Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Biodiversity Yin-Yang: sobering UN report and more tigers in India

Yin-Yang news about biodiversity: the United Nation's Convention on Biological Diversity recently released its third Global Biodiveristy Outlook report and the results were not good. Eight years ago, targets were set to improve both plant and animal biodiversity and not only were those targets not met, but the report determined that the rate of extinction of plant and animal life is happening 1000 times faster than expected.

The report examines global biodiversity which includes ecosystems such as coral reefs, tropical rainforests, and other ecosystems in addition to specific threatened plant and animal life.

But on a more positive note and speaking of threatened animal life, a recent field study of tigers in the Kaziranga National park in northeast India revealed the largest concentration of these
highly endangered cats. Using camera traps, the study, conducted in the first quarter of 2009, photographed tigers at a rate of 32 per 100 sq. km - that's compared to the rate of 3-12 tigers found throughout India's reserve parks and nearly twice that of the previous record of 19.6 tigers found in another reserve.

The success of the tiger population in this one reserve is being attributed to the reserve's grassland features and available food sources like deer and wild boar. Hopefully, the reserve's ability to resist poaching is also playing a role. Unfortunately, tigers are illegally hunted for their hides and, in particular, for their genitals - a homeopathic freeze-dried aphrodisiac that commands a high price in many Asian countries.

Read about the biodiversity report in the
Read about the tiger study (with pictures) in the BBC Earth News.

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