News in brief – Wall on Denmark border, Cleanup of Tesso Nillo, Great Pacific Garbage patch, Columbia highway, Leopards to control Rabies

Wall on the border of Denmark

Denmark is to build a wall/fence along its border with Germany, to stop boar from Germany crossing over as these animals carry an infection called African Swine fever. This is highly contagious and while no cases have been found in Denmark, there is concern that it could threaten the domestic pork industry. Hunters will also be encouraged to hunt wild boar at night

Cleanup of Tesso Nilo National park

Sumatra has finally decided to do something about the encroachment that has been threatening one of the most important national parks within its borders. This park only covers 1000 square km (so while large by no means the biggest. But a third of the park has been deforested illegally and replaced with palm oil plantations, and only around 25% of the park is completely un-logged. This park has a wild elephant population of 60 -80, with around 50 tigers. The government is gradually engaging with villages within the park to move them out, but are very aggressive despite knowing that they cannot stay. The park was only formed in 2004 and expanded in 2007. There are a total of 23 villages within the park, with around 4000 houses. I will do a more in depth analysis of these in the near future.

The great Pacific Garbage patch

The garbage patch in the pacific, is an area where due to currents, much of the plastic rubbish that ends up in the ocean. It has been known that this has a lot of plastic, but analysis has shown that this patch is 16 times bigger than thought. There are people working on clearing this up, but it is a difficult problem. The principle plan is led by Boyat Slatt and there is a fascinating Ted talk on YouTube about this problem.

Colombia has scrapped an Amazon highway through the rainforest

Colombia has decided to abandon the construction of a large highway, straight through one of the remaining sections of the Amazon rain forest. Quite apart from the huge amount of forest that would be cut down to create this road, it would also give easy access deep into the Amazon jungle, and elsewhere this has lead to rapid escalation of forest destruction right along its length. It is therefore highly encouraging, The road was to allow access to Venezuela and Ecuador, the only other route is through the Andes which is highly complex route. However there is a river that is likely to be navigable and could carry traffic without destruction.

Allow Leopards to deal with Rabies in India

A recent study has shown that if leopards are allowed to recover in large parts of India, it has been shown to have a huge impact on Rabies. This is because as in other parts of the world, domestic feral dogs have been allowed to become the apex predator in small wild area. This does not work, as they are not apex predators, and are tend to damage some species populations while allowing others to inflate out of control. Dog bites in India kill 20,000 humans each year. Leopards already kill around 1500 stray dogs each year, reducing bites by over 1000 and rabies cases by 90. While the leopards may attack and kill humans occasionally, this is no where near as many as are saved by their presence.



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