Biodiversity : Features

There are 52 documents in this section.

  • Close shave for Switzerland's bearded vulture

    27 September 2005

    The bearded vulture, as with other scavenger species, gets a bad rap. Perpetually cast as the ugly villain of the alpine pastures, farmers and shepherds never took kindly to this bird and tried shooting it whenever they could. By the end of the 19th century the bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) was hunted to extinction in the Alps. But a hundred years later, attitudes have changed and efforts are now being made to return this misunderstood bird species back to its rightful place in the fragile alpine ecosystem.

  • Fresh hope for the orang-utan

    15 June 2005

    Primate expert Simon Husson and his wife have spent the last ten years living in an Indonesian peat forest, in Borneo's Sepangau National Park, only slightly larger than greater London, to study orang-utans, whose forest habitat is being destroyed at a rapid rate throughout Southeast Asia. They are part of a larger effort to rescue these remarkable 'men of the forest' from extinction, as Jikkie Jonkman reports.

  • Saving dolphins in the sacred Ganges

    15 March 2005

    The river dolphins of India's sacred Ganges River have been written into Hindu religious tracts dating back thousands of years. So revered, the Ganges River dolphin was one of the world's first protected species, given special status under the reign of Emperor Ashoka, one of India's most famous rulers in the third century BC.

  • Philippines on verge of ecological disaster

    6 July 2004

    More than 100 years ago, the Philippines was rich in natural resources. Now, as the human population continues to grow (from 83 million today to a projected 133 million by 2050), it is not rich anymore.

  • Can the new Europe meet the biodiversity challenge?

    22 April 2004

    Ten new countries, with 75 million people, will join the enlarged European Union on May 1, 2004. They will bring with them much of the remaining natural wealth of Europe, but present the Union with an enormous challenge of conserving its rich biodiversity, in the face of rapid development. The following summary of these environmental assets, is based on research by the World Conservation Union (IUCN).

  • The sixth great extinction: a status report

    8 March 2004

    Today, biologists are warning that Planet Earth is facing another mass extinction on par with the "great dying" of the dinosaurs and associated species 65 million years ago. This potential 'sixth mass extinction' is unique in that it will be caused largely by human activities, ranging from habitat destruction, human-induced climate change, pollution and land exploitation. While this may be the first time in history that a single species can precipitate a mass extinction event, it is also the first time in history that a single species can act to prevent it. Janet Larsen reports.

  • Revealed: how global warming will cause extinction of a million species

    8 January 2004

    A quarter of known land animals and plants, more than a million species, will eventually die out because of the global warming that will take place over the next 50 years, the most important study of its kind has concluded.

  • Learning to live with "Mega" parks

    7 August 2003

    A growing number of countries - from Albania to Zimbabwe - are now linking up their parklands with protected areas in neighbouring nations to make "transboundary" parks. But the process is not always welcome, as Curtus Runyan reports

  • Making mussels work in South Africa

    7 August 2003

    Until two decades ago the Sokulu people of South Africa harvested mussles from a 30-mile stretch of coast near Durban - until the government designated the area a nature reserve. Cut off from an important source of food and a way of life, their livelihood crumbled. Now, a five-year programme has put responsibility for the mussels back in the hands of the Sokhulu, as Gregory Mock reports.

  • Protected areas: past, present, and future

    30 July 2003

    This month (September) some 2,500 are gathering in Durban, South Africa, for the 5th World Parks Congress. Government authorities, park directors, conservation groups, and scientists have much to celebrate - but also much to do to ensure the continued relevance and effective protection of the world's protected areas.