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Animal Charity and Conservationists Unite to Save the Scottish Wildcat from Extinction

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A unique conservation project in Scotland to save one of the world’s rarest animals from extinction has been given a major boost with support from animal welfare charity, Humane Society International.

With as few as 35 animals left in the wild, Scottish wildcats (pictured: by Adrian Bennett) are critically endangered, and inter-breeding with domestic cats is significantly diluting the already rare bloodline. If urgent action isn’t taken, this species will breed itself out of existence.

To save the species, Humane Society International/UK has joined forces with veterinarians at the Wildcat Haven project with a grant to support their work using the tried and tested Trap-Vaccinate-Neuter-Release programme. HSI uses TVNR around the world as a humane, non-lethal method to gradually reduce street cat or dog populations in areas of animal/human conflict, where these animals might otherwise be killed. In west Scotland, TVNR will target domestic and feral cats in wildcat hotspots.

HSI’s support has enabled the project to expand its successful work in the Ardnamurchan peninsula in to the surrounding area of Morvern to create a 500 square mile haven across prime Scottish wildcat territory.

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, said: “This is compassionate conservation in action to save Britain’s only surviving native feline from the brink of extinction, whilst not harming any domestic or feral cats in the process.

“Our TVNR projects are more usually rolled out in places like Bhutan and the Philippines, so it’s exciting to see it in action to help our own British wildlife. By neutering domestic and feral cats this programme will humanely eliminate the interbreeding problem whilst creating a secure area where Scottish wildcats are given the best possible chance of survival within their own natural habitat.”

In Scotland, researchers and veterinarians will be on-hand throughout the year with mobile veterinary clinics to vaccinate, neuter and health check feral and domestic cats. Local residents who participate will have their companion animals neutered and vaccinated free of charge.

Dr. Paul O’Donoghue, chief scientific advisor for the Wildcat Haven project, said: “Wildcat Haven has always been about striving for exceptional animal welfare standards and delivering compassionate conservation that keeps wildcats where they belong, in the wild.

“This is a critical time for the wildcat but also an exciting one as the Haven project is really building momentum. Not only is the haven area expanding year on year, but by launching a new crowd funding approach to buying nature reserves for wildcats, we are now offering an opportunity for everyone to get involved and play their part in saving one of the rarest animals on the planet; time is tight, but we can still save this animal.”

Wildcat Haven has identified six areas in the Scottish Highlands, where the wildcat has the best chance of survival. To date, the TVNR project has covered the 300 square mile peninsula of Ardnamurchan in the West Highlands, and in the last year alone the project has vaccinated/neutered more than 51 cats— an excellent achievement in a challenging, remote area of west Scotland.

Environment

Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage

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water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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Environment

Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism

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When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.

After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.

How was it started?

It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.

How to go about it?

So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.

If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.

What can be learned?

Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .

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