Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Ozwold in Mauritania. Osborne in denial.

27 November 2011

Ozwold has settled down in the islands of the Banc d'Arguin in Mauritania. In November he ranged over a large area of 440 square kms, but between 21st and 26th November he has settled on the southern side of the islands and is roosting in the desert between 4.5 and 6.5 kms from the sea coast. 

A few notes about the Banc D'Arguin National Park;

The Banc d'Arguin is a UNESCO world heritage site and is one of the most important zones in the world for nesting birds and Palearctic migratory waders.

Set on the west coast of Mauritania, this park is made up of sand dunes, small islands, coastal swamps, mud flats and shallow coastal waters. This diverse and unique ecosystem provides habitats for more than 2 million migrant birds, 40,000 nesting population, many fish and invertebrate species. The reserve also supports several species of marine turtle including the endangered green sea turtle and also marine mammals such as the bottlenose dolphin and Atlantic Humpback dolphin. 

The reserve is under threat from the effects of commercial fishing. In 2006 Mauritania sold EU fishing rights to reduce their national debt. International fishing fleets fishing these rich waters just outside the reserve boundaries have been reducing the fish population at a dramatic rate. 

A few notes about George Osborne's Autumn Statement...

The fragility of the Banc D'Arguin highlights that ecosystems are dependent upon not only national policies of a country but international cooperation and understanding in order to safeguard the future of our wildlife and our own longterm future too. 

Unfortunately, only today, Chancellor George Osborne in his autumn statement has declared green policies as a 'burden' and a 'ridiculous cost' to British businesses. 

"I am worried about the combined impact of the green policies adopted not just in Britain, but also by the European Union … if we burden [British businesses] with endless social and environmental goals – however worthy in their own right – then not only will we not achieve those goals, but the businesses will fail, jobs will be lost, and our country will be poorer." 

George Osborne mentions slackening wildlife protection laws in favour of 'development'. His statement was notably light on references to the green economy or the job-creating potential of industries such as renewable power. Indeed there was mention of £250 million rebate to energy heavy industries. 

George Osborne fails to see the seismic shift in public opinion and advancement in technology that sustainable renewable energy is our future. In Somerset, I have seen individuals, schools and sizeable businesses take up this challenge. Yet, Mr Osborne wants to take us back to the Victorian era when the riches of the natural world were deemed infinite and free-for-all.  

When will he realise that our natural resources are finite. If we burden the next generation by trying to build industries on fossil fuels we will not achieve his goals of productivity. If we do not protect our oceans, our fisheries will fail. if we do not protect our biodiversity, species will be lost, agriculture will be compromised and we, and our country will be poorer. 

Surely politicians intent on short term gain and popularity should not be able to make rash, risky and uninformed decisions that will affect our own long term future and the future of our natural world. 

Ospreys just about clung on through the Victorian era...will Ozwold make it through the years following Osborne's legacy? 

November 21st to 26th locations in red

Novemver 12th to 26th - 440 square kms

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