Tails From The Zoo

Manitoba Biodiversity February 4, 2010

Filed under: Biodiversity,Uncategorized — Scott Gray @ 11:20 am
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Here are a couple of good biodiversity articles. The first one focuses on biodiversity issues from a Manitoba perspective:



The second one is an article by Bob Wrigley, the Assiniboine Park Zoo’s Curator. It’s a great introduction to biodiversity around the province with a historical context. Here’s a quick excerpt:

There are 635 vertebrate (back-boned) animals, over 31,000 invertebrates (“lower” animals), 2433 plants, 800 lichens (a symbiotic association of fungi and algae), 3000 fungi, and a staggering 36,000 algae in Manitoba; certain of these figures will continue to rise with new studies.

Please click here to read the full article: Buzzword Biodiversity


International Year of Biodiversity Gets Started January 15, 2010

International Year of Biodiversity Officially Launched
Merinews, 15 January 2010
GERMAN CHANCELLOR Angela Merkel and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon officially launched the International Year of Biodiversity on 11th January. Launching the International Year of Biodiversity in Berlin, the German Chancellor urged the world to take the necessary steps to protect the biological diversity of the Earth.
More: http://www.merinews.com/article/international-year-of-biodiversity-officially-launched/15794253.shtml


UN biodiversity year aims to slow species extinction
Irish Times, 12 January 2010
BERLIN – German chancellor Angela Merkel urged industrialised and emerging countries to invest more in protecting wildlife and said the UN should create a body to refine scientific arguments for saving animal and plant species.
More: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2010/0112/1224262120782.html


UN launches 2010 as International Year of Biodiversity
Xinhuanet, 12 January 2010
UNITED NATIONS, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) — As the United Nations Monday kicked off its official launch of 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity to highlight the continued devastation on the world’s species, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called it a “wake-up call” to protect the globe’s natural resources.
More: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2010-01/12/content_12793207.htm


International Year of Biodiversity is not just a celebration, but a call to action
Bird-life International, 12 January 2010
The United Nations has launched 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) at an event in Berlin, Germany. Speakers included Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, and a video message from UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon.
More: http://www.birdlife.org/news/news/2010/01/biodiversity_year.html


World must step up efforts on saving species: Merkel
Reuters, 12 January 2010
BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged industrialized and emerging countries to invest more in protecting wildlife and said the U.N. should create a body to refine scientific arguments for saving animal and plant species.
More: http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/reuters/environment/~3/uh0i2edrxm0/idUSTRE60A32420100111


Arranca el Año Internacional de la Biodiversidad
El Mundo , 12 January 2010
La canciller alemana, Angela Merkel, equipara la importancia de la defensa de la biodiversidad con la lucha contra el cambio climático.  Leer . Escuchar
More: http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2010/01/11/ciencia/1263224980.html


Ban urges global alliance to save biodiversity as UN launches International Year
UN News Centre, 12 January 2010
11 January 2010 – As the United Nations officially launched the International Year of Biodiversity today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called the failure to protect the world’s natural resources a “wake-up call” and urged each country and each person to engage in a global alliance to protect life on Earth.
More: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=33450&Cr=biodiversity&Cr1=


World’s biodiversity ‘crisis’ needs action, says UN

Richard Black—BBCNews.co.uk.

The UN has launched the International Year of Biodiversity, warning that the ongoing loss of species around the world is affecting human well-being. Eight years ago, governments pledged to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss by 2010, but the pledge will not be met. The expansion of human cities, farming and infrastructure is the main reason.



Manitoba Biodiversity Network January 13, 2010

Filed under: Biodiversity,Eco-Dates — Scott Gray @ 9:44 pm
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The Manitoba Biodiversity Network (Bio-Net for short)

We are an committed group of individuals and agencies that is passionate about nature and concerned about protecting it. Bio-Net is lead by representatives from Manitoba Conservation, Assiniboine Park Zoo, Zoological Society of Manitoba, Living Prairie Museum, Ft Whyte Alive, Invasive Species Council of Manitoba, Manitoba Museum, Oak Hammock Marsh Interpretive Centre and the University of Manitoba, as well as a number of private citizens.

One of the members, Nature North, is acting as our central hub for all of our articles, events, resources and I hope you have a chance to visit the site. www.naturenorth.com


To get things started, here is the UN proclamation announcing International Year of Biodiversity:

UN Proclamation

“The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity. This year coincides with the 2010 Biodiversity Target adopted by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and by Heads of State and government at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002.

The celebrations of the International Year of Biodiversity are a unique opportunity to raise public awareness about the vital role of biodiversity in sustaining life on Earth and of its importance to human well-being and poverty reduction.

The main goals of the year are to:

• Enhance public awareness on the importance of conserving biodiversity and on the underlying threats to biodiversity;

• Raise awareness of the accomplishments to save biodiversity by communities and governments;

and to:

• Promote innovative solutions to reduce these threats;

• Call on individuals, organizations and governments to take immediate steps to halt biodiversity loss;

• Initiate dialogue among stakeholders on necessary steps for the post-2010 period. “

(David Ainsworth, Secretariat, Convention on Biological Diversity)


Check out our Bio-Days chart if you’re not sure how to get involved or think a whole year is too big a commitment. You can pick one or two ecologically important dates to help do be greener. View the calendar here: www.zoosociety.com

2010 Biodiversity Logo


Biodiversity and Saving Animals

Filed under: Biodiversity,World News — Scott Gray @ 9:22 pm
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“Starting Monday, celebrations and events across the world will highlight the beginning of the UN’s Year of International Biodiversity and the loss of our richly varied flaura and fauna, which is estimated to be as high as 1,000 times the natural rate as a result of human activities.”

Read the full article, by Robert Bloomfield of The Guardian here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2010/jan/11/biodiversity-year-of-international-biodiversity


“Biodiversity is integral to our daily lives.”

That is one of the core reasons for my joining the Manitoba’s Biodiversity Network in 2008. But the past couple of years have just been a warm up. Manitoba’s Bio-net plans on being very busy through out 2010 to celebrate International Year of Biodiversity. Stayed tuned to this blog throughout the year for all sorts of biodiversity information, links, resources and more. You can also find additional information about our group’s efforts on www.naturenorth.com, a wonderful site listing even more wildlife resources and articles on nature and biodiversity.


Extinction by the Numbers January 5, 2010

Filed under: Biodiversity,Extinction,Uncategorized — Scott Gray @ 4:09 pm
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Here’s are a few numbers that most people don’t know, but need to:

● Up to 30,000 species (including plants, animals, fungi) per year are going extinct: three per hour.
● Fifty percent of all primates and 100 percent of all great apes are threatened with extinction.
● Three of the world’s nine tiger subspecies became extinct in the past 60 years; the remaining six are all endangered.
● Humans have already driven 20 percent of all birds extinct.
● Twelve percent of mammals, 12 percent of birds, 31 percent of reptiles, 30 percent of amphibians, and 37 percent of fish are threatened with extinction.

Learn more about the extinction crisis from www.biologicaldiversity.com


October’s Eco-Dates October 6, 2009

So what did you do on October 4? Did you celebrate World Animal Day? I hope so. In fact I hope you celebrate animals everyday, but in case you missed this year’s celebrations, here’s a re-cap.

World Animal Day, October 4

We celebrate World Animal Day to express our compassion and concern for all creatures. World Animal Day’s mission is to: celebrate animal life in all its forms; celebrate humankind’s relationship with the animal kingdom; acknowledge the diverse roles animals play in our lives; and be thankful for the way in which animals enrich our lives. To find out more, please visit: World Animal Day

As a reminder, there are a couple more upcoming dates to celebrate.

Waste Reduction Week runs October 19-25

Waste Reduction Week aims to inform and engage Canadians about the environmental and social impact of our wasteful practices. It strives to educate, engage and empower Canadians to reduce, reuse and recycle waste. Everyone, including schools, businesses, and individuals can all get involved! Visit Waste Reduction Week Canada at http://www.wrwcanada.com/ for more information and resources.

International Day of Climate Action is on October 24

Scientists now know that an environment with carbon in the atmosphere that tops 350 parts per million will not support life as we know it. Sadly, we’re already past that number, at 390 parts per million, which is why the Arctic is melting and drought is spreading across the planet. 350 gives us a target to aim for. Join the international movement on October 24 to take a stand for a safe climate future and raise awareness about this important number (350). Make a statement to get the attention of the world’s leaders, before they meet in Copenhagen in December to reach an agreement on a new climate treaty. Visit www.350.org to make a difference before it becomes too hard to reach our goal.


Zoo Amphibian Signs June 1, 2009

New Amphibian Interpretive Signs For Manitoba

2008 was the International Year of the Frog – a huge international effort to promote the conservation of the remaining amphibians from the current extinction crisis.  Dozens of the world’s 6000 species have become extinct in the last hundred years, and biologists feel that as many as 35% to 50% of the remaining species will disappear within the next generation. This is in part due to a chytrid fungal disease (now spread nearly worldwide), exploitation of amphibians through the pet trade and as a food source, habitat loss, climate change, pollution, and other causes.  Numerous zoos in dozens of countries are taking in and breeding the surviving remnant populations of frogs on the edge of extinction. Hundreds of others spent 2008 promoting amphibian conservation throughout their facilities and into the schools. The task is enormous, costly, and technically challenging but the effort is worth it.

As part of the Assinboine Park Zoo and Zoo Society of Manitoba’s contribution to this program, (in addition to the amphibian based tours, talks and camps that occurred at the Zoo Education Centre last year), bilingual, illustrated signs (20 x 24-inch) were produced on all 15 species in the province.  These signs (including frogs, toads and salamanders) are now being installed at the zoo.  You can view them on the internet at the Zoo Society’s website, www.zoosociety.com and at www.naturenorth.com.

Thanks to a grant from Manitoba Conservation’s Sustainable Development Innovations Fund, the zoo was able to produce 165 signs for 18 organizations around the province, and these are just now been distributed. Copies were made available to all Manitoba nature facilities free of charge and will soon be displayed in many national, provincial and city parks, museums, nature centres, and public trails (e.g., Bishop Grandin Greenway Trail).