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Whale of a Time is riding the wave of change, promoting successful stewardship of our planet to create a peaceful, morally just, humane and sustainable culture, while ensuring survival of all species and their natural habitats. Whale of a Time organises creative and fun, inspiring and empowering events on environmental issues to encourage active participation living a sustainable lifestyle inspired by a positive attitude. We engage young and old from all walks of life through the Whale of a Time Community, the Whale of a Time Festival and the Whale of a Time Workshop. Our work has been recognised by many national and community and environmental awards schemes.

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Sunday, 28 October 2012

HLNtv - Orangutans at Risk

Orangutans in Indonesia could be on the brink of extinction all for a product many Americans do not even know they are consuming. The Orangutans natural habitat in Indonesia are allegedly being burned down and decimated to make room for trees that produce palm oil. Palm oil is a cheap ingredient that is used in almost half the items in American grocery stores. But because palm oil goes by so many different names it can be hard for consumers to identify it in the products they are purchasing. Jane Velez-Mitchell spoke to Rolf Skar the Forest Campaign Director for Greenpeace USA.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Beluga whale 'makes human-like sounds'

22 October 2012 Last updated at 17:23 Help Researchers in the US have been shocked to discover a beluga whale whose vocalisations were remarkably close to human speech. While dolphins have been taught to mimic the pattern and durations of sounds in human speech, no animal has spontaneously tried such mimicry. But researchers heard a nine-year-old whale named NOC make sounds octaves below normal, in clipped bursts.
Listen to NOC

'Who told me to get out?': NOC the talking whale learns to imitate human speech in attempt to 'reach out' to human captors

Acoustic analysis of the sounds made by a beluga whale revealed remarkable similarities to human speech patterns, indicating that the whale was trying to “reach out” to his human captors
A captive white whale that made unusual mumbling sounds when he was in the presence of people may have been trying to mimic his human companions, scientists have found. An acoustic analysis of the sounds made by a beluga whale called NOC has revealed remarkable similarities to human speech patterns, indicating that the whale was trying to “reach out” to his human captors, scientists believe. Although there are anecdotal accounts of whales sounding like “ children shouting from a distance”, this is the first time that scientists have produced hard evidence that they are capable of trying to imitate human speech. One of the first indications that NOC was able to sound like a human was when a diver swimming alongside him in his pen came to the surface and asked his colleagues “who told me to get out”? NOC, who died five years ago, was about a year old when he was captured off the Pacific coast of Canada in 1977. He was kept in an open-ocean pen at the US National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego, California, where he took part in scientific research on cetacean acoustics. Sam Ridgway, a researcher at the foundation, analysed the archived sound recordings made when NOC was alive and compared them to the sounds made by the human voice, such as the speech patterns and multiple harmonics of spoken words. The comparison revealed a remarkable similarity that was even more remarkable given that whales vocalise between themselves by blowing air through their noses rather than the larynx in the throat, which is how humans make vocal sounds. Read full story

Friday, 19 October 2012


Issued by: Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme and BKSDA Aceh.

Medan, October 15, 2012

A large, fully adult male Sumatran Orangutan weighing around 90 kg was rescued yesterday (14/10/12) from an isolated forest fragment in the Tripa Peat Swamp Forests in the Nagan Raya District of Aceh Province, Sumatra, Indonesia, as illegal destruction of this unique ecosystem by rogue palm oil companies continues.

Thanks to the cooperation of a team of experts from the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry’s Department of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (PHKA), the orangutan, later named Seuneam after the nearest village to where he was found, was evacuated safely and later released early on Monday morning (15/10/12) at the SOCP’s specialist Orangutan Reintroduction Centre in the Jantho Pine Nature Reserve in northern Aceh. Seuneam had been monitored in the field by SOCP staff for several days and had to be rescued as he was trapped in a small fragment of forest surrounded by palm oil plantations, isolated from the rest of the Tripa swamp forests and the rest of Tripa’s surviving orangutan population, estimated today to be only around 200 individuals, and declining fast. Local informants even stated that there was a plan to poison him very soon if he continued to destroy young palm oil seedlings.

The team in the field comprised SOCP veterinarians, staff of BKSDA Aceh (the Government’s provincial Conservation Agency), staff of the Indonesian Sustainable Ecosystem Foundation (Yayasan Ekosistem lestari, or YEL) and local community members.

Head of BKSDA Aceh, Mr Amon Zamora MSc, stated on Sunday evening “BKSDA Aceh strongly supports this orangutan rescue and I hope that other orangutans facing similar threats in Tripa can also be rescued before they are killed, or die of malnutrition. Evacuation efforts like this are essential to our efforts to save the Sumatran orangutan and reduce conflicts with local communities. It's a sad fact that orangutans are often regarded as pests by people and plantation companies, as when they have no other food to eat they can and do eat and damage agricultural crops.

Meanwhile, head of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, Dr Ian Singleton stated "We are always happy to see a successful rescue take place, but these activities are expensive, logistically challenging and also dangerous, for both staff and the orangutans themselves. There is always a serious risk of injury to the animals during capture, especially when they fall from the trees after being anaesthetized. We would much prefer not to have to intervene in this way and in reality we should not be having to rescue orangutans from Tripa, as it is part of the Leuser Ecosystem, now a protected area under National Spatial Planning laws. In fact, several of the palm oil companies operating in Tripa are already under investigation for breaking Indonesian Law and one plantation has even be cancelled. But regrettably, forest clearance, drainage of the peatlands and burning of the land continue unabated, so we have no choice but to rescue orangutans when they will clearly die if we don’t".

"Both locally, and Globally, people were inspired recently by the strong leadership of new Aceh Governor, Dr Zaini Abdullah, when the Aceh Government revoked an illegal oil palm plantation permit granted to PT Kalista Alam. But despite this, it is still clear to see that rogue palm oil companies are continuing to destroy Tripa’s remaining forests, creating more conflicts between human and orangutan, and other wildlife. It's not the orangutans that should be leaving this area, it is the palm oil companies who are breaking the law." Dr Singleton added.

Drh Yenny Saraswati reiterated during a quiet moment after Seuneam’s eventual return to the wild. “Rescues like this are not something we enjoy. There are serious risks of injury and even death to an orangutan like this during capture, however good modern equipment and drugs are these days. No matter what you do, orangutans climb higher when afraid, and then fall all the way to the ground. We have had several break bones in the past as a result of falls, even though we always try to get a capture net underneath them beforehand. As a veterinarian, its not pleasant to have to take such risks with an animal’s welfare”.

The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP; www.sumatranorangutan.org ) is a collaborative programme involving the Swiss based PanEco Foundation (www.paneco.ch ), Indonesia’s Yayasan Ecosystem Lestari (www.yelweb.org ) and the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry’s Directorate General of Forest Protection and Nature Conservation (DitJen PHKA; www.dephut.go.id )

Main activities of the SOCP include:-

1. Confiscation, quarantine, and reintroduction to the wild of illegal pet Sumatran orangutans
2. Research and monitoring of remaining wild Sumatran orangutan populations
3. Habitat protection and conservation
4. Conservation education and awareness raising

To date the SOCP as returned to the wild more than 180 illegal captive orangutans and rescued a number of orangutans in similar situations to Seuneam.

For further information contact:-

1. Mr Amon Zamora, MSc, Kepala BKSDA Aceh, Tel: +6282169313999, Email: amonzamora@gmail.com

2. Dr Ian Singleton, Director of Conservation PanEco Foundation / Head of SOCP, Tel: +62811650491, Email: mokko123@gmail.com

Website: www.sumatranorangutan.org
Website: www.paneco.ch
Blog: IanSingletonSOCP.wordpress.com/

Orangutans dying as demand for palm oil soars

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

From instant noodles to ice cream, palm oil is found in roughly half of all packaged supermarket products. Demand for the product has led to the destruction of Indonesian jungles which are home to a large number of wild orangutans. NBC News Correspondent Ian Williams travels to Indonesia and follows a man fighting to save one of our closest relatives.

Friday, 12 October 2012


Greenpeace activists occupy Taiwan shipbuilding yard to protest overfishing

Kaoshiung, Taiwan, October 12, 2012 – Ten Greenpeace activists occupied the largest shipbuilding yard in Taiwan on Friday, accusing the Taiwanese government of undermining international fishing agreements set up to combat the global overfishing crisis.

Activists unfurled a large banner saying “Overfishing Starts Here” at the facility where massive industrial fishing boats destined to fish across the globe's oceans are built.

The peaceful protest coincides with the Save Our Oceans East Asia Tour in which the Greenpeace ship MY Esperanza is in Taiwan, raising awareness of the impacts of overfishing on the oceans and the communities dependent on them.

"Our oceans and the billions dependent on them for food and jobs need fewer massive boats and more fish. The Taiwanese government is cheating international agreements and Greenpeace is taking peaceful action today to demand it adhere to scientific advice and help end overfishing,” said Yu Fen Kao, Greenpeace East Asia senior oceans campaigner.

“In the end, it is the small-scale fishing communities and the people of Taiwan that will suffer most from empty oceans and collapsed fish populations."

Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency (FA) had agreed in 2008 to follow the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission’s advice to reduce fishing effort by limiting the number of fishing days for its purse-seine tuna fleets (1).

The regulation is meant to allow Pacific tuna stocks to recover from overfishing, as three of the four main tuna species are already threatened with commercial extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) (2).

Instead, the FA has sidestepped the regulation and is allowing its industry to build bigger ships with larger storage capacity, directly undermining efforts to rescue tuna populations.

Taiwan's Fisheries Agency approved 22 new big purse seine ships between 2007 to 2012. And the total new purse seine tonnage is 38,988 tons (3).

Taiwan's distant water fishing fleet mainly operates in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean, home to more than 60 percent of the world's tuna. Taiwan has the most fishing vessels in the region – 72 purse seiners and 1,600 long liners (4). In addition, half of the US purse seiners are owned and operated by Taiwanese companies.

Other fishing powers currently building more industrial-scale fishing boats include France, Spain, China and South Korea.

"We have too many boats in our oceans chasing too few fish. Government and business leaders must end the madness and stop building these gigantic boats from fishing the industry out of existence,” said Sari Tolvanen, Greenpeace International oceans campaigner.

“We need action from consumers, who will refuse to no longer buy fish from companies that are adding more unsustainable fishing capacity into our oceans and instead demand fish for the future.”

Greenpeace is campaigning for responsible fishery management to end overfishing and to support a global network of marine reserves covering 40% of the world’s oceans. Both are necessary steps to restoring our oceans to health and to maintain living oceans and ample fish for future generations.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Dolphin proposal labelled as lame

Options proposed by the Government to protect critically endangered Maui's dolphins have been labelled as "lame" by leading Maui's dolphin scientist Associate Prof Liz Slooten, of the University of Otago. They in no way reflected recent scientific evidence, she said.

The Ministry of Primary Industries and the Department of Conservation are seeking public comment on a review of the management plan.

MPI's deputy director-general resource management and programmes, Scott Gallacher, said the review would consider all known human-induced threats to the critically endangered dolphins, how they could be mitigated and research priorities.

Maui's dolphins are the smallest and rarest in the world. It is estimated that just 55 older than one year remain.

A risk assessment incorporating the views of a range of scientists on the threats to Maui's dolphins had also been released giving a "pretty dire" view of the dolphins, Assoc Prof Slooten, who took part in an expert panel which contributed to the report, said.

It showed about five Maui's dolphins a year died through human threat and fishing was responsible for most of the deaths, she said.

"Given those kinds of results ... you'd expect to see some major changes to the protection options."

She was disappointed to see how little of the science had appeared in the management review.

"It's really lame."

The management options were just not science-based, she said.

"It is 90% politics and 10% science, not the other way around, despite the International Whaling Commission and IUCN [International Union for the Conservation of Nature] calling for much stronger protection measures ... "

"They seemed to have ignored that. There is nothing even close."

Forest and Bird marine conservation advocate Katrina Subedar said the management of fishing-related threats was still the most critical.

Doc and MPI acknowledged that Maui's dolphins face a high risk of extinction.

"So why doesn't this Government take this threat seriously? It should immediately ban all gill nets and trawlers from where these dolphins are found, which is offshore to the 100m depth contour and within all harbours along the west coast of the North Island," Ms Subedar said.

The public can make submissions to both departments until November 12.

Read Full Article

Download Maui Dolphin Consultation - PLEASE SUBMIT by 12 NOVEMBER 2012