Animal Conservation – Leopard Center Fri, 07 May 2021 09:49:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Animal Conservation – Leopard Center 32 32 Brooks McCormick, Business Leader, Conservationist, Philanthropist Fri, 07 May 2021 06:49:44 +0000

Editor’s Note: DuPage Foundation is teaming up with the Daily Herald to bring you a new series celebrating the powerful role philanthropy plays in our community. “Leaders & Legacies: Stories of Local Impact” will be a recurring column highlighting the inspiring stories of local individuals, families and businesses who have had or are having a lasting impact through their generosity and leadership.

The series begins with the late philanthropist Brooks McCormick.

Of the many gifts that can be attributed to Brooks McCormick, his ability to bring people together for the good of all is what people remember him the most.

He was a visionary with the means to get things done. His life embodied the saying: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and engaged citizens can change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that has ever been.”

Brooks was the great-grandnephew of Cyrus McCormick, the inventor of the McCormick Reaper, a revolutionary agricultural tool that began a trend of using automation to improve agricultural productivity. This original company evolved into the world renowned International Harvester, known today as Navistar International.

Brooks was the last member of his family to work for International Harvester, serving 40 years in a wide range of positions, including responsibilities that gave his family the opportunity to live in England. During his stay, Brooks probably acquired his formal manner and impeccable taste in clothing.

Brooks McCormick (1917-2006)

After Brooks’ career with International Harvester, philanthropy became his focus and the family business.

His wife, Hope Baldwin McCormick, was also engaged in philanthropy and was actively involved in politics after serving in the Illinois House of Representatives.

McCormick’s youngest grandson, Conor McCormick O’Neil, said his grandparents instilled in family members an understanding that “to whom you give a lot, you expect a lot”.

Conor and his loved ones along with trusted advisors now meet several times a year to oversee the family’s charitable foundation distributions to causes that support their love of nature, animal welfare, cultural amenities and humanitarian needs.

It is a natural continuation of the McCormick family’s determination to be of service to others. DuPage County has been a happy beneficiary of this generosity.

Through the efforts of Brooks McCormick, his family home and the nearly 600 acres of surrounding property in Warrenville became part of the Forest Preserve district of DuPage County after his death in 2006.

Many pieces commissioned by the McCormick family remain in the St. James Farm Forest Reserve, including the life-size bronze sculpture of Chamossaire, the champion of the St. Leger Stakes in 1945.

Many pieces commissioned by the McCormick family remain in the St. James Farm Forest Reserve, including the life-size bronze sculpture of Chamossaire, the champion of the St. Leger Stakes in 1945.
– Courtesy of the DuPage Foundation

The estate was owned by Brooks’ parents, who called the property St. James Farm, a name inspired by the address of their residence on Rue St Jacques in Paris.

During Brooks’ lifetime, many equestrian events took place at St. James Farm, which he had transformed into a mecca for horse lovers.

A stable of 62 stalls for competitors’ horses was built on the property, along with an indoor arena, dressage and show jumping arena, and a 1.5 mile steeplechase track. Equestrian events hosted by the family drew more than 10,000 spectators each year and included an annual steeplechase to benefit Marianjoy Rehabilitation Hospital in Wheaton.

Another example of the family’s charitable activities was the establishment of the St. James Riding School for the Handicapped, which touched the lives of thousands of children. The love of art was also evident among visitors to St. James Farm. Several sculptures commissioned by the McCormick family remain on the site. His personal residence was razed according to Brooks’ wishes.

Brooks McCormick’s love for nature was also the catalyst for the founding of the Conservation Foundation in 1972.

Originally known as the Forest Foundation, the Conservation Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on improving the health of our communities by preserving and restoring open spaces and natural lands, protecting rivers and basins. watersheds and promoting environmental stewardship in northeastern Illinois.

The Conservation Foundation is based at McDonald Farm in Naperville.  The 49-acre site, donated by Lenore McDonald in 1992 and now surrounded by subdivisions, is also a working organic vegetable farm.

The Conservation Foundation is based at McDonald Farm in Naperville. The 49-acre site, donated by Lenore McDonald in 1992 and now surrounded by subdivisions, is also a working organic vegetable farm.
– Courtesy of the Conservation Foundation

Brooks, along with other conservationists, was responsible for preserving over 35,000 acres of open space throughout this region.

His commitment to preservation led D. “Dewey” Pierotti Jr., former president of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, to name Brooks as “the Teddy Roosevelt of DuPage County”.

Conor McCormick O’Neil recalls his grandfather’s love for nature and wildlife and that he couldn’t stand seeing animals mistreated.

A deep concern for the well-being of others was a recurring theme throughout Brooks’ life.

Having served as chairman of the executive committee of the Chicago Community Trust, he felt that DuPage County needed a similar permanent charity focused on improving the quality of life for area residents.

It was this belief that inspired him to co-found the DuPage Community Foundation (now DuPage Foundation) with former DuPage County Board member Mary Eleanor Wall.

Although Brooks and Mary Eleanor favored different political parties, they came together through their mutual love for DuPage County.

They were joined by Jerry Bradshaw, a prominent Wheaton banker, and the three visionaries encouraged a group of like-minded individuals to partner with them to bring the DuPage Foundation to fruition.

Last summer, a group of Conservation Foundation board members joined in a socially remote hike around Dayton Bluffs, a 253-acre natural area along the Fox River.  The reserve was created in 2013 through a partnership with the foundation and the City of Ottawa.

Last summer, a group of Conservation Foundation board members joined in a socially remote hike around Dayton Bluffs, a 253-acre natural area along the Fox River. The reserve was created in 2013 through a partnership with the foundation and the City of Ottawa.
– Courtesy of the Conservation Foundation

Since its inception in 1986, the DuPage Foundation has grown to become one of the 25 largest charitable foundations in the Chicago area and has awarded more than $ 55 million on behalf of its constituents to nonprofit organizations in the County of DuPage and beyond.

Conor McCormick O’Neil remembers his grandfather avoiding the spotlight and paying homage to those who came before him.

But it is fitting that we recognize the remarkable legacy of Brooks McCormick. The lasting impact of his philanthropy and the continued generosity of his family extends far beyond DuPage County and includes significant support to the Art Institute of Chicago, Northwestern University, Rush University Medical Center and the University of Chicago, among other organizations.

• The Leaders & Legacies series is brought to you by the Legacy Society of DuPage Foundation. Suggestions for future stories can be sent to Alice Wood, Director of Gift Planning, at Interested in learning more about how you can make an impact or create a legacy for your community and your favorite causes? Visit or call (630) 665-5556.

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Townsend Historical Society embarks on new events – Sentinel and Enterprise Thu, 29 Apr 2021 10:03:24 +0000

TOWNSEND – The Townsend Historical Society is working hard to get back on track this spring with many other museums in Massachusetts.

“It’s been a tough year for good, really for everyone,” said Taber Morrell, Site Administrator for the Townsend Historical Society. “And certainly also for museums. At the Townsend Historical Society, we have all worked to find creative ways to engage our members and friends, even while we had to be apart all this time.

Morrell added that the company has been fortunate to have a great community by its side.

“Our community has stayed with us as we focused on new technologies and new ways of doing things,” he said. “We have had great success creating virtual events and online programs throughout the past year.”

And now Morrell, along with other members of the society, is thrilled that the Townsend Historical Society is kicking in with exciting events and fun new giveaways.

“We are delighted to present our first annual Paws for Preservation, the annual arts and crafts fair to be held virtually, and fresh off the press, 2022 calendars packed with unique historic photos of Townsend and featuring dates interesting local history, ”Morrell mentioned.

The first annual Paws for the Preservation of Society is its newest program where people can register their pets as candidates for the prestigious Townsend Historical Society mascot position, with categories for small and large animals. .

“Company President Ryan Hayward came up with the creative and fun name of the Paws for Preservation program as a fundraiser to support the local history of our community,” said Morrell. “Applications for our cutest animal companions are currently being received.”

Bids are $ 5 per request. All animals (fish, hamsters, cats, dogs, goats, rabbits, horses, etc.) are welcome.

The winners of this competition will serve for one year as the honorary mayor of Townsend and will be appointed official mascots of the Townsend Historical Society.

“A winner will be selected from the small (pets) and large (farm animals) categories,” said Morrell. “The winning duo will be announced at our arts and crafts fair in September and will remain in office for one year.”

Applications are accepted until May 30. Registration fees are non-refundable. Separate requests for each animal are required. Print or digital submissions are welcome. The vote will take place in June, July and August.

“Speaking of the company’s annual arts and crafts fair, we’re going to combine the best of traditional New England crafts with 21st century technology in a virtual format just for this year,” said Morrell said.

Townsend Historical Society Arts and Crafts Fair: A virtual marketplace will be held throughout September.

“Our 40th anniversary event will be virtual to safely celebrate the artists, small businesses and vendors who will offer their high-quality items online,” said Morrell. “We strive to have one of the largest assemblies of quality craftsmen in North Central Massachusetts and are excited to showcase vendors throughout the month and let the community know how to contact them when something. something catches your eye. “

Sellers sought and applications will be received until August 20. The show is judged by a jury (quality, sought after handmade items such as jewelry, scarves, quilts, wood crafts, fine art, food, accessories and more.

“We hope to be back to our traditional spot on Town Common for next year’s fair,” said Morrell. “But this time around, we’ll be in the best position to reach as many people as possible with a well-managed online version of the show. Join us and help us make this new (and temporary) version of our event a success. “

The company also offers a 2022 calendar full of fun historical photos of Townsend and featuring interesting dates from local history.

“Please feel free to drop by the Reed Homestead to pick one up or we’ll be happy to send you unlimited calendars as well,” Morrell said.

Society members are also delighted to announce that the open houses will resume and take place on Saturdays, May 1, June 5, July 10 and August 14, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the historic Reed Homestead, located at 72 , Main Street.

“To meet current guidelines, we offer small group tours on time,” Morrell said. “They are completely free and anyone can register for a time slot through our website.”

The entire Townsend Historical Society team is thrilled to have received capacity building grants from the Townsend Cultural Council and the Freedom’s Way National Heritage Area, allowing them to make exciting improvements to audiovisual equipment. and to present presentations to a much larger audience.

“We hope to use the new technology and know-how from the past year and apply them to future events so that we can advance the best of both worlds,” he said.

That way, Morrell believes the company can present its good ol ‘shows in person as well as offer live video and recordings online for people to connect from afar.

“It was great to be able to reach so many people using tools like Facebook and YouTube,” he said. “Some of our events have hundreds and hundreds of views from around the world.”

All of these events, programs and fundraisers will benefit the restoration work of Townsend’s 18th century cooperage.

“This magnificent building overlooking the Squannacook River has been part of the fabric of our city for over two centuries,” said Morrell. “She continues that tradition today as a small ‘Home at the Cooperage’ business, filled with the unique work of over a dozen local artisans.”

Morrell said the company is looking forward to a great year.

“We cannot thank our community enough for all of their support and we hope to see you all soon,” he said.

For more information on the Townsend Historical Society, or to download apps for the First Annual Paws for Preservation and / or Townsend Historical Society Arts & Crafts Fair: A Virtual Marketplace, visit www; send an email to; or call 978-597-2106.

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Electronic letters: April 28, 2021 | Notice Wed, 28 Apr 2021 09:30:00 +0000

We must reduce more than fossil fuels in the climate battle

We have reduced our carbon footprint by reducing travel and our thermostat. We recycle. But there is much more we can do by reducing our consumption of animal meat and dairy products. Yes this.

A recent article in The Guardian argues that animal agriculture is a major driver of climate change, along with air and water pollution, depletion of soil and water resources, and destruction of habitats. wildlife. The prestigious Food Climate Research Network at the University of Oxford reports that solving the global warming disaster requires a massive shift to plant-based diets. The Netflix Seaspiracy feature documents the devastating environmental impacts of the fishing industry.

In an environmentally sustainable world, we must replace meat, fish and dairy products with vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains, just as we replace fossil fuels with wind power, solar and other renewable energy sources.

Each of us has a unique opportunity to heal our planet by switching to a plant-based diet. We can start with the NY Times 1 Minute Diet Quiz. Next, let’s celebrate Earth Day by discovering the rich variety of plant-based meat and dairy products in our supermarket. The Internet offers a lot of tips and recipes.



Grand Junction

Wildlife-friendly highway crossings good for animals and humans

As a conservation biologist for Rocky Mountain Wild, I have seen first-hand how wildlife highway crossings improve the safety of our roads for wildlife and humans. Over the past five years, I have worked with a team to monitor the effectiveness of the recently constructed wildlife crossing structures, which include five wildlife underpasses and two overpasses as well as exclusion fences from the wildlife and escape ramps, on National Road 9 between Silverthorne and Kremmling. .

Before construction, collisions with wild vehicles accounted for 60% of all accidents reported to law enforcement. Our research shows that these structures have been successful in reducing collisions between wildlife and vehicles by 90%. In addition, we have documented nearly 113,000 successful crossings by mule deer, in addition to those made by elk, bears, mountain lions, moose, bighorn sheep, pronghorns and even otters. river.

The governor’s proposed budget for 2021, currently under consideration by the Colorado legislature, includes funds and resources for protecting wildlife corridors and improving level crossings in Colorado. In accordance with Governor Polis Executive Order 2019-011, he is also creating a new position at Colorado Parks and Wildlife to coordinate closely with CDOT and identify opportunities for future highway crossing projects. This investment would not only improve wildlife conservation outcomes and public safety, but also savings. The Coloradans currently spend $ 80 million a year on collisions with feral vehicles. Wildlife crossing structures pay for themselves quickly thanks to avoided collisions.

This investment would make Colorado a national leader in wildlife corridor conservation and provide a future where highway travel is safer for all Coloradans and our customers.


Conservation Biologist / Head of Habitat Connectivity

Wild rocky mountain


Negative entertainment or positive results?

Thank you for your Easter Sunday promotional article on US Rep. Lauren Boebert and her facilitators. As the article suggests, Boebert isn’t the craziest person in Congress, as many seem to think. This distinction currently belongs to US representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia). The two women are vying for the title of “AOC” of the far right of the Republican Party. But unlike US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, none have even attempted to accomplish anything for their constituents. They are both completely self-promoting and showcasing. They do this primarily by spreading misinformation.

For anyone who recently received checks for $ 1,400 (or more!), Keep in mind that Boebert tried to prevent you from receiving them. The biggest federal financial benefit for the 3rd Congressional District of Colorado at least in the past five years and Boebert didn’t want his constituents to have that benefit.

So the question now is what do 3rd CD voters want for the future? Do you want to continue with the bogus “conservative darling” who can be entertaining but ineffective, or would you rather have a knowledgeable and caring representative who can make things happen federally for the benefit of western Colorado? Negative entertainment or positive results?

You have a little over a year to make up your mind.



No matter what you call it a lie is always a lie

Even though the number of us who remember anything from Nazi propaganda in general or Joseph Goebbles in particular is rapidly declining, I agree with Rick Wagner that the term “big lie” is a bad choice to describe the myriad of lies that have been promulgated about the 2020 Election Results. Even a whiff of comparison to the horror that was Nazi Germany is wholly inappropriate.

But they are lies and they deserve a name that reflects their scale and gravity. I suggest the term “Mother of All Lies” for their collection, as they have spawned all lies about the need for laws to protect “electoral integrity” in states where it has been proven time and time again that it does not. There weren’t any real fraud issues during the election in the first place. “Electoral integrity” in this case is just a poorly disguised code for “if the vote is no longer available and we can’t overrule the results, we lose”.


Grand Junction

We can do more for police reform

Thanks to Councilor Stout, Chief Shoemaker and the other members of the Impact Council for reviewing the “policing” reforms. (“Relief from Chauvin’s guilty verdict” by West and Burky)

But until there is concrete implementation along the lines of Human Rights Watch’s recommendations, we will continue with the same societal issues. Human Rights Watch makes 14 recommendations for police reform:

1. Reject overly aggressive police tactics like “stop and search”.

2. Decriminalize possession of drugs for personal use.

3. Explore the establishment of voluntary rights-based law enforcement and violence prevention programs.

4. End any involvement of the police in the enforcement of immigration laws.

5. End all involvement of the police with people in mental health crisis.

6. Eliminate the permanent presence of the police in schools.

Investing in communities to advance public safety and equal rights

7. Prioritize social services and community development in poor neighborhoods to funding the police:

• Develop and maintain affordable housing and social services instead of controlling homelessness

• Provide voluntary community-based substance abuse treatment and harm reduction services, instead of controlling drug use.

• Maintain effective, supportive and voluntary mental health services, rather than responding to mental health issues with police services.

8. Provide sufficient and adequate health, education and vocational training services to all prisoners and penitentiaries and to those who are released and reintegrated into the community.

9. Improve the quality of schools in poor communities, including by funding quality after-school, preschool and childcare programs for young people.

10. Fund, promote and encourage local initiatives and businesses that provide jobs, training, education and recreation to people living in poor communities and to those formerly incarcerated.

11. Substantially reduce pre-trial detention so that only persons accused of serious crimes and considered to be of particular danger to others can be detained.

Develop independent accountability and control mechanisms

12. Establish independent community oversight bodies, with full access to police records, subpoena power, investigative power and the power to discipline officers and command staff.

13. Collect data on police activities, disaggregated by race, sex, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability and other relevant demographic markers, and make them publicly available.

14. Remove federal and state legal immunities that protect law enforcement officials from liability, as well as laws that keep police misconduct records inaccessible to the public.

From “A Roadmap to Rethinking Public Safety in the United States”


Grand Junction

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Tope sharks return after three years Wed, 28 Apr 2021 07:14:18 +0000

La Jolla is the premier real estate in San Diego County … for leopard sharks (Triakis semifasciata). Home to the largest annual concentration of these sharks in the world, tourists and locals alike scramble for a chance to swim, snorkel, kayak, and dive with these nervous predators. It makes sense that they are here – The shores of La Jolla are calm, warm, shallow and the varied habitats of this region are teeming with wildlife such as clams, crabs, shrimp, squid, fish and fish roe.

It is the perfect place for leopard sharks, but they are not the only ones living in this place. “In August 2010, off La Jolla, Calif., We were targeting leopard sharks for a different project and unexpectedly captured three large female soupfin sharks (Galeorhinus galeus) in five days, ”said Dr. Andrew P. Nosal, marine scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and professor at the University of San Diego. “We tagged each soup fin with a low-tech ‘spaghetti’ ID tag with our contact details and released them. In less than a year, two of these sharks were recaptured: one was caught in a homemade gillnet 627 kilometers south in Baja California Sur, Mexico, and the other was caught in a gillnet. research 1042 miles (1677 km) to the north. in Washington State. “

The team were stunned and knew they needed to start tagging sharks with tags capable of recording more data to shed light on the daily life of this endangered animal. Classified as Critically Endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, this bentho-pelagic shark is found in the temperate waters of most oceans. Also known as the ‘tope shark’, genetic and tagging data shows that there are up to six distinct subpopulations of these sharks but do not mate with each other. In the United States, the soup shark is not recognized as a highly migratory species, but given the team’s highly migratory behavior, they knew they needed to gather more evidence for this designation to be reconsidered by the US. Pacific Fishery Management Council.

Of all the places they could go, why here? One word: puppies. “The soupfin sharks that congregate in La Jolla each summer are mature and pregnant females. We hypothesize that they occupy these warmer than average waters to incubate their embryos and thus minimize the gestation period, which is already around 12 months. They are apparently giving birth after leaving La Jolla, somewhere along the central California coast between San Francisco and the Channel Islands north of Santa Barbara, ”Nosal explained. Soupfin sharks are known for their low biological productivity, late maturity, and three-year reproductive cycle. “Females of most shark and ray species give birth each year, like California leopard sharks – an annual breeding cycle, or every two years, like lemon sharks – a biennial breeding cycle,” he said. explained Nosal. “Females of only a few species give birth every three years – a three-year reproductive cycle. These include tiger sharks, dusky sharks, and fin sharks. “Timing is everything for these animals, so when they return to La Jolla, they spend the start of their gestation period incubating their young sharks (puppies) in the warm waters.

Led by Nosal, the researchers tagged five batches of female sharks off La Jolla each summer from 2013 to 2017. A total of 34 sexually mature females were surgically implanted with encoded acoustic transmitters and monitored for seven years via hundreds of Underwater acoustic receivers stationed west coast of North America. The tagged sharks were highly migratory between Washington, USA and Baja California Sur, Mexico. “The first three annual batches of sharks left La Jolla in the fall or winter after tagging and did not return the following year or the following year,” he said. “We were somewhat disappointed and surprised that they didn’t show philopatry (loving home), but we thought they were just very mobile and didn’t show loyalty to a particular site.”

And then… everything changed. In 2016 some of the sharks the team tagged in 2013 returned to La Jolla and the following year (2017) some of the sharks they tagged in 2014 returned. It was this three-year cycle in action! “Perhaps the most exciting was when a shark that we tagged in 2014 and returned to La Jolla in 2017, returned again in 2020 and thus completed two full three-year cycles,” Nosal said. “Until we presented these preliminary results at a conference, it was just us and the data. We were the only people in the world to experience these exciting results.

Unfortunately, not all tagged sharks did. Data showed that at least six (15%) of the tagged sharks were killed in gillnets in Mexico; this is not uncommon since these animals are caught around the world in several fisheries both as a target or as bycatch. The Soupfin Shark is often kept for its meat and fins, but is discarded or released in some areas due to regional management measures. “It was an important reminder of the need for cooperative management of international fisheries because we share these sharks and they regularly cross international borders,” Nosal said. “The population of the eastern North Pacific – including the sharks we tagged off California – appear to be doing better than the global average. However, there has never been a stock assessment carried out by the United States, so we do not know for sure the status of the population. “

So what’s the next step? For now, scientists are celebrating. “This is the first conclusive evidence of triennial migration and philopatry in an animal, which is apparently motivated by the unusual triennial reproductive cycle of this species,” the team said in its recently published paper. But they know it will be a complex battle to ensure these sharks are properly protected so that they can continue to return to the shores of La Jolla.

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Authorities urge drivers to watch out for turtles crossing the road Tue, 27 Apr 2021 11:46:14 +0000

There may not be signs indicating the passage of reptiles, but the turtles will be more visible as the weather warms.

Missouri Department of Conservation officials are urging the public to be careful on the roads this spring and “hold back the turtles,” the department said in a press release.

“These reptiles are often struck by cars during the warmer months, but are particularly at this time of year because they are more active,” according to a press release.

Turtles spotted crossing Missouri roads are three-toed box turtles, ornate box turtles, and snapping turtles. Most Missouri turtles can live up to 30 years, but the common box turtle can live up to 80 years, sometimes living for more than a century, according to MDC.

“Turtles emerge from their burrows and start hunting for food and mates in hot, humid weather, which can lead them to cross roads, often resulting in their deaths,” MDC said.

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Cambridge researchers warn offshoring species could spread pathogens Fri, 23 Apr 2021 06:00:00 +0000

What can we learn from the history of the gonad-eating parasitic worm?

More than you might think, according to Dr David Aldridge of the Department of Zoology at the University of Cambridge.

Dr David Aldridge, scholar in zoology and senior lecturer in aquatic ecology at the University of Cambridge. Image: Keith Heppell

Dr Aldridge, who won the Researcher of the Year award last week Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards, issued a warning about the risks of moving species as part of conservation strategies.

It follows the study of mussels – one of the most endangered groups of animals on Earth.

They play a crucial role in cleaning the water in many rivers and lakes around the world, and there is growing interest in moving them to new locations to stimulate endangered populations or to act as biological filters to improve quality. some water.

But captive breeding programs that bring together mussels from isolated populations face the major risk of providing fertile ground for the Rhipidocotyle bellflower, the carnivorous parasitic worm. They can leave the molds completely sterile

“We need to be much more careful about moving animals to new places for conservation, as the costs can outweigh the benefits,” said Dr Aldridge, lead author of a new report in Conservation Letters .

“We have seen that mixing different populations of mussels can allow widespread transmission of gonad-eating worms – all it takes is one infected mussel to spread this parasite, which in extreme cases can lead to the collapse of any a population.”

In some cases, the presence of pathogens may pose a lower risk unless combined with other factors, such as a lack of food or high temperatures, which can put a population under pressure and lead to a sudden epidemic,

The research focuses on mussels, but its message is applicable more broadly. Relocations to protect endangered species or restore degraded ecosystems are a well-known conservation strategy.

Dr David Aldridge won the Researcher of the Year award at the Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards.  Image: Keith Heppell
Dr David Aldridge won the Researcher of the Year award at the Cambridge Independent Science and Technology Awards. Image: Keith Heppell

But the authors say the tactic should only be used when absolutely necessary and using quarantine periods, designed to stop transmission of the most likely pathogens.

Josh Brian, doctoral student in the Department of Zoology and first author of the report. added, “Moving animals to a new location is often used to protect or supplement endangered populations. But we have to consider the risk of this spreading pathogens that we don’t quite understand at all, which could put these populations at even greater risk.

Four key factors are identified in the report to determine the risk of spreading pathogens when moving animals:

  • the proportion of infected animals in the source and recipient populations;
  • the resulting population density;
  • host immunity;
  • pathogen life cycle – pathogens that must infect multiple species to complete their life cycle, such as parasitic mites, will only persist if all species are present in a given location.

It is known that adaptations to immune systems have an impact on how different populations respond to infection with the same pathogen.

In Yellowstone National Park in the United States, an endangered wolf pack that had been displaced died because they were not immune to the parasites carried by local canines.

And it’s not just conservation efforts that risk replacing pathogens.

Storing rivers with fish for anglers or sourcing exotic plants for home gardens could also bypass pests or diseases.

Isobel Ollard, a doctoral student in the Department of Zoology, who also participated in the study, said: “Being aware of the risks of disease spreading between populations is a vital first step in avoiding unintentional damage in future conservation work. “

The research was funded by the Woolf Fisher Trust.

Dr Aldridge was chosen as Researcher of the Year for his work on the invention of microencapsulated BioBullets – a method of controlling invasive mussels that block pipes in water plants and power plants, costing industry UK water alone over £ 5million a year.

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Smithfield Foods to Reassess Its Entire U.S. Water Supply Footprint and Intensify its Water Conservation Efforts Wed, 21 Apr 2021 16:00:00 +0000

SMITHFIELD, Virginia., April 21, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Smithfield Foods, Inc. announced today that it will conduct a comprehensive watershed and water use analysis in its vertically integrated operations to increase efficiency in the use of company water supply and sustainable practices and supplies. As part of the initiative, Smithfield will also adopt internationally recognized water management standards by 2025 to support its long-term water management goals.

The comprehensive water conservation effort will update previous water assessments and inform updated strategies related to water use, quality and availability in all of the hog farms owned by the company. ‘corporate and contracted, in manufacturing facilities and in grain supplier operations from Smithfield’s domestic wallet. The assessments will promote sustainable water use and access to local water sources, inform site-specific performance and conservation goals, and reduce the risk of future supply problems.

This new initiative builds on the efforts Smithfield has been committed over the past decade to reducing water consumption at its farms and production facilities, which use ISO 14001: 2015 certified environmental management systems (EMS) to set consumption reduction targets water and assess potential new efficiencies. Additional efforts underway to conserve water include strict regulation of nutrient application on corporate and subcontractor pig farms, introducing innovations into the grain supply chain to protect the water from fertilizer runoff and partnering with local water authorities to reduce the impacts of groundwater use.

“Responsible management of water and other finite natural resources is an essential component of sustainable food production and essential to our role as an environmentally conscious protein society,” said Stewart leeth, Director of Sustainability at Smithfield Foods. “Because our business operations depend on water to produce food and support animal care, we continually assess our water consumption and seek innovations that further conserve resources and implement the best available technologies.

Two-thirds of the company’s water consumption is used for cooking and sanitation in its treatment facilities. In its agricultural operations, water is essential for Smithfield’s animals for drinking and for sanitation, cooling and biosecurity.

Smithfield’s The water policy outlines the company’s commitments to proactively address water quality, use and conservation efforts in cooperation with environmental consultants, experts and community regulators. local.

About Smithfield Foods, Inc.

Based at Smithfield, Virginia Since 1936, Smithfield Foods, Inc. has been an American food company with agricultural roots and a global reach. Our 40,000 team members in the US and 15,000 European employees are dedicated to producing “Great Food.” Responsibly.®“and we have made us one of the world’s leading vertically integrated protein companies. We have pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including many industry firsts, such as our ambitious commitment to reduce our carbon impact by 25% by 2025. We believe in the power of protein to end food insecurity and have given hundreds of millions of servings of food to our neighbors in need. Smithfield has a portfolio of iconic, high-quality brands, such as Smithfield®, Eckrich® and Nathan’s Famous®, among many others. For more information visit, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

SOURCE Smithfield Foods, Inc.

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From Crisis to Opportunity: China Acts Quickly to Protect Wildlife Wed, 21 Apr 2021 15:09:20 +0000

The Covid-19 crisis has prompted us to rethink the relationship between man and nature. The protection of biodiversity, including wildlife, and public health issues are receiving increased attention around the world. In response, China has stepped up the pace of wildlife protection over the past year, which has included the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress passing a decision to ban the trade in wildlife as food and to tighten its crackdown on illegal wildlife trade (“Decision”).

To support the China National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA), the country’s key wildlife protection agency and a key contributor to the wildlife law amendment process, and to explore effective ways to protect wildlife and safeguarding public health through wildlife management, NRDC conducted a policy review on the management of the global wild meat trade and epidemic control practices. The NRDC also assisted the NFGA in the national policy development process by providing recommendations on amendments to the wildlife protection law, such as expanding the scope of animals protected by law beyond wildlife that is simply “rare or endangered”, and making additional recommendations to the revised People’s Congress draft during the public comment period. This included the establishment of a scientific and transparent management system for wildlife stocks in the revised draft for confiscated wildlife and their products.

In addition, the NRDC jointly launched a series of workshops on wildlife law and governance in China with partners in March 2021. This series aims to create a professional platform for experts to exchange points of view. view and provide legal and regulatory recommendations to policy makers on wildlife protection. At the recent launch, which was also the first event in this series, officials and experts reviewed the 2020 Wildlife Law and discussed the state of policymaking on wildlife issues in China. . In addition to the aforementioned ruling, here are some of the actions China has taken on wildlife trade over the past year:

  • Completion of the revision of the “Law on the prevention of animal epidemics”1
  • Launch of the revision of the “Law on the protection of wild animals”2
  • Addition of over 500 wildlife species to the “National List of Protected Species” which is an annex to the Law on the Protection of Wildlife, including the Yangtze Pangolin and Finless Porpoise
  • Introduction of a 10-year fishing ban in the Yangtze River3
  • Addition of three new wildlife crimes to the “Criminal Law Amendment”: illegal hunting, buying, transporting and selling of wild terrestrial animals; destroy nature reserves; and illegally introduce, release and discard invasive alien species
  • Strengthen wildlife law enforcement and market surveillance, including Operation Cyber ​​Sword which investigated online social platforms such as Weibo, WeChat, and video sites and crackdown on publications highlighting feature illegal hunting, or killing and abuse of wildlife, and videos or live broadcasts that feature wildlife products
  • Providing full government attention and financial support to the 140,000 poor from disadvantaged groups affected by the recent reduction in wild animal husbandry activity. Over 90% of the compensation for these farmers has been achieved4

Rapid policy progress has been made in wildlife protection over the past year, but challenges remain, such as transforming livelihoods for farmers previously involved in the livestock sector. edible animals. An important example comes from the case of the bamboo rat, whose trade was banned after the Covid-195 epidemic last year. Licensed bamboo rat farming was once a rural poverty reduction project vigorously promoted by local governments such as those in Guizhou Province. It was estimated that 100,000 people in Guangxi were engaged in the bamboo rat breeding business, which produced a production value of 2 billion yuan.6. Once the decision was made, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs announced a list of approved captive farm animals. Bamboo rats weren’t on the list, so the whole business came to an end.

Professor Qin Tianbao, Director of the Research Institute for Environmental Law at Wuhan University, stressed during the recent NRDC Workshop on Wildlife Law and Governance that: “The formulation of a law is based on science with a balance between different interest groups. If one is to be given priority to replace or even sacrifice the other, a reasonable mechanism must be devised to compensate for the latter. As we rethink our relationship with nature, we need to keep this balance in mind. We must put an end to destructive activities of wildlife and harmful to human health, while offering affected populations a transition to other activities that enhance ecological conservation for greater harmony between people and nature.

The revision of the law on the protection of wildlife remains in the legislative process. We hope that future discussions of the NRDC Wildlife Law and Governance workshop series will generate collective wisdom and important ideas for the final amendment.

1. Global Times: January 25, 2021 Amended Animal Disease Control Law prohibits slaughter of livestock in markets
2. Xinhua News Agency: February 12, 2020 Focus on China: Stay away from wildlife, China takes sustained action against illegal wildlife trade
3. Xinhua News Agency: January 2, 2021 Focus on China: Ten-year fishing ban begins in Yangtze River
4. Daily Renmin: 01 December 2020 National Forest and Grass Administration: Compensation work for fasting wild animal breeders more than 90% complete
5. China Daily: October 12, 2020 Phasing out captive breeding of 45 wild animals
6. China News: 06 April 2020 18 million bamboo rats sentenced to death suspended: the livelihoods of 100,000 farmers and 2 billion yuan in business from China News Weekly on April 06, Flight 942

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Award-winning wildlife photographer, 23, has documented felines behaving like humans Wed, 21 Apr 2021 15:05:47 +0000

As Covid-19 continues to rage, focusing on the impact of climate change and bringing our ecosystem back to balance has taken a step back, and talking about the same has all but disappeared from the media. But even now the Crusaders continue their work of trying to put the spotlight where it needs to be in order to ensure the survival of not only human life, but the planet as a whole.

When Aishwarya Sridhar was only five, she moved to Panvel in Navi Mumbai which is a green pocket. His life has become different from that of most of his fellow townspeople. She climbed trees, waded in streams, and observed wildlife in her yard herself.

Later, her love for wildlife viewing intensified in the urge to document the animal behavior she witnessed. Soon she found her best friend in her first camera. “The birthday present has become my favorite companion in all adventures,” she beams.

The 23-year-old wildlife photographer, filmmaker and presenter is now working intensively on documenting the environment, especially tigers in their natural habitat. She has several national and international awards in her kitty, including the Wildlife Photographer of the Year award for her work.

She’s worked to protect Maharashtra’s wetlands, and during the Covid-19 lockdown, she even directed and presented an eight-part digital series for WWF-India that focuses on instilling love for wildlife in children thanks to Origami.

We chatted with Aishwarya Sridhar to learn more about her journey, the work she does to focus on environmental challenges, and to get some tips for budding wildlife photographers.

(Photo by Aishwarya Sridhar; from ‘Tiger Queen of Taru’)

What path did you take to make your dreams of wildlife photographer and filmmaker come true?

Aishwarya’s love for animals and her father’s position in the Bombay Natural History Society, which allowed her to follow various hikes in animal parks and sanctuaries since her childhood, prompted her to study the mass media from the University of Mumbai for his graduate studies.

“I studied business until grade 12, but then I pursued mass media because I wanted to train in the art of filmmaking and storytelling,” she says.

After finishing her studies, she started volunteering for environmental related campaigns such as Kids for Tigers and Greenpeace India. She has also been a part of Sanctuary Asia’s child conservation programs.

A few years after starting this job, Aishwarya started running her own programs for schoolchildren and college students as soon as she was in grade 10. She visited various schools in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai to advocate for the protection of wildlife or to carry out anti-plastic campaigns and tree planting campaigns.

“Film screenings were part of those workshops and events, and watching these wildlife documentaries made me realize the impact of the visual medium on the minds of children and young adults,” she explains. .

“Visual media are very powerful and their power can be harnessed by telling the right stories,” she adds.

Work on impactful environmental projects

“My primary focus is on telling stories about wildlife and conservation to a global audience, mainly because I want to bring wildlife and conservation to the living rooms of people around the world,” says Aishwarya.

Filmmakers are storytellers who help bring critical issues to the forefront of people’s minds through their work.

Aishwarya’s first documentary helped protect the last remaining wetlands of the Mumbai wetlands in which she grew up. She is now working with local fishing communities, NGOs and the state for political level protection of wetlands in Maharashtra, India.

“My first documentary ‘Panje-The Last Wetland’ helped shine a light on the dying wetlands of Uran in Navi Mumbai. Wetlands are generally seen as wasteland and are traded for commercial development, but our decision-makers miss the ecological or economic impact their destruction causes, ”she says.

Aishwarya is currently working on a series on endangered primates of India. There are up to 15 different species of primates and eight of them are very endangered.

Through this series, I want to explore the deep jungles of North East and South India and understand from conservationists what it takes to protect India’s last primates, ”says -it.

(Photo by Aishwarya Sridhar; from ‘Tiger Queen of Taru’)

Working with the big cats

Aishwarya loves working with tigers. She was 10 years old when she first saw a tiger in the wild.

“That day, looking into those amber eyes, I fell in love with the big cats. Tigers are one of the most enigmatic, revered and feared creatures in India. We’ve been documenting tiger behavior for a decade – six years behind the Maya tigress herself, ”she says.

His documentary “Tiger Queen of Taru” traces the remarkable life of Maya, a wild Bengal tiger living in the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve. The wildlife photographer has followed Maya since she was a sub-adult and this trip gave her a glimpse into the life of this supreme predator on the planet.

“Seeing Maya as a little sub-adult challenging an Indian Gaur – twice her size, I knew she was there to rule. Something about her was different from her siblings, ”Aishwarya says.

“If you watch the film, you will realize that she has demonstrated skill in strategy to secure her territory. By attributing human qualities to the big cats, I hope to be able to come into contact with all age groups, and they too will realize that tigers are not only carnivores, but that they are also capable of feeling emotions, ”she explains.

“Tiger Queen of Taru,” which aims to take viewers on an optimistic journey to continue saving tigers, will premiere on Earth Day (April 22) at 12 p.m. on National Geographic India and Nat Geo Wild.

Tips for aspiring wildlife photographers

“Patience, quick reflexes, pre-visualization and crafting a strong narrative are some of the key skills you need to become a professional wildlife storyteller,” says Aishwarya.

She also notes that understanding the behavior and life of the subjects or wildlife you photograph was also important.

“I spend a lot of time reading about the species I’m going to film / photograph. It will definitely help you document key moments in your topic, ”says Aishwarya Sridhar.

“My path may be different for other young photographers, but when you have a deep passion to achieve something and you work hard with dedication, you ultimately achieve your goal,” she adds.

(Photo by Aishwarya Sridhar; from ‘Tiger Queen of Taru’)

Main wildlife challenges facing India

India faces a number of wildlife-related challenges, of which habitat loss or destruction and illegal hunting remain the main ones, Aishwarya says.

“Human greed is insatiable. We have endless demands for finite resources. Therefore, it will never be balanced, ”she said.

“Our protected areas are tiny islands. We need to be able to say “don’t exploit” at least those areas. India is a large country and about 4% of its land is protected areas. So the least we can do is leave these areas alone for biodiversity to thrive, ”Aishwarya says.

Read: Latika Nath, India’s first wildlife biologist and ‘Tiger Princess’ talks about breaking down barriers to animal conservation in India

Read: 10-year-old Arshdeep Singh breaks age stereotype and wins wildlife photographer of the year award

Read: Why Paul Salopek, two-time Pulitzer winner and Nat Geo explorer, walks 34,000 km for 10 years

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David Suzuki: Are we being too hard on the newly arrived plants and animals? Wed, 21 Apr 2021 15:01:06 +0000

Thanks to global warming and habitat destruction, narratives about ‘invasive species’ have started to change

As human activity continues to heat the planet and destroy habitat for wildlife, plants and animals respond based on their genetic makeup and ability to adapt to altered environments. Some are losing ground, landing on ever-increasing lists of endangered species, or disappearing altogether. Others are making money, losing their lives by our side, or even profiting from the habitat modification we have brought about – raccoons, for example.

Science writer Fred Pearce notes that “most of the losers are rare, endangered and endemic species, while most of the winners are common, generalist and invasive species – rats, mosquitoes, water hyacinths, etc. .

“Assisted evolution” initiatives aim to help wildlife species at risk adapt more quickly to their changing environments than generally slow evolutionary processes would normally allow. In Australia, a program aims to help the great bilby, an endangered marsupial, learn to avoid predation by intruders in their ecoregion – the feral cats and foxes introduced by British colonizers.

Cats have successfully adapted to their new surroundings and are not going anywhere. A team of researchers modified the standard conservation measure for construction fences to keep cats out, bringing them to fenced bilby shelters instead. This helps bilbies learn avoidance, a skill they need to survive in the wild.

Invasive species have long been recognized as key threats to native plants and animals. WWF’s Living Planet Canada Report 2020 identifies them as a major cause of the decline in wildlife here. But as plant and animal species around the world have started to shift their range in response to global warming and habitat destruction, narratives about invasive species have also started to change.

In the past, environmentalists viewed them negatively. Various eradication initiatives have been launched depending on the government’s landscape management capacity, the threat invasive species pose to species at risk or economic enterprises, proliferation levels and ease of eradication. (Think zebra mussels and purple loosestrife.)

There is now a good chance that species that enter new areas will leave habitats that are warming and degrading and benefiting from human stewardship. How should we respond? Should we differentiate between these “invading” ecosystems as climatic or habitat exiles and those that human travelers have transported to new places?

Some scientists argue for such a differentiation. University of Vienna conservation biologist Franz Essl and colleagues propose that species that move or expand their range in response to human-caused environmental changes be classified as “neo-native” species, rather than “invasive species”, and that management guidelines reflect this distinction.

To some extent, science supports a distinction, as species that move on their own are more likely to keep pace with their natural counterparts than a species that, for example, arrives in the hull of a ship. .

Some scientists have proposed that the most logical way to determine how to deal with an invasive species is to assess whether its presence has an overall positive or negative impact on the ecosystem. As Mark Davis, professor at Macalester College writes, “Whether it is because of the climate or because people move them, species must be assessed on their own effects and not on whether they are native or new or non-native. or non-natives displaced by humans. ”

The effects of species on ecosystems are not unique, however, and consensus on ecological impacts does not always exist. This can lead to ideological differences in which some conservationists advance species eradication while others advocate for stewardship. As author Sonia Shah writes, “In California, wildlife officials attempted to exterminate the Cordillera de Spartina, introduced west from the salt marshes of the Atlantic coasts and the Gulf of Mexico, despite providing feeding and nesting sites for endangered California valve rails. . ”

Ultimately, human pride drove many plants and animals to extinction. It is also the pride of trying to “manage” the species that have moved to new areas on the basis of our somewhat subjective analyzes to know if they do more harm or good.

It is clear that science alone cannot dictate a way forward. We need to incorporate other inputs, such as foresight, precaution, and indigenous knowledge when overseeing programs to limit or support wildlife populations on land and in water. If we are not careful enough to think through these complex issues, wildlife management will be driven solely by the economic value humans place on some plant and animal species over others.

The species most in need of better management is ours.

Written with the contribution of Rachel Plotkin, Boreal Project Manager of the David Suzuki Foundation. Learn more about


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