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Archive for July 2010

Brian Tissot, marine ecologist, discusses the marine aquarium trade. He tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme how the United States, as the world's largest importer of marine ornamental species for the aquaria, curio, home decor and jewelry industries, has an opportunity to leverage its market power to promote more sustainable trade and reduce the effects of this trade on coral reefs worldwide. The trade in coral and coral reef species for ornamental purposes is substantial and growing, with approximately 30 million fish and 1.5 million live stony corals removed from the ecosystem each year. The aquarium industry alone targets some 1,500 species of reef fish, and many die in transit, prompting collectors to gather even more animals to compensate for potential losses. With the United States accounting for over half of the ornamental trade in live coral, reef fish and invertebrates, Tissot and 17 other scientists are calling on this country to leverage its market demand—through additional regulation and enforcement, public awareness campaigns, certification of sustainable products, and assistance to spread best practices in source countries—to make the trade more sustainable.

Dr. Brian Tissot is a Professor in the School of Earth and Environmental Science at Washington State University Vancouver. His research is focused on the interface between biology, management, and policy and examines ecological interactions between habitat and commercially important marine fishes and invertebrates and the role of the community in managing marine resources. Through collaboration with state, federal and international agencies he is involved in a range of activities including basic research, research with implications towards resource management, and environmental policy development in Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and California. In Hawaii, he helped improve the management of an aquarium fishery along the Kona coast by being a part of a collaborative research program with state biologists and policy makers, SeaGrant extension, and the local community. On the west coast he is examining the role of continental shelf invertebrates, especially deep water corals, and how they function as critical habitat for commercially important fishes. Information from his work has been used to improve management strategies for coral reefs in the Pacific, west coast bottom trawling, and in the development of legislation in Congress. In addition to over 60 publications in scientific journals, Dr. Tissot's work has been featured in Scientific American, National Geographic News, Smithsonian magazine and in the Washington Post. This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on July 26, 2010.

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Pierre Fidenci, president of Endangered Species International (ESI), talks about gorillas and the bushmeat trade. He tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme about how ESI went undercover in Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) to monitor the bushmeat trade in key markets and found over 300 western lowland gorillas were butchered each year, with 95 percent of the illegal bushmeat originating from the Kouilou region, an area that is one of the last reservoirs of biodiversity and endangered animals in the area. Pierre Fidenci was born in Southern France, and at an early age was already involved in discovering, studying, and protecting nature. At the age of only 20, Pierre started Las Baulas National Marine Park in Costa Rica. At that young age, he also had already won multiple environmental awards including from Paul Sabatier University, the Nicolat Hulot Foundation, the French Government (Défit Jeune), and the Zellidja Foundation. More recently, he has received conservation awards from the Bp Conservation Programme, the Turtle Conservation Fund, and the Sophie Danforth Conservation Biology Fund. He has developed and directed conservation projects in South-, Central-, and North America, as well as in south East Asia, and Europe. His areas of expertise include amphibians and reptiles, applied conservation, biological surveys, and community based projects. Pierre is also a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC). This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on July 19, 2010.

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Pierre Fidenci, president of Endangered Species International (ESI), talks about his work to save “forgotten” endangered species. Speaking to “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme from the Philippines, he tells of his recent activities to save the rare Philippine Forest Turtle, one of the most endangered turtles on earth that is found on only two islands in the southern Philippines, and also to stop dynamite fishing in the country’s coral reefs. A common focus in ESI’s work is its emphasis on addressing the needs of the people that live within the habitat in order to achieve sustainable conservation of the endangered species you want to protect. Pierre Fidenci was born in Southern France, and at an early age was already involved in discovering, studying, and protecting nature. At the age of only 20, Pierre started Las Baulas National Marine Park in Costa Rica. At that young age, he also had already won multiple environmental awards including from Paul Sabatier University, the Nicolat Hulot Foundation, the French Government (Défit Jeune), and the Zellidja Foundation. More recently, he has received conservation awards from the Bp Conservation Programme, the Turtle Conservation Fund, and the Sophie Danforth Conservation Biology Fund. He has developed and directed conservation projects in South-, Central-, and North America, as well as in south East Asia, and Europe. His areas of expertise include amphibians and reptiles, applied conservation, biological surveys, and community based projects. Pierre is also a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC). This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on July 12, 2010.

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Michael Gonzalez discusses wildlife forensics and mammal hair. He tells “The WildLife” host Laurel Neme how hair varies—between species and even on the same animal—and how he is developing a database of mammal hair that can be used by wildlife forensic scientists to identify hair in cases of illegal trafficking of the world’s most endangered animals. Michael Gonzalez is a forensic science master’s student at California State University in Fresno. Under the direction of his faculty mentor, Dr. Kevin Miller, assistant professor of chemistry and criminology at Fresno State and director of the Forensic Science master’s program, Gonzalez began creating and compiling the database from hair specimens found in the collection of Fresno State’s Biology Department. This work quickly spread to include eight different body regions of each animal and is being conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Forensic Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon. This internet-based database will ultimately hold more than 2,000 mammal species and has already become well known in the professional forensic world, including the prestigious National Institute of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In fact, Gonzalez received the 2010 Wildlife Forensic Science award from the Society for Wildlife Forensic Sciences (SWFS) for outstanding thesis work. This episode of “The WildLife” aired on The Radiator, WOMM-LP, 105.9 FM in Burlington, Vermont on July 5, 2010.

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