‘Green’ Palm Oil Goes Into The Red

After it became popular knowledge that Palm Oil production was linked to massive deforestation, people were calling for the companies to find greener ways to produce the Palm Oil – and prove it.  Therefore the Malaysian companies hired auditors to certify that they were not felling protected rainforest, and keeping their supply chain clean. However, it seems all-important European consumers have forgone the extra cost this has accumulated in associated products in favour of not-so-“green” cheaper price tags. The recession has been blamed for this, however the Palm Oil companies feel they have been persuaded to spend what seems to them to be unnecessary money by their western market, only to hit a brick wall when trying to sell to the very same consumers! The Chief Executive of the Malaysian Palm Oil Council said “We have been led down the path of false hope in selling environmentally-certified palm oil and now the buyers are not keen on paying for the premium”. This could be a massive dent in the global fight to wipe out illegal deforestation by Palm Oil companies, as if they have no financial incentive to change their ways, there may be no persuading them from now on.

Read more: Consumers shun ‘green’ palm oil

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The Reality of Bushmeat Hunting

The above video is a shocking visualisation of the Bushmeat trade. As large tracts of forest in Central and West Africa are opened up to logging and mining, commercial “bushmeat” hunting is threatening apes, chimpanzees and other endangered species with extinction.

“Bushmeat” is the name given to the flesh of wild animals killed in the forests and shrub lands of Africa. The International Fund for Animal Welfare [IFAW] and other partner organizations are working to find practical solutions to the bushmeat crisis.

+ The International Fund for Animal Welfare

Bushmeat Poses AIDs Risk

Director of the Bushmeat Crisis Task Force, Heather Eves, has released a statement linking disease to Bushmeat in Africa.

HIV and AIDS can be transferred from primates to humans, through a smaller viruses called SIVs and more than 20 of the primate species commonly traded carry the virus. SIV transfers during the butchering process and mutates in the human system to full blown HIV/AIDS. Other health risks to humans include contracting the deadly Marburg and Ebola viruses, and Monkey pox.

Via. Voa News: [24 Sept]

Bushmeat Catering for Asia’s Urban Market

Director of the Hunting and Wildlife Training program for the Wildlife Conservation Society, Elizabeth Bennett, has spoken to reporter Colin Mallard, regarding the million tons of Bushmeat hunted every year in Africa alone.

Bennett explains the trade is very prevalent in East Asia, and is intended mostly for the luxury urban market (much like the recent commercial boom in Africa). In Vietnam’s Danang City alone, over a ton of meat is sold each week in just FOUR restaurants.

Logging is also closely linked, as companies build large fast roads to the forests, making wildlife more accessible and species more vulnerable. Rainforests do not produce much Bushmeat – only enough to sustainably support one person per square km.

Full Story: Voa News: [Sept 24]

Ghana Steps In

Ghana is one African country, that has taken on board the real and immediate problem of Bushmeat and actively addressing and enforcing it in to workable arenas.

The Ghanian Conservation Program addresses law enforcement, public awareness, co-operation, and sustainable hunting, as well as protecting vulnerable species. The Government has also shown a genuine willingness to work with local villagers and farmers, as well as International NGO’s. Finally, a country that is taking positive action instead of giving lip service.

+ VOA NEWS: Dealing with Bushmeat Crisis [26 Sept]

No Quick Fix

The BCTF (Bushmeat Crisis Task Force) has released a story by African reporter Cole Mallard regarding the alternatives to bushmeat for the African community.

As the dependency on poaching is driven by the need for food and a thirst for a higher income, choosing other viable, sustainable sources could curb this wildlife catastrophe. He cites alternatives such as; growing crops, raising domestics animals such as Cattle and Goats, and creating wildgame ranches for tourists to sustain the economy damage from dropping visitors to wildlife parks.

These are nice ideas and sound initially like a very simple solution, however, are these things not already in operation within communities? Do farmers not already grow crops and raise animals? Do we not already have wildlife tourist attractions in the form of conservation parks? These have not attracted away from people poaching for one simple reason – bushmeat has become a commercial trade, not a need. People CHOOSE it for it apparent ‘powers’ and status; much like buying caviar is to the western world.

Mallard also suggests a review on Wildlife policies and changing outdated laws on hunting practices. There is, however a huge buffer to this – the laws have never made a difference, as they have never truly been enforces. A large majority of the government officials, police and statesmen are corrupt when it comes to Bushmeat, as they blindly uphold their traditions and are not educated enough to see the long term pitfalls. Until this problem is tackled, every other attempt will be in vain.

+ VOA NEWS: Solutions to Problems [26 Sept]