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Mar 042014

GRN Reports:

The United Nations announced that it was designating March 3 as the annual World Wildlife Day, issuing a call to protect biological diversity and stop the illegal trafficking and habitat destruction that’s putting many species on the brink.

Tiger, panda, turtle UN photo John Isaac

(Photo: John Isaac, UN)

“Wildlife remains integral to our future through its essential role in science, technology and recreation, as well as its place in our continued heritage,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the opening of the “Wild and Precious” exhibit in Geneva.

Some of the world’s most charismatic animals are in immediate danger of extinction as a result of habitat loss and illicit trafficking, he said.

“I urge all sectors of society to end illegal wildlife trafficking and commit to trading and using wild plants and animals sustainably and equitably,” Mr. Ban continued.

General Assembly President John Ashe also paid tribute to nature’s “beautiful mosaic” for enriching life on the planet.

“The exhibition we open today illustrates how animals, insects, plants and trees are all unique pieces forming the beautiful mosaic of our natural environment. Not only do they sustain our livelihoods, they are an integral part of our cultural heritage through tales and legends, symbols and traditions,” Ashe said. “In the complex symphony of nature, each and every species plays an essential part to maintain the delicate balance of our planet’s ecosystems.”

The UN hopes that underscoring the value of wildlife will boost the chances of saving species whose numbers are falling dramatically because of incursions into their fragile habitat, and that are being poached for illegal ivory and horn trade.

Officials said they saw hope in appealing to the younger generation, which appears ready to break with the traditions that have fueled now-illegal trade in ivory and horns. Reduced demand would ease the poaching that’s claimed so many wild animals.

While NGOs work to save a variety of animals, the UN has focused efforts on animals such as elephants and rhinos that are poached for their ivory and horns; and orangutans and pandas victimized and displaced by clear-cutting.

Irina Bokova, head of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), pointed out that the UN agency’s global network of World Heritage sites and Biosphere Reserve are helping save some of the world’s most emblematic threatened wildlife, such as gorillas, pandas, tigers and rhino.

“I call upon all actors – including, government authorities, nongovernmental organizations, customs services, police forces and the scientific community – to redouble their efforts and deepen cooperation,” she said. “Only by joining forces can we craft a sustainable future for the planet’s precious wildlife and biodiversity.”




Feb 052009

Disneynature has released a series of images from its upcoming documentary earth. The film was five years in the making. Read more: Disney’s ‘earth’ an homage to the animal world.

(c) BBC Worldwide Ltd. All rights reserved.

The polar bears were filmed on Kong Karls Land, a group of islands between the Barents Sea and the Artic Ocean. Part of Norway, it is a land where the midnight sun lasts from April 20 to August 23, and the polar night lasts from October 26 to February 15.

Polar bear facts

  • The polar bear gets all the liquid it needs from its food -– its main source being the ringed seal — so it has no need to drink water.
  • Polar bears will travel hundreds of miles in search of food and can swim 12 miles a day.
  • The polar bear is so well adapted to retaining heat that it can’t run long distances because it would be in danger of overheating.
  • Polar bears are the largest land predator in the world. Males can grow up to about 8 feet and weigh up to 1,800 pounds.
  • Even with their mother’s care, only 50% of the polar bear cubs survive their first year, and more are lost when they first leave their mother to make their way alone.
  • While waiting to catch seals, a polar bear will cover its black nose with its paw to make its white camouflage perfect.