Wildlife And Eco

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is an outdoor adventurer's paradise. There are miles of unspoiled beaches to see; rainforests and cloud forests to learn about; world-class whitewater rafting and canoeing, fiery volcano’s and hot springs, and heart-stopping encounters with exotic wildlife and colorful tropical birds at every turn.

Twelve distinct ecological zones of breathtaking beauty cover a area the size of New Hampshire, from the mangrove forests of the Caribbean lowlands to the misty cloud forests that blanket the top of the continental divide and back down to the sunny Pacific beaches. Nowhere else on earth is biological abundance and diversity so evident than in the Costa Rican rainforests: tropical rainforests contain more than half of all living things known to man. The rainforest is a place of peace and renewal; mysterious, life-affirming, and of majestic proportions. Costa Rica alone has more plant species than the whole of Europe, and a staggering world of exotic wildlife that runs into the millions of species.

If you like to go "off the beaten path", a little extra effort will reward you with an astounding hidden wonderland that few visitors ever get to see. You'll find Inner Quest’s Ultimate Wildlife Eco-Tours are packed full of the kind of experiences -- from remote river trips, to bird's-eye views from the top of the cloud forest canopy, to extraordinarily intimate encounters with wildlife -- that will leave you transformed forever

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Extinction alert for 800 species

By Richard Black
Environment Correspondent, BBC News website

Researchers have compiled a global map of sites where animals and plants face imminent extinction.

The list, drawn up by a coalition of conservation groups, covers almost 800 species which they say will disappear soon unless urgent measures are taken.

Most of the 800 are now found only in one location, mainly in the tropics.

Writing in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers say protecting some of these sites would cost under $1,000 per year.

"This is a whole suite of species threatened with extinction," said Stuart Butchart, global species programme co-ordinator with BirdLife International, one of the groups behind the report.

If we don't protect them, these are guaranteed extinctions
Stuart Butchart
"Most of them are living on single sites and are therefore highly vulnerable to human impacts," he told the BBC News website.

"Safeguarding this suite of sites is not the only thing we need to do; but if we don't protect them, these are guaranteed extinctions."

This young male Elephant did not have a chance to enjoy this year's Christmas Day

Season Greetings from the Wild Life of Arugam Bay!
December 2005: This young male elephant did not have a chance to enjoy this year's Christmas Day. Or indeed, any other. The normal life expectancy without his greedy human enemies would have been 70 years or more.

Who has cut his life so short?
Ivory hunters, most likely. In this case he has been a proud, strong mammal with about 1m long tuskers roaming the open lands south of Arugam Bay until he died. I was happy to observe this particular bull at morningtime at around 05:00 between Arugam Bay and the village of Panama. We found the decomposing heap 2km away from any main road or track; this is where executions often take place. Unbeknown to many who admire the "protected" wild life of this beautiful island.

If anyone would have had the courage to listen to us, or the recommendations of AbHa and supported our plan to offer a high reward for the arrest of the criminals who continue to shoot endangered species such as this example shows:
We feel this innocent bull would still be alive today to enjoy freedom in its natural habitat for many years to come. Part of the ECO PROJECT Plan is to set up a place to record Environment crimes.

It is up to all of YOU to act. - Before it is too late!

Bio diversity in Sri Lanka

The Magnitude of bio diversity found in Sri Lanka is not in line with it's physical proportions. United Nations has acknowledged this fact by ranking Sri Lanka, as the 10th highest in bio diversification present per square area. Through out this tropical island, geographical facade changes dramatically, from the patinas (Grass Lands) to tropical rain forests, and from sandy beaches dotted with mangroves to monsoon dependant greenery. These consist the likes of Horton plains, sitaeliya plains, Agarapatana (all are grass lands/plains), Sinharaja (a rain forest since pre historic times), and Beaches of unawatuna, bundala and hikkaduwa, wildlife sanctuaries like Yala, Wilpattu and mangrove abundant marshes of muthurajawela & attidiya. Apart from the obvious geographical variations there is a vast number of less prominent ecological systems in Sri Lanka such as forests of ritigala and rumassala, udawatte kelle in kandy etc. All these contribute to an exotic system, which is the natural habitat of a variety of animal and plant species. Contrasting eco systems means that Sri Lanka is a haven for a nature lover who want to do exploring to his/her heart's content.

An important part of ecological systems prevalent in Sri Lanka would be the animal species. Like the variety among environment one can find so many kinds of fauna who observe many a behavioral pattern. Animals in Sri Lanka could be broadly categorized in to many groups such as Birds, Mammals, Reptiles, Fish, and etc. what ever the creature it would always follow a behavioral pattern suitable to its habitat. A major attraction for a nature lover would be the national parks of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka’s wildlife is as varied as the island itself. In its national parks, you can hire a jeep for elephant and leopard safaris, become engaged in turtle conservation and, for birdwatchers, the country is a veritable delight.

Then there is Sinharajah, a couple of hours inland from the west coast, and the last significant area of rainforest left on the island, home to a vast array of endemic species. The wildlife might be hard to spot in the thick forest, but the whole experience can be uplifting.

With 12 per cent of the country designated for wildlife protection, there is no doubting Sri Lanka’s commitment to its natural heritage. Safari parks and sanctuaries, most prominent in the southern and central zones, offer the easiest way to see the animals in their natural habitat. Stay alert for a sighting of the endangered leopard; take your time as you watch the elephants feeding and washing in a tank or lagoon; or walk with the turtles until they stop to lay their eggs.

In the 3rd century BC Sri Lanka became the first country to set up a flora and fauna sanctuary with Mihintale. Now the strict natural reserves are out of bounds for visitors but at the national parks, such as Uda Walawe – the closest rival to an African gamepark - and Bundala, you only need a permit to see the protected wildlife. The nature reserves of Sinharaja and Minneria and the 50 sanctuaries also offer animal protection and treasured experiences.

Unless you spot a rare leopard then the sight of a Sri Lanka elephant will probably be the highlight of the tour. The elephant population has dropped from 20,000 to 3,500 since the 1800s, but the level has stabilised with the establishment of corridors, national parks, reserves and the charming orphanage at Pinnewala.

The parks offer easy viewing via a guided jeep tour. At the Uda Walawe National Park you are guaranteed to see elephants and it is possible for herds of up to 100 to graze lazily. Watch in awe of the hulking beasts as they splash and spray in groups of up to 150 at the Minneriya Sanctuary.

Asian elephants are smaller than their African cousins, rarely reaching a height of three metres, and they have a more rounded back and smaller ears. Not all of them have tusks.

For the cutest elephant experience of all, try the elephant orphanage at Pinewella. The island’s most popular elephant attraction lies near Kegalle, just off the main Colombo-Kandy road, and when the 60 orphans bathe or feed a few mnetres away from you it is easy to understand why.

If it is leopards you are hankering for, your best chance lies at Yala, in the remote south-east, or in the recentle reopened Wilpattu national park, which is best approached from either Negombo or Anaradhapura.