China Grabbing Latin America’s Vanishing Resources

China Trashing Latin America To Fuel Growth

In January 1997, Panama awarded concessions to a Chinese company to operate port facilities on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts at both ends of the Panama Canal, just after having obtained control of it from the US.

When did Latin America and the Caribbean wake up to its dramatically expanding new relationship with China? November 2004, when the then Chinese president Hu Jintao visited Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Cuba and apparently spoke of the possibility of investing US$100 billion in the region – although the Chinese government later claimed it had been mistranslated and the US$100 billion referred to bilateral trade.

deforestation and endangered species

That, at least, is what Evan Ellis, a researcher at the U.S. Army War College and considered by some to be a leading expert on China-Latin America relations, states in his new book China on the Ground in Latin America: Challenges for the Chinese and Impacts on the Region. Ellis’s main argument is that in the last few years the Chinese have started to establish a new, “significant” physical presence in Latin America and the Caribbean – following trade deals, acquisitions, loans and loan-backed construction projects, among other things. As a result, Ellis argues that China now finds itself, for the first time in its 5,000 year history, connected to however many million non-Chinese people in other countries and dependent on the “success and well-being of its commercial representatives in distant parts of the world.”

While the focus of his book is Chinese acquisitions, loans, other commercial dealings and the challenges these pose for the Chinese government, companies and Chinese people living in Latin America, Ellis has various things to say about the environment.

Chinese companies have focused on developing their physical presence in Latin America in the sectors that are most likely to generate environmental impacts and concerns: petroleum, mining and agriculture. The Chinese presence in petroleum is most significant in Venezuela, Ecuador and Argentina, and in mining in Ecuador and Peru.

Resistance from “environmentalists and local communities” is one of the major challenges facing Chinese companies trying to make acquisitions and win contracts in Latin America. To date, projects involving Chinese investors have “often” been “opposed on environmental grounds, or because of their impact on local communities and indigenous groups,” writes Ellis, citing the Chone dam project and Mirador mine in Ecuador, the Belo Monte dam in Brazil, the Rio Blanco mine in Peru, the Lupe mine in Mexico, a soy processing facility in Rio Negro in Argentina, the Agua Zarca dam project in Honduras, and the River Magdalena in Colombia as examples.

deforestation is taking Latin America's biodiversity with it.

Opposition to Chinese projects on environmental grounds is “likely to expand in the future because of the number of potential projects. . . that involve environmentally sensitive areas.” These include plans to develop Goat Island, Jamaica, into an “international shipping hub” and the exploitation of the Ishpingo, Tambococha and Tiputini (ITT) oil fields in the far east of the Yasuní National Park in Ecuador where Ellis says the “Chinese corporations who have already done the exploratory drilling are the leading contenders” to win contracts.

Indeed, Ellis states that although “no official link” exists between ITT and the construction of a new refinery on Ecuador’s Pacific coast, “a senior Ecuadorian source speaking off-the-record suggested that the granting of the rights for ITT may be a condition pursued by the Chinese for the funding of the Refinery. . . which would be fed by the petroleum extracted there.”

Environmental concerns are a major challenge for Chinese companies not because they are “inherently less respectful of the environment” than others, but “because of a confluence of factors” including the high environmental impacts of the sectors they are focusing on, a “cultural distance” between Chinese and Latin American people, and Chinese companies’ lack of experience in the region. One example: “Chinese executives and managers often presume that local authorities will be able to force local residents to comply with decisions to relocate their homes. . . and may mistakenly presume that, as long as they have reached an agreement with the appropriate government authorities, the local communities and other actors will comply with the decisions.”

deforestation and indigenous tribes in Amazon

“Environmental complaints” have already been made about various ongoing Chinese projects. These include the Marcona mine in Peru run by the company Shougang, the Cerro Maimon mine in the Dominican Republic, and the Sierra Grande mine in Argentina.

Chinese companies “have made efforts to improve their environmental practices where they have felt it necessary to do so, in order to avoid problems with governments and communities.” Ellis cites new technology by company Bosai to address dust problems caused by bauxite mining in Guyana as one example, and ten “environmental protection projects oriented toward wastewater, dust and air pollution” at the Marcona mine in Peru as another.

Offshore drilling by Chinese companies in Latin America and the Caribbean is particularly risky in terms of environmental impacts because “they are relatively new to producing and using deepwater drilling technology.” Ellis argues that Chinese operations are “arguably even more vulnerable to such risks” than was BP before the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico blowout in 2010.

Although “many Chinese companies in Latin America do behave badly” – either “due to a combination of willful imposition of Chinese norms and practices that do not function well in the new context, or accidentally, due to a lack of knowledge regarding local norms” – they “do not inherently behave worse than their Western counterparts” (Ellis’s italics).

A “significant portion” of the new Chinese presence in Latin America is in the renewable energy sector where companies “have been a key force in the “green revolution” transforming the energy generation mix” and “slowly moving the electricity infrastructure of the region away from fossil fuels.” Ellis states that “of the many projects and acquisitions by Chinese firms in the electricity generation sector. . . only a very small number have involved traditional fossil fuel power generation facilities”, with a focus instead on hydroelectric and what Ellis calls a “wave of new solar and wind power projects” across Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Mexico.

What better way to end than with one particularly emblematic example and startling claim? Despite a January 2014 announcement that work would begin on a canal through Nicaragua by the end of this year or early 2015, “as this book went to press, a public announcement regarding the route to be taken by the canal had not been made, nor had any information been made public regarding environmental impact” (my italics, this time). Indeed, a report published in September by the Alexander von Humboldt Studies Centre in Nicaragua states that “technical information of environmental character generated during the design, construction and operation of the Great Canal and associated projects will remain confidential,” under the terms of the concession agreement. Von Humboldt calls the canal – due to be built by the Hong Kong-based HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Company – and associated infrastructure the biggest environmental threat to the country in its history.


public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and wildlife conservation through its subsidiary–Sacred Seedlings. Please contact Gary Chandler at to join our network.

Wolves Critical To Biodiversity

Wolf Conservation Critical To Healthy Ecosystems

Whether you believe in god, science or both, wolves are here for a reason. They and all species are part of the web of life, which supports us all. To think that wildlife and forests require “MAN-agement” is arrogant and ignorant. Ecosystems need to be protected from human encroachment so that they can continue to work for us.

wolf consevation

Thanks to the arrogance of humans, we now have an unstoppable epidemic changing ecosystems forever, That epidemic in wildlife is called chronic wasting disease. There is no species barrier. It can be transmitted to livestock–where it’s called mad cow disease. Livestock can spread it back to wildlife and on to humans. in humans it’s called Alzheimer’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. More than 44 million people in the world have these diseases now and it’s growing rapidly. The scientific name for this family of neurodegenerative disorders is Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is transmissible.

It’s an environmental nightmare because all of these victims contaminate their environment with a deadly protein called a prion. Prions are in urine, feces, blood and cell tissue. When wildlife contract the disease, they spread the disease to their herds with every breath and every step.

wolf California

Wolves are our best hope to minimize the spread of disease within these herds before it kills them all. Wolves can minimize the risk of spreading prion disease to beef and dairy cattle (listen up Wisconsin, Idaho and Wyoming). Wolves are the friends of hunters and ranchers. Quit playing god and let mother nature regain its balance. Our lives depend on predators.

public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic wasting disease and the prion disease epidemic is an area of special expertise. Please contact Gary Chandler to join our coalition for reform

Palm Oil Industry Pushing Wildlife Into Extinction

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, most of the talk about sustainability in the palm oil industry is just smoke and mirrors. This is an immediate battle for the survival of critical species in our fragile web of life. To be more precise, this is about the survival of the Sumatran tiger and the orangutans of Sumatra and Borneo.

palm oil plantations and deforestation

Of course, palm oil’s footprint is much greater than that, but these iconic creatures are on the front lines as they are being pushed closer and closer to the brink of extinction every day. Meanwhile governments and corporations stall progress and talk about their nonsense commitments to sustainable palm oil–a label that producers buy instead of earn. Even sustainable palm oil is fueling deforestation and pushing orangutans and Sumatran tigers into extinction. They destroy one forest and plant a tree somewhere else in its honor. That isn’t sustainable. That is fraud.Unfortunately, there also is the pressure from other special interests who hope to privatize the genetics of endangered species. These interests are fanning the flames of deforestation from behind the scenes. These are all crimes against nature and it’s time to put private agendas aside. We all need more than palm oil and concrete to survive.

Nothing Sustainable About Palm Oil

By Shelley Goldberg

Most people know that palm oil is one of the most widely used vegetable oils in the world. You can even find it in popular foods like pizza, ice cream, and chocolate. But not everyone realizes that the production of palm oil is also destructive.

palm oil deforestation

Indeed, since vast quantities of land and forests must be cleared for plantation development, the growth and development of palm oil is linked to major issues. Besides deforestation, there’s climate change, habitat degradation, animal cruelty, indigenous rights abuses – you name it.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, an area that’s the equivalent size of 300 football fields of rainforest is cleared to make way for palm oil production – every hour. Making matters worse, such large-scale deforestation is pushing many species to extinction.

If the situation continues, species such as the orangutan could become extinct within the next five to 10 years. The Sumatran tiger has even less time, with about three years until extinction.

Now, if you can stomach those statistics, there is an opportunity brewing in the sector. Oil palm is one of the least expensive crops in the world. And its yields are five to 10 times greater than the output of other vegetable oils.

The crop is known for production of two types of oils from its fruit. The first is the oil derived from the fruit’s flesh, which is used for cooking oil, shortening, margarines, milk fat replacements, and cocoa butter substitutes. The other oil, derived from the kernel, is used primarily in the manufacturing of soaps, detergents, lotions, cosmetics, and toiletries.

Of course, the demand for these products isn’t going to end. Demand for palm oil is also rising in the biofuel, agrifood, and oleo chemistry industries. To satisfy this demand, global palm oil production is anticipated to be on a continuous increase going forward. Already, over 60 million metric tons of palm oil are exported daily from Southeast Asia.

Now, that’s not to say producers are ignoring the problems with palm oil production. In fact, the industry is beginning to take action. A controversial new document entitled, “The Sustainable Palm Oil Manifesto” was released just weeks ago. It was signed by major palm oil producing and trading companies such as Sime Darby Plantation (SMEBF), IOI Corporation Berhad (IOIOF), and Kuala Lumpur Kepong Berhad (KLKBF).

deforestation and endangered species

At first, the manifesto appeared to be a major win for forest conservation. Yet organizations such as the Union of Concerned Scientists point to loopholes and vague language. They claim the document allows them to make only modest changes while continuing to destroy land (and push wildlife closer to extinction).

Now, in the spring, Procter & Gamble (PG) announced new goals to help ensure zero deforestation in its palm oil supply chain. Its goal is to trace supply chains of palm oil and palm kernel oil to supplier mills by December 31, 2015, and to plantations by 2020.

While P&G claims it’s already working with larger suppliers to improve tractability, small farmers in Malaysia and Indonesia account for 35% to 45% of the company’s palm oil production. So it has a ways to go.

More recently P&G announced that is conducting an in-field study to help small farmers improve their palm oil and palm kernel oil production. P&G is partnering with the Malaysia Institute for Supply Chain Innovation (MISI) to field this study.

deforestation and endangered species

Other companies have taken similar steps in this direction. Danone (BN.PA) has committed to sourcing traceable palm oil with no links to deforestation, setting a goal to map its palm oil supply chain by the end of 2015.  Its pledge is followed by a series of similar commitments by companies such as Colgate-Palmolive Co.(CL), General Mills Inc. (GIS), and Mars.

Demand for sustainable palm oil is anticipated to grow in the near future. Especially as the industry addresses the environmental concerns and develops new plantations on existing cleared land – while also conserving natural resources and addressing the needs of the indigenous people and wildlife.


public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and wildlife conservation through its subsidiary–Sacred Seedlings. Please contact Gary Chandler at to join our network.

Chronic Wasting Disease Related To Alzheimer’s Disease

CWD Spread Through Sewage Sludge

A Colorado company says that hunters, landowners and many others are being misinformed about the dangers of chronic wasting disease. As such, public health and the health of entire water sheds are at risk.

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is another form of prion disease. Prions also are behind the explosion in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). We also know prions because they are the causative agent behind mad cow disease. The scientific name for this family of neurodegenerative disorders is Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.”

“There is now real evidence of the potential transmissibility of Alzheimer’s,” says Thomas Wiesniewski M.D. a prion and Alzheimer’s researcher at New York University School of Medicine. “In fact, this ability to transmit an abnormal conformation is probably a universal property of amyloid-forming proteins.”

prion disease epidemic

Dr. Stanley Prusiner, an American neuroscientist from the University of California at San Francisco, earned a Nobel Prize in 1997 for discovering and characterizing deadly prions and prion disease. President Obama awarded Prusiner the National Medal of Science in 2010 to recognize the importance of his research. According to Prusiner, TSEs all are on the same disease spectrum, which is more accurately described as prion (PREE-on) disease. He claims that all TSEs are caused by prions.

Prions are unstoppable and the pathogen spreads through the bodily fluids and cell tissue of its victims. Prions shed from humans are the most deadly mutation. They demand more respect than radiation. Infected surgical instruments, for example, are impossible to sterilize and hospitals throw them away. Prions are in the blood, saliva, urine, feces, mucus, and bodily tissue of its victims. Many factors are contributing to the epidemic. Prions are now the X factor. Industry and government are not accounting for them or regulating them. They are ignoring the threat completely, which violates the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 in the United States. Other nations also are ignoring laws developed to protect food, air and water.

“The species barrier between these diseases is a myth,” said Gary Chandler, president of Crossbow Communications. “Prion disease is an environmental disease. It spreads in many ways and to stop it we need to reform many policies around the world.”

Although CWD spreads through many vectors, the greatest pathway is sewage sludge, also known as biosolids. The U.S. alone dumps more than 700 millions tons of this infectious waste on land–farms, ranches, forests, golf courses, parks and school grounds. Once unleashed on the environment, prions remain infectious. They migrate, mutate and multiply as they infect crops, water supplies and more.

Unfortunately, prions linger in the environment, homes, hospitals, nursing homes, dental offices and beyond infinitely. Prions defy all attempts at sterilization and inactivation. If they can’t stop prions in the friendly and sterile confines of an operating room, they can’t stop them in the wastewater treatment plant.

Deer, elk, moose and reindeer are now contracting prion disease from humans. To help cloak the epidemic, it’s called chronic wasting disease (CWD). Deer with CWD are proverbial canaries in a coal mine. They are being killed by government sharpshooters to help cover up the problem. It’s insane.

Chandler says that sewage disposal practices are contributing the the outbreak among wildlife. He says the same threat is viable for livestock. The practice of spreading sewage sludge (biosolids) on cropland and pastures makes prions available to grazing animals. It also puts prions in a position to contaminate water supplies when irrigation and rain rinse the biosolids into groundwater and surface water runoff. This water runs into creeks, ponds, streams, lakes, rivers, oceans and our drinking water. 

biosolids land application and disease

Reused wastewater for drinking is reckless. Prions are in the bodily fluids of its victims. Sewage plants can’t detect or stop prions.

The risk assessments prepared by the U.S. EPA for wastewater treatment and sewage sludge are flawed and current practices of recycling this infectious waste is fueling a public health disaster. Many risks are not addressed, including prions and radioactive waste. They don’t mention prions or radiation because there is no answer. Most nations are making the same mistake. We’re dumping killer proteins on crops, parks, golf courses, gardens, ski areas, school grounds and beyond. Wind, rain and irrigation spread these contaminants and many more throughout our communities and watersheds.

Failure to account for known risks is negligent. Crops for humans and livestock grown grown in sewage sludge absorb prions and become infectious. We’re all vulnerable to Alzheimer’s and other forms of prion disease right now due to widespread denial and mismanagement. It’s time to stop the land application of sewage sludge (LASS) in all nations. Safer alternatives exist.

Just ask the US EPA. Therefore, putting biosolids and recycling wastewater is more dangerous than injecting radiation into our watersheds. Radiation at least has a half life. With prions, it’s a question of how fast they double and triple their numbers. It’s safe to say that every sewage system in the world has been used by a person, if not millions, of people with Alzheimer’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

land application sewage sludge

Approximately 50 million people around the world already have Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. The threat is so severe that health officials expect the numbers of people living with the disease to triple soon. Unfortunately, neurodegenerative diseases among people of all ages are rising around the world. As these numbers rise, our sewage disposal will become more critical than ever because the further it spreads, the faster it will spread.

chronic wasting disease caused by prions

Prions are associated with an entire family of neurological disorders that are killing people, wildlife and livestock around the world. These deadly diseases are known as Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.” TSEs include Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, scrapie, chronic wasting disease and mad cow disease. The disease has killed many species of mammals including dolphins. Victims permanently contaminate the world around them with their bodily fluids. Once contaminated with prions, items cannot be sterilized.

For more information, contact the experts at Crossbow.

public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and wildlife conservation through its subsidiary–Sacred Seedlings. Please contact Gary Chandler at to join our network.

Chronic Wasting Disease Fueled By Sewage Sludge

Brain Diseases Linked By Prions

By Martha Rosenberg

It’s been over ten years since Wisconsin endured a kind of deer holocaust. The terminal deer and elk disease, chronic wasting disease (CWD), descended upon its deer population with such vengeance officials declared CWD eradication zones in which fauns and does would be killed before bucks.

Thousands of deer carcasses were stored in refrigerated trucks in La Crosse while their severed heads were tested for CWD. If the carcasses were disease-free they were safe to eat (really?); if not, they were too dangerous to even put in a landfill. Why? Because “prions” (which also cause mad cow disease, scrapie in sheep, Creutzfeldt-Jakob and Alzheimer’s disease in humans) are not inactivated by cooking, heat, autoclaves, ammonia, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, phenol, lye, formaldehyde, or radiation. They remain in the soil indefinitely. (They contaminate everything indefinitely.)

prion disease epidemic

Hunters in Wisconsin and other states were warned to wear surgical gloves when cutting up deer and to avoid exposing open cuts or sores on their hands. One hunter wrote the local paper after his buck tested positive for CWD — he was worried about the blood on his steering wheel and hunting clothes, which his wife handled.

There were also cross-contamination risks since deer processors do not usually sterilize their equipment after each deer. Food pantries in Wisconsin and their customers were warned about the risks and it became difficult to donate. (“If this meat is so safe why don’t you eat it?” the pantry patrons may have been thinking.)

land application sewage sludge

Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials in Wisconsin and other states assured the public that deer meat was safe, even if it harbored CWD, as long as they avoided eating a deer’s brain, eyeballs, spinal cord, spleen and lymph nodes–the parts also implicated in mad cow disease. But scientific articles suggested most of the animal contained prions including its kidneys, pancreas, liver, muscle, blood, fat and saliva, antler velvet and birthing material.

Another reason to doubt DNR officials’ reassurances, calculated to keep their funding from hunting licenses flowing, is a 2002 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from the CDC titled Fatal Degenerative Neurologic Illnesses in Men Who Participated in Wild Game Feasts —Wisconsin, 2002.

Many animal lovers have noted the hypocrisy of states citing deer “overpopulation” when they encourage deer breeding farms. What? Recently a four-part expose in the Indiana Star explores how “the pursuit of deer bred for enormous antlers and shot in hunting pens” on trophy farms is spreading CWD at an alarming rate. Deer breeding and “trophy farms” are a $4 billion a year industry and hotbeds of CWD thanks to their concentration of animals, “communicability window” (from trophy stock trading and escaped animals) and its unknown feed sources.

biosolids land application and disease


Like mad cow disease, widely believed to stem from the cost-cutting practice of feeding cows to cows, chronic wasting disease may also have man-made origins. In the mid-1960s, the Department of Wildlife ran a series of nutritional studies on wild deer and elk at the Foothills Wildlife Research Facility in Fort Collins, Colorado and soon after the studies began, however, Foothills deer and elk began dying from a mysterious disease. The CWD in the deer may have been caused by sheep held at the same facility which had scrapie, say researchers. (There are a few theories about the way that the disease arrived at CSU and spread outward from there. They all involve mismanagement of a biohazard that they completely underestimated.)

Since 2002, Wisconsin’s CWD eradication efforts have failed abysmally. The penned herd of 76 deer at Stan Hall farm has gone from one animal with CWD to 60 in five years writes outdoor reporter Patrick Durkin and in some areas, half of all deer now have the disease. “The world’s most ‘disturbing,’ ‘frightening’ and ‘unprecedented’ CWD case is growing next door to our capital and flagship university, and our government won’t crack a window to sniff it,” he writes.

chronic wasting disease caused by prions

Clearly using wildlife, which is held in trust by the state for the benefit of the public per the”Public Trust Doctrine”, to profiteer from hunters is unethical and harmful to animals. And despite DNR officials’ assurance, the spread of CWD may prove harmful to humans too.

Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative pubic health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health

Prions are associated with an entire family of neurological disorders that are killing people, wildlife and livestock around the world. These deadly diseases are known as Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.” TSEs include Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, scrapie, chronic wasting disease and mad cow disease. The disease has killed many species of mammals including dolphins. Victims permanently contaminate the world around them with their bodily fluids. Once contaminated with prions, items cannot be sterilized.


public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. Alzheimer’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, chronic wasting disease and the prion disease epidemic is an area of special expertise. Please contact Gary Chandler to join our coalition for reform

India More Concerned About Conserving Temples Than Tigers, Elephants

Editor’s Note: What does it say about a society and religion when it disregards the magnificent creations of god, mother nature or whatever term you prefer, in favor of saving the misguided concrete creations of humans? 

Temples Or Tigers More Important To India’s Heritage, Future

It is a battle between heritage and tiger conservation. For now, the tiger seems to be winning. As the district administrations in Theni in Tamil Nadu and Idukki in Kerala prepare themselves for the annual Chitra Pournami festival at Mangaladevi Temple, where Kannagi, a cultural icon on both sides, is worshipped once a year, the demand for restoring the temple complex to its original glory has once again surfaced.

While the locals have been asking the Tamil Nadu government to take over the maintenance of the temple complex, officials on this side of the border are non-committal as the temple, now in ruins, is accessed through the Periyar Tiger Reserve in Kerala.

On the Tamil Nadu side in Western Ghats, there are two trekking routes at present, for about six km through the reserved forests and there are no motorable roads. “There is a possibility for a motorable road from Paliyankudi hamlet. If there is a road, we need not get permission from Kerala. Theni district authorities are not taking steps to lay the road,” says K.T. Gandhi Rajan, an art historian.

“There was a proposal for a road some time ago but shelved subsequently,” says an official in Theni district administration, hinting that the road ahead for obtaining sanction through the reserve forests could be long.

“It used to be a week-long festival. Now it has been restricted to one day,” says Mr. Rajan. Based on interactions with tribals in Gudalur forest division of Theni district, he says the temple complex has been deteriorating fast in the past two decades or so. “Damage caused is attributed to the constant movement of elephant herds. But, elephants infest the area for centuries,” he says.

The locals share his sentiment. “The Kannagi temple has seen decay in the past two decades. Tamil Nadu government should make efforts to restore the temple to its original state. The temple is culturally significant to the Tamils,” says N. Ramakrishnan, DMK MLA from Cumbum, the closest town.

On Monday, the Collectors of Theni in Tamil Nadu and Idukki in Kerala sat together in Thekkadi and discussed the elaborate arrangements for the annual pilgrimage that falls on May 14Forest officials of the Periyar Tiger Reserve say it is an annual festival held for one day. “As the temple falls in the core tiger habitat, any initiative to restore or renovate the structure has to go through the due process of obtaining permission from State Board for Wildlife and National Board for Wildlife,” says a Forest officer.

According to a Government of Kerala (DPR) website, the Department of Archaeology had declared the Mangaladevi Temple as a protected monument in 1983. Located in Kumili village of Idukki district, the temple facing the Cumbum Valley of Tamil Nadu consists of four shrines of different sizes and orientation, the website reads dating the temple complex to 8-9 century A.D. The Director of Archaeology, Kerala, could not be reached over phone.


Wyoming Wolf Population Rises Despite Cleansing Program

Wolf Mismanagement Opening Door To Chronic Wasting Disease

Known for their resiliency, gray wolves thwarted attempts by wildlife managers to cut their numbers by about five percent last year, a new report shows. Instead, wolf numbers in Wyoming’s jurisdiction swelled by about five percent last year, increasing by an estimated 13 animals to 199 wolves running in 30 packs. Including Yellowstone National Park and the Wind River Indian reservation — where wolves are managed separately — the population stood at a minimum of 306 wolves as the year ended.

Wyoming wolf population

The figures come from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s 2013 gray wolf report, which was released Friday. Two factors that contributed to the higher-than-expected wolf population was better success producing and rearing pups and a decline in the number of wolves killed by people, Game and Fish wolf program biologist Ken Mills said.

“Part of what happened is that not as many wolves died from non-hunting, human-caused mortality,” Mills said.

That includes animals killed via “control actions” after killing livestock and from being hit by vehicles, he said.

wolf conservation Wyoming

Wyoming managers don’t count every wolf pup, Mills said, but indications are that more are reaching adulthood. That’s related to hunting pressure, which can cause an increase in reproduction. Mills pointed to Montana and Idaho — which also released their wolf reports Friday — as an example.

“They’re killing a lot of wolves,” he said, “and they’re either slightly decreasing the population or they’ve just managed to stabilize it.”

Montana killed 627 wolves last year and Idaho killed 659 wolves. The human-caused wolf mortality rate in Wyoming (24 percent) was much lower than in Montana (35 percent) and Idaho (41 percent). Now 1 1/2 years past federal protection in Wyoming, wolf numbers have been relatively stable.

There were estimated to be 328 wolves in the state at the end of 2011, and 277 animals at the end of 2012. That rose to 306 at the end of 2013. Overall wolf numbers and breeding pairs have stayed well above the state’s delisting requirement.

“The goal as always is to manage a sustainable, recovered population of wolves in Wyoming,” Mills said. “We’re at almost double the population that we’re required to manage, and we had a known minimum of 15 breeding pairs, which is 50 percent above what’s required.”

keep wolves listed

Yellowstone National Park’s wolf population increased 14 percent to 195 in 2013. Even in Wyoming’s predator zone — where wolves can be killed at any time, by any method and without a license — the count increased from 17 to 20. The zone makes up 85 percent of the state. Including the predator zone, wolves killed by hunting was mostly unchanged between 2013 as in 2012. Hunter-killed wolves fell from 66 to 63.

The number of wolf hunting licenses sold fell by more than half in the second year of hunting, from about 4,500 to 2,150.

Wyoming’s wolves got into relatively little trouble with livestock and dogs last year compared to 2012, the report shows. They were confirmed to have killed 33 calves, seven cows, 33 sheep, a dog and a goat. Wolves injured another six cattle, two sheep and a horse, domestic bison and another dog.

Game and Fish will come out with its proposed wolf hunting quotas for the 2014 season in late April, Mills said. A “season setting” meeting in Jackson is set for May 7.

“Part of our job is predicting what will happen, and that’s a very difficult thing,” Mills said. “It’s always interesting to measure predictions against what actually happens, and learn from it and apply it to the next year.”


public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. Please contact Gary Chandler to join our coalition for reform

U.S. Teens Form Nonprofit To Help Save Elephants

Elephant Extinction Likely Within Decade

When Max Kauderer saw the body of a dead elephant during a family trip to Africa two years ago, it wasn’t only the body that horrified him; it was the apathy of the natives to seeing this gentle, intelligent creature killed.

“The rangers reacted to it as it were almost normal to them,” said Max, a 17-year-old Englewood resident. “It was just shocking to me. I could never get used to that. It showed me that they shouldn’t have to get used to this either.”

Save Kilimanjaro ecosystem

Seeing the murdered elephant ignited a spark in Max and his brother Josh, 16, to aid elephant conservation by starting a non-profit called “Elephant Highway,” named after the Maasai term for the paths elephants create as they travel.

While Max and Josh saw a large number of animals during their trip to Kenya and Tanzania in 2012, the two quickly fell in love with elephants. The pair were enamored with how similar elephants were to humans.

“They can show emotion, compassion and the ability to grieve,” said Max. “They play with toys, build toys and live in families. It’s pretty amazing.”

Their joy of learning more about these creatures quickly turned to horror when two park rangers came running in their lodge one afternoon, announcing that an elephant was just killed by poachers a mile and half from where the Kauderer family was staying. Max and Josh would later visit the fenced off area where the elephant was killed, where the body was still in sight.

“I knew about ivory trade and elephants being killed, but it still changes you when you see something so rapidly,” said Josh. “The smell of dead carcass; it really changes the whole situation.”

Seeing the dead elephant in person made the two brothers ask tour guides on their trip more about elephants and the ivory trade, becoming shocked about the scope of the trade.

“Crime syndicates are focusing on elephant poaching and smuggling ivory tusks,” said Josh. “It’s just as bad as any other kind of drug trade.”

According to the American Wildlife Foundation, there are 470,000 elephants remaining in 37 African countries. On a yearly basis, poachers kill 8 percent of the elephant population.

When Max and Josh returned to the United States, their experiences made them want to take a stand against poaching. They didn’t originally think of starting a non-profit, and instead focused their awareness efforts by speaking at local schools about elephant poaching. As time went on, they felt liked they wanted to do something more.

“We realized we also wanted to raise money for these organizations in Africa and make a difference there as well,” said Max.

The two went to work creating Elephant Highway, which is pending 501c3 status, to raise awareness about poaching and raise money to help African elephant conservation organizations.

The non-profit, run entirely by the two Englewood teens – which sells shirts, hoodies, and bracelets – raised approximately $10,000 since its inception in 2012. All proceeds from the merchandise, which bears the tagline “Only Elephants Should Wear Ivory,” are donated to Elephant Highway’s four non-profit partners: David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Big Life Foundation, Hands Off Our Elephants, and International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

Tanzania lion conservation

Their dedication to protecting elephants shows in the vast array of knowledge they display on the subject.

Sitting in the Starbucks in Englewood, clad in Elephant Highway gear, the two were quick to bring up the latest in elephant poaching news, from a Chinese national being arrested for possession of 4 kilograms of ivory early this year to the latest efforts by Kenya to adopt the Kenya Wildlife Act, which increases penalties for poachers.

“Within a few years, they will be extinct if we don’t do something,” said Max.

Running a non-profit is never an easy task, but for high school students, the task becomes even more difficult when trying to balance their studies, after-school sports, and clubs. As a result, most of the work for the non-profit is done on the weekend, but the two also make sure to squeeze Elephant Highway work into their schedules.

Their non-profit also offers people a chance to “Adopt-an-Elephant,” or purchase a beaded elephant keychain made by artists in northern Kenya and South Africa. This symbolic adoption sends money back to villages in Kenya and South Africa to help village economies in the hopes people will not turn toward poaching to put food on the table, said Max

“A lot of people who kill elephants for their tusks are people who don’t really have a choice,” said Max. “They are people who live in really poor regions of Africa. They’re choosing between the lives of these elephants and the lives of their families, so a lot of the times, it’s not necessarily their fault.”

Max and Josh spend many weekends packing and shipping merchandise to supporters. They also spend nine hours twice a month at street fairs during the spring and summer in Bergen County towns and New York City, hoping to spread their message.

Max and Josh spend many weekends packing and shipping merchandise to supporters. They also spend nine hours twice a month at street fairs during the spring and summer in Bergen County towns and New York City, hoping to spread their message.

While most people are aware that elephants are killed for their ivory tusks, Max said most are shocked when they discover how large the issue has become.

“People say isn’t ivory illegal?” said Max. “They don’t realize it’s still going on. Thirty-thousand elephants were killed last year. That shocks everyone I tell it to.”

Eventually, Max and Josh would also like to expand to rhino conservation, as rhinos are similarly hunted for their horns. But for now, the two will continue to save the creatures that became part of their lives in so many ways.

“If there are no elephants, the entire ecosystems in Africa would really die,” said Max.

To learn more about Elephant Highway, visit


public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and wildlife conservation through its subsidiary–Sacred Seedlings. Please contact Gary Chandler at to join our network.

U.S. Advertising, PR Firm Working To Save Kilimanjaro

PR Firm Donating Profits To Save Endangered Ecosystem

Mother Nature isn’t what she used to be. The issues of climate change, pollution, deforestation, endangered species and poverty are getting worse by the day and they impact the sustainability of life as we know it.

Fortunately, a massive conservation plan in East Africa is ready to make a lasting impact on all of these issues at once. The model is replicable and scalable for countries and communities around the world. The key is to get as many trees in the ground as possible–as soon as possible.

Save Kilimanjaro ecosystem

Sacred Seedlings is fighting climate change, wildlife poaching, loss of wildlife habitat, and poverty around the world. Under the guidance of local NGOs and government, five massive projects are ready to begin immediately in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

In honor of the first ever World Wildlife Day, Crossbow announced that it will donate all new client revenue in 2014 to help fund this plan to save the vanishing ecosystems of East Africa. Crossbow hopes that it’s commitment will attract new clients from around the world, especially those devoted to sustainability and wildlife conservation.  Crossbow also is contacting foundations and corporate sponsors to help fund the projects.

“I’m not aware of any other company in the world that is donating all profits to wildlife and forest conservation,” said Gary Chandler, founder of Crossbow and cofounder of Sacred Seedlings. “We challenge other companies to join us as clients or donors and we will shine a very bright light on those leaders to maximize their return on investment.”

Several NGOs in Kenya and Tanzania have developed the conservation and reforestation plans, which also include sustainable agriculture, community education and engagement and more. The NGOs approached Chandler, a renowned wildlife conservationist and author, in search of solutions to the wildlife poaching crisis in East Africa, where elephants, rhinos and other species could be pushed into extinction within 10 years by poachers. The cornerstone of the effort is a massive reforestation program that will plant more than 100 million trees. These trees will absorb massive amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, which can help us mitigate the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which contribute to climate change and extreme weather around the world. The reforestation effort also will help preserve biodiversity and habitat for wildlife.

Tanzania lion conservation

The reforestation will help create hundreds of jobs, which will take away some of the economic imperative that drives wildlife poaching and the multi-billion dollar illegal wildlife trafficking industry. Last year, more than 35,000 elephants and more than 1,000 rhinos were killed by poachers across Africa. Unfortunately, poachers aren’t the only threat to the survival of many endangered species. Drought and loss of habitat also could push them into extinction.

“We’ve had the Sacred Seedlings model in development for about four years,” Chandler said. “When our new partners in Africa contacted us for help, they eagerly embraced the business model as one that could save the vanishing wildlife, ecosystems and cultures of the region. Now, the interest from stakeholders is snowballing around the world. It’s time to get them funded to maximize the impact of the opportunity, so we’re putting our money where our heart is–the future.”

Chandler hopes to raise more than one million dollars for the effort from his company’s donations. That will fund the Kilimanjaro project, but four other programs will require a greater investment. He hopes that other corporate leaders will sponsor much of the program, while foundations also are expected to play a leading role.

For more information about Crossbow and the conservation plans in East Africa, please visit

public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and wildlife conservation through its subsidiary–Sacred Seedlings. Please contact Gary Chandler at to join our network.

U.S. Sending Mixed Messages On Illegal Ivory Trade

Ivory Law Falls Short On Trophy Imports

With many species of wildlife currently threatened by extinction, including the African elephant, the White House announced on Tuesday a ban on the sale of ivory within the USA. The executive order, signed by President Barack Obama, is part of a plan aiming to crack down on the trafficking of wildlife in general in the United States. The move is being hailed by animal conservationists as a “significant milestone” in the worldwide fight against poaching of the pachyderms.

poaching elephants for ivoryThe importation of ivory has been banned in the USA since 1989. However, the new plan, which is part of the National Strategy on Wildlife Trafficking, aims to go further, by banning the sale of the majority of ivory products in the country altogether, as well as limiting sport-hunted trophies to a maximum of two per hunter each year.

The problem is that despite the ban on importation, ivory products can still be found in antique and art stores in most cities across the USA, according to senior administration officials. One official, requesting anonymity, told the media that the only place to see the majesty of these items is on actual living elephants or rhinoceros, in their native habitat.

The new initiative comes as soaring ivory prices have attracted increased trafficking, mainly through criminal groups. Reportedly ivory sells these days for $1,500 per pound.

In the Africa of the past, millions of elephants used to roam the plains, but with around 35,000 elephants lost every year to poachers, the total number of elephants remaining is down to around 500,000 or possibly even less.

Dame Daphne Sheldrick is a conservationist who says that the demands could wipe out the elephant species in about 10 to 15 years. She estimates that one of these magnificent creatures is killed every 15 minutes by poachers in Africa.

Save Kilimanjaro ecosystem

To give an example of numbers remaining, Kenya reportedly had 170,000 elephants 30 years ago, but now has only an estimated 30,000 remaining. In Gabon, alone, over a third of the country’s forest elephants have been lost in the last ten years. Reportedly in the Minkebe National Park, on the border with Cameroon, losses are even higher, with around 15,000 of the remaining 22,000 killed by poachers.

Hence the urgency is reaching a peak and in an attempt to stem the flow of ivory in illegal and other sales, the White House has now announced the ban of the sale of elephant ivory in the USA.

In 2013, Tanzania adopted a shoot to kill policy when dealing with suspected poachers.  Dubbed “Operation Terminate,” the policy apparently was working well and numbers of elephants killed was cut, but the policy was dropped due to a claim of human rights abuses in the country.

There are a few exceptions, however, to the new rules.  For instance, if sellers can prove that their item for sale is over 100 years old, this would be allowed.

wildlife conservation Tanzania


Also of interest is that not only elephants and rhinos will be protected by the new initiative. Animals ranging from tigers to turtles, which are often slaughtered for their hides or other parts for sale by criminal syndicates, will also come under its protection.

The video included below gives details of a recent massacre by poachers in Kenya, where an entire family of these magnificent creatures were gunned down for their ivory. Warning, the video is graphic and may upset sensitive viewers.

Officials also announced that in 2014, besides the ban of the sale of elephant ivory in the USA by the White House, Congress has given an additional $3 million to enforce the wildlife trafficking laws.

For more information about saving endangered species and endangered ecosystems in East Africa, please visit

public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and wildlife conservation through its subsidiary–Sacred Seedlings. Please contact Gary Chandler at to join our network.

Conservation Plan Expanding Across East Africa

Stakeholders Defending Ecosystems 

The world is at a turning point. Ecosystems in some regions of the world are on the verge of collapse. Balancing record human populations with diminishing and degraded natural resources is getting more challenging every day. Climate change is making that balancing act even more complex, as agriculture, water, wildlife and communities are feeling the impact in most regions of the world.

Because of these factors, biodiversity is under assault like never before and the web of life could collapse in some regions of the world within a few short years. Each regional collapse will contribute to the global spiral. Eastern Africa is one region that’s at a critical point. Momentum is already working against us and some fundamental priorities must emerge for immediate action.

Save Kilimanjaro ecosystem

Thanks to some collaborative and comprehensive planning by enthusiastic leaders in Kenya and Tanzania, we have a plan for the largest conservation project in East Africa. These diverse stakeholders are feeling the pressures of climate change. They believe in a shift to greater sustainability. They sense the urgency of more comprehensive wildlife conservation strategies. They have submitted several proposals to help address all of these issues simultaneously. The plans are solid, comprehensive and sustainable. They can make a difference.

One plan can expand to become a comprehensive and sustainable economic development plan for all of Tanzania. Earth Keepers Centre in Kenya just submitted a separate reforestation proposal that can be expanded to the nations of Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda. They are all braced to make an immediate and lasting impact on the entire region. Their future depends on it. The future of life as we know it depends on their success.

forest conservation Tanzania and Kenya

Africa’s tropical belt is one of the most threatened ecosystems in the world. Millions of people across Africa have already been displaced due to drought, famine and conflict. Desertification has already taken its toll on the northern third of the continent. The tropical belt is under assault by resource-hungry humans and climate change. The humanitarian crisis is adding to the environmental crisis. Without aggressive intervention, it will escalate and the ecosystem will collapse.

In Kenya, for example, Mt. Kenya is the main source of all water. That water also is used to generate 60 percent of electricity used across the country. Unsustainable use of forest resources (water, timber, firewood) is threatening the forests and the local livelihoods.

The conservation problems, like the destruction of indigenous trees for illegal fuel-wood, timber and charcoal trade, debarking and poaching of small animals, are caused by the local communities who are mainly ignorant of the importance of these ecosystems.

Elsewhere in Africa, investments from India and China have created an economic boom. This economic disparity—including the entitlement of the investors, myths, cultural factors, and corruption—is driving a devastating trade in illegal wildlife parts, including elephant ivory, rhino horn and others. That illegal killing of endangered species is rapidly driving them closer to extinction every day. Both the African elephant and the rhino could be poached into extinction within a decade, if drought and starvation don’t wipe them out first. Lions will go right behind them. The collapse will continue until the land won’t support man or beast. The trend is established and requires some interventions to at least slow the momentum.

Tanzania lion conservation

The snowballing confluence of environmental and economic factors threatens to alter the future of Africa and the world forever. Containing this disaster to Africa will be impossible. Therefore, the entire world has a stake in saving this delicate ecosystem and others from collapse. We can’t afford to stand by and watch.


The entire planet must address the issues of overpopulation, deforestation, biodiversity, poverty, endangered species, sustainable agriculture and economic development. They all are complex issues that are becoming more entwined daily. We don’t have all of the answers, but we are helping some bright and enthusiastic young leaders develop a vision and plan for a brighter Africa. So far, they have developed 13 plans across Burundi, kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. They are asking us for help. We can’t do it without you.

They have plans to fight climate change, wildlife poaching, poverty and regional sustainability. Please join us as a volunteer, networker or funder. These projects are all shovel-ready.

Sacred Seedlings is a global initiative to support forest conservation, reforestation, urban forestry, carbon capture, sustainable agriculture and wildlife conservation. Sustainable land management and land use are critical to the survival of entire ecosystems. Please visit:

public relations firm and public affairs firm Denver and Phoenix

Crossbow Communications specializes in issue management and public affairs. It’s also promoting forest conservation, reforestation, sustainable agriculture, and wildlife conservation through its subsidiary–Sacred Seedlings. Please contact Gary Chandler at to join our network.

Sumatran Tiger Habitat Trashed By Paper Giant

Indonesia’s Most Unique Resources On Verge Of Extinction 

An environmental NGO claims that deforestation conducted by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and its supplier companies has affected the endangered Sumatran tiger.

World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia communication coordinator Desma Murni said in Jakarta on Sunday that there were many forestry timber concession areas that overlapped with the habitat of the endangered Sumatran tiger – most of them in areas not yet entitled to legal protection.

rainforest conservation palm oil plantations

“As the concession holder, from the very beginning APP has not shown responsible conduct by felling trees in areas identified as the habitat of the protected species,” she said as quoted by Antara news agency.

Desma said the Sumatran tiger was the only tiger sub-species left in Indonesia. Based on 2004 official data, she said, only around 400 Sumatran tigers could be found in their natural habitat and the number continued to decline due to excessive land clearing.

“If we continue to let this happen, the Sumatran tiger as a top predator will go extinct,” said Desma.

palm oil deforestation

She said APP may no longer conduct forest clearance activities in the area. However, according to Eyes on the Forest (EoF) reports, as of April, the pulp and paper industry had continuously carried out natural forest clearance even after it signed a commitment to stop clearing natural forests.

Desma said most of APP’s industrial forest permit (HTI) concession areas, particularly in Sumatra, were located in peat lands, which used a drainage system as a water management system.

The company’s new forest conservation police (FCP) has indicated it will continue and/or carry out high conservation value (HCV) and high carbon stock (HCS) studies in areas that are both still heavily covered with forests and can produce natural timber.

“In fact, as we know, most of APP’s HTI concession areas have been cleared and converted into acacia plantations. It’s very unlikely there will be an evaluation of natural forests as stipulated in the HCV and HCS study plans,” she said.

Desma added the safety of Sumatran tigers and their existence in both the Kerumutan and Pulau Muda blocks remained a question due to APP’s lack of transparency in tackling human and animal conflicts.