Saving Sharks: A Great White Encounter

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20030523a-dscn0132It’s either at the very top of your bucket list, or the number one thing you would never, ever dare to do: Swim with great white sharks.  

Here at the Texas State Aquarium, we’ve got some pretty brave souls. We have those who dive with the sand tiger sharks in our Islands of Steel exhibit; those who help give our 400-lb alligator Bo a physical, and even those work every day with our raptors, or birds of prey. But one of the bravest is Suraida Nanez-James, our manager of distance learning and outreach, who not only studied and helped to identify great whites; she cage dived with them, too.

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Nanez-James is pictured wrestling bait back from a great white.

Back in the summer of 2003, Nanez-James was working on earning her undergraduate degree in Marine Fisheries at TAMUG and scored the opportunity to work for six weeks as a research intern for the now-defunct White Shark Trust Organization in Gansbaai, South Africa, A.K.A. the great white capital of the world.

Nanez-James and the rest of the crew were most interested in tracking demographic information of great whites in the area, i.e., recording data based on sex, length, and distinguishing marks.

“A big part of it was trying to get them to surface for us,” says Nanez-James, “Ideally, we were trying to study and ID their dorsal fins.” 20030606d-dscn0028

Research leader Michael Scholl called the process “finprinting,” and Nanez-James says it was a tad harder than it sounds.

After going about ten miles out in a rather pint-sized boat (cue Jaws quotes), their nine hour day began.

“We had to chum the water, and then drop bait, trying to get them close to the boat and to breach the water,” Nanez-James explains.

She said the task was made more difficult because the team didn’t want the sharks actually biting the buoys attached to the bait, or eating all of the bait. The object was not to feed the legendary creatures, but to lure them up to get photos for data purposes.

Nanez-James says it’s an experience she will never forget.

20030601b-dscn0139“I wasn’t scared of them, but let me tell you; it definitely gives you a healthy respect for them as predators. It was amazing to be able to get that close to them and just be aware of their grace and agility,” she says with awe. “Not only are they incredibly fast and agile for their size, they are super smart, too. They would learn where we were going to drop the bait and anticipate it before we even did it.”

A dearth of important information was recovered from the project, helping to support great white conservation efforts and also data in general.

“There’s just so much we don’t know about them – their migration patterns, where they breed, when and why they travel and why they travel so far,” Nanez-James says of the species.

Nanez-James

Nanez-James

Thanks to the efforts of scientists like Nanez-James and organizations like OCEARCH, Discovery’s Shark Week, and the shark tagging work done by Greg Stunz of the Harte Research Institute, we now know so much more and are learning every day about the wide world of sharks. Such research allows us to properly educate others about the oceans’ apex predators and also to learn how we can help conserve them for future generations and healthier oceans to come. 

Make Your World Oceans Day Clean & Green!

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From World Ocean’s Day, to events like Party for the Planet and Green Halloween; we know we spout big ideals about conservation, eco-friendliness, and recycling. As we focus on this year’s World Oceans Day theme of “healthy oceans, healthy planet” and reducing marine debris, we’d like to tell you about our own eco-friendliness and maybe even inspire you to take home more than just memories and souvenirs from the Aquarium!

Xeriscaped landscape

Xeriscaped landscape with crushed granite, instead of soil

From our Xeriscape landscaping and multiple recycling stations, to even the things that you don’t see – like our water filtration/cycling system and the solar panels on our roof – the Texas State Aquarium is happy to assure you that not only do we talk the talk, we also walk the walk when it comes to doing our part to keep the planet healthy.

Check out the ways in which your Aquarium stays clean and green!

Restrooms: Installed in our upstairs restroom are Zurn Dual Flush systems. These systems are extremely water efficient and have two options: flush the handle up for liquid waste and flushing down for solid waste, providing just the right amount of water to handle the waste.

The urinals in our lobby restrooms are waterless, thus also contributing to our facility’s water conservation efforts.

Waste Recycling: Nearly every single waste container at the Aquarium is broken up into plastic and/or recyclable waste receptacles. Upstairs and spread around the premises, we also have designated disposal areas for cans, paper, plastics, and even bottle screw tops and batteries. 

Outdoor recycling center

Outdoor recycling center

Seawater usage and recycling: One of the many perks of being located right on the incredible Corpus Christi bay front is our direct access to the bay’s seawater. Instead of filling our exhibits with tap water, treating it, and then adding massive amounts of salt to it in order to make it a suitable habitat for marine life, the Aquarium pipes in water from the bay, filters it multiple times, while also treating it for impurities and chemicals, and then pipes that water into our exhibits. This practice not only saves huge amounts of time and money, but also massive quantities of freshwater.

Additionally, the Aquarium will change the water in our exhibits from time to time. The very same water that is piped in is treated, filtered, processed, and sent back out into the bay.

LED Lighting: At the Aquarium, we employ LED lighting all over the facility. As opposed to incandescent bulbs or compact fluorescents, LEDs produce light by using light emitting diodes – a much more efficient use of energy than traditional sources.

Utensils Made From Plants, Paper Straw

Utensils made from plant starch

Xeriscape landscaping: One of the first things you notice about the Aquarium is the lush, beautiful grounds. Palm trees, tropical flowers, manicured lawns, and more. The one thing you won’t find are lot of flower beds or mulch, as the Aquarium utilizes Xeriscape landscaping wherever possible on our premises. Xeriscaping is a landscaping or gardening practice that vastly reduces and sometimes eliminates the need for supplemental watering. Xeriscaped grounds use up to two-thirds less water than traditional lawn landscapes and also help support drought-resistant plant life local to the region, giving that true Coastal Bend flora experience. 

Utensils: Not only can you enjoy the delicious food from our Pepsi Shoreline Grill and Café Aqua, you can feel good about eating it, too! The utensils we supply at our restaurant facilities are from an eco-friendly and green company called Eco Products, and our spoons, forks, and knives are all made out of plant starch. The cutlery is made from 70% renewable materials, thus helping to reduce the consumption of non-renewable fossil fuels required to make conventional plastic cutlery.

Solar Panels: The rooftop of the Aquarium not only provides stunning view of the USS Lexington, North Beach, and Corpus Christi Bay, but also an array of sustainable solar energy panels. Solar power cells convert sunlight into electricity, using the energy of photons to create an electrical current.

Solar panels on roof

Solar panels on roof

Over the past few decades, scientists studied how to harness the sun’s energy with more efficiency to do the work of non-renewable fuels – without pollution, noise or radiation, and not subject to economic issues that can cause costs to fluctuate.

Keurig K-Cup Recycling: If you’ve been up to the third floor of the Aquarium, you’ll know that the majority of the space is dedicated to offices, and though the Aquarium may not look like just any other office building – we still thoroughly enjoy (and need) our coffee. Keurig coffee brewers are very conducive to office environments, allowing each individual to brew his or her very own custom cup of coffee, however, the issue comes in disposing of the Keurig K-Cups. As more K-Cup recycling programs have become available, the Aquarium has decided to utilize the Keurig Grounds to Grow On K-Cup pod recycling program as another one of our green efforts.

Grounds to Grown On simply requires participants to purchase a K-Cup recovery bin that will act as both a disposal receptacle and as the mailing container to ship gathered K-Cups back to the organization, where they will use leftover coffee grounds in compost and recycle the plastic parts of the K-Cup.

Green Audit: We’re also pledging to conduct a green audit this summer, seeking and implementing every additional means we can to reduce energy and plastic waste, including marine debris. While Texas State Aquarium has long facilitated Texas General Land Office Adopt-A-Beach cleanups on North Beach, this year we’re implementing a comprehensive marine debris plan that will coordinate Aquarium staff, AquaTeens, and community volunteers for at least ten cleanups at North Beach and Packery Channel sites.

Together, we can move/remove mountains – mountains of plastic that harm wildlife, and ultimately ourselves – in the world’s ocean. Please join us in action, small and simple or large and grand on World Oceans Day and beyond.

World Turtle Day!

Walker, our Texas tortoise
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Walker, our Texas tortoise

Walker, our Texas tortoise

It’s only fitting that we celebrate one of the world’s oldest creatures with its own designated day. That’s right, the sea turtles you can glimpse while catching the sunset in Port A, the box turtle you have as a pet, and the famous Galapagos Islands tortoises (who fittingly look like living fossils) have been around for a whopping 200 million years.

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To honor and promote awareness on behalf of these wonderful animals, the American Tortoise Rescue founded World Turtle Day in 2000. The organization also gathered a bunch of helpful tips and advice on how YOU can do your part and help to save turtles and tortoises so that they can be around for another 200 million years! 

  • If you’re interested in obtaining a pet turtle, do your research on different species and their needs, then purchase the animal from a reputable store, breeder, or shelter. DO NOT TAKE A WILD TURTLE FOR A PET.
  • Do not release a pet turtle into the wild if you find yourself unable or unwilling to care for it. Turtles kept as pets may not have the important nutrients they need to survive cold winters. In addition, pet turtles may not be native to your area and should not interbreed with wild turtles.
  • Don’t remove turtles or tortoises from the wild unless they appear sick or injured.
  • If a tortoise is crossing a busy street, pick it up and take it in the same direction it was going – if you try to make it go back, it will turn right around again.
  • Do your part to keep beaches and other natural turtle and tortoise habitats free and clean of trash.
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Danni, our Red-footed tortoise

Sadly, many of the turtle and tortoise species here at the Aquarium are considered by the IUCN as near threatened, vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered. These species include all of our sea turtles – green, Kemp’s ridley, hawksbill, loggerhead – as well as our Diamondback terrapin, Red-footed tortoise, ornate box turtle, and gopher tortoise. 

Help us bring awareness to the plight of these incredible creatures by visiting the Aquarium to learn more about them, WEAR GREEN, and please consider donating to organizations like ours that are committed to conserving species!

Happy World Turtle Day!

Species Success Stories

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There are far too many species – both plant and animal – listed on the Endangered Species List. However, the silver lining in the inherent doom and gloom of impending species extinction lies in the fact that we have the power to get species OFF the list.

Bo, our American alligator, is a species success story.

Bo, our American alligator, is a species success story.

Take for example, the American alligator. Mass market hunting and habitat loss left this species at an all-time low in the 1950s. Many believed the reptile species, whose ancestry dates back 200 million years, wouldn’t survive. Thanks to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and many other state conservation agencies, the opposite happened.

In 1967, under a law that preceded the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the alligator was listed as endangered, giving it certain protections. Then, when the ESA was passed in 1973, even more protections were granted the species. It became illegal to hunt, allowing the animals to rebound in many areas where it had been nearly depleted.

As southern states saw the alligator start to turn the corner, they established alligator monitoring programs and then used the data to ensure that the species was continuing to increase in number. 

Join us on Friday, May 15 as we celebrate the amazing animals that inhabit our world and learn all about how to help and protect the ones that are endangered or threatened. We will have a host of fun and educational programming you won’t want to miss!

Join us on Friday, May 15 as we celebrate the amazing animals that inhabit our world and learn all about how to help and protect the ones that are endangered or threatened. We will have a host of fun and educational programming you won’t want to miss!

Finally, in 1987, after being endangered for over 20 years, USFWS declared the American alligator fully recovered and removed the animal from list of endangered species. And although it’s no longer endangered, it’s not fully “out of the swamp” yet. Related crocodile and caiman species are still in trouble and as such, have caused the USFWS to continue to protect the alligator under the ESA classification “threatened due to similarity of appearance.” The organization regulates the harvest of legal trade in the species, thus preventing illegal taking efforts and the trafficking of endangered look-alike reptiles. 

Meet Bo, our very own American alligator, and join us Friday, May 15 for Endangered Species Day and learn all about how YOU can help save species and write more success stories like this one!

A List You Don’t Want To Be On

Daisy, our Kemp's ridley sea turtle, is Critically Endangered.
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Your name on the list to get into an exclusive club – great. Being on the list to win a prize – awesome. Your name being on a list concerning potential extinction….not so good. That list – the Endangered Species List – is definitely one you don’t want to be on. As we detailed in our last post, this list focuses on federally protected plant and animal species that are at varying levels of risk for extinction. Below we explain what leads scientists and officials to put plant and animal species on the list. 

Daisy, our Kemp's ridley sea turtle, is Critically Endangered.

Daisy, our Kemp’s ridley sea turtle, is Critically Endangered.

While terrestrial animals are covered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, water-based species are watched over by the National Marine Fisheries Service. Scientific data is collected from these agencies by scientists on the local, state, and national levels. Said data is thoroughly analyzed to determine if the animal qualifies for protected status under the 1973 Endangered Species Act.

Analysis of that information leads conservationists to ask the following questions:

  • Has a significant portion of the species’ vital habitat been damaged or destroyed?
  • Has the species been affected by overconsumption due to commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational uses?
  • Is the species affected by excessive predation or disease?
  • Are the current regulations that protect this species inadequate or lacking?
  • What manmade factors threaten the long-term survival of this species?

If the answers to one or more of the above questions are in the affirmative or show to be negatively affecting the species, then the species is eligible to be listed and protected under the Endangered Species Act. Once granted this designation, that species is then given special protections by the government, such as being shielded from being “taken,” traded, or sold. The ESA defines the term “taken” as “harassing, harming, pursuing, hunting, shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing, collecting, or attempting  to engage in any such conduct” with the species.

Join us on Friday, May 15 as we celebrate the amazing animals that inhabit our world and learn all about how to help and protect the ones that are endangered or threatened. We will have a host of fun and educational programming you won’t want to miss!

Join us on Friday, May 15 as we celebrate the amazing animals that inhabit our world and learn all about how to help and protect the ones that are endangered or threatened. We will have a host of fun and educational programming you won’t want to miss!

Like what you’re reading? Be sure to join us Friday, May 15, for Endangered Species Day at the Aquarium! 

What Does Being Endangered Mean?

Einstein, our Hawksbill Sea Turtle, is Critically Endangered.
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For many of us, an endangered species is an exotic animal from a far-off land, like the White Bengal Tiger, Javan Rhinoceros, or the Polar Bear. We don’t oftentimes associate animals about to be booted off the face of the earth as creatures like a backyard tree dweller (the Houston Toad), or the gentle Kemp’s ridley sea turtle.

The sad truth is that too vast a number of flora and fauna inhabit the endangered list, but the first step to saving those species is to understand more about how and why they got where they are today. 

Einstein, our Hawksbill Sea Turtle, is Critically Endangered.

Einstein, our Hawksbill Sea Turtle, is Critically Endangered.

In this, the first in an installment of blog posts about endangered species, leading up to Endangered Species Day – Friday, May 15 – we will examine how species’ conservation statuses are determined and what those categorizations mean.

According to the National Wildlife Federation, the Endangered Species Act (ESA for short) was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1973 to protect endangered species, threatened species, and critical habitats.

Endangered Species are defined as, “Species that are likely to become extinct throughout all or a large portion of their range,” while Threatened Species are, “Species that are likely to become endangered in the near future.” Critical habitat is termed as that which is “vital to the survival of endangered or threatened species.” 

Once on the endangered species list, bald eagles like our Grace have made a great comeback as a species.

Once on the endangered species list, bald eagles like our Grace have made a great comeback as a species.

LC – Least Concern

NT – Near Threatened

VU – Vulnerable

EN – Endangered

EW – Extinct in the Wild

EX – Extinct

The Endangered Species list also has varying levels of endangerment. These range from Least Concern on the non-serious end, all the way to final depressing designation: Extinct. Between the two lie Near Threatened, meaning the animal is likely to soon qualify for a threatened category in the future. Next serious is the Vulnerable designation, meaning the species is currently facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. The next category is Endangered, meaning the species is very seriously facing an imminent threat of extinction. Critically Endangered ratchets that extinction threat up even more. Next is Extinct in the Wild, meaning the species is known only to survive in a cultivated or naturalized environment (read: no longer in the wild). Finally, being designated as Extinct means that scientists and researchers have no reasonable doubt that any of the species is left alive.  

The websites below are great resources to learn more about Endangered Species and their fight for life.

Stay tuned for our next post!

https://www.worldwildlife.org/species

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/0,28757,1888728,00.html

Texas State Aquarium Released Rehabilitated Red-tailed Hawk

Rehabilitated Red-tailed Hawk released
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Second ChancesThe Aquarium is happy to announce that we released a Red-Tailed Hawk back into its natural habitat at Hazel Bazemore Park earlier this morning!

The Aquarium’s Second Chances Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital took in the juvenile raptor February 11, when a local woman discovered the injured hawk near Allison Point Road and brought it to the facility.

Upon inspection, Second Chances staff discovered the young hawk was dehydrated and had a broken clavicle and coracoid, two vital shoulder bones that inhibit flying if fractured. Surgery was performed by Aquarium Veterinarian Dr. David Stelling to pin the bones back together. The major surgery required slow conditioning and physical therapy by staff. The young hawk steadily progressed in its rehabilitation, moving from low perches to higher ones, eventually regaining its ability to fly.

Throughout its recovery, staff carefully monitored the mending of hawk’s injuries and encouraged appropriate eating habits. All were excited to see the healed hawk return to its natural habitat.

Rehabilitated Red-tailed Hawk released

Rehabilitated Red-tailed Hawk released

Rehabilitated Red-tailed Hawk released

Rehabilitated Red-tailed Hawk released

Texas State Aquarium Saddened Loss of Fish Species

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The Texas State Aquarium is saddened to report the loss of approximately 400 marine fish.  These fish inhabited several large habitats, including the Islands of Steel exhibit and the Flower Gardens exhibit. In an attempt to control a particularly difficult parasite that had proven resistant to other treatments, staff administered a different, commonly used drug. The fish in the affected exhibits had an adverse reaction to the medication. Staff members worked diligently throughout the night to save as much of the collection as possible, but considerable losses were sustained.

The majority of the Aquarium’s animal collection was not impacted. The Living Shores gallery, Nearshore gallery, Amazon, and Floating Phantoms, as well as a number of smaller exhibits, were not affected. None of the freshwater aquariums, and none of the touch tanks were impacted. In addition, none of the outdoor exhibits such as Tortuga Cay and Texas Trails were affected.  The loss represents about 13 percent of the Aquarium’s overall collection.

As a standard precaution, staff had tested the treatment on an individual smaller exhibit with no adverse reaction prior to administering it into the larger exhibit.

The Aquarium’s first priority is to focus on stabilizing the water in the affected exhibits. The Aquarium has sent water samples from affected exhibits to testing laboratories in hopes of a clear explanation for what caused the adverse reaction.

“This is a very sad day at the Texas State Aquarium,” remarked Aquarium Chief Marketing Officer Richard E. Glover, Jr. “We are working diligently to find out what caused the adverse reaction, and we will keep the public informed with any updates.”

Shark Eggs > Easter Eggs

Shark Eggs > Easter Eggs Blog Post
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Our eggs are cooler than the Easter kind…

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Bamboo shark eggs in Shark Touch

shark eggsshark eggsThe semi creepy-looking brown, ovular pods look more like they come from outer space than from the body of a carpet shark. While there’s much to be said of the similarities between the depths of space and the world’s oceans, shark eggs and alien eggs may have more in common than we might ever know…but here’s what we can tell you about shark eggs:

Of the world’s approximately 400 species of sharks, around 40% of them are oviparous, or egg laying animals. The spiral and augur-shaped eggs laid by carpet sharks, also called “mermaid’s pouches,”  come from the Aquarium’s Horned Sharks, Brown-banded Bamboo Sharks, and our White-spotted Bamboo Sharks.

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Toothless, a juvenile brown-banded bamboo shark in Shark Touch

Aquarist Rafael Calderon says that the sharks maintain a regular egg laying cycle, with the Horned Sharks laying around 4-6 eggs per year, while the bamboo sharks do so almost monthly.  Horned Shark embryos take around 6-10 months to develop, depending on water temperature. Upon hatching, the young pups will often measure around 5.9 – 6.3 inches in length.

In oviparous shark species, the young get their nourishment from a yolk sac. They may take several months to hatch. In some species, the eggs stay inside the female for a period of time before they are laid, so that the young have a chance to develop more fully and spend less time in the vulnerable, immobile egg cases before they hatch. 

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Egg area in Shark Touch exhibit

Egg cases are usually covered with adhesive fibers that adhere to substrate like corals or seaweed, or the ocean’s bottom, Calderon explains. “Yeah, they may look kind of gross and have a fibrous substance on them, but it’s a good thing. In the wild, predators will go after the eggs, but if they’re attached to something, they definitely are harder to see.”

Calderon says the carpet sharks, all West Coast natives, are known for being a gentle, docile species.

“They’re mostly nocturnal, and they even like to ‘cuddle’ when they sleep,” he says, “They kind of dog pile onto one another. It’s cute.”

Come visit our bamboo sharks in our outdoor Shark Touch exhibit, and our Horned Sharks in our Islands of Steel exhibit!

 

 

 

“Fern Gully” For Real: Deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest

"Fern Gully" For Real: Deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest - and how you can help it stop.
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Imagine for a moment that you’re sound asleep in bed. All is calm and quiet, you’re busy catching zzz’s when all of a sudden, a beastly bulldozer comes charging into your home, destroying everything in its crushing path. If you’re lucky enough to escape in time, this Fern Gully nightmare leaves you without a home or habitat to speak of.  Where do you go? What do you do now? This is the sad reality millions of animals that call the Amazon Rainforest home experience every day. 

Startling stats on Amazon deforestation

Startling stats on Amazon deforestation

Green Aracari, native to Amazon

Green Aracari, native to Amazon

There is a clear link between the health of the Amazon and the health of the planet. The rainforest, which contains 90-140 billion metric tons of carbon, help stabilize local and global climate. Deforestation may release significant amounts of this carbon, which could have catastrophic consequences around the world. Deforestation is also a particular concern in the Amazon because it is home to a huge portion of the world’s biodiversity. 

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), around 17% of the forest has been lost in the last 50 years, mostly due to forest conversion for cattle ranching. Deforestation in this region is particularly rampant near more populated areas, roads and rivers, but even remote areas have been encroached upon when valuable mahogany, gold and oil are discovered. About 80% of the world’s documented animal species can be found in tropical rainforests. When species lose their rainforest homes, they are often unable to subsist in the small portions of left-behind forest. This makes them much more vulnerable to hunters and poachers, causing their numbers to dwindle and even eventually potentially cause the species to go extinct. Even localized deforestation can result in extinctions as many unique species live in small isolated geographic locations in the Amazon. 

“I’ve actually witnessed it firsthand,” Ryan Drum, Texas State Aquarium Aquarist, said. “A lot of it pertains to clearing for agricultural purposes like cattle ranching, but we need to implore people to do so in a sustainable way.”

Military Macaws like our Kogi can be found in the Amazon

Military Macaws like our Kogi can be found in the Amazon

Not only has he personally seen the destruction deforestation can cause, Drum also works largely in the Aquarium’s Amazon exhibit and is part of our animal husbandry’s fish and herpetology department. Drum says there are a number of ways that people can learn sustainable forest management, reforestation, and how to maintain the integrity of already protected areas.  He advocates the promotion of sustainable bioenergy – using scrap wood, sugar and starch crops, residues and wastes as fuel instead of biomass (wood and charcoal) for cooking purposes. 

Deforestation in progress

Deforestation in progress

The WWF has done a ton of work concerning protecting and extending the life of the Amazon. In addition to protecting biodiversity, the Amazon Region Protected Areas program has demonstrated that a system of well-managed and sustainably-financed protected areas contributes to reduced CO2 emissions from deforestation. The WWF also created the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) to combat illegal logging and promote responsible forestry. The network links forest-dependent communities, NGOs, and entrepreneurs around the world with the goal of creating a market for environmentally responsible forest products. Additionally, GFTN works to encourage demand for “good wood,” wood and paper products from those-well managed forests.

“Good wood” is good news for the countless frogs, piranhas, snakes, insects, parrots, and even prehensile-tailed porcupines – animals that reside in our Amazon exhibit – that call the rainforest home. 

“There’s such a huge variety of species, and many of them arboreal, that inhabit the Amazon,” Drum said. “The Amazon actually has one in ten known species on Earth. It’s a habitat that we literally can’t afford to lose.”

Ways you can help at a grassroots level:

-Always recycle and used recycled materials as much as possible; when people use recycled products and make a conscious effort not to waste, the demand for new raw material to replace these items can decrease.

-You also want to be responsible about cutting down and planting trees. When cutting, be sure to target older trees and spare the younger varieties, and in the event that you must remove a tree for a legitimate reason (for safety issues or power line interference), make sure that for every tree lost another is planted in its place.

-If you do any kind of farming, rotating crops is a responsible and sustainable way to maintain soil fertility. And right now while we’re experiencing a cold front, turn to coal instead of wood to heat your home (if you have a fireplace).While it only takes a couple of hours to consume a few logs here and there, keep in mind that it takes years for one tree to fully grow.

-Wield your consumer power! Pledge to only purchase from companies that have a commitment to reducing deforestation through an environmentally friendly purchasing policy.

-Reforestation is also a great way to prevent deforestation – plant trees whenever you have the opportunity!