Solutions for People, Animals and Environment
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WellBeing News: Volume 1, Issue 3 March 2019
LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT, ANDREW ROWAN
In the last few months, a number of scientific papers have appeared that report declines—including some dramatic declines—in the number of wild animals sharing our planet. Most people familiar with this issue know about the finding that only 4 percent of mammalian terrestrial biomass consists of wild mammals that appeared in a 2018 report in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The remaining 96% consists of humans (36%) and domestic mammals (60%) with bovids, pigs and equids accounting for most of the domestic mammal biomass. The lead author of that report, Professor Ron Milo of the Weizmann Institute in Israel, commented that he was “shocked to find there wasn’t already a comprehensive, holistic estimate of all the different components of biomass.”
Map of proposed transport corridors across Africa based on analysis of their Economic Advisability – from Laurance 2019 ( https://www.ecologicalcitizen.net/pdfs/thin-green-line.pdf)

Roads, Transport Corridors, Infrastructure and Wildlife 

The Wildlife Conservation Research Unit at Oxford University organized a Conservation Geopolitics Conference at Worcester College from March 19 to March 22. Dr William Laurance of James Cook University (Cairns, Australia) gave a talk at the conference on future global infrastructure projects (e.g. roads, hydropower dams and mining)and the potential huge and devastating impact on wild places and wild animals. For example, the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative is projected to involve an investment of $8 trillion (China will be investing only $1 trillion with the remainder coming from non-Chinese banks and investors)in 152 countries. Iconic wildlife areas are under threat from current or proposed projects and the tragedy is compounded by the fact that many of the projects are not justified based purely on an analysis of their economic returns. 

Urban Areas: Helping Wildlife Helping People 

A very recent study conducted in Denmark (see: https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2019/02/19/1807504116) reported that children who grew up near vegetation (green spaces) had a 55% lower risk of mental health disorders as adults. The study used a very large data set of Danish adults (1 million) who were born between 1985 and
2003 and combined detailed satellite imagery with extensive health and demographic information available on the Danish population since 1968. The scale of this recent study and the strength of its findings are unprecedented. However, green space in cities is not just good for people, it also provides benefits for animals. In January, a study appeared in Nature Ecology and Evolution that found that urban allotments, undeveloped spaces and gardens had ten times more bees than urban parks and nature reserves. Our latest blog by Dr. John Hadidian, a WBI Global Ambassador and an authority on urban wildlife describes how wild animals are adapting to city life (as are modern humans who have spent most of their 300,000 years not living in cities.)
 
FORTHCOMING MEETINGS/EVENTS
March 20-22, 2019
Oxford University, Worcester College, WildCRU Conservation Geopolitics Forum , a ground-breaking conference on global trends and wildlife. 
May 23-June 3, 2019
CITES – 18th Meeting of the conference of the parties (see oP), Colombo, Sri Lanka. 
September 2019
3rd International Dog Population Management Conference, Kenya: International Coalition for Companion Animal Management (final dates to be announced – check the ICAMwebsite).
October 14-16, 2019 
University of Sydney, One Welfare Conference II – A follow-up to the first International One Welfare Conference, held in Winnipeg Manitoba in 2016.
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