Tuesday, February 18, 2003

No War
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Spraying of pesticides in Prince Albert National Park threatens human and
Wildcanada.net Action Alert - 099


Parks Canada is proposing to spray a biopesticide (BtK) over the townsite of
Waskesiu Lake, Prince Albert National Park in Saskatchewan, to reduce the impact
of spruce budworm. The objective of the program is purely aesthetic. Parks
Canada is catering to a small, vocal group of cabin and cottage owners who are
trying to preserve mature spruce trees - trees that are reaching the end of
their natural life cycle, and will die soon whether spraying occurs or not. The
application of the pesticide could harm both human and wildlife in the National
Park, and goes against the mandate of Parks Canada to protect biological
diversity in Canada's National Parks.


According to the proposal, 6 aerial applications of the pesticide will occur
over the next 3 years, starting this spring. A total volume of almost 8,000
litres of pesticide will be applied. Parks Canada is willing to consider
applying a pesticide that will:

* threaten the health of residents and visitors to Prince Albert National Park,
particularly children, women, seniors and those with pre-existing allergies,
respiratory conditions and immuno-deficiencies;

* kill or harm many non-target species, including most moths and butterflies;

* persist in the soil, air, water and on vegetation and other surfaces for
extended periods.

Aerial application will result in much of the pesticide drifting into Waskesiu
Lake, the source of the townsite's drinking water. Normal water treatment
processes do not destroy the BtK bacterium. Repeated low level aircraft
overflights will harm late-term pregnant elk and deer and their newborn calves
that are common within and adjacent to the spray zone during the proposed spray

Spruce budworm is a native species, and its effect is much like fire, helping to
renew forests as part of the natural process. The spray proposal undermines
Parks Canada's first management priority - the maintenance of ecological
integrity in a National Park.

Take Action

Parks Canada has stated that it is reacting to public pressure to spray. The
environmental assessment of the proposal has begun, and public pressure is
required to change this decision.

Please write or email the Minister Responsible for Parks Canada, Sheila Copps,
to voice your objections.
The Honourable Sheila Copps, Minister
Canadian Heritage (Parks Canada)
Room 511-S
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
Ph: (819) 997-7788
Fax: (819) 994-5987
Email: Copps.S@parl.gc.ca

For more information

A full report on the case against pesticides is available by visiting
Saskatchewan Environmental Society's website at www.lights.com/ses and clicking
on Pesticide spraying in Prince Albert National Park.

Please send a copy of your correspondence to saskenv@link.ca.

11, Dec 2002
Is your ice cream bad for elephants?
By Jamie Grant and Emma Duncan

Palm oil is a versatile product. You might not realise it, but it's present in a wide range of goods at your local supermarket — from cosmetics and detergents to a variety of food products, including confectionery, chocolate, ice cream, ready-to-serve meals, and margarine.

It's also an extremely productive crop. Grown in tropical areas around the world, from its native West Africa to Southeast Asia, Pacific regions, and Latin America, oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) plantations produce far more oil per hectare than any other oilseed. Oil palm also requires less fertiliser, pesticide, and herbicide than other common oilseed crops, such as soybean, sunflower, and rapeseed.

Small wonder then that oil palm has become a bumper crop in many developing countries, providing income and employment in isolated areas where it's often most needed. And with the world trade in palm oil predicted to double in the next 20–30 years, the boom looks set to continue.

But despite the apparent environmental benefits of oil palm, the industry has often been criticised by environmental organizations. The issues are complex and differ in different countries, but often include problems associated with loss of natural forest.

Indonesia is a case in point. Although prohibited by Indonesian law, a new WWF report says that clearing of natural forest for plantations still continues here. For economic reasons and due to poor governmental control, logging and estate companies do not use widely available degraded lands for oil palm plantations. Instead, they set fire to natural forests on their concessions after having removed all the valuable timber, and then convert the cleared land to plantations.

The fires themselves can lead to further forest loss. The horrendous fires that swept through Indonesia in 1997 — burning down an area of rainforest bigger than the Netherlands and sending up smoke that reached as far as Brunei, Singapore, the Philippines, and Thailand — have been blamed on fires that were deliberately lit to clear forest for oil palm and other crops and then got out of hand because of a prolonged drought.

The extent and speed of forest loss in Indonesia is alarming. Fifty years ago, the island of Sumatra was covered with millions of hectares of tropical rainforest. Today, most of the lowland forest is gone, converted to settlements, oil palm and pulpwood plantations, and other crops. With 2 million hectares of lowland forest destroyed each year, the last remaining tracts will be lost by 2005. The same could happen on the island of Kalimantan by 2010.

The shrinking forest area threatens thousands of animal and plant species, many of them endemic and already endangered. Sumatra's Tesso Nilo forest, for example, has the highest level of lowland forest plant biodiversity known to science, with over 4,000 plant species recorded so far. It's also home to three per cent of the world's mammal species, including elephants, rhinos, and tigers.

Forest loss and oil palm plantations are proving a particularly deadly mix for Sumatra's elephants. As their natural habitat disappears, the animals are increasingly raiding oil palm plantations surrounding Tesso Nilo for food. But an agonising death awaits them. Angry farmers coat the palm fronds with pesticide or lay out poisoned bait. Earlier this year, 17 elephant corpses were found in the vicinity of a plantation. An entire family wiped out, every one a victim of poisoning. Tigers too are increasingly entering villages to find food, where they are often killed.

With the area of oil palm plantations in Indonesia predicted to double to 6 million hectares by 2020 and logging — both legal and illegal — continuing unabated, the outlook seems bleak for the country's remaining forests and the animals that depend on them.

But it doesn't have to be. Many players in the international palm oil industry could help save forests in Indonesia by implementing sound environmental, social, and economic practices. WWF is actively promoting this, and the results are promising.

Financial institutions are one target. The expansion of the oil palm sector is largely funded by European, North American, and East Asian financial institutions which, for the most part, rarely try to improve the social and environmental practices of their clients. However, these institutions could actively find and fund palm oil plantations that do not destroy natural forests. In partnership with WWF, four of the biggest banks in the Netherlands — ABN AMRO, Rababank, Fortis, and ING — have already agreed to stop or substantially restrict financing for palm oil plantations in Indonesia on environmental and social grounds.

Palm oil consumers also play a role in environmental responsibility. With some 17 per cent of the 22 million tonnes of palm oil produced worldwide destined for Europe, this market could significantly influence the industry's practises.

Switzerland's largest retail chain, Migros, has already started to do this. Also in partnership with WWF, the company developed a strict set of social and environmental criteria to be met by their palm oil suppliers. For example, oil palm plantations must not be grown on newly deforested land and must include secure wildlife and forest corridors. Social concerns are also taken into account to minimize conflict with local communities and ensure that workers' basic pay and conditions are met. This year, margarine became one of the retailer's first products made from palm oil that meets their new criteria. Step by step, all other products sold by Migros that contain palm oil will follow suit.

Palm oil producers too are realising the benefits of environmentally friendly plantation practises. The powerful Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) recently formed a Task Force to address environmental issues. Working with WWF, the MPOA made a proposal for the development of better practices for palm oil both at the landscape as well as the plantation level. Unilever, a major worldwide consumer as well as a producer of palm oil, is also working with WWF to develop sustainable palm oil production methods.

Our ice cream, soap, moisturiser, and lipstick — as well as products from other tropical crops such as soy and pulp — should not come at the expense of forests in Indonesia or other parts of the world. Although promising first steps have been made towards a more environmentally friendly palm oil industry, there is still a long way to go. Other companies and financial institutions need to follow in the footsteps of Migros, Unilever, and the four Dutch banks, not only in Europe but also in China, India, and Pakistan, the world's largest palm oil importers. Consumers too must demand environmentally friendly palm oil products, and if necessary be prepared to pay a higher price for these. Only then will the destruction stop.

*Jamie Grant is Press Officer at WWF Scotland and Emma Duncan is Managing Editor at WWF International


All giraffes have long, flexible tongues. The tongue of the Rothschild giraffe is 45cm long and 8cm wide. This is so long that this giraffe can use its tongue to clean its ear.
Only five percent of all mammal species (excluding humans) are believed to be monogamous, compared to nearly 90 percent of all bird species. Among birds, some of the most famously faithful are penguins, cranes, pigeons, and parrots. Geese, swans, doves, and albatrosses are generally believed to remain totally faithful to one partner until death do them part.
At the end of an elephant's trunk is a sensitive "finger" for grasping things as small as a berry or as large as a branch. African elephants have two fingers while the Asian elephant has only one.

Turtles are washing up dead--often beheaded or with their throats cut
--on the beaches of Mozambique in East Africa. In the first few weeks of 2003,
shocked tourists and residents have found dozens of green and loggerhead turtle

The cause is bycatch--the unintentional catch of nontarget species--by illegal
and unlicensed fishing vessels operating close to the coastline of Mozambique
and even within protected areas. The boats are said to be of Chinese, Korean,
or Taiwanese origin, and they are using longlines to catch sharks--some of which
are protected species in Mozambican waters.

With nearly 1,700 miles of coastline, Mozambique lacks the means to stop these
vessels or drive them from its waters. The illegal fishing vessels deploy
longlines--steel cables up to 15 miles long with hooks attached on lines set at
about one-yard intervals. Baited longline hooks are particularly lethal for
loggerhead and leatherback turtles, which are hooked as they swallow the bait,
and then drown or are killed by fishermen cutting away this unwanted catch. The
discovery of numerous beheaded green turtles in Mozambique suggests that even
these normally vegetarian turtles are going for the longline bait.

In addition to this gruesome cull, a recent study shows that shrimp trawlers
operating in central Mozambican waters kill between about 2,000 to 5,400 marine
turtles every year.

These deaths are preventable, but we need your help. The Mozambique government
needs to develop a strategy to deal with illegal fishing, possibly seeking
international assistance to drive out the pirate boats. In addition, thousands
of turtle deaths could be averted each year by the installation of a simple and
inexpensive tool known as a turtle excluder device (TED) on trawl nets.
Legislation requiring the use of TEDs could be implemented through changes to
Mozambique's fishing regulations, which are under review right now. The five
species of marine turtles that occur in Mozambique's waters are all
internationally recognized as threatened species and are protected by Mozambican
law and international treaties.

See below for how you can help. Please also forward this alert to your friends
and colleagues.

**********************TAKE ACTION NOW!****************

WWF has learned from our team in Mozambique that letters are needed to address
this issue; sending emails or faxes will not be effective. A few hundred
letters (ideally a few thousand) from concerned people around the world will let
the government know that action is needed now.

To take action, copy the letters below and add your own thoughts, explaining why
this issue is important to you. Mail the letters to the addresses indicated.
If you cannot send letters to all five of the ministers we are targeting, the
most important person to contact is Cadmiel Muthemba, the minister of fisheries.
A standard airmail letter to Mozambique from the United States costs 80 cents.

Thank you for taking the time to send letters. If you have any questions,
contact us at actionquestions@takeaction.worldwildlife.org for help.

***************************LETTER TEXT**************************

Please send the following letter to each of the ministers listed below. The
priority is to send the letter to the Minister of Fisheries, Mr. Cadmiel

Honorable Minister of Fisheries
Mr. Cadmiel Muthemba
Office of the Minister
Caixa Postal 1723
Ministry of Fisheries

Honorable Vice-Minister of Fisheries
Mr. Alfredo Massinga
Office of the Vice-Minister
Caixa Postal 1723
Ministry of Fisheries

Honorable Minister for the Coordination of Environmental Affairs
Eng. John William Kachamila
Office of the Minister
Ministry for the Coordination of Environmental Affairs
Caixa Postal 2020

Honorable Vice-Minister for the Coordination of Environmental Affairs
Eng. Francisco Mabjaia
Office of the Vice-Minister
Ministry for the Coordination of Environmental Affairs
Caixa Postal 2020

The Honorable Minister of Tourism
Mr. Fernando Sumbana Júnior
Office of the Minister
Ministry of Tourism
Caixa Postal 4101

Dear Sir,

Mozambique has recently demonstrated leadership in marine environmental
protection by creating new marine protected areas in Bazaruto and Quirimbas, no
longer issuing new licenses for the shallow water shrimp fishery, and banning
coral reef exports, among other commendable actions. However, serious threats
remain to marine turtles due to fishing activities both inside and outside
marine protected areas. I believe you may be able to help resolve these issues.

Each year, thousands of turtles are dying unnecessarily as a result of bycatch
in the shrimp trawling industry. This can be prevented by the introduction of
turtle excluder devices (TEDs), which have been welcomed by Mozambican boat
owners because they have been shown to improve the quality of their catch.

Marine turtles are also being killed as bycatch by illegal longline fishing
vessels that are fishing for sharks, including some species that are protected
in Mozambique. These boats--from Taiwan and other far eastern countries--are
even entering protected areas such as the Bazaruto Archipelago National Park.
Illegal fishing is not only bad for turtles and other species, it also costs
your country untold amounts in stolen fish and competes unfairly with local

I urge you to take concrete steps to stop the further senseless loss of marine
life along the coast:

* The current revision of the fisheries regulations is an opportunity to make
sure that all trawlers operating in Mozambican waters are using TEDs. Please do
all you can to ensure that appropriate changes are made to the fishing

* Please work with relevant officials in your own and other departments,
including the security and defense authorities, to develop a strategy to deal
with illegal fishing, and to seek international assistance, if necessary, to
drive out the pirate boats.


**************************END OF LETTER TEXT*************************

To learn more about Mozambique's amazing species and habitats, as well as the
conservation challenges facing the country, visit WWF's online expedition to
Mozambique at http://takeaction.worldwildlife.org/ctt.asp?u=68218&l=1438

Urgent Action needed to Protect pink salmon
Wildcanada.net Action Alert -- 100(c)
Take Action

Take action to protect British Columbia's endangered pink salmon. Send a free
letter to the companies who are refusing to provide safe passage for wild salmon
around their fish farms. Visit
http://www.wildcanada.net/farmedanddangerous/fax.asp to ensure the Pink
Salmon's survival.


An unprecedented outbreak of sea lice at salmon farms in the Broughton
Archipelago in the north east portion of Vancouver Island, British Columbia
decimated eight runs of pink salmon in 2001 - putting them on the brink of
extinction. The fish-farm industry refuses to adequately address sea-lice
outbreaks around their farms. Two companies, Stolt Sea Farms and Heritage
Aquaculture, operate 27 farms in the Broughton Archipelago. All they need to do
is leave fish pens empty on at least one wild salmon migration route from
February to July to provide the wild pink salmon safe passage, and ensure their
survival. These companies are refusing to accommodate this wild species' needs.

Pink salmon could begin their migration to sea as early as the last week of
February yet industry and government has not developed a suitable action plan.

Take Action today. Visit http://www.wildcanada.net/farmedanddangerous/fax.asp.

G8 Meeting comes back to haunt Alberta's Kananaskis Country
Wildcanada.net Action Alert -- 101
Thursday February 13, 2003

The Alberta government is pushing new developments in Kananaskis Country, just
west of Calgary, only months after the G8 Summit beamed images of the mountain
paradise into the homes of onlookers around the word. Plans call for new lodges,
expansion of existing hotels and summer use of Nakiska ski hill all in prime
wildlife habitat. Say no to commercial exploitation, and yes to clear water,
wilderness and wildlife: http://www.wildcanada.net/kananaskis.


A draft plan for the Evan Thomas Provincial Recreation Area, at the heart of the
Kananaskis Valley, calls for expansion of the Nakiska Ski Area and for summer
use of the hill, along with new commercial development and expansion of existing
commercial facilities such as the Delta and Kananaskis Lodges, the site of
June's G8 summit meeting. The level of development proposed for the Kananaskis
Valley could negatively affect wildlife in the region, as well as the
opportunity for Canadians and visitors from around the world to enjoy the scenic
wonder of Kananaskis Country.

Grizzly bears, moose, elk and bighorn sheep are among the animals that may be
impacted by the new development.

Just seven months ago concerned citizens warned that the international exposure
brought by the G8 Summit on the Kananaskis Valley would lead to just this sort
of pressure for development in the sensitive mountain Valley. While the federal
government went to great lengths to avoid building even a single new permanent
structure in the Kananaskis Valley for the meeting of world leaders, the
provincial government is now moving in the opposite direction for the

The government is justifying development plans by citing public demand for hotel
accommodations. The government's own visitation reports for Kananaskis for the
last five years show occupancy rates hovering in the 55-58% range.

Take Action

Take action today at http://www.wildcanada.net/kananaskis.

* * *

Donate: Your help is needed to protect grizzly bears in Kananaskis, and other
wildlands and wildlife across Canada. Use Wildcanada.net's secure on-line
donation form, or find mailing information at http://www.wildcanada.net/donate.

please participate in Amnesty International's emergency
petition on Iraq, which can be found at www.amnesty.org/go/iraq. We are calling
on the UN Security Council to assess the human rights and humanitarian impact on
the civilian population of any military action against Iraq.

The assessment should take place in a public session of the Security Council,
open to all UN member states. Amnesty International also urges the Security
Council to deploy human rights monitors immediately throughout Iraq to report on
human rights abuses by any party.

Please join our petition at http://click.topica.com/maaaQNdaaV1VFbcN4MOb/ before
8 March.