Environment Forum

Backyard tigers

ENVIRONMENT-TIGERS/Would you keep a tiger as a pet?

A puppy-sized tiger cub can be bought in the United States for as little as $200, and there are probably about 5,000 such backyard tigers across the country, about the same number of privately owned tigers in China, according to World Wildlife Fund.

That is far greater than the approximately 3,200 wild tigers worldwide, compared to the estimated 100,000 wild tigers a century ago. The growing number of these animals in captivity poses a threat to the species in the wild, WWF reports.

“People don’t realize when they buy a $200 tiger cub that it grows into a full-grown tiger, which means a huge enclosure and costs about $5000 a year just to feed,” says Leigh Henry, an animal conservation expert at WWF. “So you end up with a lot of unwanted animals that are very poorly regulated.”

These unwanted animals are a potent lure to poachers, who can use parts and products from these backyard tigers to sell on the lucrative black market. Because many of these beasts are untraceable — it can be tougher to adopt a dog from a U.S. animal shelter than to sell a privately owned tiger — many wind up in Asia, where tiger parts and products are used in traditional medicine.

The trade in these unwanted privately owned tigers can threaten wild tigers by feeding the market, Henry says.

Turn out the lights for climate change (and polar bears)?

polar bearLights will go out around the world on Saturday from Beijing’s Forbidden City to a village in the Arctic where they usually keep street lights blazing to ward off polar bears.

The “Earth Hour” — when everyone is asked to turn off lights for an hour from 8.30 p.m. local time — is meant as a show of support for tougher action to confront climate change.

Organisers say that hundreds of millions of people last year joined in the annual event that has flourished since it began in Australia in 2007 and has won support from more than 120 nations, with endorsements from companies, government leaders and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

from Commentaries:

Are pension funds ignoring climate risk?

And are conservation groups moving into the business of giving investment advice?

It seems an unlikely path for environmentalists to take, but this WWF commissioned report warning that failure to take carbon risk into account could knock pension fund returns raises some interesting points.

"Carbon Risks in UK Equity Funds" by Mercer and Trucost "outlines how fund manager complacency on corporate carbon performance could put pension fund assets at risk as carbon-intensive companies face rising carbon costs and their company valuations fall in the short-term in anticipation of future carbon risk".

from Shop Talk:

Did you power down for Earth Hour?

The Las Vegas strip (below) and other global icons went dark on Saturday for Earth Hour.

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McDonald's powered down in Chicago. Twitter was alight with Earth Hour tweets.

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The annual event, launched in 2007 by the World Wildlife Fund, aims to encourage people to cut energy use and curb greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.

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