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crocodile

United Nation Reports Global Wildlife Trafficking Is Causing ‘Untold Harm Upon Nature’

A report from the United Nations has warned that more than 4,000 species of animals around the world are currently being targeted by traffickers, which is causing an unknown level of “harm upon nature.”

Crimes and trafficking involving wildlife are driven by demands for medicine, pets, bushmeat, ornamental plants, and trophies, according to reports. Of all the animals currently being trafficked, 40% are on the “red list” of threatened or near-threatened species. 

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The wildlife trade is active in more than 80% of countries around the world, according to the report which came from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). 

“Despite gaps in knowledge about the full extent of wildlife trafficking and associated crime, there is sufficient evidence to conclude that this remains a significant global problem far from being resolved.”

Researchers for the report looked at more than 140,000 wildlife seizures that took place between 2015 and 2021. They found that Corals, larger reptiles like crocodiles, and elephants had the largest number of individual seizures. 

These crimes are also actively driving extinction rates in species of rare orchids, succulent plants, reptiles, and fish, according to UNODC. 

“About 16,000 tonnes of goods were seized. Actual wildlife trafficking levels are of course far greater than the recorded seizures,” researchers say in the report.

“Wildlife crime inflicts untold harm upon nature, and it also jeopardizes livelihoods, public health, good governance and our planet’s ability to fight climate change,” said Ghada Waly, the executive director of the UNODC.

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Separate research has found that specific populations of spider monkeys and Baird’s tapir have declined up to 99.9% due to the illegal wildlife trade exclusively. Researchers want the world to know that this illegal trading can lead to global extinctions of multiple species, which would also impact the overall environment. 

“Much wildlife crime is linked to large organized crime groups. Corruption plays a critical role in undermining efforts to stop wildlife trafficking, from bribes paid to inspectors, to government officials allowing fake permits,” the report says.

“An absence of seizures of a particular commodity or at a certain location could reflect lack of enforcement, rather than evidence that illegal trade was not taking place,” researchers said

It is estimated that the illegal wildlife trading industry could be worth around $23 billion annually, with over 100 million plants and animals being trafficked every year. While the UNODC has the goal of ending all trafficking of protected species, it seems unlikely that they’ll reach that by 2030 as they initially planned. 

“To address this crime, we must match the adaptability and agility of illegal wildlife trade,” said Waly.

hills

New Resort In The Philippines Sparks Debate Over Conservation And ‘Abuse Of Natural Resources’ 

The new Captain’s Peak Garden and Resort located in the famous Chocolate Hills of the Philippines is meant to give visitors an exclusive experience of lush scenery. However, the public and government officials are viewing the resort as a “blatant abuse of natural resources,” calling for an investigation into how the resort was able to be built where it was in the first place.

horizontal falls

Sacred Australian Natural Wonder Implements New Ban To Stop Tourists From Visiting 

The Horizontal Falls in Australia are known for their coastal geography and powerful tide forces that, in the past, many visitors paid to see up close. Now, the falls are leaning back on allowing tourists to visit due to safety concerns, and complaints from the indigenous population in the area who have claimed for a while that the boat tours “desecrate” the falls.

vineyard

New Airport Terminal In Florence Will Have A Vineyard On Its Roof, Aiding New Sustainability Efforts

New York-based firm Rafael Viñoly Architects announced back in January that it will be adding a new international terminal at the Aeroporto Amerigo Vespucci in Florence that will have a functioning vineyard on its roof as a “new landmark for the city’s sustainable future.”

lunar

China Reports Record Breaking Holiday Travel Rates For Lunar New Year 

China has reported a record breaking increase in travel and spending during this year’s Lunar New Year holiday season, which could mean great things for the world’s second largest economy.

jamaica

US State Department Issues Travel Advisory For Jamaica Amid Crime And Health Concerns 

The US State Department has issued a travel advisory for Jamaica among an influx of crime and health concerns. The department issued the advisory last week, stating the following: 

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“Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts. Local police often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.”

The State Department also added to their advisory that in the event of an emergency, “high level or specialized” healthcare options may not be available throughout the entire island nation, and patients would likely be required to pay for medical care. 

Travelers are only being asked to reconsider visiting Jamaica, especially with Spring Break and the summer season coming up quickly. While they have not advised Americans to avoid the nation altogether, they did outline specific high-risk areas in which certain US government personnel are prohibited from traveling due to its risk of crime. 

Montego Bay, downtown Kingston, part of St. Ann’s Parish by Ocho Rios, and certain neighborhoods in Negril are some of the areas mentioned in the advisory to be cautious of visiting, according to USA Today

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Americans who will be traveling to Jamaica and/or the previously mentioned areas specifically, are being advised to always be aware of their surroundings, keep a relatively low profile while you’re there, and avoid public transportation, walking, and/or driving at night. 

Situations where one may find themselves secluded increases their risk of being potentially robbed or susceptible to other violence. If one does find themselves in a dangerous situation, the best thing to do is comply, especially in cases of robbery. 

The State Department is also encouraging Americans who are traveling to Jamaica to enroll in the department’s free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, and to plan emergency contingency plans in case something were to happen. 

“We strongly encourage you to obtain traveler’s insurance, including medical evacuation insurance, before traveling to Jamaica,” the advisory added in bold font to emphasize the importance of these procedures. 

Insurance and medical evacuation insurance is especially important, as the Department warned that many health care providers overseas will not accept US health insurance, and neither Medicare nor Medicaid benefits apply overseas.

train

Train Route Between Italy And Slovenia To Open For Historical Direct Trip 

A new train route in Europe is opening up that will connect Milan, Italy to Ljubljana, Slovenia in what is believed to be the first connecting the two nations, in this way, in over 100 years; the last time there was a train route between the two is thought to have been during the Habsburg Empire before it dissolved.

vietnam

Vietnam Opens New ‘Kissing Bridge’ As A Selfie Hotspot 

Last week, a new hotspot opened in Vietnam called the “Kiss Bridge” to give couples a chance to share a romantic moment with the beautiful Vietnamese sunsets. 

The bridge itself is located in Vietnam’s southern Phu Quoc Island, which is famous for its spectacular beach views. The bridge itself was a collaborative project between luxury tourism developer Sun Group, and Italian architect Marco Casamonti. 

The bridge itself is half a mile long (800 meters) and is made up of two separate halves. 

According to reports, the design of the bridge was inspired by Michelangelo’s classic fresco painting ‘The Creation of Adam’ located at the Sistine Chapel. Casamonti cited that just like the pointing fingers in the painting, the two halves of the bridge aren’t quite touching. 

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The photo opportunity that the bridge provides shows the north and south sections of the bridge meeting with 12 inches of space between them, mimicking the space between the fingers in the painting. One kisser goes on each side, then lean in for the picture. 

The location and distance between these sections of the bridge were also meticulously built so that on January 1st every year, the sun will fall directly in the gap between the two halves, according to the Sun Group. 

The bridge was fully built with romance in mind, and is named “Cau Hon” which is Vietnamese for “proposing marriage,” just in case any visitors want to take the opportunity to get engaged.

Phu Quoc Island’s Sunset Town, where the bridge is located, is in Vietnam’s southern province of Kien Giang, and is known as one of Vietnam’s “best island getaway,” which is often taken advantage of by honeymooners. 

The Sun Group is known for various projects with spectacular views, including the well known “Golden Bridge” near Da Nang, where two giant statue hands “lift up” a shimmering structure; the bridge itself is about 493 feet long.

flights

Virgin Atlantic And British Airways Face Complaints Over Alleged Misleading Sustainability Claims 

Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are currently facing formal complaints regarding accusations that the airlines are misleading the public over their sustainability claims and environmental credentials of aviation. 

This past week, a Virgin Atlantic flight took off and was hailed as the first transatlantic flight to be fully powered by “sustainable jet fuel” from a commercial airliner. The jetfuel in question is made up of mainly cooking oil, and was partially funded by the UK government. 

This flight was emphasized as a “potentially guilt-free way to fly” according to reports, however, scientists and professional environmental groups have some issues with the airline’s claims. 

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Leigh Day, a law firm, and Possible, a climate charity, have both filed formal complaints against Virgin Atlantic and British Airways over their claims about sustainability and reducing emissions during flights. 

“The reality is that technologies for cleaner flight either don’t work, or don’t even exist yet. We think that airlines’ misleading claims about their emissions are unfair on people who want to do the right thing when they travel. It’s time for airlines to start being honest about their sky-high emissions,” senior campaigner at Possible, Alethea Warrington, said.

The complaints were filed under the National Contact point mechanism which is run by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. They disclosed that the airlines are misleading their customers over their claims of reducing carbon emissions.

 Recent research from the Royal Society found that the UK would have to devote half of its farmland or double the total amount of renewable electricity supply in order to meet its goal of net zero flying emissions.

BA’s emissions from jet fuel have consistently increased from 2016 to 2019, despite the airlines claims to be  “driving urgent action towards net-zero emissions [with a] clear roadmap to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

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“For fuels derived from biomass, land is not available to produce crops for biofuels in sufficient quantities to power aviation without causing hugely damaging deforestation, which increase emissions and makes biofuels just as bad for the climate as kerosene, if not worse,” Possible said.

A British Airways spokesperson said: “In 2019, we committed to net-zero emissions by 2050 and, while there is no single solution to this challenge, as part of our BA Better World program, we have a clear roadmap of initiatives to get there.

“We were the first airline to report our carbon footprint more than two decades ago and were the first airline to voluntarily participate in the UK emissions trading scheme.”

A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said: “At Virgin Atlantic, we are committed to achieving net zero 2050 and have set interim targets on our pathway to get there, including 10% sustainable aviation fuel by 2030.

“There are two levers for delivering in-sector carbon reductions in the short to medium term: the fleet we operate and fuel we burn. We already fly one of the youngest and most efficient fleets across the Atlantic. Beyond fleet renewals, SAF presents an immediate opportunity to deliver lifecycle carbon reductions of up to 70% and is something we have been pioneering for over 15 years.”

airport

US Airlines Gearing Up For Record-Breaking Air Travel For Thanksgiving 

US airlines are expecting record breaking travel demand this year for Thanksgiving, with multiple executives across many airline companies gearing up to prepare for the influx in travel.