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Decline In African Elephant Populations

August 18, 2016 Jamie Schuman 0

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The Great Elephant Census with a fund of $7 million, conducted over a time period of three years has reported that there has been a population decrease in the African Elephant populations by almost a third between 2007 and 2014. The Census effectively took a count of every Savannah elephant in 18 countries all over Africa. The Savannah elephants in these 18 countries account for 93% of the total population. The Census concludes on a very sobering note stating the decline in the population of African elephants by an alarming number of 144,000 within the seven years studied.

Although the world over there are major initiatives and talks on wildlife conservation, we have not succeeded much if we have failed to protect the world’s largest land mammal. The results of the study were published in PeerJ journal. The survey was funded partly by American philanthropist, Paul Allen and was a collaborative effort by the elephant conservation group based in Botswana called Elephants Without Borders and other government and non-government groups in the 18 countries involved.

african-elephantsBefore the study even though each country was responsible for keeping a check on their elephant populations, the data was not standardized. Each followed different methods and different frequencies. The Great Elephant Census team followed elephants in an aircraft and took efficient measures to segregate data and to avoid counting the same elephants twice as the elephants are always on the move. Earlier elephant population estimates ranged from 400,000 to 630,000 but the Census reported there are just 352,271 elephants. According to NPR reports such great decline in the elephant population has been caused by illegal poaching for elephant tusks sold on the Chinese market.

Governments have made their best efforts to prevent illegal hunting of elephants and tried to disrupt the ivory market. In April the world awed at the recent Kenyan act of burning tusks of almost 7000 elephants. In Kenya, the public ivory burning events have been witnessed in earlier years too. The recent study will greatly contribute to the meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) an international body that regulates trade of threatened animals.

Read More: Future Concerns For Quinoa Cultivators

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Demand For Quinoa Good For Peru And Bolivia

March 16, 2016 Jamie Schuman 0

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Quinoa a grain crop is cultivated primarily for its edible seed. From 2006 to 2013 the price of quinoa tripled when Americans and Europeans found this new superfood. There were two kinds of hypes following this, one that the people who cultivated it in Bolivia and Peru could no longer afford it and yet another message that the quinoa demand was helping those in the high Andes. Since these were just suppositions an agricultural economist, Marc Bellemare from the University of Minnesota and another economist, Seth Gitter of Townson University, Maryland teamed up to resolve the issue.

quinoa-2The two economists found data source a national survey performed by the Government of Peru every year, about 22000 randomly selected households about their lifestyle, what they grow, eat and spend. The data source was obtained from ENAHO. There was too much of data to plow through and the economists chose Johanna Fajardo Gonzalez, a Ph.D. student at the University of Minnesota to analyze the data of about 10 years ranging from before and after the rise in prices of quinoa. The researchers grouped the households into 3 groups that which grow and eat quinoa, those that do not grow but eat it, and those that neither grow nor eat it.

The study shows a prominent rise in the welfare and living standards in Peru following the rise in price of quinoa. The standards were measured as the total value of goods consumed and it was obvious that the quinoa growers were far better off than the others. The study also revealed that unlike the suppositions, those in Peru could even afford to consume quinoa although the quantities purchased decreased slightly with the rise in demand. The speculations on ill effects of nutrition on the Peru population were also reported as baseless by research performed by Andrew Stevens a Doctoral candidate at University of California, Berkeley. There might be trouble ahead if the prices fall and with demand for only certain varieties of quinoa while the cultivators may have to abandon certain varieties.

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Future Concerns For Quinoa Cultivators

March 15, 2016 Jamie Schuman 0

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Research by economists put to rest the rising concerns of the well-being of the people in Peru and Bolivia over the rise in demand and price of Quinoa, a grain crop that is cultivated for its edible seeds. Research not only established that the Peru population was doing a lot better after the rise in price but also that it had no ill effects on the population’s nutrition consumption. Although for now, everything looks good, export demand for just a few varieties from among the 3000 varieties of quinoa which will need the farmers to abandon other varieties.

quinoa-nutritionThere are varieties that the Andean farmers have developed over the years to adapt to climate and other conditions. They need to be acknowledged globally and the diversity needs to be conserved. Attempts have been made to create internal markets in hospitals and foods to purchase those varieties without export demand.

The challenge also remains to release public funds for the conservation of agricultural biodiversity. The high demand for quinoa has also led to poor soil quality and environmental degradation. The cultivation land is not allowed to rest and results in erosion and loss of nutrients along with a decrease in farm animals like llama herds that were a rich source of manure and fertilization. Another concern as in all other cases is the concern over a drop in price and demand, and as to how it would affect the population.

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