Begin Anew

And so we end 2014 and begin anew. What progress has been made this year and what have we learned? Quite a bit, actually.

The good news:
Pope Francis announced that dogs do in fact go to heaven. This is great news for all of us dog lovers out there who look forward to reunions with our much loved long lost pooches. It’s also a huge reversal on the long held great chain of being hierarchal theory that only humans are special. All of us dog-lovers have always felt this not to be the case and it’s a huge step for the leader of the Catholic Church to concur.
The largest marine park monument came into effect under US President Barack Obama. It’s three times the size of California and it is a no-go zone for fishermen, tourists and other terrestrials. Also under Obama, more land has been set aside for parks and reserves making the protected areas the largest in US history.
According to the Pew Charitable trusts, shark fin consumption was down 90% in Hong Kong in the past two years so hopefully Wildaid and Yao Ming have made a dent in the psyche of islanders, let’s hope they can do the same for the mainland Chinese where data is woefully and disturbingly unavailable.

Here is NSW, the government wisely decided not to dismantle the marine parks, thanks to public response and action. Let’s hope they don’t do a backflip. Also, the message of overfishing is finally getting out to the mainstream, and SBS’s “What’s the Catch?” added to this message. I have two friends who have stopped eating fish because of it and others who are foregoing the 4 staples, prawns, shark, tuna and salmon in favour of more sustainable species. This is great news.

The bad news:
Elephant and Rhino poaching in Africa is still endemic. A supposed 22,000 elephants were killed this year and the largest elephant ever recorded by biologists, Satao was killed in May. Biologists are recording that elephants now know that their tusks are putting them in jeopardy and are trying to hide them. Think about that for a moment. Elephants have witnessed such brutality against their kin and have watched poachers kill them and then cart away their tusks that they understand the connection and are trying to protect themselves by disguising their assets. Our knowledge of animal intelligence has a long way to go. That old joke of an elephant’s memory is no longer very funny when you consider that the remaining populations are all suffering post-traumatic stress disorder.
I am only talking about the mega fauna here, but lest we forget our frogs, toads, birds, bats, newts, voles and the all too many other endangered species around the planet.
There is much to be done and much has been done. Let’s hope next year we can add the end of elephant and rhino poaching to next year’s good news list.

Wishing you all a peaceful 2015.

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