Tag: Survival

Breaking! U.S. Government Signs Off On Seismic Airgun Blasting In The Gulf Threatening The Survival Of Endangered Whales & Marine Life

The National Marine Fisheries Service has broadly authorized seismic airgun oil exploration in the Gulf of Mexico. The long-awaited final rule comes in response to a court-ordered settlement of a lawsuit brought by environmental groups.

The move promotes the expansion of oil and gas development in the Gulf of Mexico as the Trump administration leaves office. President-elect Biden promised to end fossil fuel leasing on federal lands and waters during his presidential campaign.

“We need better protections for wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, not more oil exploration that will deafen whales and deepen our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels,” Miyoko Sakashita, ocean program director with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “President-elect Biden needs to put an end to offshore oil leasing because we are in a climate emergency.”

The rule authorizes oil and gas companies to explore for fossil fuels using seismic airguns that are harmful to whales and dolphins. It allows seismic surveys to harm and harass marine mammals up to 8.7 million times in the Gulf of Mexico over five years.

“This decision ignores years of science on the harms of seismic testing,” stated Michael Jasny, Director of Marine Mammal Protection at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “It’s galling but not surprising that the Trump administration, with one foot out the door, would sign off on continually harming endangered whales for the benefit of polluters.”

The rule estimates that seismic blasting will disturb and harass the Gulf’s Bryde’s whales more times than its entire population of just 33 remaining individuals.

As previously reported by WAN, seismic exploration surveys use extensive arrays of high-powered airguns to search for oil. These generate the loudest human sounds in the ocean, short of explosives. The blasts, which can effectively reach more than 250 decibels, can cause hearing loss in marine mammals, disturb essential behaviors such as feeding and breeding over vast distances, mask communications among whales and dolphins, as well as injure and kill a diversity of fish and invertebrates.

Prior to the lawsuit, the oil and gas industry conducted seismic surveys for decades without the permits required by the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. During the lawsuit’s pendency, a settlement compelled mitigation for seismic surveys, avoiding duplicative surveys and certain area restrictions, and required consideration of additional measures to protect the Gulf from future surveys.

The new rule ends that mitigation, adopts less stringent measures, and rejects alternatives designed to reduce harm to marine life. Although the rule improves upon the lawless history of seismic activities, the plaintiffs say it justifies the harm it anticipates only by ignoring the standards in our wildlife protection statutes.

“We need to be phasing out oil and gas activity in the Gulf, not increasing it,” said Brettny Hardy, attorney for Earthjustice. “This rule will allow unlimited and overlapping seismic activity in the Gulf in sensitive areas, like coastal waters. Why are we harming our already imperiled marine mammals to allow thousands of harmful air gun surveys to take place when we are supposed to be heading toward a cleaner future? We need laws to take on the scope and scale of biodiversity loss and harm to communities that depend on healthy ecosystems, not regulations that propagate the destruction of those systems. The only viable answer for our wildlife and our communities is to put an end to offshore drilling for good.”

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit that are calling for the marine mammal protection and environmental review include NRDC, the Center for Biological Diversity, Healthy Gulf, and Sierra Club. They are represented by Earthjustice.

The post Breaking! U.S. Government Signs Off On Seismic Airgun Blasting In The Gulf Threatening The Survival Of Endangered Whales & Marine Life appeared first on World Animal News.

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The Orangutan Project Commits To Raising $600,000 By The End Of 2020 To Secure The Survival Of Rehabilitated Bornean Orangutans In Newly Protected Habitat

The Orangutan Project, an organization focused on securing the survival of orangutans and other Critically Endangered species, along with key Indonesian partners, have been working for more than three years to secure a vitally important rainforest area within a 712,000 acre ecosystem in Borneo.

The rainforest is lowland and riverine, making it prime habitat for Critically Endangered Bornean orangutans.

The proposed newly protected concession will be an important part of The Orangutan Project’s goal to help secure the survival of Bornean orangutans.

It will enable them to support the safe release of rescued and rehabilitated orangutans, all victims of Borneo’s mass deforestation issue, as well as help to establish an “insurance population” for the now Critically Endangered species.

“Even before the COVID-19 crisis led to a spike in deforestation, Bornean orangutans were facing disaster,” said Leif Cocks, Founder and President of The Orangutan Project in a statement. “Since 2002, more than 150,000 orangutans have been displaced, hunted or killed as agricultural ‘pests’ which is more than half of their population.

“We’re witnessing the population collapse of one of our closest cousins. Orangutans will be doomed to extinction in our lifetime unless urgent interventions are made.”

These interventions include rapid-response rescues for orangutans displaced through deforestation or stolen by the illegal wildlife trade, long-term rehabilitation for rescued orangutans, and urgent moves to legally secure and protect remaining lowland ecosystems so that orangutans can thrive in secure populations.

The Orangutan Project and partners have been working with authorities for more than three years to legally protect a rainforest ecosystem that had previously been earmarked for conversion into palm oil plantations. Once complete, together with their partner’s concessions, they’ll be helping to protect more than 700,000 acres of prime, lowland, richly biodiverse rainforest.

The Orangutan Project is now urgently seeking donations to secure this game-changing process. The plans have been developed, the application for permits submitted, and they’ve raised the funds required to initially secure the protected area.

“Securing intact areas of remaining lowland habitat and placing viable populations of orangutans under permanent protection is now critical to securing their survival,” said Cocks. “This is a complex undertaking, but if we can secure this habitat whilst maintaining our vital rescue and rehabilitation programs – we will change the game for Critically Endangered Bornean orangutans.”

They now need to raise over $600,000 by December 31st to establish the orangutan release program and to resource and train the critical team of community wildlife protection officers urgently required to keep the ecosystem safe from poaching and illegal encroachment.

Funds to this appeal will also resource the rapid-response rescues and long-term rehabilitation that every displaced, captive, and orphaned orangutan requires, before they can safely be released into this protected habitat.

This year, The Orangutan Project, along with their partner, the Centre for Orangutan Protection, created the Bornean Orangutan Rescue Alliance (BORA) to provide urgent assistance to highly vulnerable, displaced orangutans, and to confiscate illegally held orangutans.

 

Mary was rescued by The Orangutan Project and the Bornean Orangutan Rescue Alliance (BORA). After many years of rehabilitation, Mary will hopefully be released into the newly protected ecosystem.

Please donate today to help save the last of Borneo’s orangutans HERE!

Gifts will be directed to: resourcing rapid response orangutan rescues, providing rehabilitation and jungle school, and safeguarding and patrolling this newly protected rainforest ecosystem.

You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg

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