Thursday, December 11, 2008

Planet in Peril

Right now I am watching CNN Planet in Peril. It is definitely a must see. This is opening my eyes even more. I am an animal lover, anyone who knows me is aware of that. This documentary makes me more of a devotee to animal safety and be aware. The documentary is showing the Battle Lines...not just the white and black areas but the gray areas as well. I can't believe the many happenings that are occurring around the world. It just proves that everything is affected with one change. That what happens around the world affects all of us in one way or another and makes me more aware as to how important journalism is especially of my dream to become like those reporters. They give us a face behind the problem, give us awareness that everything is linked, and show us both sides to the story so that we know what's happening and are not kept in the dark.

When I began watching around six pm, they were discussing epidemics that happens because of human contact with animals. In Africa especially due to their hunters who catch animals to be sold as 'bush meat.' I didn't know that once we had a monkey pox epidemic. Luckily monkey pox weakens as it transmits from body to body unlike HIV, which also originates from monkeys. Monkey pox is awful looking. It is like chicken pox because it attacks similarly and looks like rashes except they are dark, brownish black color with a tint of dark green. What pops into my mind is a ton of scabs all over the body. Imagine that! It causes fatigue, pain all over the body, and these scabs to form. Monkey pox is highly contagious and in Africa many die over it but the treatment there is to let it pass and keep the person eating, while hoping for the best. These type of diseases come from the people handling the animals they kill. The people come into direct contact with blood and other infected parts of animals when they not only hunt them but when they cut and handle them to be sold as 'bush meat.’ Not to mention the fact that eating them can also infect people.

Okay I will continue to write about each subject that was mentioned in the CNN documentary and my thoughts on it.

Lead Poisoning in Peru
This story really conflicted me because of the children...98% of them have lead poisoning. There is an oil factory basically right next to the school so there is no escaping the lead toxins in the air. They talked to a woman whose daughter died due to lead poisoning. The factory knows that it brings pollution and toxics so they have created a school miles away from the town and the factory. This school only accepts 100 children and they help the infected children, keep them moving so that they won't be hindered due to their system affected from the lead poisoning. Other countries also have such factories but they instill better facilities in order to not infect and poison those in the neighborhood. So what I am trying to say is, why can't they do the same and clean up their mess. Help the neighborhood more. Okay, I do give them credit for lowering the number of infected cases but the number is still high! I hope that more people, well the right people, know about this and do something to change it. At least for the children who can't escape the toxins.

Oils in Nigeria
Fights (MEND group)

Shark Fining legal in international waters. :(
On a good note, it's illegal in Cuba. There is this island there and it's illegal to catch sharks...well around five miles around the island it's illegal but it's hardly policed. The boats that come to police only come one or twice a month. Since it's the ocean and it's far from the island, it's an out of sight out of mind deal, so they forget to police. Also there are buoys where fisherman tether lines to catch sharks. They just put a line filled with hooks to catch them. Those who hunt sharks mostly just catch them, cut the fin off, and drop the body where most die sinking to the bottom because they cannot swim anymore. They captured such a scene and it was not something I will likely forget. It was really difficult to watch because the shark was alive when they cut the fin off and they just tossed...well kicked it back into the ocean where it sank to the bottom, no longer being able to swim. Most of these fins collected are shipped to China, Taiwan, and other parts of Asia.

Taiwan has no law against fins coming into it's port if they are under the "plan of action." Basically you have to have a body with the fin or else it's illegal. This was so the shark wouldn't be wasted but most come with just fins anyway and no one does anything about it. On top of buildings you see fins being sunned to dry. After drying they are stripped down to only cartilage. The cartilage is then turned into shark fin soup. This soup is consumed in huge amounts in Japan and China causing for more demand. The consumer demands cause more and more sharks to die and now to be at the brink of extinction. All of this just for the shark's fin, where they only use the cartilage for soup! That makes no sense to me, but luckily people are starting to pay attention to this problem. One way people are trying to make humans sympathize with sharks is via cage diving.

Cage diving is believed to help people sympathize with sharks since most have a belief, well a scare towards sharks because they are carnivores. So cage diving is seen as a way that they can bring people to the cause of saving sharks and see that they do not a pose a threat to humans. This though is controversial due to the manner in which the sharks are attracted to the cages. What is mostly done to attract sharks is tossing blood with fish parts out into the ocean. Many believe that this is making sharks start attacking humans or associate humans with food. The reason being is that the blood mixes into where the cages are and even inside, the sharks start biting at the cage where people are inside reacting to the blood and fish parts floating there. The blood and fish parts that are thrown into the water is called "chumming." Because people believe this encourages sharks to link people with food, many surfers who have been attacked by sharks endorse others to stop cage diving. Florida and Hawaii no longer “chum” because of increase in vicious attacks making people support the idea against cage swimming. There is no science to support either case. Much of this reason is because there is not much known about great White Sharks. They have never been seen mating, giving birth, nor do we know how many of them are left only that they are now on the endangered list.

Rudsen is one of the men who believe sharks do not see humans as food. He even goes swimming with sharks without a cage! The sharks swim near him but do not attack. They are capable of such destruction yet they just move around the swimmers not attacking and were just about their own business. This shows a whole new sense of who they are. The sharks are just being sharks. I am a bit afraid of sharks but I don't believe they see humans as food and I wish them to be free not extinct. I believe my fear comes from how they are depicted in movies like Jaws. I've seen sharks in person and have gone into the water with them...not in those cage-types that was discussed but in free water but of course they were not wild sharks. The sharks swimming will bypass you so gracefully and have no care for you. :)

"We've called it the ivory wars for a long time. They are continuing and we’re losing."

Chatzakuwa National Park is the last place African elephants are living in the wild. The elephants live surrounded with violence and instability. Elephants
roaming free in the Savannah are rare since the ivory trade killed 97% of the population last year. It is near Darfur so of course many militia and poachers come to find these elephant and capture their ivory to gain economic support for their group. Two years ago 180 carcasses of African elephants were found. The ivory trade is fueled by consumers in China and sadly USA. Darfur is still plagued by wars because of ivory. The money gained from ivory fuels the militia which allow them to continue fighting. This leaves innocent dead elephants over the Savannah. Dead elephants can be found by scouting voltures circling and and by smell that just hits you. The poachers just leave them to rot in the sun where their blood gushes filled with worm and maggots. The reporter Lisa Ling said it was like nothing she ever smelled before. The carcass was a baby elephant. This angered me because they killed an innocent baby. Baby elephants have no tusk, so they killed it for no reason. What most likely occured is that they shot blindly into a herd and took down the baby accidentally, or so is explained. Accidental or not, the fact that they are hunting down elephants for their tusks is wrong. They do it anyways for money. :( It's really bad because you can count how many wild elephants exist, especially African elephants. Also poachers are becoming careless, shooting herds at random without purpose. All they want are tusks and will do anything to attain it, even killing innocent tuskless baby elephants.

Mountain Gorillas in The middle of Human Conflict
The mountain gorillas in both Rwanda and the Congo are hard to find. You "hear them before you see them" said the guide touring the crew. Rwanda and the Congo are known as the last place where wild mountain gorillas inhabit. Somehow these mountain gorillas survice. Rwanda is known for its genocide with war group vs. war group. After the genocide of 1994, many silverback were killed and are now on the endangered list. Luckily they now thrive in Rwanda and the Congo but their habitat is a battleground where militia fight. The difference in violence has a caused a riff in the behavior between Rwanda mountain gorillas and the Congo mountain gorillas.

Congo gorillas are vicious who dislike visitors. Rwanda mountain gorillas act completely different. Thy are friendlier and are curious to their surroundings. This is why more is known about Rwanda mountain gorillas, they allow humans to interact and see them. The head count was 43 gorillas inhabiting Rwanda. They showed a group led by a silverback named Pablo. He is named after the silverback that used to lead that group. He is 400lbs and eats sixty pounds a day :)

*On a side note: I didn't know why they started referring the gorillas suddenly to silverbacks but now I do :) A silverback is an adult male gorilla, typically more than 12 yrs old, and with a distinctive patch of silver hair on its back. Not too hard to figure out why gorillas with that distinct path where called silverback huh. hehe. They are strong, dominant troop leaders. I think it's cause of age since mountain gorillas are Black blacks till they are 11. So of course like humans, gorillas also get gray hair with age :) I got this info over at wikepedia! Go there or just search silverback if you want to know more about them!*

Oh back to the topic, the mountain gorillas have tried to leave the area but end up returning because of fear from all the fighting. They are stuck in the middle of a battlefield, teetering on the brink. This just comes to show that conservation is possible even on battle lines. It's amazing they can survive and just give me inspiration to try even more at everything! I am serious. They are in the middle of war on the left and on the right of them but somehow they make it work and live. It's just crazy to me and makes me feel sad that the militia will not low them to leave or for them to get help. Yea each side wants to win but haven't they considered that there are innocents involved?!

Well that was the last story the documentary covered and they left the viewers with these tidbits: In forty years we are expected to double in size. Global conflict over resources is expected to occur in fifteen years at the rate we're going. This will lead to everyone coveting their resource and ensure battle if not wars. :(

Updates they gave us at the end! *The documentary took a year to shoot!*

MEND: The goverment of Algeria said that they would rather negotiate with MEND than fight. If it came down to it, the government is confident they can easily wipe the MEND group off in 3 days.

Peru: Laurella met with the executives of the company but they stated that they didn't cause her daughter's death and that they will help her family relocate.
*I don't know about that. I mean for people who feel they weren't responsible they sure aren't acting like it. If they didn't cause her daughter's death then why are they trying to help her relocate?!*

Mountain Gorillas: In Rwanda five were born, alive and well. In the Congo, milita won't allow people to visit the mountain gorillas making there be no way of knowing whether the gorillas increased or decreased in numbers.

The reporters were Anderson Cooper and Lisa Ling
Encore at NINE!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Everyone is working on finals while I am here blogging. ;) Well I finished finals already so I can't say I'm busy studying or something to not do anything. Well this is off to anyone who is out there working hard for finals. Cram, cry, yell, scream, smile, and study your way through finals guys cause after it's over you know how happy and free you will feel knowing that vacation time starts. Not just vacation but Christmas. I don't know if you guys celebrate Christmas or not still but I still believe in Santa (hehe) and am anticipating presents!!!! Yes, I still get presents. I don't know if it's my child-like image or what but I am an adult who still receives presents from family. Yea Me! lol...sorry about that.

Back to finals. They are so stressful for most but my friends are hating on me. I cruised through them. I am not overly confident in them, it's not like that. The reason I "cruised" through them is that I studied. Wow, crazy huh...studying! Yea, see I don't cram. I study. What's the difference...well studying means that I study before finals. As in, I study every day just an hour or half an hour instead of busting an all-nighter the day before. So I know that I am ready by the time finals comes around. All-nighters are not for me. Yes, I have done them but I don't want to look like the living dead while taking finals. Plus, I am not a caffeine person. So the only way I can stay up is via orange juice. I am the type to get hyper via orange juice. :) Go figure. So yea, finals suck for the most part but remember you will feel so good when it's over. Don't stress over the grade, it's done and over with. You can't take anything back so just have fun with family and friends for the holidays. :) Leaving you with a lovely pix~

Monday, December 8, 2008

Procrastinators Unite!....Tomorrow!!!!!!

Okay so I am a huge procrastinator when it comes to things I don't do everyday...or are to my immediate blogging. I am a huge blogger in the sense that I read blogs lol...but writing everyday...hard task. Even a diary is impossible. My poor diaries. I always..well almost every year, I buy a diary saying that I will use it to improve my writing skills and it will be the one who will listen to all my problems. At first I do exactly what I say. I write in it, put up little tidbits of what I did like a ticket stub or a receipt. Then I forget to write one day...I try to make it up the next day writing as if I did...then i forget a week which turns into months! Well suffice to say, eventually it becomes forgotten only to be found again. Lately I just fill it up with texts of conversations I had and things like that. I have one now...and yea I don't write in it like I should or well how I planned. My point...well I have done the same to this blog. I can say "oh promise, this time it will be different!~" but I doubt that will work. Instead I can say this, "I will try my best to write as much as I can and treat you better than my diary..wait..then I am hurting my diaries feelings...hmmm...I will try to write more just because I have to prove that I can do something I say I will." There...seriously it's just that I have problems...and a mess of junk going on. That is exactly why I need to write and I will try. I will give you that...I will try :) well enough of my rant there...maybe I will write later lol...or as nigahiga says to do..."OTH!" so yea OTH everyone. If you don't know it means OFF THE HOOK.