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Positive Conservation News - March 2019

March 31, 2019


It's time once again for our monthly dose of positive conservation news from around the world, with a lot of conservation successes, including an EU wide ban on a bee harming pesticide and the creation of a huge Marine Protected Area around Ascension Island. Read on to find out what else happened this month!

Environmental Protection


The EU banned Chlorothalonil, one of the world's most commonly used pesticides. It has been linked to bumblebee losses as it makes them more susceptible to a deadly parasite called 'nosema'. The ban raises hopes of halting declining insect numbers.

The UK Government has announced it will designate the 443,000 square kilometers of Ascension Island's offshore areas a Marine Protected Area (MPA) with no fishing allowed apart from by locals. The protection will stop long line fishing for tuna in the area, which often catches sharks, turtles and seabirds by accident.

The provincial government of West Papua, Indonesia, plans to become the first 'conservation province' of the country. The legislation will protect a hugely bio-diverse area both on land and at sea, as well as support local communities and sustainable practices.

An all encompassing EU wide ban on single-use plastics will start from 2021, and will cover 70% of all marine litter items such as plastic cutlery, plates, straws, cotton buds and many others. EU countries will also have to collect up to 90% of plastic bottles by 2029.

The Peruvian Government has pledged to protect 17,600 hectares of cloud forest and alpine tundra in the Tropical Andes from harmful activities. The area is home to species such as the red-faced parrot, masked mountain tanager, inca oldfield mouse, spectacled bear and the mountain tapir.

Climate


Following on from last months post, student climate change protests continued throughout March, with hundreds of thousands walking out of schools across the globe, demanding for governments to take immediate and drastic actions to keep warming below 1.5°C. Only by staying below this threshold can the worst effects of climate change be prevented.

An attempt by Donald Trump to weaken protections for the Arctic and Atlantic oceans and allow offshore drilling has been overturned by an Alaska judge, Sharon Gleason. The restrictions imposed by the Obama administration were intended to be indefinite, as these areas provide important habitat for deep water corals, marine mammals, fish and migrating whales.

A provisional report shows that UK emissions of greenhouse gases fell 3% in 2018 with energy sector pollution declining and investment in low-carbon alternatives up by 53%. However figures indicate there is a still a lot of work to be done in the transport sector.

A report from the Global Energy Monitor shows that globally new coal plant production has collapsed, and has fallen by 89% since 2015 and 39% since last year. Emissions must continue to drop to meet climate targets, but the downward trend is positive.

Back from the brink


In San Francisco, a rare species of bee is making a comeback after a dune habitat restoration project in the Presidio Park area. The silver digger bee is appearing in numbers not seen for 100 years, and is an indicator of good ecosystem health, with other native species returning to the park.

13 mammal extinctions have been prevented in Australia by placing them in wildlife havens on islands or in large fenced off areas free of invasive species such as feral cats and foxes, a report has shown. Whilst havens can only ever be a temporary solution whilst the predators themselves are tackled, species such as the greater stick-nest rat would have become extinct without them.

Conservation efforts to save the Whooping crane have ended as the species has now been successfully pulled back from extinction. Whilst still endangered, the bird has recovered from just 21 individuals in 1941 to over 800 today.

New Species 


5 new species of extremely small frogs have been discovered in Madagascar, all of them smaller than 15mm in length. Three of the frogs belong to a group completely new to science, and have been comically given the scientific names Mini scule, Mini mum and Mini ature. 

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