Washington, DC, United States
Washington, DC, United States

The World Wide Fund for Nature is an international non-governmental organization founded on April 29, 1961, and is working on issues regarding the conservation, research and restoration of the environment. It was formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States. It is the world's largest conservation organization with over 5 million supporters worldwide, working in more than 100 countries, supporting around 1,300 conservation and environmental projects. WWF is a foundation, in 2010 deriving 57% of funding from individuals and bequests, 17% from government sources and 11% from corporations.The group's mission is "to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature." Currently, much of its work focuses on the conservation of three biomes that contain most of the world's biodiversity: oceans and coasts, forests, and freshwater ecosystems. Among other issues, it is also concerned with endangered species, pollution and climate change. Wikipedia.

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News Article | April 18, 2017
Site: www.bbc.co.uk

A study that attached cameras with suction cups to the backs of Antarctic whales has revealed never before seen feeding habits and social interactions. In a new study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Oregon State University in March, scientists in remote Antarctica have attached cameras with speedometers and suction cups to the backs of minke and humpback whales. The stunning footage has revealed feeding habits and social interactions, while also shedding light on the way whales use their blow holes to bluster breathing holes through the ice.

News Article | April 20, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Is feeding the world's human population compatible with protecting the biological diversity of the planet? In an article published in this week's Science, an interdisciplinary team of experts argue that both of those goals can be achieved by increasing women's access to education, reproductive health services, and contraceptive technologies. In a special issue on Earth's ecosystem, the authors explore the interplay between the world's burgeoning human population and the dramatic loss of other species. "It's the food. Follow the food and then you'll know why the planet's diversity of life is in trouble," said Eileen Crist, an associate professor of science and technology in society in Virginia Tech's College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and the lead author of the review paper. "We're causing a mass extinction, and agriculture is arguably the primary driver of those losses." Between 1970 and 2010, the world lost more than half its wild animals, according to a World Wildlife Fund report. Among the disappearances were an estimated 39 percent of terrestrial wildlife, 39 percent of marine wildlife, and 76 percent of freshwater wildlife. These devastating losses, tied to efforts to feed an increasingly crowded world, are only expected to deepen. The United Nations estimates that the human population, now at 7.5 billion, will reach more than 9 billion by mid-century and 11 billion by the end of the century. Those numbers, especially in concert with growing levels of affluence, will exert increasing pressure on Earth's remaining biodiversity. "In order to feed everyone, we're going to have to double or even triple our agricultural yield by the end of the century," Crist said. "But we've already taken up the most lush, arable land for cultivation, and we've squeezed wild nature into increasingly narrow pockets around the world. How can we make more food without destroying more nature?" In an effort to solve this issue, agricultural experts are pursuing "sustainable intensification," which aims to increase food production without additional biodiversity declines or more natural areas coming under cultivation. Yet Crist and her coauthors argue that while these critical measures are needed they are not likely, by themselves, to succeed. "It's important to work on the supply side, but, in parallel, we need to work on lowering the demand side," Crist said. "Without concerted attention to stabilizing and gradually reducing the global population, nature will continue to take the fall." The authors contend that achieving a sustainable world -- one that provides an equitable, high quality of life for all people while safeguarding the planet's biodiversity -- calls for bringing population growth to the forefront of international concerns. The authors believe policy discussions on population levels have been muted in the past few decades in part because of discomfort around global imbalances. High-income countries, which account for a disproportionate use of resources, are more likely to have stable or even declining populations, while low-income countries have growing populations. Yet excessive consumption of resources is no longer the sole province of the developed world, the authors write. Instead, the global middle class of 3.2 billion in 2016 is expected to rise to roughly 5 billion by 2030. Forty percent of India's population is predicted to join the ranks of the middle class by midcentury, adding almost half a billion consumers to the global economy -- up from 50 million in 2006 -- from one nation alone. "A key solution to unsustainable population growth is the empowerment of women," Crist said. "By enhancing their human rights, giving them and their partners access to reproductive health services and contraceptive technologies, and improving their educational attainment, we can help address this planetary crisis." Education of girls and women has been shown to have a direct correlation in slowing childbearing rates. "Wherever women are empowered educationally, culturally, economically, politically, and legally, fertility rates fall," the authors write. "Populations tend to move toward states of zero or negative growth when women achieve equal standing with men, as long as family planning services and contraceptives are readily available." Crist's coauthors are Camilo Mora, an assistant professor and marine biodiversity specialist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and Robert Engelman, a senior fellow at the Worldwatch Institute, a globally focused environmental research organization based in Washington, D.C. "The human population is not the only variable stressing Earth," the authors conclude. "But it is a powerful force that is also eminently amenable to change, if the international political will can be mustered."

On March 25, Saturday, from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m local time, Earth Hour will be observed in 7,000 cities spread in more than 170 countries. The occasion will be marked by the city skylines in most countries going dark. At the anointed hour, lights will go off and all buildings including thousands of global landmarks from Vegas to Giza will go dark to observe the occasion. During the event, people will voluntarily turn off lights and try to reduce emissions in a symbolic way. The event's organizer, World Wildlife Fund, has claimed that this is the largest voluntary action in the world. The abdication of electricity at least for an hour in a year will be supplanted with gestures like dinner under candlelight and cooking in a bonfire. These gestures at a collective level will add solidarity to the efforts in saving energy and of doing something for the planet's preservation. By switching off lights in houses, businesses, and public buildings for one hour, awareness about energy issues, emissions, and climate change are brought to the center stage. Earth Hour brings the issue of energy conservation and energy efficiency to the mainstream by seeking changes in the way energy is used. According to physicist David MacKay, an American uses double the amount of energy than his European counterpart in maintaining the same quality of life. Though the goals of Earth Hour are lofty, there are dissenting voices that doubt its efficacy. Energy blogger Maggie Koerth-Baker is of the view that Earth Hour is not sending an adequate message. The blogger criticizes the media as well, as coverage of Earth Hour has been short on discussions regarding energy efficiency. Also, many people may be disillusioned in knowing that Earth Hour is not contributing much to the actions to combat climate change. Baker says the event limits itself as a symbolic platform to demonstrate to "do something" about global warming. Yet another critic is Bjørn Lomborg, who said many wrong lessons are being taught by Earth Hour. In reality, Earth Hour only increases carbon dioxide emissions. He says the event smacks of symbolism and reveals what is bad about feel-good environmentalism. According to Lomborg, the prime message of Earth Hour is that tackling global warming is easy. All that is required is switching off the lights. The expert says even if the entire world switches off all residential lights for one hour to reduce carbon dioxide emission, that would only match China halting its carbon dioxide emissions for less than four minutes. Lomborg also highlights the paradox that Earth Hour is becoming a cause of higher emissions. There is the finding by National Grid operators in the UK that a mere drop in electricity consumption does not reduce the energy received by the grid and emissions will not be down. This is because, during Earth Hour, even if there is any reduction in CO2, that will be offset by the additional firings of coal and gas stations for resuming electricity supplies later on. Even the cozy candles used during Earth Hour are fossil fuels, which are 100 times less efficient than incandescent light bulbs. Lomborg is also critical of the message from Earth Hour that downplays electricity consumption. Electric power has given humanity huge benefits and allowed mechanization of the world and saved millions of people from backbreaking work. The author says the best idea that can be promoted during Earth Hour is the greening of the world's energy. He also calls for a new policy that replaces subsidy for unreliable solar and wind energy so that green technologies can phase out fossil fuels. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

News Article | May 3, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

Vienna, Vir., May 03, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the Jane Goodall Institute’s board of directors announced that as of March 21, 2017, Carlos Drews, who has a doctorate in zoology, joined the Jane Goodall Institute as the organization’s executive director. In this role, Drews is responsible for advancing the mission of the Institute building on the legacy of Dr. Jane Goodall, the organization's founder and UN Messenger of Peace. This mission includes promoting understanding and protection of great apes and their habitat, and inspiring individual action by young people of all ages to help animals, other people and to protect the world we all share. As he joins the Institute, Drews will be responsible for leading the organization’s staff of more than 200 conservation professionals in Democratic Republic of Congo, Republic of Congo, Uganda, Tanzania and the United States. On his new post Drews comments, “Having worked all my life with passion in the field of conservation stewardship, the position as JGI’s executive director is the most rewarding role I can play — allowing me to continue to work with African great apes specifically, and to build on my convictions about community-based conservation and the power of the young generation to shape a better world.” Prior to taking on his current role at the Institute, Drews spent 13 years working for the World Wildlife Fund. Most recently, Drews served as the global director of species conservation at WWF International in Switzerland where he was responsible for engaging governments, NGOs, corporations and donors to rally behind a joint marine & terrestrial species conservation agenda. Previously at WWF, Latin-America & the Caribbean, Drews headed the regional species and fisheries team where he was instrumental in reducing the amount of sea turtles injured by long-line fishing in the Eastern Pacific. As a child, Drews dreamed of studying animals in Africa. He realized this dream years later when he arrived in Tanzania as a graduate student researching psychological warfare in baboon communities – a study that earned him the John Napier Medal of the Primate Society of Great Britain. “Great apes are exposed to habitat loss, disease, poaching and other threats," Drews remarks on threats to great apes. "They are a sensitive litmus test for our relationship with fellow creatures on Earth, given their close proximity to us: if we do not fix the way we treat and respect our closest living relatives, what chance may other animals have, I wonder?" A native of Colombia, Drews earned his doctorate from the University of Cambridge and has carried out research into wildlife behavioral ecology in Africa and Latin America, which includes research on the behavioral ecology of primates as well as caimans. He also holds a masters in biology from Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilians as well as a masters in applied biology from the University of Cambridge. A longtime admirer of Jane Goodall and her work, Drews works to preserve and build on Goodall’s legacy at the helm her namesake Institute. Working with a talented staff located all over the world, Drews unites the Institute's team and positions it to ensure long-term success of their conservation efforts. Reflecting on his new work with Goodall, Drews shares, “Remarkably for me, this position gives me the opportunity to be mentored by an outstanding conservation leader that I have very much admired for at least three decades. I feel strongly committed and determined to equip JGI to move sustainably towards Jane Goodall´s vision.” The Jane Goodall Institute is a global community conservation organization that advances the vision and work of Dr. Jane Goodall. By protecting chimpanzees and inspiring action to conserve the natural world we all share, we improve the lives of people, animals and the environment. Founded in 1977 by Dr. Goodall, JGI makes a difference through community-centered conservation and the innovative use of science and technology. We work closely with local communities around the world, inspiring hope through the collective power of individual action. Through Roots & Shoots, our youth-led community action and learning program, young people in nearly 100 countries are acquiring the knowledge and skills to become compassionate conservation leaders in their own backyards. A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/2200ee70-f2ac-4b1f-bc26-c6ba39814739 A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/f06504b5-3a3c-4684-b56b-08f823769d97 A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/fda04319-5edf-421c-82d6-e0abadb9623b

News Article | March 14, 2017
Site: www.techtimes.com

China is setting up a mega national park that will rival the Yellowstone National Park of the United States with an area more than 60 percent of the latter. The vast national park will serve as a sanctuary to protect two endangered species — the Siberian tiger and Amur leopard. The national park, modeled on the lines of national parks in the United States, will be located on the border of Russia and North Korea at northeast China's Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces. The park will cover an area of 14,600 square kilometers (5,600 square miles) and will be 60 percent bigger than Yellowstone in the United States, which is close to 4,000 square miles in terms of area. Chinese media reported that the plan for the national park has been approved by the central authorities and the "comprehensive plan and pilot for the national park is expected to be carried out before 2020." Notwithstanding the conservation efforts, the number of wild Siberian tigers just increased from 9 in 1998, to 27 in 2015, indicating that the numbers were not encouraging to make the species thrive. To tighten conservation, China has clamped a ban on logging with curbs on gun licenses. Compared with China's concerns on falling numbers of Siberian tigers, some 400 of them are living in Russia. Amur leopards are another endangered species whose numbers plunged below 30 in 2007 because of hunting and human activities. According to latest data, in 2015, their numbers showed some increase and conservation groups like the World Wildlife Fund can take credit for that. In an update, the WWF said the Amur leopard population had a jump since 2008. China decided to start national parks in 2013 after seeing that many endangered species including the Siberian tiger, Amur leopard, giant panda, Tibetan antelope, and Asian elephant required safer habitats. The Chinese government wanted to develop a national park system of international standards and it roped in Paulson Institute, a Chicago-based research center in 2015. The government also announced a three-year period to start a series of pilot national park projects in nine provinces. The goal was to address the governance and policy shortfalls in environmental protection while extending conservation efforts to other habitats and ecosystems. President Xi Jinping has committed a series of environmental reforms to usher in an "ecological civilization," which clubs economic progress with the sustainability of the environment. Meanwhile, environmentalists like Dale Miquelle of the Wildlife Conservation Society has welcomed the move. He said the sanctuary will be one of the largest tiger reserves in the world. "China's commitment represents an extremely important step in recovering both subspecies in northeast Asia," Miquelle said. However, the park is also raising concerns of many urban colonies at Hunchun city in the Jilin province, which is very close to the animals's range. Hunchun is a key corridor linking tiger habitats of Russia and China. There the residents are uneasy about the animals getting too close. In 2016, a Forestry Department spokesman mentioned about a plan to relocate some communities and factories from the national park area to avoid conflict between wildlife and human activities. According to Fan Zhiyong, WWF's species program director in Beijing, the park will be a boon to the endangered cats and also protect the unique biodiversity of the northern temperate zone. In the United States, the Yellowstone National Park is spread across the states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It covers an area of 3,468.4 square miles (8,983 km2) and comprises lakes, canyons, rivers and mountain ranges. The Yellowstone Lake is a high-elevation lake centered around the Yellowstone Caldera, the largest supervolcano in North America. The National Park is home to thousands of species including mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles, many of which are endangered. The vast forests also house many unique species of plants. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: hosted2.ap.org

(AP) — Researchers say preliminary findings show a North Atlantic right whale may have been struck by a ship before the animal was found dead in Massachusetts waters. Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say bruising consistent with blunt trauma could be evidence of a ship strike. North Atlantic right whales are an endangered species. The World Wildlife Fund says only about 350 are still living. NOAA is urging vessels to keep a watch for right whales, which often swim just below the water's surface and can be hard to see. The 27-foot long, 1-year-old female was found dead in Cape Cod Bay on Thursday and towed to a harbor where it could be placed on a flatbed for transport. A final analysis is expected to take weeks.

News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: phys.org

Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say bruising consistent with blunt trauma could be evidence of a ship strike. North Atlantic right whales are an endangered species. The World Wildlife Fund says only about 350 are still living. NOAA is urging vessels to keep a watch for right whales, which often swim just below the water's surface and can be hard to see. The 27-foot long, 1-year-old female was found dead in Cape Cod Bay on Thursday and towed to a harbor where it could be placed on a flatbed for transport. A final analysis is expected to take weeks. Explore further: More whales being hit by ships along US East Coast

Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA-Infra | Phase: INFRA-2010-1.1.19 | Award Amount: 9.36M | Year: 2011

Environmental change and particularly amplified global climate change are accelerating in the Arctic. These changes already affect local residents and feedback from the Arctics land surface to the climate system, will have global implications. However, climate change and its impacts are variable throughout the wide environmental and land use envelopes of the Arctic. Unfortunately, the Arctic is generally remote, sparsely populated and research and monitoring activities are more restricted in time and space than elsewhere. This limitation comes when there is a rapidly expanding need for knowledge as well as increasing technological opportunities to make data collection in the field and accessibility more efficient. INTERACT is a network under the auspices of SCANNET, a circumarctic network of terrestrial field bases. INTERACT specifically seeks to build capacity for research and monitoring in the European Arctic and beyond. Partnerships will be established between Station Managers and researchers within Joint Research Activities that will develop more efficient networks of sensors to measure changing environmental conditions and make data storage and accessibility more efficient through a single portal. New communities of researchers will be offered access to Arctic terrestrial infrastructures while local stakeholders as well as major international organisations will be involved in interactions with the infrastructures. This will lead to increased public awareness of environmental change and methods to adapt to them, increased access to information for education at all levels, and input to major international research and assessment programmes.The whole consortium will form a coherent and integrated unit working within a concept of a wide environmental and land use envelopes in which local conditions determine the directions and magnitudes of environmental change whereas the balance and synergies of processes integrated across the whole region have global impacts.

Barber-Meyer S.M.,World Wildlife Fund
Conservation Biology | Year: 2010

Illegal international trade in wildlife (excluding fisheries and timber) has been valued at more than US$20 billion. A more precise figure has not been determined in part because of the clandestine nature of the trade, and for this same reason even regional and local levels of wildlife trade are difficult to assess. The application of recent developments in wildlife field-survey methods (e.g., occupancy) now allows for a more-accurate estimation of wildlife trade occurrence, including its hidden components at a variety of scales (e.g., regional, local) and periods (e.g., single season, 1 year, multiple years). Occupancy models have been applied in wildlife field studies to address the problem of false absences when conducting presence-absence surveys. Occupancy surveys differ from traditional presence-absence surveys because they incorporate repeat surveys, allowing for the likelihood of detecting a species (the probability of detection) to be estimated explicitly (in contrast to traditional surveys that often incorrectly treat this probability as close to one to allow for estimation of presence). Occupancy methods can be applied to a variety of wildlife-trade surveys, including, for example, single-species availability, links between two illegally traded species (i.e., co-occurrence), and disease occurrence in live trade. In addition, free user-friendly software (i.e., PRESENCE) allows even nonstatisticians to adequately address this issue. I simulated a hypothetical wildlife-trade market survey that resulted in an apparent 20% decline in naïve occupancy (proportion of surveyed towns engaged in the trade) over 2 years, but when I accounted for change in probability of detection over the years the difference in occupancy was not statistically significant. As more sophisticated methods, such as occupancy, are applied to wildlife-trade market surveys, results will be more robust and defensible and therefore, theoretically, more powerful when presented to conservation policy and decision makers. ©2010 Society for Conservation Biology.

Mascia M.B.,World Wildlife Fund | Pailler S.,World Wildlife Fund
Conservation Letters | Year: 2011

National parks and other protected areas (PAs) are the foundation of global efforts to conserve biological diversity. Conservation policy and practice assume that PAs are permanent fixtures on the landscape, but scattered evidence points to widespread-yet largely overlooked-PA downgrading, downsizing, and degazettement (PADDD). As a preliminary investigation of PADDD and its implications for conservation science and policy, we explore the published literature and contemporary media reports. We identify 89 historic instances of PADDD, in 27 countries, since 1900. Contemporary accounts reveal that PADDD has recently occurred or is currently under consideration in at least 12 countries worldwide. Proximate causes of PADDD vary widely, but center on access to and use of natural resources. Case studies from India and South America highlight the fact that PAs are socially defined and socially constructed governance regimes, responsive to social pressures-including conservation demands-at local to global scales. PADDD challenges longstanding assumptions underlying conservation policy and practice, including efforts to reduce deforestation and forest degradation (REDD), and underscores the need for resilient and robust conservation strategies. Because many fundamental questions regarding PADDD remain unanswered, further research is required to understand this conservation phenomenon and develop tailored policy responses. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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