Wildlife

Dought-hit Zimbabwe readies mass wildlife migration

Zimbabwe is planning an enforced mass migration of wildlife away from a park in the country’s south, where thousands of animals are at risk of death due to drought-induced starvation. At least 200 elephants have already died at two other parks due to lack of food and water, along with scores of buffalo and antelope.

The animals will continue to die until the rains come. The biggest threat to the animals right now is loss of habitat. The El Nino-induced drought has also taken its toll on crops, leaving more than half of the population in need of food aid.

Zimparks plans move 600 elephants – as well as giraffe, lions, buffalo, antelope and spotted wild dogs – from Save Valley Conservancy in southern Zimbabwe to three other national parks.

This is the biggest translocation of animals in the history of wildlife movement in Zimbabwe across distances of more than 1,000 kilometers.

It will start once the summer rains come. Those are expected to start this week, which would offer major relief for the stricken animals and for farmers who are preparing for the 2019/20 planting season.

The migration will also help to save the conservancy’s ecosystem by depopulating it because the animals “are now becoming a threat to their own survival.Zimbabwe is home to some 80,000 elephants, around a fifth of Africa’s total, conservationists estimate. Overall numbers have declined sharply in recent years, mostly due to a combination of poaching, illegal hunting and drought.

Wildlife

Zimbabwe Drought Killing Wildlife

Elephants, zebras, hippos, impalas, buffaloes and many other wildlife are stressed by lack of food and water in Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park, whose very name comes from the four pools of water normally filled by the flooding Zambezi River each rainy season, and where wildlife traditionally drink.

At least 105 elephants have died in Zimbabwe’s wildlife reserves, most of them in Mana and the larger Hwange National Park in the past two months, according to the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. Many desperate animals are straying from Zimbabwe’s parks into nearby communities in search of food and water.

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Environment

Drought in Botswana

Animal are struggling to survive in drought-hit Botswana. Around 38,000 livestock depend on the waters of Lake Ngami in northern Botswana, but the animals — like the lake itself — are being badly hit by a crippling drought. Hippo have also been severely affected seeking out the few remaining pools of muddy water to survive.

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Global Warming

Global Warming, Drought Drying Up Siberian Rivers, Cutting Off Far North

Global warming combined with the most serious drought in more than 30 years has led both to massive forest fires throughout Russia east of the Urals and to an abnormal drop in the water levels of major rivers, putting a halt to most river traffic and thus leaving many in the far north without the supplies they will need for the coming winter.

The hardest hit of the rivers is the Lena, 77 percent of whose route crosses through the rapidly melting permafrost; and the hardest hit of the regions are the northernmost portions of the Sakha Republic, many of which are beyond any rail or highway and depend on the river.

In Yakutsk, the republic capital, the water level of the Lena has fallen two and a half meters, leaving many vessels stranded in the mud and killing off the fish on which residents depend. As a result, Russian experts say, villages and towns will have to be supplied by air or be put at risk of depopulation.

If the river fleet dies, it is likely that almost all of those who moved into the region in Soviet and post-Soviet times will leave and the remaining population of indigenous peoples will be forced to return to a life of subsistence. If that occurs, a large part of what is shown as Russia on the map won’t be Russian at all.

Wildlife

Namibia to Auction Wildlife

Namibia will auction one thousand of its wild animals because a severe drought is threatening their lives. Namibia has successfully managed to grow its wildlife population in recent years, but this severe drought is putting immense pressure on it. The Ministry of Agriculture reported this April that 63,700 animals died in 2018 due to severe weather conditions.

The government expects to raise nearly one million euros (17 million Namibian dollars) for wildlife conservation by selling the following: buffaloes, oryx, elands, impalas, giraffes, kudus, springboks, wildebeest and elephants. The proceeds will be invested into the Game Products Trust Fund which manages income derived from trophy hunting, donors funds and wildlife auctions.

Environment

Drought – Alaska

The wettest part of Alaska is currently experiencing something unusual: extreme drought. Last week, the region, which has been experiencing drought conditions for almost two years, was upgraded by the United States Drought Monitor to a D3—meaning extreme drought, the second-highest level of drought severity measured by the United States Drought Monitor. The affected areas include the southernmost region of Southeast Alaska, including Ketchikan, Prince of Wales Island, Wrangell, and Metlakatla.

Environment

Somalia Famine

The U.N. issued a special alert as the specter of famine rose in Somalia due to the failure of last fall’s rainy season as well as the one this spring.

More than 2 million people are threatened with severe hunger later this year, along with the many head of livestock the population depends upon for food and livelihood.

“Herders in the worst drought-affected areas, such as central Galgaduud and in northern Bari and Sanaag regions, have been forced to slaughter the offspring of their goats and sheep,” said U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization Somalia representative Serge Tissot.

Plastic Houses

A Mexican engineer says he has an easy and useful way to recycle the untold tons of plastic pollution that now litter virtually every corner of the planet.

Ramón Espinosa says his company, Ecoplástico Ambiental, can convert the ubiquitous debris into strong sheets of “plastic wood,” which can be used to build homes, furniture and a variety of other objects.

He says the formed plastic not only insulates, it also doesn’t crack or degrade, meaning that homes made of it could last for 150 years.

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Drought

Drought – North Korea

North Korea is currently experiencing a challenging food insecurity situation. Unusually little precipitation during the winter and spring so far is posing a serious threat to the spring harvest, at a time when the harvest in 2018 was the worst in a decade. Entering 2019, North Korea has experienced unusually erratic weather conditions with little precipitation, limiting the soil moisture for growth of winter and planting of spring crops as well as replenishment of water reservoirs for irrigation. North Korea is already suffering from a protracted food crisis, making the population vulnerable to any further losses of harvest or food. Food production in 2018 in DPRK was the lowest over the past decade.

According to Joint Rapid Food Security Assessment, following the worst harvest in 10 years, due to dry spells, heatwaves and flooding, it is estimated that 10.1 million people (40 percent of the population) are food insecure and in urgent need of food assistance. The situation could further deteriorate during the lean season from May to September, if no proper and urgent humanitarian actions are taken.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Southern Hemisphere: Tropical cyclone 22s (Joaninha), located approximately 748 nm east-southeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, is tracking south-southeastward at 10 knots.

Drought – Philippines

Recent PAGASA’s climate monitoring and analyses indicate that the unusually warm sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific (CEEP) which started since November 2018 is expected to become a full-blown El Nino. During the past three months, rainfall analyses showed that impacts of below normal rainfall conditions in provinces of Western Mindanao and Ilocos Norte were already experienced and are expected to continue. Drought conditions are being reported in the MIMAROPA Region, Region IX, and Region XII, BARMM and Metro Manila, where ten provinces have declared a State of Calamity according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

There are no current tropical storms.

NewsBytes:

New York, USA – Buffalo Creek in West Seneca floods after ice jam. West Seneca Police said residents should take “necessary precaution” following an ice jam downstream in the Buffalo Creek. The water had not yet crested.

Queensland, Australia – Devastating flooding in northeast Australia has forced thousands of people from their homes and brought snakes and crocodiles onto the streets as authorities warn of strong winds and more rain on the way. Much of the city of Townsville in Queensland state is flooded, with residents left without power and some compelled to seek safety on the roofs of their homes. Intense rain on Sunday forced authorities to open the floodgates on the Ross River Dam to relieve pressure, releasing around 1,900 cubic meters of water per second downriver. Hundreds of homes in Townsville have already been inundated, 7 News reported, and there are fears between 10,000 and 20,000 properties could be at risk from the coming bad weather. To make matters worse for the terrified residents fleeing their homes, there have been numerous sightings of crocodiles and snakes being swept along with the floodwaters

Drought in Southern Africa

Affected countries: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Since the start of the 2018/19 cropping season in October, anomalous dry conditions have developed across parts of Southern Africa, with more intense moisture deficits registered in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, in addition to the western parts of Madagascar. Although there are a few months remaining in the cropping season, with the main harvest period usually commencing in April, the impact of the reduced rains is expected to have caused a contraction in the area planted and lowered yield prospects, particularly in the aforementioned areas. Heavier rainfall since mid‑December provided some respite and helped to alleviate moisture deficits, but concurrently resulted in localized flooding in parts of Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Approximately 10.8 million people were facing severe food insecurity in Southern Africa as 2018 came to an end. In Eswatini, the estimated number of people facing Crisis (IPC phase 3) or worse food insecurity more than doubled from 120,000 in October to nearly 250,000 in December. In Zimbabwe, where 2.4 million people in rural areas were severely food insecure, the deteriorating economic situation caused sharp price increases and hampered access to food and agricultural inputs. Shortages of basic food commodities in formal markets, including cooking oil, sugar and bread, were reported, especially in remote areas. In Mozambique, more than 1.78 million people were in IPC phase 3 or above across the country, of whom 814,000 people in five provinces were prioritized for urgent humanitarian assistance. Further attacks by non-state armed actors were reported in Cabo Delgado province in November, increasing food security and malnutrition concerns. Meanwhile, in Madagascar, a Flash Appeal was launched to galvanize funding for rapid response in the Grand Sud region, where 890,000 people are severely food insecure.

Environment

Iran’s Capital City Is Being Devoured by Sinkholes

Sinkholes and fissures are opening up the earth around Tehran, Iran’s capital city. And they threaten people’s homes and the local infrastructure.

The ground is cracking open, thanks to a water crisis that has deepened as Tehran’s population has ballooned. The region is in the midst of a three-decade-long drought and ongoing desertification. The problem has been compounded as the city’s population has grown to close to 8.5 million.

Water pumped from underground aquifers has gotten saltier every year as the city has increasingly relied on these underground water sources as opposed to rainwater. At the same time, a great deal of the dwindling water supply gets diverted to thirsty and inefficient agriculture.

As a result, land in the area is physically slumping in on itself. The ground around Tehran, sitting 3,900 feet (1,200 meters) above sea level, has subsided an average of 8.6 inches (22 centimeters) per year based on satellite measurements.

All that subsidence has cracked buildings and water pipes, opened holes in the drying earth, and caused miles-long fissures. Residents fear their buildings collapsing, Nature reported. The airport, oil refinery, highways and railroads in the area are all threatened.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the Western Pacific: Tropical depression 35w (Thirty-five), located approximately 728 nm east-southeast of Manila, Philippines, is tracking westward at 06 knots.

NewsBytes:

Drought, Somalia – Parts of the Horn of Africa nation have not received rain for three consecutive years and, as a result, crops and livestock have perished. Many fear a repeat of the 2011 famine in which nearly 260,000 people died.

Global Warming

Germany – Drought

In Germany, a hot, dry summer has left water levels at near historic lows, and that problem is rippling across the entire economy. Scientists are blaming the effects of climate change for the extreme weather events causing the drought.

Declining shellfish – East Coast USA

Valuable species of shellfish have become harder to find on the East Coast because of degraded habitats caused by a warming environment, according to a pair of scientists that sought to find out whether environmental factors or overfishing was the source of the decline.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

Gl sst mm

In the Eastern Pacific Ocean: The remnants of Tara are located about 105 mi…170 km nw of Manzanillo Mexico with maximum sustained winds…35 mph…55 km/h. Present movement…nw or 325 degrees at 6 mph…9 km/h.

NewsBytes:

North Korea – Large-scale flooding and landslides hit southwestern parts of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea with more than 70 people killed whilst close to 600 000 people were affected. 3 200 houses were destroyed leaving more than 10 000 people displaced. The European Union has assisted with humanitarian aid.

Drought – Utah, USA – The Governor of Utah has declared a drought emergency throughout the State.

Environment

Drought in Germany

In Germany, record temperatures and no rainfall since early April have led to a drought and thousands of farms are facing bankruptcy because of crop failure.

This week, the government pledged $390 million in federal and state aid, but for many farmers, it’s not enough. Many of the country’s farmers are starting to question whether they can cope with climate change. More than 10,000 farms are facing financial ruin, dairy farmers are slaughtering cows because there’s not enough feed for them and while the national average grain shortfall this year is 26 percent, in some areas arable farmers have lost up to 70 percent of their grain crops.

Breweries are worried about a poor barley yield and have warned that the shortfall will be reflected in the price of that other German staple, beer.