-fifth the size of California—is lost every year, largely due to the expansion of agribusiness plantations. Tropical deforestation and related land-use changes are responsible for nearly a quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions, and are a major contributor to the global biodiversity crisis.
Boreal forests account for one-third of the world’s forested areas and, after mangroves, are the most carbon-dense forests on earth. The Canadian boreal forest alone stores twice as much carbon as the world’s oil reserves and is the nesting ground for billions of migratory birds. Logging in primary forests is one of the major contributors to carbon emissions and the decline of critical species. In North America, only 15 of 51 boreal caribou herds have sufficient habitat to survive long-term, primarily due to industrial logging, while 33% of boreal birds have declined in the last 50 years.
“I have seen first-hand the heartbreaking effects of tropical deforestation while traveling and filming throughout Indonesia,” stated Katie Cleary, Founder and President of Peace 4 Animals. “We will lose vital species such as endangered orangutans, tigers, and rhinos if we do not take meaningful action to end the destruction of our rainforests. The Deforestation-Free Procurement Act will help to aid in the protection of critical habitat thus preserving species and forests for future generations.”
“The loss of our forests is not just damaging for us, it’s also a loss of habitat for countless species of animals,” stated Judie Mancuso, CEO and Founder of Social Compassion in Legislation. “We caused the devastation, which means we need to do everything in our power to protect all the vulnerable and endangered species. The Deforestation-Free Procurement Act is a powerful step forward to begin the healing and end the destruction.”
“California’s Deforestation-Free Procurement Act is a visionary but extremely pragmatic and direct contribution to halting the global deforestation crisis,” said Jeff Conant, Senior International Forests Program Manager at Friends of the Earth. “This bill is not merely timely, it’s long overdue.”
“The actions of the marketplace in California and across the U.S. will critically define the fate of forests around the world, from the lush tropical rainforests to the majestic boreal,” explained Jennifer Skene, an Attorney with the Canada Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This Act recognizes that interconnectedness and moves toward ending the wasteful destruction of the forests that are the ancestral homelands of many Indigenous Peoples and play such a vital role in protecting our climate and the world’s biodiversity for future generations.”
You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg
The post Peace 4 Animals, SCIL, NRDC & FOE Introduce California Anti-Deforestation Bill To Protect Critical Rainforest Habitat & Endangered Species appeared first on World Animal News.
An adult male orangutan, that was given the name Boncel, was recently rescued for a second time in West Kalimantan Province (Indonesian, Borneo).
The Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) of the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA Kalbar) and International Animal Rescue (IAR) teamed up to help capture Boncel after he wandered into a village. He was then taken by the rescue team to a more remote part of the forest to ensure that he doesn’t return to the village.
The threat to the survival of orangutan species has increased due to the widespread fires that destroyed vast swathes of their rainforest habitat in the Ketapang area in 2019.
The devastation and deforestation of the land led to many orangutans being left without food and shelter. Orangutans were driven out of their natural habitat after the forest was destroyed and strayed into local villages in search of food, bringing them into contact with local people which resulted in conflict that risked harming both the orangutans and the villagers.
The Head of BKSDA Kalbar, Sadtata Noor Adirahmanta, expressed his appreciation for the quick response to this situation. “The repeated translocation of this orangutan shows that efforts to preserve wild endangered species require the cooperation of all parties. The community can support these efforts by themselves by working to repair wildlife habitats and prevent further damage to them.”
Boncel had been translocated from land belonging to residents in the village of Sungai Besar, to the surrounding forest, in mid-August of last year. The translocation was done in order to mitigate conflict with local villagers and take the orangutan back safely to the forest.
Although these translocations save the lives of individual orangutans, these actions are only a temporary solution.
This was proved in early November 2020, when IAR’s Orangutan Protection Unit (OPU) patrol team received information regarding Boncel entering Sungai Pelang Village.
The team immediately set off to verify the report and on November 11, 2020, they discovered one individual male orangutan eating the villagers’ pineapple plants. After observation and identification, they were able to confirm that this was in fact Boncel, who had previously been rescued from the village of Sungai Besar, and translocated by a team from the WRU of BKSDA Kalbar and IAR Indonesia on August 18th.
Consequently, the BKSDA’s WRU team and IAR Indonesia translocated Boncel for a second time. The operation, which took more than seven hours, went smoothly. IAR’s veterinarian examined Boncel’s condition and stated that the orangutan, who is estimated to be around 30-40 years old, is in good health and was fit to be translocated immediately.
You can help to save the last orangutans in Indonesia by looking on the back of products and packaged foods at the grocery store and commit to not purchasing anything containing Palm Oil or non-recycled paper products. #PalmsOffPalmOil
The post Orangutan Named ‘Boncel’ Is Rescued & Translocated For A Second Time Due To Loss Of Habitat In Indonesia appeared first on World Animal News.
All photos of these Asian elephants were taken at the Center for Elephant Conservation in Polk City, Florida, by Stephanie Rutan of White Oak Conservation.
White Oak Conservation has started construction on a new 2,500-acre home for Asian elephants. Most of these elephants previously traveled throughout the United States with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, until they were retired in 2016.
Thirty elephants will be released in the northeastern Florida refuge, owned by philanthropists Mark and Kimbra Walter, as soon as it is ready. The first arrivals are expected in 2021.
Nineteen of the elephants were born in the United States.
“Elephants are majestic and intelligent animals, and they are in dire need,” Kimbra said in a statement sent to WAN. “For so long, humans have decimated the native habitats, poached, and removed these animals from their natural home.”
“Our family is committed to improving the lives of individual elephants and ensuring the survival of elephants in the wild,” stated Mark.
Within White Oak Conservation’s 17,000 acres, nine interlinked areas will be opened for the elephants. The area will include a variety of vegetation and habitat types for the elephants to choose from, including wetlands, meadows, and woods.
The spacious habitats will give the elephants room to wander, exercise, and forage. White Oak’s philosophy is to accommodate natural behavior and social bonds as closely as possible. Family groups will be together, with calves and their mothers and siblings in the same areas as grandmothers wherever possible.
Eleven waterholes will be built, each wide and deep enough for the elephants to splash and frolic in. Three barns will be built within the complex specifically to suit the elephants’ needs. These facilities will be easily accessible to the elephants and equipped with high-tech veterinary equipment.
“Asian elephants are endangered in the wild,” explained Michelle Gadd, Ph.D., who leads the Walters’ global conservation efforts. “Only 30,000 to 50,000 elephants remain in the wild in less than 15% of their historic range. Where they do survive, they continue to be threatened by habitat degradation and fragmentation, conflict with humans, and poaching.”
Walter Conservation is committed to bringing elephant education and awareness to the next generation of conservationists through its world-class educational and training programs, in person and remotely. In 2019, more than 1,600 students visited White Oak and participated in education programming.
White Oak, which is a part of Walter Conservation, is a one-of-a-kind center for the conservation and care of endangered and threatened species.
Through Walter Conservation, the Walter family conserves rare species and wild places around the world. Efforts include improving the quality of life of individual animals, recovering rare species, restoring ecosystems and protecting wilderness areas.
Thus far, their philanthropy supports several areas in North America and Africa, protecting important wild populations of African elephants, rhinos, lions and many other species. The Walter Conservation approach is to protect and preserve large wild areas, provide wildlife security and management, to collaborate with local residents and host-country governments, and to invest in sustainable enterprises.
You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg
The post Breaking! Thirty Retired Circus Elephants To Be Released In White Oak Conservation’s New 2,500-Acre Habitat In Florida appeared first on World Animal News.