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Nature

Against the tide

Garial1

The gharial is among the largest crocodile species, but it faces a fight to survive.

With its long, saw chain-like mouth, the gharial reminds of an unusual pre-historic or extinct species. Soon it might be one. In 2007 the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed the reptile as ‘critically endangered’. In 2006 it conducted a survey of breeding gharial adults in the wild. It found less than 200.

The gharial is native to the Indian subcontinent. Its appearance is unmistakable. Its narrow snout becomes shorter and thicker with age. At the end is a small lump called ‘Ghara’ – which is Indian for ‘pot’. It is a vocal resonator present on all adults, and a visual sign to females. The gharial is one of the largest crocodile species, just behind the saltwater crocodile. Males can become six metres long and weigh 180kg. The average lifespan is between 40 and 60 years.

The gharial’s habitat mainly consists of deep, fast-moving riverstreams. On land it is clumsy and its short, weak legs give it poor locomotion. The only times it leaves water is when basking or nesting. But in the rivers the gharial is king. It is too thin and delicate to attack large prey and therefore feeds on fish, which it grasps from the water with razor-sharp teeth. Continue Reading…

Ecology, Nature

Norway’s Fjords – Lighting The Way

Tourism And Travel. Mountains And Fjord In Norway.

When one thinks of the landscape in Scandinavian country Norway, it is almost certain that the stunning fjords, carved through steep banks of rock along the Norwegian coast, will immediately spring to mind.

Not only are the fjords beautiful structures of natural engineering, however, but they are also some of the most ecologically responsible tourist destinations in Europe, if not the world. Norway has made a significant effort to ensure that people can enjoy the nation’s landscape in a sustainable manner, which has led to the practice of eco-business certification.

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Nature

Oman – The Dead Of Night

Green sea turtle eggs in sand hole on a beach

Leaning the furthest out into the Arabian Sea of all the nations perched on the Arabian Peninsula, Oman has some of the most beautiful, pristine beaches that the world, let alone the Middle East, has to offer and is a haven for astonishing wildlife and natural beauty.

That Oman remains largely untouched by the behemoth of modern tourism is largely down to its location, with many wrongly believing that all countries in the region are beset by political instability and rising tensions, but this neglect from the mass market has opened up a cornucopia of relatively unexplored paths for the more adventurous tourist to explore.

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Ecology, Nature

Sarajevo (Green City Guide)

SARAJEVO, BOSNIA - AUGUST 13: The Museum of Sarajevo at night on

Bosnia and Herzegovina is a country with huge potential for growth in ecotourism, with the European nation having continued its recovery from the strife of the war torn 1990s in the region.

This new industry has been created around the country’s beautiful capital city, Sarajevo, which is one of few European capitals that remain relatively undiscovered by mass tourism.

Located in a country that still enjoys almost 50% forest coverage, Sarajevo is a hidden jewel for tourists willing to explore such a young nation, whilst Bosnia beyond the walls of its main city is also one of Europe’s undiscovered ecological delights.

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Nature

The good shepherds

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This year Japan suffered its worst ever whaling season. The reason? Battle-hardened conservationists.

 

They might be modern-day pirates, as one US court damningly ruled, but their motive is nothing like gold and silver. Sea Shepherd, a non-profit marine wildlife conservation organisation, is renowned for using direct and aggressive tactics to prevent ocean killings on the high seas. Diplomacy is thrown overboard. Whatever needs to be done, will be done. Continue Reading…

Asia, Nature

Celebration of the lizard

Komodo

The world’s largest lizard is a shrewd predator that will stop at nothing for its next meal. Meet the Komodo dragon.

Dinosaurs may have been extinct for hundreds of millions of years, but reptiles remain that carry their legacy. That, at least, is the impression one gets of the Komodo dragon, a three-metre-long killing machine whose favourite preys include pigs, deer and large water buffalos. Even humans are unlikely to escape its wrath: in February, two people were attacked by a giant dragon that had somehow wandered into their office. They ended up in hospital. Continue Reading…

Nature, Northern America

The supervolcano

Lorcel

Yellowstone National Park is a geological masterpiece of hot springs and active geysers, but beneath lies a sleeping giant. 

 

When transfixed by the geothermal features of Yellowstone National Park, it is easy to forget what powers it all. The sights can be so beautiful they are spellbinding: the spectacular hot springs, the geysers, the lava formations, the fumaroles; not to mention the wildlife of grizzly bears, wolves and bison; the scenic landscape of wild forests, majestic waterfalls and large canyons. Continue Reading…

Latin America, Nature

Chop and change

Jenny-Leonard

Amazonian deforestation has been greatly reduced in recent years, but changes to Brazil’s legislation on natural protection areas have filled conservation groups with skepticism.

Everyone wants a piece of the Amazon. Last year, the Brazilian government made changes to the forest code, an old law that determines how large an area Amazonian land owners are required to leave untouched. The farmers, represented by the powerful agri-business sector, demanded the legislation be relaxed, so they could develop more land, produce more goods and expand their business. Environmental NGOs argued that more deforestation would further threaten the rainforest’s biodiversity. In the end, the changes appeared to be a compromise between the two sectors. But conservationists were not happy. Continue Reading…

Africa, Interviews, Nature

A wake-up call

charlie02

With Africa’s rhino and elephant poaching worsening by the year, Charlie Mayhew, founder and chief executive of conservation charity Tusk, says nations must pass tougher legislation or risk losing their prized wildlife.

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