Last year, officials on the small Caribbean island of Barbuda signed into law a sweeping set of regulations to protect its marine ecosystems. According to the Waitt Institute, on average 80 percent of Barbuda's coral reefs are covered in algae, with only 2.6 percent living coral. These new regulations established multiple new marine sanctuaries as well as a moratorium on catch of algae-eating species, namely parrotfish and sea urchins.
To assist in enforcement strategy of these protected areas, the Waitt Institute’s Barbuda Blue Halo Initiative recently invited WildAid to deliver a three-day seminar for 19 Antigua-Barbuda marine patrol officers, park rangers, police officers and Coast Guard staff. Training included in-class discussion, small group work and problem-solving activities built around operations planning, use of patrol assets/equipment and boarding exercises.
The latest issue of Origin Magazine features a great Q&A with WildAid's Peter and Corie Knights, interviewed among a who's who of conservationists and humanitarians. (Click on the image to enlarge.) Thanks, Origin!
Update: We have met our goal for the Google.org Earth Day $20K matching gift challenge! Thank you to all who contributed. While this challenge is now closed, you can always make a tax-deductible contribution to WildAid by clicking here.
Happy Earth Day!
To celebrate Earth Day’s 45th anniversary, Google.org is matching donations made to WildAid up to $20,000 through April 30. Here, WildAid ambassador Maggie Q gives you a rundown on this great opportunity. Your gift will help to support WildAid programs, from marine conservation to elephants, tigers and rhinos. And you can join Maggie to find out what animal you are by taking the Google Doodle Earth Day Quiz.
In 2014, WildAid published research indicating a significant decline in the shark fin trade: Vendors in China reported a 50 to 70 percent drop in sales over the past two years, with prices dropping by half. About 85 percent of consumers surveyed in China said they had stopped eating shark fin soup, and nearly two-thirds of those cited public awareness campaigns such as those featuring WildAid ambassador Yao Ming as a primary reason for doing so.
New research released this week from Hong Kong reports a similar trend. According to a study co-authored by the marine conservation group BLOOM and the Social Sciences Research Centre of The University of Hong Kong, nearly 70 percent of Hong Kong residents polled said they had cut back on shark fin soup — or they had stopped eating it altogether, in what was formerly the epicenter of shark fin consumption.
Perhaps even more encouraging, over 90 percent of residents said they believed the Hong Kong government should ban the sale of wildlife products that involve killing endangered animals, echoing WildAid’s findings that 95% of mainland Chinese surveyed supported bans on ivory sales.
To fight the illegal ivory trade that’s fueling an elephant poaching epidemic in Africa, WildAid has joined a coalition of 45 international elephant conservation and animal welfare groups in calling on the Hong Kong Government to stop issuing any new import licenses and re-export licenses for pre-Convention elephant ivory.
What does this mean, and how might this action help save Africa’s elephants?
“Pre-Convention” ivory refers to ivory that was in circulation prior to the 1975 establishment of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an international agreement to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
The European Union is the primary exporter of alleged pre-Convention ivory, much of it imported by Hong Kong with the ultimate destination being mainland China ivory carving factories.
But Hong Kong's ivory traders are routinely exploiting legal loopholes in the Hong Kong law which is enabling them to legally import raw and cut elephant tusks from Europe and then launder recently poached ivory taken from illegally-killed elephants into the legal market using government supplied paperwork