Latest reports – Environmental concerns: trees, wolves and leopards

Source: Journal Star, By Steve Tarter Journal Star city of Peoria reporter

Climate change may get the spotlight when it comes to environmental concern but there are plenty of other issues to go around.
Here are a few of the latest reports
Deforestation
The Union of Concerned Scientists has reported that four commodities — palm oil, beef, soy and wood products — are responsible for the majority of tropical deforestation.
“Deforestation due to cattle production, largely occurring in Latin America, makes beef responsible for more than five times more tropical deforestation than soy and more than twice the deforestation of the three other commodities combined in the leading commodity-producing tropical nations,” stated Union spokesman Craig Noble.
Red wolf
To counter claims that the red wolf, reintroduced to eastern North Carolina in 1987, had eaten all the deer in that area, the Wildlands Network environmental group set up motion-sensitive wildlife cameras at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.
“The captured images available (at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/redwolfreality/albums) reveal an astounding density of large wildlife species: red wolves, deer, black bears, bobcats, coyotes and even the occasional wild turkey,” said Ron Sutherland, a conservation scientist with Wildlands Network.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates there are only 50 to 75 red wolves left in the wild.
Leopards’ range
Leopards have lost 75 percent of their historic range across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, a new study has reported, according to the Associated Press.
“The big cats are threatened by spreading farmlands, declining prey, conflict with livestock owners, trophy hunting and illegal trade in their skins and teeth,” the AP’s Michelle Faul noted.

Guillaume Chapron, associate professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Science, said the study’s findings come as a shock “as leopards were often believed to be more adaptable to human impacts…than other species such as tigers and lions.”

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