Cuban Crocs, National Adaptation Plans and the African Elephant Coalition: Stories on the Environment, October 13, 2016

Yes – it’s been a while. I have been too busy to put together this regular compilation of stories – local, regional and international. However, let’s bring you up to date. Please click on the links for more information…

Jamaica and the Caribbean

The breeding facility at Zapata Swamp, where the Cuban Government recently closed off 500 hectares as a protected area. (Photo: Desmond Boylan/Nature)
The breeding facility at Zapata Swamp, where the Cuban Government recently closed off 500 hectares as a protected area. (Photo: Desmond Boylan/Nature)

Cuban Crocodiles Pose a Problem: The Cuban Crocodile (Crocodylus rhombifer) is critically endangered. For decades, there has been a major breeding program to rescue them, and in January 100 were released into the wild from the Zapata Swamp Captive Breeding Program. One problem, though: they appear to have interbred with the hardier American Crocodile (which we have in Jamaica). Only a few thousand Cuban Crocodiles remain in the wild. What to do? Read more in Nature Magazine: http://www.nature.com/news/cuban-crocodiles-pose-conservation-conundrum-1.20691

Caribbean countries share National Adaptation Plans in Grenada: Eleven Caribbean countries, including Jamaica, are sharing their plans for adaptation to climate change in St. George’s, Grenada at a two-day regional workshop this week. This follows Grenada’s final consultation for its National Adaptation Plan (NAP), as required under the 2015 Paris Agreement. The NAP Assembly is co-hosted by Grenada’s Ministry of Education, Human Resource Development and the Environment; the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Japan-Caribbean Climate Change Partnership (J-CCCP); and the NAP Global Network.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, (left stooping) is assisted by Annmarie Bromfield in the planting of a Caribbean Pine Tree during activities to celebrate National Tree Planting day at Munro College in St. Elizabeth, on Friday, October 7. The annual exercise, which is spearheaded by the Forestry Department, aims to highlight the role of trees in the sustenance of life. This year’s National Tree Planting Day was celebrated under the theme ‘Trees Today, Trees Tomorrow, Trees for Life’. (Photo: JIS)
Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Floyd Green, is assisted by Annmarie Bromfield in the planting of a Caribbean Pine Tree during activities to celebrate National Tree Planting day at Munro College in St. Elizabeth, on Friday, October 7.  (Photo: JIS)

Plant More Trees! Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, called for Jamaicans to plant more trees at a ceremony at his alma mater, Munro College in St. Elizabeth on National Tree-Planting Day on October 7. The annual exercise, which is spearheaded by the Forestry Department, aims to highlight the role of trees in the sustenance of life. This year’s National Tree Planting Day was celebrated under the theme Trees Today, Trees Tomorrow, Trees for Life. 

Wigton Windfarm in Rose Hill, Manchester, began operations in 2004.
Wigton Windfarm in Rose Hill, Manchester, began operations in 2004.

Wigton Windfarm to be Divested: Cabinet has approved the divestment of the Wigton Windfarm, it was announced this week. A subsidiary of the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, Wigton Windfarm Ltd. is the largest wind energy facility in the English-speaking Caribbean.

A beautiful Caribbean blog: I wanted to share this link with you. It’s the blog of a nature photographer from Trinidad & Tobago, Faraaz Abdool. In his own words, “Nature is the finest form of art.” 

The Rest of the World

Cherry coffee.
Cherry coffee.

Dunkin’ Donuts Does Sustainable Coffee: Have you ever tasted Dunkin’ Donuts coffee – with or without a donut? It really is good (and I do love my coffee). Well, the company has moved from products with the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal to tree-to-cup. What is tree-to-cup? Read more here.

cop17_rhino_hp

Very bad news for endangered elephants – or is it? I have read several articles about the recent decisions at the CITES COP17 in Johannesburg, South Africa (September 24 to October 3). CITES is the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an international agreement signed in 1973 by governments, now with 183 parties. It’s rather confusing. Some organizations note that it is mostly a win for elephants, since it encouraged governments to close their doors to the ivory trade and defeated proposals from Zimbabwe and Namibia to reopen the ivory trade. However the African Elephant Coalition, comprising 29 countries, is very unhappy. In the past seven years the population of elephants has shrunk by ONE THIRD, due to rampant poaching. 100,000 elephants were killed between 2011 and 2013.

International agreement signed to protect marine waters: The Presidents of Ecuador, Costa Rica and Colombia signed an agreement on September 9 that will expand marine protected areas in three World Heritage Sites: Cocos Island, Malpelo Island, and the Galapagos. The agreements bring the marine reserves off the three nations by up to 83,600 square miles and help to preserve very important habitat for many species of sharks and sea turtles in this incredibly diverse marine landscape. You can read all about it here.

Jairo Mora Sandoval was kidnapped with four overseas volunteers and murdered at Moin Beach, near Puerto Limon, Costa Rica on May 30, 2013. He was only 26 years old. (Photo: Costa Rica News)
Jairo Mora Sandoval was kidnapped with four overseas volunteers and murdered at Moin Beach, near Puerto Limon, Costa Rica on May 30, 2013. He was only 26 years old. (Photo: Costa Rica News)

Award established in honor of Jairo Mora Sandoval: The Society for Conservation Biology – Marine Section recently announced the creation of the Jairo Mora Sandoval Award, honoring the murdered Costa Rican environmentalist who worked to protect sea turtles on the country’s Caribbean coast. This is the first award that recognizes the work of conservationists on the “front lines,” who often put their own lives at risk to protect the environment. According to Global Witnesss, nearly 1,000 conservation biologists were murdered between 2002 and 2013.

Fatou Bensouda of the Gambia was elected  Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2011.
Fatou Bensouda of the Gambia was elected Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2011.

Land grabbing and environmental destruction could be prosecuted under international law: International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda released a detailed policy paper recently that noted: “Crimes that are committed by means of, or that result in, inter alia, the destruction of the environment, the illegal exploitation of natural resources or the illegal dispossession of land” will be given “particular consideration” for prosecution. In a land seizure case in Cambodia, international human rights lawyer Richard Rogers noted: “The systemic crimes committed under the guise of ‘development’ are no less damaging to victims than many wartime atrocities.” How interesting!  Read more here.


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