OC/OVAG 2014 “The Unofficial Photo”

OCOVG 2014 group photo #3Shortly after taking the official group photo at OC/OVAG 2014, the delegates posed for something a little more informal.  This photo captures the energy, good spirit and great posing ability of this year’s attendees.

Read more about our annual vet workshop on the OC/OVAG Veterinary Workshop page and you can see the official photo there too.

posted by: Tom

 

Conservation Commentary: Animal Welfare and Palm Oil in Products We Buy

photo from the Orangutan Conservancy archives.

photo from the Orangutan Conservancy archives.

by Robert Hii for the Huffington Post

In case you missed Jane Velez-Mitchell’s interview with model Katie Cleary, here it is. Katie made an impassioned plea to the viewers to stop buying products that use palm oil.

So what is it about orangutans that gets animal lovers like Katie Cleary so worked up against palm oil? A big part of it has to be their human-like characteristics which create an instant bond between us and them, and the fact that the baby orangutan is just so darned adorable!

It’s not only orangutans that are being affected by palm oil. Equally adorable apes like chimpanzees are being threatened with extinction as well as the palm oil industry moves into Africa. Scientists are calling great apes like the orangutan and chimpanzee “canaries in the coal mine” as many other species of animals will go extinct if nothing is said or done today.

So what can an animal lover do to avoid buying products that may have caused suffering to animals? You can take up Jane Velez-Mitchell’s suggestion to eat fresh as palm oil is used mostly in processed foods. Her other great suggestion was to send a message to all companies to “do this sustainably” but what does this mean to the average consumer who wants to remove any possibility of causing suffering in their daily purchases?

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of Huff Post Green and can be read in its entirety here.

posted by: Tom

 

Conservation News: Study Shows 30% of Borneo’s Rainforests Destroyed Since 1973

map courtesy of study authors

map courtesy of study authors

Borneo’s forests are being destroyed at twice the rate of the rest of the world’s rainforests.
by Rhett A. Butler, mongabay.com
More than 30 percent of Borneo’s rainforests have been destroyed over the past forty years due to fires, industrial logging, and the spread of plantations, finds a new study that provides the most comprehensive analysis of the island’s forest cover to date. The research, published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, shows that just over a quarter of Borneo’s lowland forests remain intact.The study, which involved an international team of scientists led by David Gaveau and Erik Meijaard, is based on satellite data and aerial photographs. That approach enabled the researchers to separate industrial plantations from selectively-logged natural forests, while also mapping the extent of logging roads for various elevations, distinguishing between highly endangered lowland forests and inaccessible high-elevation forests.The results are sobering for conservationists: intact lowland forests, which house the highest levels of biodiversity and store the largest amounts of carbon, declined by 73 percent during the period. 34 percent of those forests were selectively logged, while 39 percent were cleared completely, usually converted to industrial plantations to supply the world with palm oil, paper, and timber. Sabah, the eastern-most state in Malaysia, had the highest proportion of forest loss and degradation, with 52 percent of its lowland forests cleared and 29 percent logged. Only 18 percent of the state’s lowland forests remain intact, according to the study.

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of Mongabay.com and can be read in its entirety here.

posted by: Tom

 

Conservation News: Drones Bring Fight And Flight To Battle Against Poachers

Lian Pin Koh and Serge Wich prepare their drone for flight.  photo for the OC archives.

Lian Pin Koh and Serge Wich prepare their drone for flight. photo for the OC archives.

by Michael Casey for Scientific American

Tracking endangered orangutans was no easy feat a scant three years ago. It required counting treetop nests in places like the Leuser Ecosystem on Indonesia’s Sumatra Island to gauge the health of a population that was under fire from poachers and palm oil barrens. Aerial surveillance using remote sensing satellites was often too expensive for local conservation groups and, even when affordable, the views were routinely obscured by cloud cover.

“I was thinking it would be a lot easier if we had a camera somewhere up in the sky that would take pictures of the canopy of the forest and allow us to determine where orangutans are and how many there are,” says Serge Wich, a primate biologist at Liverpool John Moores University and an expert on orangutans.

A year later he and his colleague, Lian Pin Koh, chair of the Applied Ecology and Conservation Group at the University of Adelaide in Australia, launched their first unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)—aka drone. Weighing a few kilograms with a wingspan of about two meters, the battery-powered and remote-controlled drones look more like model airplanes as they fly above treetops snapping geotagged photos or video during preprogrammed flights that last about an hour and a half. The project drew so much interest—8,000 views on their first YouTube video—that they set up an organization, ConservationDrones.org, that promotes scientific use for UAVs worldwide. “I think it will revolutionize part of how we do conservation and rainforest ecology work,” Wich says. The group has provided upward of 40 drones globally to conservation groups studying everything from illegal fishing in Belize to destruction of elephant habitat in Indonesia to fires from bush meat hunters in the Congo.

This excerpt from a news article appeared in and is courtesy of Scientific American and can be read in its entirety here.

The Conservation Drone Project is one of the efforts that the Orangutan Conservancy helps to support.  Read more about them here.

 

 

posted by: Tom