A few days before the start of COP21 in Paris, the TENDUA association wants, together with photographers who support its action, to underline once again their joint commitment to the preservation of the world biodiversity. The exhibition “Beautés naturelles” is open to all curions and the nature loyers who share the same commettent as that of TENDUA.
Having offered generously their images, the most famous professional photographers , together with some members of TENDUA , as well as photo lab RAINBOW COLOR for the prints and the Mairie of the Sixth arrondissement of Paris for the exhibition space, have made possible this exhibition.
Each photographer has selected one of his favorite shots and the 25 exposed prints are numbered and proposed for sale in order to contribute financially to several study projects, rehabilitation or safeguarding of endangered species in the world by financing the acquisition of camera traps, satellite collars, salary trainers, purchasing drugs ...
The exhibition « BEAUTÉS NATURELLES » is open from Monday to Friday (10:30am to 5pm), on Thursday untel 7 pm, on Saturday (10 to 12am), at the Mairie du 6e arrondissement - Galerie du Luxembourg, 78, rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris.
About Tendua :
TENDUA is a French association, independent and launched in 2008.
Sixteen photographers, professionals and amateurs have joined the association for this public awareness event through nature photography, in order to preserve of biodiversity.
TENDUA supports the following projects in 2015 :
- * The study of the Namib Desert lions whose population is estimated at 150 individuals,
- * The study and protection of the Colombian tapir, the largest herbivore in South America,
- * The Hoolock gibbon’s conservation, a highly endangered primate in India,
- * The study and protection of the snow leopard throughout its range.
- * TENDUA is also part of the collective CAP LOUP for the protection of the wolf in France and raises public awareness of the important role of sharks in marine ecosystems.
A WORD FROM THE PRESIDENT, MYRIAM DUPUIS
What would a world without color and diversity that nature offers us? Can we allow it goes away to satisfy our insatiable need to consume?
For 40 years, the ecology in France is politicized, while this political debate on ecology is nevertheless exceeded. No matter what is the political color of the government: where are the concrete actions on the long term that allow “to study living things in their environment and interactions between them,” that encourage a peaceful coexistence with spaces allowing wildlife to live?
Yet, each of us is concerned about the air we breathe, the water we consume, the space that we need and all the ecosystemic services provided by the planet.
Today, the time to act will soon be behind us. We know the consequences induced by previous political choices made worldwide: nothing -or so little - in favor of nature, everything is done to produce and consume more. Will the COP 21 be able to achieve what we already know we need to do? We have a chance to change the course of things because technological solutions and / or scientific exist.We must still CHOOSE to apply them, to CHOOSE the future of our environment: with or without nature, OUR CHOICE will define the future of humanity.
The idea of a photo exhibition came from a dual motivation: public awareness to the fragilité of nature and the need to raise funds to continue the actions of TENDUA in order to preserve the nature.
TENDUA is a completely independent association receiving no subsidy and operating only through memberships and donations.
Biographies of the photographers of the exhibition: the “pros”
A graduate of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure Louis Lumière in 2011, Julie photography forests, landscapes, territories and Men.
Regularly exposing her images throughout France since 2007 at festivals, Julie met TENDUA for his “Last Call” project, a collection of photographic portraits of anonymous and mediatic people sharing a common point: the preservation of natural biodiversity.
Belgian photographer and free diver, he beats several world records of apnea between 1995 and 2004. After the competition, he focuses on the art of photography, a passion inherited from his great-grandfather, and video diving with a special feature: all shots are taken in apnea. The formula sounds simple: the sea, the natural light, a camera and a single inspiration ... Since 2005, Fred is on the field with marine biologists to participate to conservation projects.
Independent wildlife photographer, tireless globetrotter, Tony has long traveled the world to track down, through his objectives, all holders of feathers, hairs or scales! He puts his bags one day in Kenya, in the heart of the legendary Masai Mara, to devote himself fully to photograph large fauna of African savannas. Tony develops a cheetah protection program in Masai-Mara.
Christine & Michel Denis-Huot
For over 25 years, Christine and Michel Denis-Huot spend several months a year in the bush, mainly in the heart of Masai Mara, where they observe and photograph African wildlife and the environment. Michel has always been fascinated by nature and he fell under the spell of the great wilds of East Africa on his first trip to Kenya in 1973, at the age of 20 years.
Wildlife photographer of the other side of the world, Ivan lives near the Arctic Circle in Russia. Photography is his hobby that relaxes him from his mining engineer job. He likes to trudge in nature, where nothing seems accessible. And he always feels lucky when he reports “good” pictures. He has already participated in several photo festivals, where his images of polar foxes are just amazing.
Underwater professional photographer since 1996, Pascal Kobeh has published several books and was the main photographer of the Jacques Perrin’s film “OCEANS” between 2005 and 2009 (release of the film in 2010). Pascal also won silver in 1997 and gold in 1998 at the Festival of the underwater image of Antibes, and won the year nature photographer prize in the Veolia Environnement Foundation 2010.
Wildlife photographer and diving instructor, Yves has fallen under the charm of French Polynesia there are more than 30 years. He created in 1985 the first diving center in the Tuamotu Archipelago, Rangiroa: the Raie Manta Club. His passion and knowledge of marine life, especially sharks, led Yves to contribute to the implementation of the ban on fishing for all species of sharks in French Polynesia and the creation of the sanctuary Malpelo in Colombia.
Photographer designer, more specialized in food photography and portraits, Gilles is not least a great traveler, always on the lookout for what the world can offer his camera with more than 110,000 km covered in its active! Being a scuba diver, Gilles keeps an open eye and a camera around. Sensitive to the causes that TENDUA defends, Gilles has willingly offered its picture to “NATURAL BEAUTIES”.
Professional wildlife photographer since 2002, specialist of winter conditions, Vincent received three times a prize in the BBC “Wildlife Photographer of the Year”. Vincent endorses this sentence of Robert Hainard : “Fighting for nature will allow to avoid the man’s conviction”. Author of a doyen books since 2000, he says, “he still believes in the power of images to reveal the beauty of nature and participante in an awareness of the dangers which threaten it.”
Graphic designer, photographer, editor, Alain is a man of image. For over thirty years he traveled the most beautiful natural sites in the world to photograph wildlife and landscapes. His images reflet aesthetic research through which he wants to show the public the beauty of the nature in order to better raise awareness of the rich heritage in danger of disappearing. Alain knows well TENDUA as it created the logo of the association at its very beginning.
Biographies of photographers, members of Tendua
Christian was 7 years old when, during a visit to the zoo in Vincennes, his parents entrusted him a Scoutbox-light camera and a black and white film 6X8 small holes, but he really invests himself in the photo in 1975 with his first SLR, a Praktica LLC. His thunderbolt for wildlife photography hit him in 1989 during his first trip to Kenya: an article by Pierre Pfeffer CNRS on the African elephant who stated that it remained only 300,000 individuals ... Christian continues traveling the world to grasp its beauty and share it, before it is too late.
Editor, writer, passionate about nature in all its dimensions, Christine likes to observe elephant or coon, squirrel or tiger, polar bear or tit, whale or hedgehog, oak or baobab ... all of them deserve attention and respect without having to thank us ! The philosophy of TENDUA goes well to Christine: loving nature for what it is and not for what it brings! After a career that has always been related to the picture, Christine now lives thanks words and keeps writing, but keeps intact passion for nature and photography.
Traveler, photographer, diver, Myriam is fascinated by the diversity and beauty of the wilderness. Inspired by the strength of the bond between man and nature, she created in 2008 the TENDUA association for the protection of biodiversity.
Wishing to share a global vision of nature, she she tries to be a relay between scientists and public.
Catalyzer of meetings, “agitato” of awareness, TENDUA does not attempt to give lessons. TENDUA is a way for the knowledge of the otherness, whoever he/she is, and whatsoever it is, in the different ecosystems that still exist, with the shared value of respect of life.
Olivier had his first wild encounters in the forest of Fontainebleau, privileged place of his passion, where he practices the photo-hunting “à la billebaude” still very frequently. This quest for wildlife leads him regularly to various destinations in Europe, Africa and North America. Active member of several associations of environmental protection, Olivier does not spare his time to the cause of nature.
François is Doctor in Veterinary Medicine, Epidemiologist, specialist of livestock diseases and wildlife zoonoses, Honorary President of the French Society of study and protection of mammals (www.sfepi.org), IUCN expert, mammalogist, author and co-author of several scientific works and outreach on these topics ... and a member of numerous associations of nature conservation, among which TENDUA! François travels around the world with a pair of binoculars and a camera.
PHOTO EXHIBITION: There are still some prints for sale: contact us!
Conversation III & the Butterfly Way
Causses du Quercy, Lot, France - © Julie Boileau
102: This is the number of municipalities gathered in the territory of the regional park of Causses of Quercy established in 1999 in the Lot department and covering 176,000 ha. The park is home to a mosaic of environments, including dry grasslands planted with shrubs that are one of the most characteristic. However, rivers and streams wind their way in limestone substrate and fringed by lush riparian forests are another environment equally remarkable and so precious! Still very useful, some of these riparian woodlands are threatened by the increasing urbanization of villages.
We can better understand The major role of these transition areas between terrestrial and aquatic environments when we know that they not only form biological corridors, veritable reservoirs of biodiversity - their leaves, branches and roots in particular provide food and shelter to many invertebrates, reptiles, birds and bats - but also that the interlacing trees’ roots can limit bank erosion and purify water by feeding on nitrates and phosphates rejected by the cultures and towns neighbours. Basically, what a difference between cutting a riparian forest in favour of a shopping centre and snatch a mangrove for the installation of a shrimp farming?
* A riparian forest or riparian woodland is a forested or wooded area of land adjacent to a body of water such as a river, stream, pond, lake, marchand, estuary, canal, sink or reservoir. This band is a real buffer between the river and surrounding land.
Cap d’Erquy, Bretagne, France - © Julie Boileau
62: The number of wind turbines that could soon rise up off the bay of Saint-Brieuc, in front of Cap d’Erquy, natural site of 170ha, less than 20km from the cliffs of pink sandstone populated with pines and heather. Home to a rich natural reserve and famous for its Saint-Jacques shells, the bay is a mecca of tourism in Britany. The gigantism of the wind project therefore concerned the environmental associations. Indeed, the installation of concrete piles would require colossal move tens of thousands of tonnes of marine sediment, which is unknown whether the sludge suspension after the operation will not stifle the aquatic landscape and its inhabitants. Besides propagating that far in the water, the sound of explosions will disturb the cetaceans and other fauna. The lifespan of the wind turbines is limited: what is going to happen in 25 years when they will be out of use? What about collision risk of birds here in the colonies, with the huge 90m-wind turbine blade? What about the strength of these giant windmills to wind, currents and waves that potential violence is known, and visual injury caused by these machines that will dominate the sea above 216m? Meanwhile, an Operation Grand Site of caps Erquy and Frehel is conducted to preserve and enhance the natural and local cultural landscape heritage. Logic!
DANCE OF THE DEVILS
Diables de mer, Princess Alice Bank, Faial, Açores - © Frédéric Buyle
3.70(m): This is the record size known today for the Chilean sea devil’s wingspan, otherwise called “devil giant of Guinea”. Rarely seen, this elegant Elasmobranch is still poorly documented. Nevertheless, we know that it frequents the pelagic waters of the Indian Ocean, the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, which makes it significantly less vulnerable than its cousins Mobula and Manta to pressure from coastal fisheries, particularly from Indonesia, the Philippines and Mexico. However, as they suffer from the environmental disturbances caused by excessive maritime traffic and pollution by plastic micro-particles suspended in the water that sea devils ingest. Mobula tarapacana is also a fishing bycatch, trapped by high water gillnets and long lines. To a lesser extent than its parents, it is also being poached because of its gills, prized by the Chinese drug making industry, its flesh then being intended for human consumption or to bait. The species seems to evolve at low density in its habitat and considering low reproductive potential, it is unlikely to be resilient enough to face the growing dangers of anthropogenic activities.
THE LION KINGDOM
Lion, Masai Mara, Kenya - © Tony Crocetta
20 000: This is the estimated number of lions living in Africa today, 10 times less than in the 1970s, when the population of Panthera leo was estimated at 200,000 individuals. Who would believe that this big cat used to live in Europe up until 2000 years ago, and in North Africa only three centuries ago? Now confined to 22% of its historic range, two thirds of its population are concentrated in the East and South of Africa, besides a residual stand of approximately 300 lions living in Western India. Faced with the increasing human pressures that condemn this feline to repeated conflict with man, it must deal with the fragmentation and loss of its habitat to agriculture, industrialization and urbanization; and the dispersion and depletion of its natural prey; poisoning, the fragmentation of its population with the long-term result in genetic isolation and inbreeding; to trophy hunting, to the hunting for the Asian medicine and remedies ... Certainly, the conservation projects are multiplying to save the lion, considered “Vulnerable” by the IUCN, but will they be enough to stop the decline of this king of animals ?
THE REST OF THE SENTINELS
Girafes Masai, Masai Mara, Kenya - © Christine et Michel Denis-Huot
40(%): This is the percentage of the giraffes’ population decline over the past fifteen years. There are now less than 80,000 animals which sporadically populate Africa, most of this population concentrating on the East and South of the continent. Previously there were nine subspecies of giraffes, but recent genetic studies seem to identify six fully-fledged species, some represented by only a few hundred animals.
Considering the threats faced by giraffes, this requires special management strategies for their conservation. The expansion of agriculture and population growth has reduced the areas loved by giraffes. Indeed, the animal faces not only the degradation of habitat by man but, easy to kill, giraffe is also extensively hunted for its meat, its skin, its tail, and some parts are also used for drug making. For example, in Tanzania, the brain and the spinal cord of the giraffes are attributed to the healing properties AIDS, so poaching has increased. The general public seems to ignore the dramatic decline of this iconic silent giant of African savannahs. Nevertheless, the IUCN, which generally considers the “least concern” species, accords the status of “Endangered” species for the Niger and Rothschild giraffes, but other giraffes also deserve this status.
IN THE HEART OF THE FROZEN TURMOIL
Loup gris, Russie - © Yvan Kislov
60: this is the number of countries in North America, Europe, Oceania and Asia, where a dozen wolf subspecies remain. Having been the most widespread mammal in the world, Canis lupus has lost over a third of its historical range and up to 95% of its previous territory in some countries. Its presence is only sporadic, it was decimated for the same reasons as most other predators: cultural perception of a fantasy animal that haunts our collective imagination, provoking feelings and fears, mixing admiration and visceral hatred. Accused of predation on livestock, the wolf was the subject of fierce persecution and in some areas, remains under pressure from sheep breeders. In other countries it is still-hunted for its fur, the trophy or mere “sport” of hunting. These threats are added to the long list of environmental disturbance generated by man and sensitivity of the species to pathogens such as distemper, rabies, canine parvovirus ... Unequally protected by the countries of residence and despite sometimes very threatened local populations, the species is widely regarded as “least concern” by the IUCN. France is home to some 250 of this highly social canine. In Europe, the wolf is considered as a “protected species” in accordance with the Bern Convention, however France seems to have forgotten this convention and has allowed more than 2000 hunters to kill 41 wolves in 2015.
THE AKTUN HA NYMPHEAS
Cénote Haktun Ha (ou car wash), Péninsule du Yucatan, Mexique - © Pascal Kobeh
2241: this is the number of identified cenotes (sinkholes) in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. Several countries provide safe havens for cenotes, but the Peninsula is home to an extraordinary concentration. Considered by the Maya as sacred wells in connection with the underworld, cenotes are more prosaically natural pits, or sinkholes, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath. They usually measure a few tens of meters deep and are notably characterized by an often-circular orifice and vertical walls. With their turquoise and sapphire waters in the heart of a green setting, cenotes are true centres of biodiversity, populated with many endemic animal and plant species. However, human activities exert multiple pressures on these fragile ecosystems. In addition to the attraction to tourists, some are disfigured by all kinds of uses: overly pumped for the water supply for cities, polluted by agricultural chemical input, considered as public landfills where septic tanks are discharged and where people just get rid of household waste, and so on. Several cenotes are already protected, but others are still waiting for action to safeguard and for sustainable management of their precious heritage.
AT THE OCEAN SCHOOL
Baleines à bosse, Rurutu, Polynésie française - © Yves lefèvre
90(%): it is the percentage of humpback whales exterminated in the middle of the twentieth century, after decades of intensive hunting for their fat, their meat and blubber. Benefitting from the 1986 moratorium, established by the International Whaling Commission, the humpback whale was classified by the IUCN status of species “endangered” in 1986 and “vulnerable” in 1990. It is now “a minor concern” with the exception of its representatives in the Arabian Sea and Oceania still considered as “endangered”. Everywhere, however, it still faces multiple threats including hunting under the guise of scientific studies; offshore oil and gas development off the South American and African coasts; pollution by plastic micro-particles, chemicals and hydrocarbon pollution; collisions with maritime traffic, noise disturbances and abandoned fishing nets are so many traps ... This long-term traveller crosses the world’s oceans, sailing North to South and vice-versa depending on the season, to feed, love and give birth. Because of its wide distribution, the humpback whale has an unevenly implemented protection. Despite a total population estimated of about 60,000 individuals, we need to remain vigilant!
Rodrigues, Archipel des Mascareignes, Indian Ocean - © Gilles Marquis
85(%): is the percentage of the population of the “ourite” (octopus local name) that have disappeared from the lagoon of Rodrigues, where overfishing has taken its toll.
Rodrigues is the smallest of the three islands of volcanic origin of the Mascarene archipelago with Mauritius and Reunion. The modest and authentic island outcrops approximately 560 km of Mauritius. Covering an area twice that of its landmass, its wealthy lagoon hosts an abundant aquatic fauna. Many Rodrigues find their main source of income, but overfishing has already challenged their livelihoods, not to mention the damage to biodiversity. As such, the example of fishing for octopus is indicative of “smart exploitation” that should prevail in all-economic activity. The scarcity of resources has indeed led the authorities to initiate an annual period of suspension of fishing to enable this smart cephalopod to reproduce. Two months a year, more than 1000 fishermen are deprived of their work, but may perform alternative employment, particularly in favour of the environment (removal of invasive species, cleaning polluted sites, etc.). These measures seem to be effective - the size of octopus and the number of catches are increasing again - and encouraged Mauritius to follow the same policy. “Consuming better”, there is the challenge.
SIX TREE SPARROWS
Tree sparrows, Vosges, France - © Vincent Munier
10(%): This is approximately the proportion of the European population of Eurasian tree sparrows nesting in France. Smaller than the house sparrow, it lives in the countryside, perhaps because it has less chance of compete with its cousin that prefers life in the city ! Despite its wide distribution and its encrypted workforce in millions, this small volatile has declined in Western Europe and has a very unequal fate in different countries. In the UK the decline estimated at 97% in the last thirty years is the most spectacular. In France, from one region to another, Passer montanus flits between stability, decline and total disappearance, which ranks it among the species here “near threatened,” while it is “least concern” at the international level. Changes in agricultural practices, such as land consolidation, increasing the surface of plots and development of monocultures, with consequences for the standardization of landscapes, have strongly affected the tree sparrow during the twentieth century. Nowadays, the use of pesticides continues to dry up its sources of food. The tree sparrow is a valuable indicator of the evolution of agrarian backgrounds. It would be time to take a real care of it despite its modest air.
CAROUSEL OF ZEBRAS
Zèbres de plaine, Serengeti, Tanzanie - © Alain Pons
2/3:This is the number of species of zebras whose future is uncertain. Indeed, there are three species of this striped equid. The plains zebra is the most prevalent and has a population of more than 600,000. It is the animal that escorts the wildebeest migration in East Africa and that we imagine at leisure during safaris. Then there is the mountain zebra, with less than 10,000 adults remaining in South Africa and Namibia. Too heavily hunted for its skin, it is also confronted with the agricultural practices that affect its movement and access to water, which earned it the classification of “Vulnerable” by the IUCN. Finally the endemic zebra to Ethiopia and to northern Kenya the Grevy’s zebra is the rarest and is on the red list of “Endangered” species by the IUCN. It has lost more than half of its population over the past two decades and now its population is no greater than 2000 animals. At issue is the hunting for meat and traditional medicine, competition from domestic livestock for grazing, habitat degradation and reduction of water sources. Despite legal protection the mountain zebras and Grevy’s zebras remain a concern.
Vautour, Masai Mara, Kenya - © Christian Baillet
80(%): This is the percentage of the population of 8 African vulture species eradicated over the last three generations. Direct poisoning (targeting) and indirect (from carcasses they eat), and traditional medicine are the main factors that in some countries constitute 90% of the mortality of African vultures. Not to mention the environmental damage caused by human activities (vehicle traffic, the presence of infrastructure, hunting and so on).
Being the last links in the food chain, these large scavenger birds play a key role in natures balance. Devouring the remains of dead animals, they prevent water pollution and the spread of diseases. In India for example, where a similar problem occurred, though of different origin, the collapse of the vulture population has led to the proliferation of stray dogs that have now become the main consumers of carrion, and rabies vectors as well as other pathogens. In Europe, the vultures are not spared either, victims of agricultural pesticides and poisons used for trapping large predators. Most species are nevertheless protected, provided they live in spaces that are protected too!
UNDER THE VITAL RAIN
Elephants, Masai Mara, Kenya - © Christian Baillet
10(years): This is the time by which the UN organization estimates that more than a third of the world population will be exposed to water shortages. In the Horn of Africa in the forefront, Kenya, like its neighbours, has to cope with repeated droughts. Besides hunger and its attendant loss of life, the absence of water also threatens the whole environment, including animals that succumb to these conditions.
For the elephant, that needs to drink about 100 litres of water per day, drought is a disaster. In 2009 for example, in the region of Samburu, 38 of these majestic pachyderms have disappeared, direct victims of the drought - a phenomenon that some scientists attribute to global warming.
For the record, the climate change is mainly due to the production of various greenhouse gases, however, Africa is contributing far less than the other continents. For example, in 2010 a European Union individual produced 7.3 tons/year of CO2 on average, while Africans have produced only 0.9 tons....
PLACE OF STORMS
Le Hourdel, Baie de Somme, France - © Christian Baillet
3000 (ha): This is the area in hectares of the Bay of Somme that is protected by the National Nature Reserve, over the total 7000 ha covered by the Bay. Recognized internationally for its ecological richness, the Bay of Somme is one of the Natura 2000 sites and also one of the Ramsar wetland protection sites. In addition to being a centre of gathering for birds, the Bay hosts the largest colony of seals in France. Despite the various measures in place to preserve its rich natural heritage, the Bay of Somme is a victim of water pollution (hydrocarbons, heavy metals etc.) and anthropogenic pressures (fishing, hunting, tourism, sporting and leisure activities).
Consisting mainly of mud flats, non-vegetated salty mudflats, and shores, including salty meadows, the maritime territory of the Bay is threatened with silting, a phenomenon of natural origin, however amplified by man who has reduced the force of the tides and modified the watercourses by building dykes and channelling the water.
LOOKING FOR A NAP
Female cheetah, Masai Mara, Kenya - © Christian Baillet
87(%): is the percentage of the cheetahs’ population decimated by man over the past hundred years. Fragmentation and loss of habitat resulting from increasing human pressure, the consequent depletion of its prey, trapping, shooting on sight, sport hunting and poaching continue to seriously jeopardize the future of the cheetah. A few centuries ago the population’s range extended from Africa to the Middle East Asia, but the continuous decline of the species is now confined to a residual population in Iran and mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Its main bastions are in East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) where the animal occupies only 6% of its historic range, and in Southern Africa (Botswana and Namibia) where that figure painfully reached 21%. This singular feline, a unique representative of its zoological genre, is even more vulnerable as its gene pool is depleted and cheetahs reproduce poorly in captivity. Considered as ‘Vulnerable’ by IUCN, it is classified in Appendix I of CITES, except in Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana where it is hunted, when its presence is considered to be detrimental to human interests, however the cheetahs presence increases the economic value of private reserves hosting tourists.
THE LONG WALK
Oryx, Sossusvleï, Namib desert, Namibia - © Christine Baillet
45(%): This is the percentage of Oryx that live within private reserves. This gregarious and nomadic antelope has seen its population and distribution dangerously reduced during the XIXth and XXth centuries, as a result of human activities. It became a popular hunting trophy, but is now of great economic importance, especially in South Africa, which explains its massive introduction in private properties, even outside its traditional habitat.
Protected areas are home to 35% of the total species, which therefore find refuge to escape the increasing human pressure. However, the resident Oryx of Southern Africa is not in danger, unlike his cousin of the Northeast of the Horn of African, the Beisa Oryx, that is considered “Near Threatened” by the IUCN, and the other Oryx of North-African and Sahara, the scimitar-horned Oryx also known as the Sahara Oryx, now extinct in the wild and with only a few dozen individuals surviving in captivity. Particularly suited to arid conditions, Oryx finds something to remain hydrated in the plants it eats, and is capable of increasing its body temperature up to 45 ° C to prevent water loss by sweating and panting.
Éléphante, Tsavo, Kenya - © Myriam Dupuis
100: that is the number of elephants that are killed every day in Africa, where nearly 75% of the population have disappeared within the last 40 years. The remaining population of elephants would be around 470 000 animals, two-third living in Southern Africa and one third in Eastern Africa. Decimated in the 19th century for its ivory, the elephant has disappeared from many countries. The ivory became forbidden in the 1930’s only in few countries, but the elephant hunting was very appreciated until in the 1970’s. Around 70 000 elephants were exterminated each year for their precious tusks.
Despite its actual classification by IUCN as vulnerable and the interdiction of its trade by its classification in Annex 1 of CITES, some 38 000 elephants are still poached every year all over the African continent. Moreover, the habitat fragmentation, the loss of habitat because of anthropic pressure and human activities’ development such as mining, forestry, agricultural exploitation, that increase the human-elephant conflicts - animals being deprived of its usual routes of access to water and its food sources. Unfortunately, the elephant is also a target for a legal “sportive hunting”, governed by “quotas”, whose rich income is not assigned to the protection of the species, as it is usually claimed.
WAI-O-TAPU, New-Zealand - © Myriam Dupuis
75(°C): This is the surface temperature of this slightly acid so-called “Champagne Pool”, while its deep geothermal water below is of order of 260°C (500°F). Its crater is around 65m (213 ft) in diameter with a maximum depth of approximately 62m (203 ft) and is filled with an estimated volume of 50,000 m3 (1,800,000 cu ft) of geothermal fluid. It is geochemically well characterised as a potential habitat for microbial life forms. Rather young – less than 1000 years old -, this jewel owes its surreal colour to the presence of sulphur, heavy metals, stromatolites (rock formations of organic origin), thermophilic bacteria and a thick carpet of algae. Visited by tourists and the curious for over a century, the pool is part of the largest geothermal complex in New Zealand, being one of the 129 sites in the country. Despite its potential for energy production amounting to 440 MW, the site is not operated due to the protection it enjoys since 1990. Geothermal resources have long been used in New Zealand contribute about 15% to production electricity of the country, fossil fuels accounting for only 28.5% of the mix, the rest divided between hydro (51.5%), wind (4.6%) and biomass (1.4 %). Geothermal energy is the most dynamic renewable energy sector in the country but the environmental and landscape impact of its development is, as elsewhere, not negligible from the point of view of quantitative and qualitative deterioration of groundwater, destabilization of the land structure, various kind of pollution related to equipment and drilling infrastructure ... Please, don’t forget to turn off the lights when leaving!
THE ENCHANTED FOREST
Highlands Tamarins and Usnea, Tévelave Forest, Réunion island - © Myriam Dupuis
40(%): This is the area of the island of Reunion covered by the heart of the national park, which protects since 2007 a series of volcanic peaks, pitons, cirques and escarpments, forested gorges and mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2010. Like many island areas, Reunion is a den of endemic species - 389 plant species are endemic (236 strict endemics and 153 regional endemic) on the around 900 listed -, including the highlands tamarind. The highlands tamarind forest covered almost all around the island before the arrival of men 350 years ago. The highland tamarind (Acacia heterophylla) is growing between 1200 and 2000 m above sea level and can reach 20m high, but it is often lying down by cyclones. Its seeds can remain in the soil for years waiting for a cyclone or a fire that permit their germination. As for the “fishbone beard lichen” or Usnea, it is a lichen that absorbs the minerals in the air: the Usnea are among the most sensitive to air pollutants organizations, making it valuable natural indicators of air quality. This forest, also called tamarinaie, is a fragile environment, colonized by invasive species for which eradication plans are implemented.
LICHEN ON ROCKS
BANFF NATIONAL PARK, ALBERTA, CANADA - © Myriam Dupuis
3300: This is the amount of lichen species found in France among the 20,000 actually listed in the world. Lichens are usually the product of the combination of a fungus and an alga, and even if they colonise all kind of organic or non-organic supports, they are not parasites. Devoid of leaves or stems or roots, lichens have no self-defence system or removal mechanism.
Pioneers organisms capable to resist to extreme conditions of heat or cold, lichens colonize the most unfriendly biotopes. They are the first to settle on the rocks and barely cooled lava after a volcanic eruption. They are totally dependent on the atmosphere; their tissues absorb all molecules, including pollutants, they tolerate more or less depending on their sensitivity. For this reason, lichens are precious indicators of an environment; depending on the species to which they belong they accumulate more or less toxic substances (sulphur, nitrogen, heavy metals, industrial dusts, pesticides, etc.) before dying and disappearing. Like other living species on the planet, they are sensitive to global warming and it was found that the distribution of some of them, usually Southern, extended northward. Although studied lichens are still a mystery for science and an essential link to the installation of organic life.
ALittle egret, Camargue, France - © Myriam Dupuis
20(%): This is the approximate percentage of the total area of the Rhone delta protected by the status of a regional natural park, i.e. 25,000 ha. Offering a great biological heritage, the delta, for which the Camargue is the flagship, is notably composed of salt steppes, lagoons and marshes and shelters countless species, especially birds. A vital stop on the path of highly migratory birds, the Biosphere Reserve alone hosts 398 bird species, more than 50% of those found in France. At the gates of big cities, the Camargue is a fragile environment whose conservation is not without problems: irrigation waters of the Rhone river are charged with pollutants and discharged partly in ponds, contaminating fish and birds; the dune area is threatened by waves, storms and the trampling of visitors, all of which are factors of erosion and degradation of plant communities; the salt steppes are cropped by agricultural activities; Finally, several breeding bird species have their breeding affected by predators. In addition, the region is subject to various legal contexts (private, communal, regional, national and international) that complicate the management of its conservation.
ALONE IN CLOUDS
Magnificent frigatebird, Galapagos islands, Equator - © Olivier Güder
1000: Is the number of couples of magnificent frigate birds present in the Galapagos Islands. In the Ecuadorian archipelago, a true laboratory of evolution known for its highly unique species, these seabirds have developed a distinct morphology, being larger (wingspan, tail, nose, shanks, etc.) than their equivalent on the continental coastline. Several hypotheses attempt to explain this phenomenon. Among them, the closure of the Isthmus of Panama around 2.8 million years ago may have contributed to the genetic isolation of the bird, even though it is able to travel very large distances. A particular food or reproductive behaviour under the influence of climatic changes during millennia could similarly have created the conditions for this isolation. Although the magnificent frigate birds live in protected places, although busy, considering the weakness of its population, any natural or man-made disaster threatens its future. Some recommend that IUCN grant it with a special status separate from that of the rest of the species which is widespread from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of America, respectively, from Florida to Southern Brazil (including the Caribbean), and California to Ecuador. A small population is also nesting in Cape Verde off the African coast.
MISTY MORNING UP NORTH
Porcupine river, Yukon, Canada - © Olivier Güder
3: This is the number of national parks in the province of Yukon of the 37 that make up Canada, three spaces covering 26,500 km2 of wilderness, i.e. about 9% of all natural parks or nearly 6% of the whole province of Yukon. Only 36,000 habitants are living upon this huge territory of 480, 000km2: one would believe that Yukon is preserved from anthropic pressure. Unfortunately…! After the rush for gold in the 19th century, this huge territory near the Alaska is the target for a new kind of rush: the schist gases. Indeed, Canada wants to become one of the leader countries’ in these “new” fossils energy, such as oil sands, despite the unbearable environmental cost of such exploitation. The dead landscapes, resulting from the destruction of ecosystems and biodiversity in order to implement exploitation infrastructures, are only the visible part of the iceberg. The hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, that is used for extracting gas needs millions of tons of water with chemical solvents that pollute the water tables, as it happened in the United States. The hydraulic fracturing is also responsible of earthquakes. In 2014, two earthquakes have occurred in British Colombia after the injection of fluids.
Drakensberg Massive, South Africa - © François Moutou
5.000 (km2): This is the area of the Drakensberg escarpment (meaning “Dragon Mountains”), the highest mountain, with its 3480m elevation, straddling the border between South Africa and Lesotho. For its diversity and geographic isolation, the region is recognized as one of the eight hotspots of plant biodiversity in Southern Africa. Indeed there are as many as 2153 botanical species, 247 of which are found nowhere else. There are also thousands of rock paintings of the San people. The whole area forms a heritage which is both natural and cultural, which led to it becoming a World Heritage site by UNESCO. However, on each side of the border, protected areas have become human settlement areas that depend on these attractions for their livelihoods and whose development continues to grow. Agricultural activities and especially livestock grazing are carried out and therefore erode the integrity of wilderness. The environment is also threatened by global warming, reducing snow cover in winter and water availability in the region, resulting in more or less long term contraction of the Alpine area and changes in the plant community.
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