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Conservation in Crisis - Ecotourism Collapse Threatens Communities and Wildlife

From the vast plains of the Masai Mara in Kenya to the delicate corals of the Aldabra atoll in the Seychelles, conservation work to protect some of the world’s most important ecosystems is facing crisis following a collapse in ecotourism during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Organisations that depend on visitors to fund projects for critically endangered species and rare habitats could be forced to close, according to wildlife NGOs, after border closures and worldwide travel
restrictions abruptly halted millions of pounds of income from tourism.

Throughout the pandemic, scientists have repeatedly urged humanity to reset its relationship with nature or suffer worse outbreaks. But the economic consequences of the Covid-19 lockdown have raised fears of a surge in poaching, illegal fishing and deforestation in life-sustaining ecosystems, with tens of thousands of jobs in the ecotourism sector at risk around the world.

“It’s right that the global focus now is on protecting human lives in this devastating pandemic. However, in the places we work, we are already witnessing its economic impact, particularly in areas where communities rely heavily on ecotourism for their livelihoods,” said Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at WWF UK.

'We did it to ourselves': scientist says intrusion into nature led to pandemic

In Cambodia, three critically endangered giant ibis were killed for meat in early April following the collapse of the local tourism industry, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society. In central Africa, measures to shield mountain gorillas from the virus have resulted in a slump in vital visitor revenue. Twelve rangers who guarded Virunga national park, where the gorillas live, were killed in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo last month.

Chinas Wildlife Farmers Offered A Buy-Out To Transition Away From Breeding Wild Animals

Wildlife farmers in two provinces in mainland China are being offered a government buy-out to facilitate a move away from breeding wild animals for consumption, as part of the country’s crackdown on the wildlife trade in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The plans, published on May 15th, give Hunan and Jiangxi provinces an exit strategy for wildlife farmers to be compensated in order to transition to alternative livelihoods such as: growing fruit, vegetables, tea plants, or herbs.

On February 24th, The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress thankfully banned wild animal consumption for food. Wildlife campaigners at Humane Society International hope that the province-sponsored buy-out will help to ensure that the ban is a success.

“By subsidising wildlife breeders to transition to alternative livelihoods, these provinces are demonstrating global leadership on this issue, which other provinces and countries must now follow,” Dr. Peter Li, Humane Society International’s China policy specialist said in a statement.

“Chinese farmers not only have an opportunity to leave a trade that poses a direct threat to human health – something that can no longer be tolerated in light of COVID-19 – but also to transition to more humane and sustainable livelihoods such as growing plant foods popular in Chinese cuisine.”

Four Lion Cubs Kept in Squalid Conditions Freed Thanks to British Campaigners

Horus, Dadou, Thea and Cersei, also known as the Lions of Lyon, were found in appalling conditions in France after they were taken from their mothers by the exotic wildlife trade.

​Four lion cubs kept as pets in squalid conditions have been freed to live their lives in an African sanctuary – thanks to the efforts of British wildlife campaigners.
Horus, Dadou, Thea and Cersei are believed to have been taken from their mothers before they were weaned as part of the exotic wildlife trade.

The Born Free Foundation said they were kept in “completely inadequate conditions” in France.

The four, now known as the Lions of Lyon, were just a few months old when they were rescued by French wildlife charity, Fondation 30 Million d’Amis.

Dadou was found on Paris’s most famous street – the Champs-Elysees – in the back of a Lamborghini missing the tip of his tail after his owner was caught by police officers taking photos with the cub.

Horus, the largest of the four cubs, was found on a child’s bed in an apartment on the outskirts of Paris while his owner was hiding in his neighbour’s cupboard.

Police were alerted after images of the cub had been posted on Snapchat.

What to Know about Vegan Diets

A vegan or plant-based diet excludes all animal products, including meat, dairy, and eggs.

When people follow it correctly, a vegan diet can be highly nutritious, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and aid weight loss.

Increasing numbers of people are moving toward vegan diets due to health, animal welfare, or environmental concerns. A 2018 Gallup poll reports that about 3% of people in the US are fully vegan and notes that sales of plant-based foods are rising.

Vegan diets tend to be rich in nutrients and low in saturated fats. Research suggests that the diet can improve heart health, protect against cancer, and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

However, people eating only plant-based foods need to be more aware of how to obtain certain nutrients, including iron, calcium, and vitamin B-12, that usually come from an omnivorous diet.

In this article, we take a close look at the vegan diet, including its health benefits and risks, as well as important things to consider before trying it out. We also provide recipe ideas and tips for following a vegan diet.

What is a vegan diet?

​A vegan diet involves eating only foods comprising plants. Those who follow this diet avoid all animal products, including meat, dairy, and eggs. Some people also avoid eating honey. For some, being vegan is a dietary choice, while for others, it is a lifestyle choice.

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