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The Climate Win: the Irreplaceable Importance of Biodiversity

by Tim Wenger May 8, 2020

This is The Climate Win, the most positive sustainability news around the world every week.

Biodiversity is essential for a healthy climate. Over the past two months, we’ve covered multiple stories of animals re-populating places both wild and domestic throughout the coronavirus pandemic, as we’re all stuck inside. The question must shift to what happens after humans step outside their self-isolation and limited ventures for necessities. We don’t have the answer. But some recent developments — combined with the virtual virality of flamingos taking over Mumbai and therapy alpacas calming the nerves of stressed Californians — hint at increasing public awareness of the cause.

Please step down from the podium

This week’s lead highlights that progress. Colorado joined five other states in eliminating “hunting contests” for fur-bearing and small wildlife species. The fact that there even were these contests to begin with is disturbing enough, and that’s before one reads what often took place at their conclusion. “Winners of wildlife-killing contests often proudly post photos and videos on social media that show them posing with piles of dead coyotes and other animals, often before disposing of the animals in ‘carcass dumps’ away from the public eye,” said the Center for Biological Diversity in its announcement of the ban.

And we thought trophy hunting was a problem that stopped on the Atlantic’s Eastern Seaboard. Good riddance to total douchebaggery.

75 bird species added to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

In late April, the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it would add 75 migratory bird species to its 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act, protecting them from activities such as trapping, hunting, shooting, capturing, or collecting, among other things that apparently fall under the FWS’ broad definition of the word “take.”

Bengals on the rise

Good news for the global tiger population this week, as The Wire reported that the number of endangered Royal Bengal tigers in the Sundarban reserve forest in West Bengal is officially at 96, up from 88 tigers reported just one year ago. The jump marks the largest year-over-year increase since tracking began, making it possible that the number could exceed 100 in next year’s report.

Whitley Awards recognize leaders in conservation

The Whitley Fund for Nature has been awarding financing, support, and prizes to top conservation workers primarily located in the southern hemisphere since 1993. On April 29, the organization formed by British environmentalist and philanthropist Edward Whitley announced this year’s winners — though the ceremony was entirely virtual, given the current global predicament. Among the winners was Abdullahi Hussein Ali for work to protect the hirola antelope in Kenya, Yoki Adiprakarsa for work protecting the helmeted hornbill of Indonesia, and Phuntso Thinley for working to protect the alpine musk deer of Bhutan. Congrats to all, and a big thank you from up north.

Help Iceland create a new national park

Last week, Matador interviewed celebrated adventure photographer Chris Burkard about his new book, At Glacier’s End. The book, created in conjunction with author Matt McDonald, highlights the need to protect Iceland’s glacial rivers, and the ecosystems they support, from damming by establishing the Highlands National Park. It’s only appropriate that this week’s action task supports that cause. You can sign in your support of the park and, to learn more and see some absolutely stellar aerial photography, pick up a copy of this stunning book.

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