“Stand up for Mother Earth-even to death?”


To win this battle for peace and health on this planet we must all stand and deliver our best even if the price is high.

Do not support world leaders, irresponsible corporations and mindless reckless consumerism. The reckless and irresponsible greedy behavior are destroying life on earth.

This film is a poignant reminder to save ourselves and the planet we must stand up and be counted even if it costs us the ultimate sacrifice. This docudrama is dedicated to all who died fighting for the planet and those whose lives are on the line today.

The clip was put together by Vivek Chauhan, a young film maker, together with naturalists working with the Sanctuary Asia network (http://www.sanctuaryasia.com/).  Thank you  from Nature’s Crusaders and Mother Nature.

Thanks to UTUBE and Sanctuary Asia Networks for this powerful film clip.

Comments please

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“2 Thumbs Up Award Mex. wolf count up”


To all those who are helping protect our endangered Mexican wolf population in the wild –Mother Nature and the wolves thank you.

Open season every for wolf pups

The annual survey for the number of Mexican Wolves in the wild is out and the news is good

the number of wolves has risen to 58. (up from 50 last year) This includes 6 breeding pair. (up from two last year).

The story has been reported in six regional papers – all listed below.  Let’s blitz them this weekend with a barrage of letters and show the editors, the public, and our elected officials the public cares about Mexican Wolves.  Everything you need, including talking points, links to the articles, tips for writing, and where to send your letter, follow below.

Newspapers in both Arizona and New Mexico reported this, and I encourage you to send your letter to more than one newspaper – changing it as needed to fit that publication. This way, with one letter, you have six chances of getting published.  If from Arizona, send a letter to the New Mexico papers and vice versa.   Include a personal note why you, as an out of state person, care. E.g. “I often camp in the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico out of chance I may hear a wolf howl,” or “A New Mexico with wolves is a place I’d visit as a tourist,” etc.

Be sure to send me a copy (BCC) so I can track what they’re printing. Pasted below is Defenders statement on the count.

Stories (by state) New Mexico Papers:

Albuquerque Journal (South):  More Mexican Wolves Roam the Southwest

Santa Fe New Mexican: More Mexican Wolves in the Wild

Alamogordo Daily News  More Mexican Wolves in the Wild

Las Cruces Sun-New   More Mexican Wolves Thrive in the Wild

Arizona Papers

Tucson Arizona Daily Star More Mexican Wolves in the Wild

Arizona Daily Sun:  More Mexican Wolves in the Wild

 

Sample Talking Points  Pick and choose from the following, but remember: these are just ideas to get you started.  Also, please USE YOUR OWN WORDS, don’t just cut and paste.

 

Ø  Thank the Newspaper for covering the story. E.g.  “Thanks to the Albuquerque Journal for the Mexican wolf story….”

 

Ø  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s efforts to keep more wolves in the wild  by emphasizing tactics that help ranching and wolves coexist instead of removing wolves is starting to pay off.

 

Ø  When packs are more stable they’re able to be better parents, and pups have a better chance at reaching adulthood and reproducing themselves.

letters@lcsun-news.com

Ø  The increase comes as good news for these highly endangered animals, but Mexican wolves are not out of the woods yet.

 

Ø  A population of 58 wolves is still extremely small and at risk from threats such as disease, inbreeding, or catastrophic events like the Wallow Fire, which burned through Mexican wolf habitat last year.

 

Ø  We’re extremely fortunate that the Wallow Fire didn’t wipeout an entire generation of pups, but we can’t continue to rely on luck.

 

Ø  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must build on this momentum. The service should work with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to release new wolves into the wild, adding depth to the population’s gene pool and giving lobos a better shot at survival.

 

Ø  Defenders of Wildlife is leading efforts to create coexistence programs and is seeing significant increases in interest in programs to help ranchers learn to live with wolves.  These programs are expanding in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department, and other groups.

 

Ø  There are wolves eligible for release in both New Mexico and Arizona. The Fish and Wildlife Service should move forward with these releases soon

 

Ø  The Service also should move quickly to revise its out of date policy which prohibits the release of wolves directly from zoos into New Mexico.

 

Ø  Top predators, such as Mexican gray wolves, are vital to keeping wildlands healthy and full of life. Wildlife biologists believe that Mexican wolves will improve the overall health of the Southwest and its rivers and streams – just as the return of gray wolves to Yellowstone has helped restore balance to its lands and waters.

 

Ø  Citizens in Arizona and New Mexico strongly support wolf reintroduction.  Over three-quarters (77%) of Arizona voters and 69% of New Mexico voters say they either strongly support wolf recovery. See Arizona survey here.  See:  New Mexico Survey here

 

Letter Writing Tips & Talking Points

Below are suggestions for your letter.  If you are unsure and want me to look at your letter before sending, send to sjohnson@defenders.org

 

·         Keep it short  – 150 words or less. Read the articles linked above and use the talking points above if needed. USE YOUR OWN WORDS.  (Do not simply cut and paste)

·         Start by thanking the paper for their story and tie your letter to the article. E.g. “Thanks to the Journal for your story, “Can bad meat deter wolves?”

·         Make one or two strong points, don’t try to cover them all: space doesn’t permit.

 

·         Provide your name, address and phone number; your full address and phone number will not be published, but they are required in order to have your letter published.

 

·         If you are uncertain about your letter and want suggestions, I am happy to review letters.  Send to sjohnson@defenders.org

 

·         Submit your letter by email, or cut and paste online (some papers prefer email, others online) at:

 

1.      Albuquerque Journal (click here) Send letter to the Journal

2.      Santa Fe New Mexican (click here)  Send letter to the New Mexican

3.      Alamogordo Daily New (Click here) Send Letter to Alamogordo Daily News

4.      Las Cruces Sun New  email to:  letters@lcsun-news.com

5.      Submit Letter to the Arizona Daily Sun (Flagstaff)  (click here) Submit Letter to the Daily Sun

6.      Submit to Tucson Arizona Daily Star send email (with name and contact info) email letters@azstarnet.com

 

·         Blind copy me  what you send the paper.  This helps me track what they are publishing.

 

Provided courtesy of Scotty Johnson Defenders of Wildlife Tucson, AZ

Image courtesy of Nature’s Crusaders Library

“Saving humpback Valentina from death”


Humpback Whale Shows AMAZING Appreciation After Being Freed From Nets

Thanks for this great video. It makes my heart sing and my energy rise. For more ways to raise  energy visit.

Thanks Great Whale Conservancy and UTube.com

“Welcome to my world-gorillas surround man”


On the last day of his vacation this man had an encounter with a troop of mountain gorillas in Bwindi National Park, Uganda  unlike most will ever have.

Mj Jensen and Amy Kalama Hochreiter on FaceBook

“Harp seals safer”


International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)’s Seal Team Director, Sheryl Fink, has just let me know that Russia has banned the import and

Seal pups slaughtered for fashion

export of harp seal skins. This is a huge victory as the Canadian Government estimates that Russia receives 90% of Canada’s exports of seal skins.

IFAW supporters have worked so hard to help us close down the markets for seal products around the world.

Next goal end to Canada’s commercial harp seal hunt. 

Mother Nature and her seals thanks everyone for their continued support and for saving their skins for them(the seals) to wear.

For more seal info

Image courtesy of NC library

“2 Thumbs Up Award -757 Imperiled Species protected”


The “Two Thumbs Up Award”  goes to the Center of Biological Diversity and the the US Fish and Wildlife Service and an enlightened federal judge for helping save 757 threatened species. Thank you from Mother Nature and all of us at Nature’s Crusaders.

 

Court Approves Historic Agreement to Speed Endangered Species Act Protection for 757 Imperiled Species

Walrus, Wolverine, Albatross, Fisher, Mexican Gray Wolf, Sage Grouse,
Golden Trout Among Those Fast-tracked for Protection

TUCSON, Ariz.— A federal judge today approved a landmark legal agreement between the Center for Biological Diversity and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service requiring the agency to make initial or final decisions on whether to add hundreds of imperiled plants and animals to the federal endangered species list by 2018. The court also approved an agreement with another conservation group that it had previously blocked based on legal opposition from the Center.

“The court’s approval today will allow this historic agreement to move forward, speeding protection for as many as 757 of America’s most imperiled species,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center. “The historic agreement gives species like the Pacific walrus, American wolverine and California golden trout a shot at survival.”

The Center wrote scientific listing petitions and/or filed lawsuits to protect the 757 species as part of its decade-long campaign to safeguard 1,000 of America’s most imperiled, least protected species. Spanning every taxonomic group, the species protected by the agreement include 26 birds, 31 mammals, 67 fish, 22 reptiles, 33 amphibians, 197 plants and 381 invertebrates.

“With approval of the agreement, species from across the nation will be protected,” said Greenwald. “Habitat destruction, climate change, invasive species and other factors are pushing species toward extinction in all 50 states, and this agreement will help turn the tide.”

Individual species included in the agreement include the walrus, wolverine, Mexican gray wolf, New England cottontail rabbit, three species of sage grouse, scarlet Hawaiian honeycreeper (‘i‘iwi), California golden trout and Rio Grande cutthroat trout — as well as 403 southeastern river-dependent species, 42 Great Basin springsnails and 32 Pacific Northwest mollusks.

The agreement, formalized today with the judge’s approval, was signed by the Center and the Fish and Wildlife Service on July 12. Already dozens of species have been proposed for listing, including the Miami blue butterfly, one of the rarest butterflies in the United States.

While the agreement encompasses nearly all the species on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s official list of “candidates” for Endangered Species Act protection, two-thirds of the species in the agreement (499) are not on the list. This corresponds with the conclusion of numerous scientists and scientific societies that the extinction crisis is vastly greater than existing federal priority systems and budgets.

“The Endangered Species Act specifically allows scientists, conservationists and others to submit petitions to protect species,” said Greenwald. “These petitions play a critical role in identifying species in need and help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with the ever-expanding task of protecting species threatened with extinction.”

The species in the agreement occur in all 50 states and several Pacific island territories. The top three states in the agreement are Alabama, Georgia and Florida, with 149, 121 and 115 species respectively. Hawaii has 70, Nevada 54, California 51, Washington 36, Arizona 31, Oregon 24, Texas 22 and New Mexico 18.

An interactive map and a full list of the 757 species broken down by state, taxonomy, name and schedule of protection are available here.

Highlighted species are below.

Species Highlights

American wolverine: A bear-like carnivore, the American wolverine is the largest member of the weasel family. It lives in mountainous areas of the West, where it depends on late-spring snowpacks for denning. The primary threats to its existence are shrinking snowpacks related to global warming, excessive trapping and harassment by snowmobiles.

The Center for Biological Diversity and allies petitioned to list the wolverine as an endangered species in 1994. It was placed on the candidate list in 2010. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2013 and finalize the decision in 2014 if warranted.

Pacific walrus: A large, ice-loving, tusk-bearing pinniped, the Pacific walrus plays a major role in the culture and religion of many northern peoples. Like the polar bear, it is threatened by the rapid and accelerating loss of Arctic sea ice and oil drilling.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list it as an endangered species in 2007. It was placed on the candidate list in 2011. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2017 and finalize the decision in 2018 if warranted.

Mexican gray wolf: Exterminated from, then reintroduced to the Southwest, the Mexican gray wolf lives in remote forests and mountains along the Arizona-New Mexico border. It is threatened by legal and illegal killing, which has hampered the federal recovery program, keeping the species down to 50 wild animals.

The Center for Biological Diversity and allies petitioned to list it as an endangered species separate from other wolves in 2009. It is not on the candidate list. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2012 and finalize the decision in 2013 if warranted.

Black-footed albatross: A large, dark-plumed seabird that lives in northwestern Hawaii, the black-footed albatross is threatened by longline swordfish fisheries, which kill it as bycatch.

The Center for Biological Diversity and allies petitioned to list this albatross as an endangered species in 2004. It is not on the candidate list. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection, determine it does not qualify, or find that it is warranted but precluded for protection in 2011.

Rio Grande cutthroat trout: Characterized by deep crimson slashes on its throat — hence the name “cutthroat” — the Rio Grande cutthroat is New Mexico’s state fish. It formerly occurred throughout high-elevation streams in the Rio Grande Basin of New Mexico and southern Colorado. Logging, road building, grazing, pollution and exotic species have pushed it to the brink of extinction.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list it as an endangered species in 1998. It was placed on the candidate list in 2008. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2014 and finalize the decision in 2015 if warranted.

403 Southeast aquatic species: The southeastern United States contains the richest aquatic biodiversity in the nation, harboring 62 percent of the country’s fish species (493 species), 91 percent of its mussels (269 species) and 48 percent of its dragonflies and damselflies (241 species). Unfortunately the wholesale destruction, diversion, pollution and development of the Southeast’s rivers have made the region America’s aquatic extinction capital.

In 2010, the Center for Biological Diversity completed a 1,145-page, peer-reviewed petition to list 403 Southeast aquatic species as endangered, including the Florida sandhill crane, MacGillivray’s seaside sparrow, Alabama map turtle, Oklahoma salamander, West Virginia spring salamander, Tennessee cave salamander, Black Warrior waterdog, Cape Sable orchid, clam-shell orchid, Florida bog frog, Lower Florida Keys striped mud turtle, eastern black rail and streamside salamander.

Only 18 of Southeast aquatic species are on the candidate list. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will issue initial listing decisions on all 403 plants and animals in 2011.

Pacific fisher: A cat-like relative of minks and otters, the fisher is the only animal that regularly preys on porcupines. It lives in old-growth forests in California, Oregon and Washington, where it is threatened by logging.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list the fisher as an endangered species in 2000. It was placed on the candidate list in 2004. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2014 and finalize the decision in 2015 if warranted.

Cactus ferruginous pygmy owl: A tiny desert raptor, active in the daytime, the cactus ferruginous pygmy owl lives in southern Arizona and northern Mexico. It is threatened by urban sprawl and nearly extirpated from Arizona.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list it as an endangered species in 1992. It was protected in 1997, then delisted on technical grounds in 2006. The Center repetitioned to protect it in 2007. It is not on the candidate list. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2011 and finalize the decision in 2012 if warranted.

42 Great Basin springsnails: Living in isolated springs of the Great Basin and Mojave deserts, springsnails play important ecological roles cycling nutrients, filtering water and providing food to other animals. Many are threatened by a Southern Nevada Water Authority plan to pump remote, desert groundwater to Las Vegas.

In 2009, the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list 42 springsnails as endangered species, including the duckwater pyrg, Big Warm Spring pyrg and Moapa pebblesnail. None are on the candidate list. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will issue initial listing decisions on all 42 species in 2011.

Scarlet Hawaiian honeycreeper (Iiwi): This bright-red bird hovers like a hummingbird and has long been featured in the folklore and songs of native Hawaiians. It is threatened by climate change, which is causing mosquitoes that carry introduced diseases — including avian pox and malaria — to move into the honeycreeper’s higher-elevations refuges. It has been eliminated from low elevations on all islands by these diseases.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list it as an endangered species in 2010. It is not on the candidate list. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2016 and finalize the decision in 2017 if warranted.

Ashy storm petrel: A small, soot-colored seabird that lives off coastal waters from California to Baja, Mexico, the ashy storm petrel looks like it’s walking on the ocean surface when it feeds. It is threatened by warming oceans, sea-level rise and ocean acidification.

The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list it as an endangered species in 2007. It is not on the candidate list. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2013 and finalize the decision in 2014 if warranted.

Greater and Mono Basin sage grouse: Sage grouse are showy, ground-dwelling birds that perform elaborate mating dances, with males puffing up giant air sacks on their chests. The Mono Basin sage grouse lives in Nevada and California. The greater sage grouse lives throughout much of the Interior West. Both are threatened by oil and gas drilling, livestock grazing, development and off-road vehicles.

The Center for Biological Diversity and allies petitioned to list the Mono Basin sage grouse as an endangered species in 2005. It was placed on the candidate list in 2010. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2013 and finalize the decision in 2014 if warranted.

The greater sage grouse was petitioned for listing in 2002 and placed on the candidate list in 2010. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2015 and finalize the decision in 2016 if warranted.

Miami blue butterfly: An ethereal beauty native to South Florida and possibly the most endangered insect in the United States, the Miami blue

was thought extinct after Hurricane Andrew in 1992 but rediscovered in 1999. It is threatened by habitat loss and pesticide spraying.

It was petitioned for listing as an endangered species in 2000 and placed on the candidate list in 2005. The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned to list it on an emergency basis in 2011. Under the agreement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was required to propose it for protection (or determine it does not qualify) in 2012 and finalize the decision in 2013 if warranted. In August, the agency protected the butterfly on an emergency basis. 

Oregon spotted frog: The Oregon spotted frog lives in wetlands from southernmost British Columbia through Washington and Oregon to northernmost California. It is threatened by habitat destruction and exotic species.

 

Press release provided by The Center for Biological Diversity http://goo.gl/DlFGk

Image courtesy of  http://goo.gl/bl00h

Image Ca. Golden trout courtesy of dfg.ca.gov http://goo.gl/1nNls

Image Pacific walrus courtesy of farnorthscience.com  http://goo.gl/P6MJE

Image Miami Blue butterfly courtesy of dep.state.fl.us  http://goo.gl/nTRNf

Image Oregon spotted frog courtesy of blm.gov  http://goo.gl/Cin8a


Dear NC Supporteers

Thanks to your efforts, we’ve already defeated one of the worst attacks on our wildlife in recent memory:

the Extinction Rider that would block vital protections for walruses, wolverines and other imperiled species.

Unfortunately, all of our hard work could be undone if anti-wildlife Senators manage a backroom deal to include any of the House of Representatives’ awful anti-wildlife provisions in a comprehensive spending bill for the federal government.

We’re mobilizing our best activists in defense of our imperiled wildlife on an upcoming conference call.   Please RSVP now to join us.

Right now, your Senators are back in their home states. But when they return to Washington in just a couple of weeks, they’ll begin work on a catch-all spending bill for the federal government that could spell disaster for our wildlife.

The House of Representatives has already made their stance on wildlife protection clear.

  • Anti-wildlife Representatives have larded up the Interior spending bill with proposals that undermine imperiled species and the Endangered Species Act.
  • They’ve slashed funding for national wildlife refuges and other core conservation priorities.
  • And they’ve proposed legislation to end Mexican gray wolf recovery efforts and prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from keeping dangerous pesticides that threaten human health and wildlife out of our waters.

We’re fighting each and every one of these damaging provisions in the House. Now we need to ensure that none of these awful provisions find their way into Senate legislation.

Please take action now. Let me know that you will stand up for wildlife and keep America’s natural treasures off the chopping block.

We all know the risks of backroom deal-making, and we all know that these attacks on our natural heritage have no business in a bill to fund the federal government.

Please take action now. RSVP now for the conference call.

With Gratitude,

Caitlin Balch-Burnett, Colorado Outreach Representative Caitlin Balch Burnett
Outreach Representative
Defenders of Wildlife

“Your needed to save Brazil’s rain forest”


The Amazon is in serious danger:    Click here to help

Brazil is on the verge of gutting its forest protection laws —

unless we act now, vast tracts of our planet’s lungs could be opened up to clear-cutting devastation. Click here to help

This threat to the Amazon has sparked widespread anger and protests across the country and tensions are rising. In an effort to stifle criticism, armed thugs, allegedly hired by loggers, have murdered environmental advocates. But the movement is fighting back — in three days, brave indigenous people are leading massive marches across Brazil to demand action and inside sources say President Dilma is considering vetoing the changes.

79% of Brazilians support a veto of the forest law changes and this internal pressure is leading some in Dilma’s administration to back a veto. But we need a global cry of solidarity with the Brazilian people to really force Dilma’s hand. Our global petition will be boldly displayed on banners at the front of the massive marches for Amazon protection. Let’s reach one million to SAVE THE AMAZON! Sign the urgent petition and send this on to everyone.

Image courtesy of   http://goo.gl/JoKHp

“Victory for threatened species”


House Votes Down ‘Extinction Rider’ That Would Have Halted Spending to
Protect New Species Under the Endangered Species Act

TWO THUMBS UP AWARD Center for Biological Diversity

In a victory for imperiled species, the U.S. House of Representatives today voted not to include the “extinction rider” in an appropriations bill that would have stopped the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from spending any money to protect new species under the Endangered Species Act or to designate “critical habitat” for their survival. The House voted 224-202 in favor of an amendment from Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) to strip the “extinction rider” from the Interior department’s appropriation bill.

“The extinction rider would have been a disaster for hundreds of animals and plants across the country that desperately need the help of the Endangered Species Act to survive,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Today’s vote is a promising sign for wolverines, walruses and species in all 50 states that, without help, face the very real prospect of extinction.”

Plants and animals across the country are at heightened risk of extinction due to habitat destruction, global climate change, extreme weather events and other factors. Earlier this month the Center and the Fish and Wildlife Service reached a landmark agreement to speed protection for 757 imperiled U.S. species, including the wolverine, Pacific walrus, Rio Grand cutthroat trout and Mexican gray wolf.

For more information Center for Biodiversity

TWO THUMBS UP AWARD goes to the Center for Biodiversity and everyone that has helped save our threatened and endangered species.-“Thanks” from Mother Nature

Images

Wolverine  Wikimedia.org

Walrus  Wikimedia.org

Grey wolf pups  Natures Crusaders library

“Elephant pyre such a waste!”


Don’t you think that we could have found a better tribute to honor the lives of these innocent elephants than letting their remains go up in smoke?  This was not a well conceived plan. I realize a message was sent to poachers and illegal traders, but this seems to add insult to injury.

Do any of NC readers have a better green way to honor the elephants and make money to support elephant research too?

Well Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki on Wednesday did not ask for our input when he ignited five tons of ivory stockpiled in the country since being seized in Singapore nearly a decade ago. Some 335 tusks and 42,553 ivory carvings went up in smoke at the Manyani wildlife rangers training institution in eastern Kenya

The vanities of man fueled this slaughter of elephants for their ivory  in Asia and the Middle East where elephant tusks and rhinoceros horns are used to make ornaments and traditional medicines.

Kenya in 1989 torched 12 tons of ivory, three years later Zambia also burnt a stockpile of smuggled tusks.

Africa is home to 472,269 elephants whose survival is threatened by poaching and illegal trade in game trophy as is rising population causing wildlife habitat loss.

The site of the Wednesday’s ivory burning also bore symbolism. The national wildlife rangers institution is in the Tsavo National Park, which is Kenya’s leading elephant sanctuary home to 12,572 elephants.

Wildlife officials said a monument will be erected at the burning site.

In the last few years  several smugglers were arrested at its Nairobi international airport, a major regional hub.

Trafficking animal parts is also linked to other crimes such as document falsification, corruption, money laundering and other organised crime, according to wildlife authorities.

Protecting and develop our wildlife resources is a national focus, because eco tourism has become a huge revenue source for the country.

Excerpts and image courtesy of  http://www.terradaily.com

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