The Duck of Minerva

The Duck Quacks at Twilight

Thursday Morning Linkage

November 7, 2013

Here are a few articles for your consideration. For those of you interested in conservation, we have had a disturbing pattern of stories about rapid declines in species around the world, some of them due to poaching, what has been described as an “environmental crime wave,” and others as a result of disease. All of this suggests to me that nature is in serious trouble as population, disruptive modernity, and consumptive pressures may be taking their toll on the natural world. On top of existing stories about declines in elephants, rhinos, bees, bats, and amphibians, we now have reports of a major decline in moose populations. Here are those stories:

Poaching and Species Decline

  • 17,000 elephants poached in 2011
  • Tanzania discovers 706 elephant tusks at a Chinese national’s residence in Dar es Salaam

    Tanzanian ivory discovery

  • 100 rhinos poached in South Africa in October, 476 in Kruger Park since the beginning of the year
  • Poachers successfully kill rhino in India’s Orang National Park during Diwali festival
  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces it will destroy 6 tons of confiscated African ivory collected over 25 years, with a pound of ivory selling for a $1,000 in China

Disease and Species Decline

  • Pesticides linked with bee colony collapse disorder
  • Fungus affecting bat populations spreading across the Midwest
  • Common herbicide making frogs susceptible to fungus that is killing off amphibians
  • Moose population in the U.S. and Canada in decline as a result of climate change; with increasing temperatures, seasonal tick problems now last all year and the ticks are literally sucking the blood out of moose, leaving them as “ghosts.”
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Joshua Busby is an Associate Professor in the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas-Austin. He is the author of Moral Movements and Foreign Policy (Cambridge, 2010) and the co-author, with Ethan Kapstein, of AIDS Drugs for All: Social Movements and Market Transformations (Cambridge, 2013). His main research interests include transnational advocacy and social movements, international security and climate change, global public health and HIV/ AIDS, energy and environmental policy, and U.S. foreign policy. He also tends to blog about global wildlife conservation.