At the first congress of UNESCO in 1948, multiple governments, international organizations and national nature conservation groups agreed to form the International Union for the Protection of Nature or IUCN, which would later shed light on the dangers of sprawl, over-fishing and deforestation. Though subsequent changes in human habits were not immediate, their work would prompt individuals and nations to take a long, hard look at environmental issues and their place in it. In recent years, increased lobbying and strategic PR campaigns have drawn even more attention to the conservationist cause.
The winning photographs from this year’s British Society of Underwater Photographers (BSoUP) DIVER competition give viewers a unique perspective on some of their favorite sea creatures. From a quirky, curious grey seal…
Lemurs are small prosimians, or primitive primates, best known for their huge, adorable-bordering-on-creepy eyes. They’re native only to the island of Madagascar and the neighboring Comoro Islands, and the word “lemur” comes from lemures, a Latin word that means “spirits of the night.” While lemurs are related to modern primates, they more closely resemble an older ancestor of primates which existed tens of millions of years ago.
While more than 100,000 wild tigers roamed Asia and surrounding areas 100 year ago, now only as few as 3,200 wild tigers exist. In short, we have lost about 97 percent of the wild tiger population in one century. As with other endangered animals, human expansion, poaching, climate change and illegal wildlife trade all contribute to the rapid decline in tiger populations. Since illegal wildlife markets value every single part of tigers from whisker to tail, poachers continue to capitalize on diminishing tiger populations, killing as many as two tigers a week.
Beachgoers on the West Coast were treated to a bizarre sight this summer when thousands of peculiar sea creatures commonly called “by-the-wind sailors” washed ashore. These small, jellyfish-like marine life (scientific name Velella velella) are about 2.75 inches in length and have a bluish tint to their rather translucent form. Due to their unique, sail-like shape, these aptly nicknamed creatures are at the mercy of the sea. When wind conditions change, so do their destinations, which is why so many of the Velella velella have made their way onto the beach this year.