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Data from thousands of surveillance cameras confirms that protected areas safeguard species diversity

Data from thousands of surveillance cameras confirms that protected areas safeguard species diversity


One of the most central solutions to biodiversity conservation is setting aside areas for nature. Spaces like national parks, community conservation areas and nature reserves are designed to be protected areas for biodiversity to thrive.


We have entered what some scientists refer to as Earth’s sixth major extinction. Human disturbances, such as over-harvesting of crops, habitat destruction and invasive species, are the biggest drivers of biodiversity loss. Some studies estimate that the current species extinction rate is 1,000 times the normal background rate.

One of the most central solutions to biodiversity conservation is setting aside areas for nature. Spaces like national parks, community conservation areas and nature reserves are designed to be protected areas for biodiversity to thrive. The Convention on Biological Diversity — the first global biodiversity treaty — set a target of 17 per cent of total global land area to be protected by 2020.

While this goal was not quite met, the effectiveness of existing protected areas has also been questioned, especially for their success in protecting animals.

Monitoring and enforcement

Some parks lack the effective enforcement of protections. For instance, Sierra Chinajá in Guatemala is one example of a “paper park” where the land is designated as protected, but no protections have been enforced.

In other cases, ongoing human activity within these parks has limited the effectiveness of conservation mandates. As the world discusses new targets, there is a clear need to better understand how well parks are working as a conservation strategy.

Our team set out to address this knowledge gap for terrestrial mammal species, which provide critical ecological services for ecosystems and people. To do so, we capitalized on a powerful tool that is gaining widespread use in wildlife conservation: the camera trap.

Advances in image-capturing technologies mean that researchers can install remote cameras (known as camera traps) in protected areas and leave them running for long periods. Camera traps are automatically triggered by a change in motion and heat in their immediate vicinity. For researchers, they’re like eyes in the woods, observing animals as they pass by.

a night capture photo of a deer looking back at the camera
Camera traps sense motion to automatically capture images of animals in the wild. (Shutterstock)

We analyzed data from over 8,600 camera traps deployed across the world. We found that the amount of official protection an area has is an important determinant of mammal diversity.

As the use of camera traps has increased, so has the number of ecosystems surveyed, allowing researchers to gain knowledge about wildlife. For instance, we now know more about the abundances and activities of animals living in Canada’s boreal forests and China’s tropical rainforests than ever before.

Ecologists have called for a collaborative effort to put together camera trap data to look at the bigger picture. Some current collaborations include the Tropical Ecology, Assessment and Monitoring (TEAM) NetworkeMammal and an assessment of global patterns in mammalian carnivore diversity. Our research brought together 91 studies from camera trap surveys in more than 20 countries on four continents.

Human impacts

While environmental factors such as temperature and vegetation productivity are known to affect the distributions and diversity of species, the impact of human activities is not as well understood.

a night time camera capture of someone walking with a shotgun
Human activities threaten the survival of animals living in protected areas. (Cheng Chen), Author provided

We analyzed camera trap data to determine the relative importance of protected area coverage, human footprint (the cumulative human effect on the environment) and how easily people could access a given natural area.

Our analysis illustrated the importance of protected areas in predicting the diversity of mammals, even when other types of human disturbances were present to some extent (such as logging or hunting). Also, over 60 per cent of the protected areas in our study were classified as areas where both commercial and traditional forms of human activity are allowed, suggesting that biodiversity protection may indeed be compatible with certain types and intensities of human use.


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POLAR BEARS MOVE INTO ABANDONED ARCTIC WEATHER STATION


Photographer Dmitry Kokh discovered polar bears living in an abandoned weather station in Kolyuchin, in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug of the Russian Federation, while on a trip to Wrangel Island, a Unesco-recognised nature reserve that serves as a refuge to the animals

This image, called 'Shelter from the Rain', was highly commended in the competition. Ashley McCord/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER OF THE YEAR: LIONS IN THE RAIN AND KANGAROOS EMERGING FROM WILDFIRE MAKE SHORTLIST FOR PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD


A surprising encounter between an eagle and a bear cub up a tree and an image of two male golden pheasants were also among the other photographs that were popular with voters.


Monitoring biodiversity

The second half of this year’s Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity is scheduled be held in April, where one of the main goals is to discuss the post-2020 biodiversity framework. This framework will set new targets for global and national efforts to conserve biodiversity.

To inform these targets and evaluate their success, there is an urgent need for reliable indicators of biodiversity change, and rigorous assessments of conservation effectiveness. Our study highlights how camera trap surveys can generate standardized data on many species within mammal communities across varied ecosystems. This monitoring tool has great potential to become an integral part of global biodiversity monitoring systems designed to keep a closer watch on, and ultimately better protect, the Earth’s wild creatures.

Source:

Cheng Chen and Cole Burton at The Conversation



Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Lions in the rain and kangaroos emerging from wildfire make shortlist for people’s choice award

Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Lions in the rain and kangaroos emerging from wildfire make shortlist for people’s choice award



A “poignant” image of willows reflected in a frozen Italian lake has won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year people’s choice award – with photographs of male lions in the rain and kangaroos emerging from wildfire among those that made the shortlist.

The wintry shot of Santa Croce Lake in northern Italy came top in an online vote by more than 31,800 nature and photography enthusiasts from a shortlist of 25 images.

The image was captured by Italian photographer Cristiano Vendramin

The shortlist for the people’s choice award was chosen by the Natural History Museum.

A total of 50,000 images from 95 countries were submitted for the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

EMBARGOED TO 0001 WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY
MANDATORY CREDIT: Cristiano Vendramin/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
"Lake of ice" by Cristiano Vendramin, which has won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award.
This image of willows reflected in an Italian lake won the people’s choice award. Cristiano Vendramin/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Among the 25 pictures on the shortlist, an image of two male lions in the rain and a portrait of a kangaroo and her joey emerging from the aftermath of Australian wildfires were also popular with voters.

A shot of a surprising encounter between an eagle and a bear cub up a tree and an image of two male golden pheasants were the other pictures that proved most popular with the online voters.

The winning photograph and the four runners-up will be displayed in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London.

EMBARGOED TO 0001 WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 9 
MANDATORY CREDIT: Jeroen Hoekendijk/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
"The eagle and the bear" by Jeroen Hoekendijk, which has been Highly Commended in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award.
A surprising encounter between an eagle and a bear made the shortlist. Jeroen Hoekendijk/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Mr Vendramin took his winning picture while visiting the lake, noticing the water was unusually high and the willows were partially submerged, creating the reflections on the water.

He was reminded of a close friend who had loved the place and who is no longer here, he said, adding: “I want to think he made me feel this feeling that I’ll never forget. For this reason, this photograph is dedicated to him.”

EMBARGOED TO 0001 WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 9 
MANDATORY CREDIT: Jo-Anne McArthur/Wildlife Photographer
"Hope in a burned plantation" by Jo-Anne McArthur, which has been Highly Commended in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award.
An image of a kangaroo emerging from wildfire with her joey was popular among voters. Jo-Anne McArthur/Wildlife Photographer

And he said: “I hope that my photography will encourage people to understand that the beauty of nature can be found everywhere around us, and we can be pleasantly surprised by the many landscapes so close to home.

“I believe having a daily relationship with nature is increasingly more necessary to have a serene and healthy life.

“Nature photography is therefore important to remind us of this bond, which we must preserve, and in whose memory, we can take refuge.”

EMBARGOED TO 0001 WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 9 
MANDATORY CREDIT: Qiang Guo/Wildlife Photographer of the Year
"Danicing in the Snow" by Qiang Guo which has been Highly Commended in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year People's Choice Award.
‘Dancing in the Snow’, showing two male golden pheasants, was popular with voters. Qiang Guo/Wildlife Photographer of the Year

AN OFFICE WORKER CAPTURES BEAUTIFUL WILDLIFE PHOTOS ON HIS LUNCHBREAK


Dave Newman has a full-time job inside an office, but he always tries to make time to go outside to spy on the local animals.

Skye Meaker began taking photos when he was just seven years old. A decade later, he was named Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

MEET THE SOUTH AFRICAN TEENAGER CAPTURING AWARD-WINNING WILDLIFE IMAGES


If you were to ask a photographer the recipe for the perfect shot, you’ll likely get a list of ingredients that include time of day, lighting, framing and a dash of luck. South African wildlife photographer Skye Meaker sees things differently.


Dr Douglas Gurr, director of the National History Museum, said: “Cristiano’s poignant image symbolises the positive impact nature can have on our wellbeing and lives.

“It can provide solace and a space to reflect on the past and even spark hope for the future.

“These past two years have redefined what truly matters in life, the people and the environments that play a crucial role in our own personal ecosystems.

“I hope those who look at this landscape frozen in time, are reminded of the importance of connecting to the natural world and the steps we must all take to protect it.”

Source:

Sky News



An Office Worker Captures Beautiful Wildlife Photos On His Lunchbreak

An Office Worker Captures Beautiful Wildlife Photos On His Lunchbreak


Dave Newman has a full-time job inside an office, but he always tries to make time to go outside to spy on the local animals.


On his journey to document the creatures, he’s created gorgeous portraits of foxes, ducklings, herons, and deer.

The 42-year-old amateur photographer started out around four years ago in his Lincolnshire, England town, and he is completely self-taught.

From Monday through Friday, he works a full-time job in the construction industry, but makes the short trip on his lunch hour from the office in the center of Sleaford to the local river to capture its beasts and birds.

“I only get 30/35 mins, so need to make the most of it.”

“If the weather plays ball, I try to get out.”

By Dave Newman – SWNS

To date, his all-time favorite animal is the kingfisher, a diving bird that launches head first into the water.

By Dave Newman -SWNS

Skye Meaker began taking photos when he was just seven years old. A decade later, he was named Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

MEET THE SOUTH AFRICAN TEENAGER CAPTURING AWARD-WINNING WILDLIFE IMAGES


If you were to ask a photographer the recipe for the perfect shot, you’ll likely get a list of ingredients that include time of day, lighting, framing and a dash of luck. South African wildlife photographer Skye Meaker sees things differently.

POLAR BEARS MOVE INTO ABANDONED ARCTIC WEATHER STATION


Photographer Dmitry Kokh discovered polar bears living in an abandoned weather station in Kolyuchin, in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug of the Russian Federation, while on a trip to Wrangel Island, a Unesco-recognised nature reserve that serves as a refuge to the animals


It might take longer than 50 minutes to get the perfect shot—especially the gem below, which might well be entitled ‘3 blind mice’.

By Dave Newman -SWNS

Whether it’s in the wildlife hides, woodlands, local rivers, or simply driving around, Dave can be seen stalking the cute and the curious on his artistic quest.

By Dave Newman -SWNS

Source:

Good News Network



Meet the South African teenager capturing award-winning wildlife images

Meet the South African teenager capturing award-winning wildlife images


If you were to ask a photographer the recipe for the perfect shot, you’ll likely get a list of ingredients that include time of day, lighting, framing and a dash of luck. South African wildlife photographer Skye Meaker sees things differently.


“For me, the perfect shot is one where I feel as if I’m not really there. It’s one where the animal is comfortable enough to behave as if I’m not there,” says Meaker. “I like to feel immersed in the moment and capture nature at its most natural.”

And after countless photos, Meaker nabbed his version of the perfect shot when he was just 17 — featuring a leopard he calls “Limpy” that he had been following for many years and holds a special place in his heart. “I’ve grown alongside her,” he says.

Skye Meaker's award winning photography

Image 1 of 3

Skye Meaker's picture of Limpy, aka the "Lounging Leopard," won the Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year award in 2018. "She is the calmest leopard around vehicles that I've ever seen," Meaker says. "She lets you get really close to her, which is how I managed to show the peace that she must have felt at that moment in time, just as she woke up."

That image, titled “Lounging Leopard,” won Meaker the 2018 Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year award, hosted by the Natural History Museum in London.

Meaker, now 19, began photographing wildlife at the age of seven on frequent family trips to local game reserves and nature parks. “As a youngster, I was always fascinated by my dad’s camera and how it could make the things I saw in front of me magically turn into a picture that you could look at on a tiny screen. I remember constantly asking him if I could take pictures with his camera,” he explains. “My parents eventually decided to give me a little camera which I referred to as the ‘pocket rocket.'”

Ten years later, after plenty of practice and patience, he would capture his award-winning image. Meaker says winning the prize has changed his life in more ways than one.

“I’ve been able to tell my story at the World Economic Forum in both Davos, Switzerland and in my home country of South Africa. I’ve been able to share my passions in photography and wildlife with the world,” Meaker says.

“I would hope my future would be something where I can take my own family to the bush and give them the chance to fall in love with nature, just like how my parents have done for me,” he adds. “I would like to give my children an opportunity to understand and see for themselves the beautiful nature that I love and appreciate.”

Source:

Daryl Brown at CNN



Our Kindle Unlimited Reading List, November

Our Kindle Unlimited Reading List, November

Click on the banner above to get a one month free trial subscription to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited to get access to the entire Kindle library on any device, at any time, anywhere. To get you started, here’s our reading list for November:

“We understand that educating the citizens of this planet is only path towards sustainability.” -Kyle Michaud

Kyle Michaud explores the necessary changes society needs to make, in order to preserve and protect the planet. He discusses sustainability as it applies to businesses, products, and everyday life. Michaud gives reasonable suggestions for simple adjustments that will lead to a healthier world. This book will assist consumers in choosing safe and environmentally-friendly items, as well as understanding the advantages of living green.

Agent H2O is on a mission, chased by his evil nemesis, Scummy Pollution. Will Agent H2O reach thirsty plants and animals in time?

Follow along on his zany romp through the water cycle, as he changes disguises from a liquid drop to vapor, then to an ice crystal. The science is accurate and S.T.E.M. based. The message is important: an eco-friendly lifestyle, reduction of pollution, and water conservation. These concepts are offered in a character-driven adventure, a funny plot, and award-winning illustrations. This story will bring a smile to grown-ups and kids.

What if humanity could start all over again? In a future not so far away, a diverse group of carefully selected people are sent to Gaya, a planet very much like Earth. They want to build a better world: free of war, pollution, racism, and greed. The settlers find a paradise of undisturbed nature – but they soon meet unknown dangers, poisonous plants, and aggressive animals. And above all, they have to deal with each other: a bunch of people with different ideas and desires, memories and individual quirks. And not everyone is willing to follow the rules.

A motley crew of saboteurs wreak outrageous havoc on the corporations destroying America’s Western wilderness in this classic, comic extravaganza.

When George Washington Hayduke III returns home from war in the jungles of Southeast Asia, he finds the unspoiled West he once knew has been transformed. The pristine lands and waterways are being strip mined, dammed up, and paved over by greedy government hacks and their corrupt corporate coconspirators. And the manic, beer-guzzling, rabidly antisocial ex-Green Beret isn’t just getting mad. Hayduke plans to get even.

Together with a radical feminist from the Bronx; a wealthy, billboard-torching libertarian MD; and a disgraced Mormon polygamist, Hayduke’s ready to stick it to the Man in the most creative ways imaginable. By the time they’re done, there won’t be a bridge left standing, a dam unblown, or a bulldozer unmolested from Arizona to Utah.

Plastic is all around us. It’s one of the defining traits of this modern world. Our use of plastics has quickly boomed since the time we invented it. And even now, the world will be a much, much different place—in a bad way—without plastics.


But our use of this material, something we’ve so carelessly taken for granted, is coming back to haunt us. Plastic is polluting our world, and if we fail to act on this growing and pressing problem, there might no longer be any hope of saving the world at all.

Full of beautiful nature, you won’t believe that central Osaka, Japan, is only 30 minutes away.

Listen to the sound of the river and walk beneath the relaxing maple trees and cedars, fot it will leave you with a smile. One of the main attractions in Minoh is a famous 33-meter waterfall that has been selected as one of Japan’s top 100 Waterfalls. It has breathtaking views and sounds that will make you forget time.

Over 80 photos of baby animals from around the world, by some of the most gifted photographers around the world.

Have you read any of these books? Leave a comment below and tell us what you thought! If you’d like to help us continue our mission, please consider buying one of our recommended products below. As an Amazon Affiliate, we earn a commission on sales, which will assist us greatly.

On the Web This Week, 26 September

On the Web This Week, 26 September

On the web this week, photography contest finalists & winners, how the video game industry is addressing climate change, and South Africa’s oldest tortoise turns 109!

Picture credit:  Dharshie Wissah/2019 Ciwem environmental photographer of the year

The Guardian brings us this picture gallery, as SL Shanth Kumar has won Ciwem environmental photographer of the year 2019 for his image of homes battered by flooding in Mumbai. This year’s winners were revealed alongside the UN climate summit in New York.

Picture credit: Wild Shots Outreach

Nineteen-year-old Kgaugelo Neville Ngomane has won a prestigious environmental photographic competition. Ngomane’s powerful image of a rhino dehorning, titled Desperate Measures, was picked from more than 4,000 international entries by the judges who commended its storytelling and photographic merit. The judges said: “When his photo flashed up on screen, there was a sharp intake of breath around the judging room; it’s such a powerful image.”

Picture credit: Peter Haygarth/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2019

The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards have chosen their finalists for 2019. Vote for the Affinity Photo People’s Choice Award here to stand a chance to win an iPad!

Picture credit: eNCA/Neil Raath

Admiral the tortoise, Durban’s living legend, turned 109 years old on Tuesday. eThekwini Municipality and residents celebrated the 109 years of his life with a fitting birthday celebration and gifts in the form of fruits and vegetables.

Picture credit: Nafisa Akabor

Planning on buying a new car this year? You may want to consider one of the top 10 most environmentally friendly cars on sale in South Africa.

Picture credit: Pixabay

Some of the biggest names in the video games industry, with a combined audience of 970 million players, have formally committed to harness the power of their platforms to take action in response to the climate crisis. Combined, these commitments from 21 companies will result in a 30 million tonne reduction of CO2 emissions by 2030, will see millions of trees planted, new “green nudges” in game design and improvements to energy management, packaging, and device recycling.

Picture credit: Julian Bailey

And finally, from Metal Hammer, if you’re a fan of loud music, you may want to check out these 5 furious bands fighting back for the environment.

Did you enjoy these stories? Leave us a comment below, and come back next week for more!