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Endangered Species Friday: Aquila nipalensis | Wind Farms Pushing Steppe Eagle into Extinction?


Endangered Species Friday: Aquila nipalensis

This Fridays (ESP) - Endangered Species Post is dedicated to the A. nipalensis, commonly known as the Steppe Eagle, identified back in 1833. Image credit: Kartik Patel

The Steppe Eagle was formally identified by Dr Brian Houghton Hodgson (1 February 1800 or more likely 1801 – 23 May 1894) was a pioneer naturalist and ethnologist working in India and Nepal where he was a British Resident. He described numerous species of birds and mammals from the Himalayas, and several birds were named after him by others such as Edward Blyth.

Dr Brian H. Hodgson was a scholar of Tibetan Buddhism and wrote extensively on a range of topics relating to linguistics and religion. He was an opponent of the British proposal to introduce English as the official medium of instruction in Indian schools. Had Dr H. Hodgson not introduced English into the many Indian schools, its very likely very few Indian citizens would today know how to speak the English language.

A. nipalensis is listed as (endangered), although its likely the predatory eagle will soon be relisted as (critically endangered), should conservation efforts not improve the current status of this remarkable bird of prey, however this particular bird is somewhat of a mystery.

The major reason why this species is listed as (endangered) which was only recently, is primarily due to wind farming of which birds are reported to fly directly into large structural turbines, which unfortunately, results in their death, or serious injury. Birds that are rescued suffering serious trauma are rarely released back into the wild, or make a full recovery.

From 1988 to 2000 the species was listed as (lower risk). Then from 2003 to 2014 the species remained at (least concern). A risk assessment conducted last year (2015), concluded that the species qualified for (endangered status). Which is somewhat concerning. To date we know the species has already been pushed into regional extinction in the countries identified as; Moldova and Romania. Today the species still remains endemic within the following countries;

Afghanistan; Albania; Armenia; Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Bangladesh; Bhutan; Botswana; Bulgaria; China; Congo; Djibouti; Egypt; Eritrea; Ethiopia; Georgia; Greece; India; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Iraq; Israel; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Kuwait; Kyrgyzstan; Lebanon; Malawi; Malaysia; Mongolia; Myanmar; Namibia; Nepal; Oman; Pakistan; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Qatar; Russian Federation; Rwanda; Saudi Arabia; Singapore; South Africa; South Sudan; Sudan; Swaziland; Syrian Arab Republic; Tajikistan; Tanzania, United Republic of; Thailand; Turkey; Turkmenistan; Uganda; Ukraine; United Arab Emirates; Uzbekistan; Viet Nam; Yemen; Zambia and finally Zimbabwe.

Aquila nipalensis is also a vagrant visitor to most of Northern Europe, Eastern Europe, South East Asia, Southern and Eastern Africa, ranging from Spain; Norway; France; Germany; Finland, Korea; Somalia; Slovakia Etc. Continued rate of decline is (unknown), which is concerning bird lovers and conservationists. Data recorded from the last assessment back in (2015), stated that populations are declining very rapidly.

Population Uncertainty

There seems to have been some perplexing information from the last assessment (before 2015’s) relating to population trend conducted we believe in (2010 or 2012). However the (2015) assessment has confirmed that the current population trend may stand at some: 100,000-499,999 (which is an estimate band or population band). Populations are not known to be (seriously fragmented). Surveys conducted back in (2001) placed the number of pairs at ‘80,000 pairs or 160,000 mature individuals’. Unfortunately the (European population) is estimated to be standing at 800-1,200 pairs in total.

Bird-Life International (2015) estimated that Europe holds the lowest population density standing at some 9%. So a very preliminary estimate of the global population size is 17,800-26,700 mature individuals. A further assessment back in (2001) relating to the European trend stated “160,000 mature individuals was much lower than previously believed”. So as one can see ‘population uncertainty’ is the second likely reason why the species has been re-listed as (endangered). Not forgetting being rather confusing at times too.

Latest Population Assessment Estimate

The latest, and most current population assessment estimate states numbers range (in total) at 31,372 (26,014-36,731) which equates to 62,744 (52,028-73,462) mature individuals or 94,116 (78,042-110,193) individuals. The population is placed in the band 100,000 to 499,999 mature individuals. It must be noted that 100,000 to 499,999 is not the true population count, but more the ‘band that the species currently stands at/qualifies for’.

Habitat destruction, agriculture, conversion of Steppe Eagle land for farming, persecutions, but most worrying is wind-farming that is “seriously threatening the species as we know it today”. Collisions with wind-turbines is quite a serious concern as the Steppe Eagle is not exactly a small bird, and when hunting, especially within converted land that hosts wind farms, Steppe Eagles are either killed or seriously injured to the point that they can never be rehabilitated back to the wild. Night collisions are reported more than day collisions.


Image: White tailed Eagle killed after colliding with a wind farm in the background. 

The image above depicts a White Tailed Eagle that was located dead after a suspected collision with a wind turbine. As one can clearly see these Eagles are not small, nor are wind turbines. Unfortunately birds come off the worst as we humans crave more and more greener energy. The only real reasonable solution here would be to now lobby governments and industries to build wind farms away from ‘all bird habitat’, or at sea. Unfortunately, again this is easier said than done. While at sea wind turbines are being blamed for whale beaching’s due to turbine vibrations, meanwhile birds are mostly, sadly dying when hitting these gigantic steel/carbon structure’s.

Steppe Eagles migrate, and are said to be closely related to the subspecies Aquila rapax. Steppe Eagles are around 25-31 inches in length, with a mean wingspan of 5.1-7.1 feet. Females weigh 5-10 lbs, while males weigh in at around 4.4 to 7.7 lbs. Steppe Eagles are said to breed mainly from Romania of which the species is currently (regionally extinct) within the country. Further evaluation of breeding behavior states the species breeds in Central Asia, Mongolia to Africa, with further breeding occurring within Eastern Europe. Females lay on average 1-3 eggs within a clutch.


Image: Credited: Peter Romanow (Germany). 

Major Threats

Listed on the (Convention of International trade in Endangered Species wild flora and fauna - Cites), Cites Appendix II. Threats are listed below for your information. 

The species has declined in the west of its breeding range, including extirpation from Romania, Moldova and Ukraine, as a result of the conversion of steppes to agricultural land combined with direct persecution. It is also adversely affected by power lines and is very highly vulnerable to the impacts of potential wind energy developments. It was recently found to be the raptor most frequently electrocuted by power lines in a study in western Kazakhstan. When one views the sheer size of these massive birds of prey, one can clearly envisage just how easy they can fall prey to hitting these massive carbon wind structures, and power lines,

Young eagles are taken out of the nest in order to sell them to western European countries. A decline in the number of birds and a reduction in the proportion of juveniles migrating over Eilat, Israel began immediately after the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986, leading Yosef and Fornadari (2004) to suggest that the species may have been affected by radioactive contamination. This species is vulnerable to the veterinary drug Diclofenac too. Read more here on Chernobyl.

CONCERNING DATA ON CHERNOBYL AND LOW BIRD SPERM RATE: https://www.audubon.org/news/chernobyls-radiation-seems-be-robbing-birds-their-sperm

Wind Farming | Eagles

Wind energy is the fastest growing source of power worldwide according to the World Bank. China plans a 60% increase in the next three years and the US a six-fold jump by 2030. The EU aims to produce 20% of its energy through renewables by 2020 - much of this is from wind. Will this huge expansion of wind farms have a serious impact on bird life? It looks likely, especially where birds habitat is being encroached onto by such developments.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) estimates that 440,000 birds are killed in collisions with wind turbines each year; without stronger regulation, says the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the annual toll will exceed one million by 2030. To address this issue, the U.S. Department of the Interior has released voluntary guidelines to help developers minimize the impact of wind energy projects on bird habitat and migration. Developed over five years with an advisory committee that included government agencies, the wind energy industry, and some conservation organizations, the guidelines are intended to ensure compliance with federal laws such as the Endangered Species Act—although the rules allowing them to do so are controversial.

Read more here: http://hqinfo.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/bird-collision-deaths-wind-farms.html


Image: Red Kite killed found dead after colliding with a wind-turbine. 

There are reasons why birds are likely to be affected by wind farms. Wind developments tend to be placed in upland areas with strong wind currents that have a lot of potential to generate energy. Birds – particularly raptors like eagles or vultures – use these currents as highways – and so are likely to come into contact with the turbines. It’s not just the turbine blades that pose a risk to birds; research indicates that wind developments can disrupt migration routes. What’s more, foraging and nesting habitat can also be lost when turbines are put up.

Despite these concerns, the current body of research suggests wind farms have not significantly reduced bird populations. Several studies suggest birds have the ability to detect wind turbines in time and change their flight path early enough to avoid them. And one small study found no evidence for sustained decline in two upland bird species on a wind farm site after it had been operating for three years. Another found that wild geese are able to avoid offshore wind turbines. (Geese though fly at daytime, and are not predatory day and nighttime carnivorousness hunters).

A large peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Ecology monitored data for ten different bird species across 18 wind farm sites in the UK. It found that two of them- curlew and snipe – saw a drop in population during the construction phase, which did not recover afterwards. But the population of the other eight species were restored once the wind farms were built.

Read more here: http://www.carbonbrief.org/bird-death-and-wind-turbines-a-look-at-the-evidence

The current fate relating to the Steppe Eagle is somewhat worrying. Agriculture, persecution, young theft for trade, and wind - turbine farming is all but concerning plundering the species into further threatened status. After reading many studies dating back to 2012 regarding wind turbines, and whether they were indeed responsible for bird deaths, 2012 evidence didn’t really show much to prove that birds were affected. However after reading the ‘damning evidence relating to the Steppe Eagle’, its without a doubt that wind farms are most certainly ‘impacting on this species and others’ locally and internationally. The question is how do we deal with this problem?

We need wind to generate more greener energy thus decreasing our carbon emissions. Furthermore we also need birds of prey to control rodent, insect, and general pest control. Large birds of prey are also very useful within Anti Poaching operations, and act as the eyes and ears for both farmers and anti poachers. While there is no evidence to prove my own suspicions here, I do believe that certain bodies within government are being forced to ignore ongoing issues with wind farms and bird collisions. The excuse that birds can quickly change course is indeed factual to some degree, well, only if the bird is flying during daytime hours. Unfortunately most birds of prey also fly and hunt at night. So how is one supposed to change their course (at nighttime when unable to see the turbine in time)?

Please view the videos below for more information. 



Thank you for reading, please share and help create more noise about this subject before time runs out. 

Dr Jose. C. Depre PhD. MEnvSc. BSc(Hons) Botany, PhD(NeuroSci) D.V.M.

Environmental, Botanical and Human Science

California: Mega-drought looming.


“California mega drought is impending”

DESPITE man-made circulation systems, concrete canals and pipes that bring water from distant mountains to farms and populated areas California is still under an intense three year drought. California’s drought not only affects local citizens but the economy, wildlife and can increase crime and anti-social behavior.

Scientists have already stated a “mega-drought” could be one of the worst in California’s history that’s reduced much Californian landscape to a brown frazzled patch of soil. The people of Los Angeles are not new to drought or lack of rainfall though.

Back in 2011 California recorded a total of 12 inches of rainfall, in 2012 eight inches of rainfall was recorded and, in 2013 a measly (two inches) of rain was recorded for the entire year. Records for the first six months of 2014 recorded a total of one inch of rainfall. 2015 records to date do show a slight improvement although nothing to write home about.

Drought has been recorded within the “California area” since 4000 BC way before the state was founded. Climatologists recently recorded a dry period of some 1,300 years via the use of measuring aged tree stump rings. And, more recently, an extended dry period that began about 1,050 years ago likely helped cause the absolute collapse of intricate Southwest American-Indian societies.

Meanwhile while this three year extended drought is being recorded as “possibly” the worst “mega-drought” in California’s history floods have also took their toll onto the state of America founded in 1850. While the area has been affected by what we consider natural drought since 4000 BC floods have also been noted although these are mostly caused by riverine flooding. Floods of 1825 changed the course of the Los Angeles River from its western outlet into Santa Monica Bay following the course of Ballona Creek to a southern outlet at San Pedro Bay near where it is today. January 1850 floods devastated Sacramento.


Image: 1955-1956 California was hit by some of the worst floods in 90 years. 

The Feather River, the Sacramento River’s main tributary in the northern Sierra, rose to 250,000 cubic feet per second and flooded Yuba City and Marysville. The flood destroyed hundreds of buildings (image above) and killed at least 60 people. Such flooding provided support for A. D. Edmonston’s 1951 plan to build the Oroville dam.

December 1861 residents within California witnessed the largest floods since the state was founded in 1850 known as the “Great flood of 1861”. The great flood began December 24th 1861 lasting some forty five days. The “Great flood of 1861” lasted until January 9th to the 12th, 1862. Further flooding events have been noted from 1909, 1933, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1950, 1955, 1964, 1976, 1986, 1995 and 1997.

The most recent recorded flooding event for California was noted December 11th 2014. Documented as “Big Wednesday” Hurricane Marie was blamed for this latest event of flooding. Hurricane Marie‘s center remained well away from land throughout its entire existence, its large size brought increased surf to areas from Southwestern Mexico northward to southern California. Off the coast of Los Cabos, three people drowned after their boat capsized in rough seas.

In Colima and Oaxaca, heavy rains from outer bands caused flooding, resulting in two fatalities. Similar effects were felt across Baja California Sur. Toward the end of August, Marie brought one of the largest hurricane-related surf events to southern California in decades. Swells of 10 to 15 ft (3.0 to 4.6 m) battered coastal areas, with structural damage occurring on Santa Catalina Island and in the Greater Los Angeles Area.

A breakwater near Long Beach sustained $10 million worth of damage, with portions gouged out. One person drowned in the surf near Malibu. Hundreds of ocean rescues, including over 100 in Malibu alone, were attributed to the storm, and overall losses reached $20 million.

While floods have been recorded in California’s history a mega-drought is still threatening many communities, farms and rural populations. International Animal Rescue Foundation’s - Environmental News and Media uncovered startling evidence of “some” farmers now selling their collected water instead of crops as the water is netting more profit at the moment than staple crops are.

“Climate change is not the main aggressive factor here affecting California’s residents and farming communities” Jose Depre stated. “The main problems surrounding California’s drought is the misuse of water and increasing populations”. “People are mostly to blame here and poor water management rather than just “climate change” stated Depre, Chief Environmental Director for International Animal Rescue Foundation, Say No To Dog Meat and Speak up For the Voiceless.Org”.

May 5th 2015 California introduced a newer and tougher water restriction since since the drought of 2012 began. California’s state water board have have approved emergency drought regulations that aim to slash the misuse of water down by some 25%. The measures call for cities and water agencies to reduce water usage by amounts ranging from 8% to 36%. The State Water Resources Control Board drew up the rules to meet Gov. Jerry Brown’s order for a 25% cut in urban water use statewide.


It’s the first time that California has ever put in place mandatory reductions in water use. The plan reflects just how bleak the state’s water picture has become. The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada has shrunk to a record low. Groundwater levels have plummeted across much of California, and in some areas of the Central Valley, the wells of hundreds of families have run dry. Furthermore while families and farming communities are suffering so too are wildlife.

Environmentalists at International Animal Rescue Foundation are now concerned the shortages of water and the impending summer that’s just around the corner will begin to have more than an adverse impact onto local wildlife that are already threatened with drought and wildfires.

While the residents of California can voice their concerns and take the relevant actions to adapt to drought the “silent sufferers” are those non-human species that rely on water to live, feed, bathe and hunt. Many native species of flora and fauna are already being forced to change their routines due to the serious ongoing drought that’s reported to increase this summer 2015. Furthermore the threat of wild fires is only around the corner that will increase pressure on native flora and fauna species furthermore.

75% of Southern California’s water supply derives from the Sierra Nevada Snow Pack. Should this 75% melt Southern California’s wildlife will be placed in extreme danger of death. Human civilization will undoubtedly suffer while the economy, businesses and organisations will feel more than hot pressure. Crime and unemployment will rise too followed by murder and gang related crimes.

From January 1 through to January 25th of this year CalFire responded to 406 wildfires. But in that same time period for the past five years, the average was just 69 wildfires. Meteorologists don’t expect much rain in 2015 during the usually wet spring months, so the heightened fire danger is expected to continue straight into the summer.

One of the very worst recorded wildfires to hit California for “2015” was recorded this February that saw some 50-75 km winds fanning wild fires leading to over five hundred residents being forced to evacuate the two small California towns at the eastern base of the Sierra Nevada. Brown said even rain wasn’t enough to put out the fire because a three-year drought across California created extremely dry timber brush that fueled the flames.

Should the three year drought continue its course of destruction thus seeing wildfires occur the effects onto local wildlife would be catastrophic and something that we do not think the locals are prepared for. Wildfires displace animals, displacement means some if not many of these animals caught up in wildfires can unfortunately end up in human populated areas which can cause some concern especially if larger predatory animals are displaced.


 Image: Wild roundfire - 2015 California. 

International Animal Rescue Foundation has voiced its concerns regarding drought and black bears that could/will begin to breach California’s human populated areas in search of food. Black bears are very adaptive and very mobile, so they will usually be able to take care of their daily needs in a drought situation. But then they’re coming down to the lake to drink a lot, coming down for food. If the drought persists, it greatly increases the odds of a negative interaction with people.  When or if this happens we’ll most likely see hunters brought in to control the species to keep populations intact or even possibly a temporary cull of black bears to reduce human species conflict.

Quote: “It was a surprise to see a bear in this part of the neighborhood”

Farm animals are also affected by California’s “unusual drought” of which residents have reported sightings of cattle and smaller animals within their back gardens. Migrations and hibernation’s are also being thrown of course due to the drought. One commonly known species, the Monarch Butterfly has been seriously affected by the drought of which its populations are decreasing.

Monarch butterfly numbers are falling, in part due to lack of food and the changing weather patterns along their migration route. The butterflies’ winter destination is Mexico; they travel thousands of miles south from Canada and the United States. Some settle along the warmer parts of the California coast, like Pacific Grove, near Monterey.

The larvae (caterpillars) of monarch butterflies eat “only” milkweed. The larvae stage is the only stage of the monarch butterfly that feeds on milkweed; there is something in milkweed that allows the caterpillar to grow and keep all of the vitamins needed to transform into a beautiful butterfly. In turn, the adult butterflies consume all sorts of different foods including nectar, water and even liquids from some of the fruits we consume.

Image: Monarch butterflies decline since records began in 1993

California’s drought has pretty much affected the vast majority of fresh and lush fruit trees that the monarch butterfly requires to thrive on. The World Wildlife Fund for Nature concluded last year in the Sierra Madre of Mexico saw the lowest population count of monarch butterflies since 1993 of which California’s drought was being blamed for.

Newts are staying in hibernation for longer periods too which is not considered normal. Newts would normally be seen out and about now. In Ben Lamond both newts, toads and frogs are literally being overcome by drought that’s seen devastating declines and deaths. While most amphibious creatures dig deep into the soil to take evasive action from such harsh environmental events sadly, the evasive actions taken are not helping to reduce the number of newt, frog and, toad deaths all of which are critically important species of fauna that are required to keep insect populations intact.

When early settlers arrived in California they drained Some 90% of California’s wetlands to create farmland and goldmines of which has had an adverse effect to amphibious species of fauna. Ecologists are trying though to reverse this trend that would help to increase amphibious species. Many amphibians breed and lay their eggs in wetlands. After their aquatic young develop they can survive on land, but they must return to a wetland to create the next generation. With such harsh drought increasing in its third consecutive year many amphibian creatures will be wiped out.


Image: Ben Lamond newt rescued from its natural habitat that has since dried up

Things do work out better for native amphibians though if a wetland dries up for “part of the year”. When it comes to amphibians’ predator control, drought can be a good thing, and timing is everything. While most of the three year drought period has dried up substantial amounts of wetland California’s native frog, toad and newt species will undoubtedly suffer in the long term too.

Unfortunately its not just our smaller species of wildlife that are affected by the impending “mega-drought”. International Animal Rescue Foundation’s marine and fresh water wildlife department has uncovered starling evidence of marine and fresh water mass deaths. 26th May 2015 in Baja, California, thousands of lobsters were washed up on the shoreline dead and alive. Jose Depre, CEO stated “in under two months this is the forth such event occurring on the Baja coast of which the same species of marine life has washed up dead and alive with no apparent reason or cause.


Image: Thousands of lobsters was ashore for the third time this year. 

In under two months many more whales have also without reason nor cause washed up along the coast of California. 24th May 2015 a further seven dead whales were sadly seen washed up onto the shoreline. 24th April four dead whales were again washed ashore which has baffled scientists. 7th March 2015 - 1,450 Sea lion pups have washed ashore this year ill and dying - ‘possibly 10,000 have died’ in California, America since the drought began three years ago. Some environmental groups are claiming that ships are the main cause of death however, the sheer fact that California also has seal pups and fish washing up now whales and sharks deepens our concerns regarding such deaths.


Image: Whales and sharks washing ashore along the coast of California. 

This year alone California’s Animal Rescue Clinics have been inundated with call after call regarding stranded cold and emaciated sea lion pups. 2015 has been said to be the worst year for sea lions in California of which the drought has been noted as the main blame. Unusually warm ocean water caused fish to move away from the islands where the sea lions give birth.

Due to sea lion prey moving further and deeper away, the moms are actually gone away longer from the pups. Because they’re gone longer, the pups aren’t getting enough (food) over time. They’re leaving the islands early, and they’re showing up on the shores here, starving to death. Environmentalists have stated the warmer ocean water has more to do with local conditions in the eastern Pacific. The current drought event of three years hasn’t more to do with global warming or anything along those lines. It’s more of a local climate event that we’re looking at. Experts hope the warmer-than-normal water is a fluke and not a pattern.

Meanwhile, while the state of California is under an immense drought California’s citizens are trying their hardest to adapt to what appears to be more locally human induced events rather than as explained “global warming or climate change”. However as much as the local non-celebrity citizens are doing their bit for their state, some celebrities have been noted as either doing nothing or simply flouting the laws.

One only has to take a drive around the suburbs of California to view most non-celebrity citizens once lush green lawns now nothing more than a frazzled piece of sod. Look a little further and one will see many celebrity houses with lush green lawns, filled fresh clean swimming pools and, sprinklers to hosepipes at the ready. Its truly crazy and a sharp smack into the face to our local wildlife and communities that would if they dared use a hosepipe fall prey to enforcement.

Picture above is celebrity Khloe Kardashian’s home that is decorated with lush green lawns, trees and crisp blue swimming pool. While on the left hand side of this image you can clearly see the impacts of California’s drought slowly but surely destroying even the hardiest of drought resistant grasses.

Celebrity Rob Lowe’s immaculate garden can be seen above that is flowing with green lush lawns and shrubs. Meanwhile on either side and circled in red for your attention are the effects of drought. One doesn’t really need to research or understand how much water is required to keep such lawns in this acquired condition.  Even within the United Kingdom where rainfall is a weekly occurrence such lawns of this type would not be seen in your everyday garden. Again this really is a slap in the face of those small animals that have no voice to shout for help. Furthermore if such celebrities that are supposed to be setting a good standard continue to flout the laws so will the local citizens.


Celebrity Jennifer Aniston does set a small example with the use of solar panels however then, lets herself and community down with lush green lawns and fresh crisp blue swimming pool. While on the left hand-side of this image one again can view the impacts of California’s three year drought slowly browning even the hardiest of drought resistant lawns.

Out of ninety celebrities gardens viewed within California sixty three had lush green lawns and with some thirty eight out of the ninety owning at least five swimming pools. Out of just the ninety observed, forty had hosepipes on show with a sprinkler attachment clearly visible. Only one home that we did view which was that of Kayne Wests that actually showed nothing but bare grey-ish, brown scorched grass.

California’s drought is expected to continue through to next year with little or no hope of the much needed rainfall. Concerning is that should the state of California continue to dry up into a slate of rock any such intense and prolonged rainfall will simply run off placing water reservoirs and concrete canals under immense pressure. Furthermore the longer dry spells persist with misuse of water the chances of heavy rainfall must be taken on board by all Californian residents. Floods may be uncommon but they can occur very quickly without warning and cause untold damage to large swathes of communities and the local wildlife.

There are many community projects that are now taking place all over the state such as Water Free Wednesday, horticultural drought resistant gardening and rebates for those that knowingly help to reduce their water intake. Furthermore tips on how you can save water can be viewed here below.

Thank you for reading.


Dr Jose C. Depre

Environmental and Botanical Conservation.

Environmentalism chapter 1 January - 2013


Cannabis or Marijuana as it is better referred to is a botanical species of plant that is grown on the earth since around 2000 BC from which it was more of an aggressive shrub to small tree that lived and thrived all over the world provided it has adequate sunlight, water, heat and nutrients which is the four basic necessities which our botanical species require to live and thrive.

Cannabis is the correct botanical term of this plant which had a growth height of six to twelve feet depending on continental area and climate with a spreading distance of roughly eight feet. The largest recorded girth of such Cannabis tree was estimated at 103cms that had lived for approximately sixteen years with a height of just under thirteen feet although this has yet to be fully confirmed as factual by botanical historians.

The Marijuana plant was used by the ancient Chinese indigenous people as a psychoactive herb back in 2000BC to smoke, eat and drink as well as dress making although consumption of the plant in raw form was what the Chinese tribes known as Gushi’s preferred to use the plant for using the other psychoactive plant Opium or better known as the Poppy for medicinal use too.

There is vast botanical history with regards to the Cannabis plant just like millions of other species of plant life that have thrived on the earth then and still today, the Indian tribes that came across Cannabis are the real first users within of the plant dating back to around 1400 2000 BC which they referred to the Marijuana plant as the food of gods however it was used more in liquid form as a drink and not “substance” due to the stomach being able to absorb the hypoactive chemical properties of the drug much faster than smoking it.

Cannabis was also mixed with Opium that gave an all-time round “natural high” due to the strong carcinogenic and relaxing chemicals within the plant. The main fundamental chemical was found by the ancient Chinese two thousand years ago as tetrahydrocannabinol, at this time no other synthetic drugs were formed and the remaining five chemicals and two synthetic laboratory chemical’s was not located as science hadn’t progressed to where we are today.


Cannabis contains exactly 483 chemical compounds with 80 of these cannabinoids that are used within the research of cannabis. Tetrahydrocannabinol is the “one” of the main active and powerful ingredients from the other five within the Cannabis plant although it wasn’t until the late 1990’s that the true pain reliving active ingredient was isolated within the structure of the plant’s chemical make-up. 2012 now sees a new study being undertaken of which will see primate and rodents researched on to trial new synthetic “non tetrahydrocannabinol related medicines” or (synthetic analgesia cannabis) which we are totally against.

Once the main active properties where truly understood and discovered within Cannabis this then led to high intense analgesics produced for mainly cancer sufferers and those that suffering from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, to Glaucoma and extreme behavioral problems, Fibromyalgia, Premenstrual Tension and Premenstrual Syndrome PMS and PMT.

The 1990’s though was not when this plant’s pain reliving chemicals where located and used. If one goes back to some 2000 years then one can see that it was used as a medical herb to treat an array of illness from nausea, vomiting, headache, diabetes, gallstones to aiding depression. I must state as a Botanist Traditional Chinese Medicine does not cure diabetes, or aid depression to many other illnesses that the Chinese quoted to curing via TCM. This is utter nonsense.

The main “active properties of Cannabis” where truly not fully understood nor was the main compounds of the Cannabis isolated to even made in to the synthetic form that it is today named as Marinol which was field tested in the last century on mainly Chimpanzees, Bonobos, Gorilla’s and Orang-utans as they shared more or less the same weight, fundamental behavioral patterns as us along with sharing exactly 97.9% of our Deoxyribonucleic acid or DNA. There are another 4 synthetic Cannabis medicines used to date too.

The main five chemicals that have been isolated out of the other 80 from exactly 483 are;

  1. Tetrahydrocannabinol - a compound, C 21 H 30 O 2, that is the physiologically active component in cannabis preparations (marijuana, hashish, etc.) derived from the Indian hemp plant or produced synthetically.
  2. Cannabidiol - is a cannabinoid found in cannabis. It is a major constituent of the plant, representing up to 40% in its extracts. It has displayed sedative effects in animal tests. Some research, however, indicates that CBD can increase alertness.
  3. Cannabinol – is a therapeutic compound found in Cannabis Sativia and Cannabis Indica that relaxes the central nervous system, it also acts as a week antagonist of the CB1 and CB2 receptors within the brain and central nervous system. This chemical is used mainly for opiate withdrawal for narcotic and prescription opiate misusers.
  4.  Caryophyllene – This compound is normally isolated for tissue destruction, neurodegenerative diseases to glaucoma and light skin cancerous diseases. As it contains a vital BB2 reflector it aids not just humans but animals to that are suffering from chronic pain.
  5. Cannabigerol – similar to Cannabidiol it’s not psychoactive thus reducing hallucinations, nausea and vomiting once taken in “synthetic medicinal form” this fifth compound has been linked to reducing eye cornea and intraocular that’s especially useful for glaucoma sufferers and has been proven to work (whilst a solution is located and then the patient is relived of this debilitating disability) although this is not the case always of which the patient is then weaned of the drug and then placed on a more alternative NSAID.
  6. Pharmaceutical Tetrahydrocannabinol  or (THC) in short along with THC derivatives have all been investigated, trialed and then tested of which the USA gave permission for the use of the “synthetic” forms of THC and its alternative “derivatives” more or less the same as (THC) but a man-made secondary substance which is a lot weaker. Those synthetic forms where approved in 1985-1997 and are still being used to this very day in the United States of America with some very few doctors using them outside of the states. However it is mostly illegal in this form as well as the non-synthetic form to use in most European nations simply because it has not been investigated and documented on adequate and there is also the fear like “alternative opiate antagonist receptive” medications like Subutex to Methadone that are the equivalent to Opiates being abused and sold on the streets.



The diagram above shows the difference between heavy usage and “controlled usage” or control group

So going through some of the basic but in-depth points here and leaving the hippy non-factual jargon “out” one can see that Cannabis has been around for some thousands of years, has been used by ancient Indian and Chinese indigenous people and has been used by many as a medicinal plant withing “medicine”. Cannabis has been known to be used as an analgesic in Traditional Chinese Medicine thus then used into today’s world as a more practical medicine. BUT WAIT!

We have already known that most of our medicines derived from the tropical forests and are being used today although they are under attack from climate change the paper and pulp trade plus illegal logging.

So what’s the fuss about? We have Opium that is made in to Codeine, Pethidine, and Morphine http://www.worldwidehealth.com/health-article-Unlocking-the-opium-poppys-biggest-secret.html   we have the Taxus that’s made in to Taxanes producing Taxotere that fights breast and other cancers http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/what-we-do/what-we-protect/gardens-and-parks/knowledge-bank/view-page/item739329/  we even have the Hypericum vulgaris which on the Hamilton Depression Score showed is at least as effective as paroxetine the “synthetic” antidepressant http://www.bmj.com/content/330/7490/503 like with all medicines one must also include the downsides to Hypericum as it does posses some side effects. You can read the studies here http://www.psychologytoday.com/files/attachments/51610/hypericum-nmj-article-december-2010-bongiorno-logiudice.pdf  and here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11939866


Whats the fuss about? why are people complaining about it not being legalized - Because Cannabis in non medicinal form is being abused hence why it is illegal to own the substance in many countries but “just legal” for roughly one to two rolled joints of Cannabis with tobacco. Its also only being used as “medicine with the main THC reduced or removed” to stop prescription abuse and psychological addiction.

Cannabis has many good points that many other botanical species of plants have to, however it is being used and abused and those that are abusing it are not only placing their own health in danger along with others through passive smoking and mental illness they are also not considering the damage they are causing to those that need the medicine in “synthetic form” as of its high natural analgesic and nausea reducing properties.

In a recent 2012 study by the United Kingdom Home Office the study stated;

“Cannabis use is now the biggest single cause of serious mental disorders in the UK, a leading expert warned yesterday. Up to 80 per cent of new patients at many units have a history of smoking the drug, said consultant psychiatrist Professor Robin Murray. The stark message comes just three weeks before the Government officially downgrades cannabis to Class C, putting it on the same level as growth hormones and prescription painkillers.

Doctors fear the change will wrongly lead young people to believe the drug is harmless and that more people will try it as they are unlikely to be prosecuted. Professor Murray, head of psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, said the vast majority of psychotic patients - those who lose contact with reality and are unable to function in their daily lives - have used cannabis.

The Government has a duty to warn people of the “possible downside” after pressing ahead with plans to downgrade the drug despite widespread concern, he said, adding: “There is a terrible drain on resources. “Not only are there people suffering from psychosis who would not be in in-patient beds if they were not using cannabis, but the drug also drastically reduces recovery - people who improve go out on the street, meet their dealer, use the drug again and relapse. “I would say this is now the number one problem facing mental health services in inner cities. “In South London, the incidence of psychosis has doubled since 1964.”

About 3.2million people in the UK use cannabis regularly and a third of all 15-year-olds have tried the drug, according to official figures. Professor Murray, a consultant psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital in South London, said there were no experts in psychosis on the committee that advised the Government on cannabis classification.

He added: “Since then, there have been at least four studies that show the use of cannabis, particularly in young people, can significantly increase the likelihood of the onset of psychosis.” Professor Murray himself led a study last year which showed that cannabis users are seven times more at risk of developing mental illness than the population in general.

Experts believe the figures reflect the fact that cannabis typically contains ten times as much tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - the crucial ingredient which induces the feeling of being “high” - today as it did in the 1960s and 1970s. THC disrupts the chemical balance in the brain. This may result in memory loss and anxiety and cause excess levels of dopamine, a symptom associated with schizophrenia.

Cannabis also causes cancer and lung disease and doctors say it could be responsible for 30,000 deaths a year in the UK. It will be downgraded from January 29, after which those caught in possession for personal use can expect the police simply to confiscate the drug and issue a routine warning. A Home Office spokesman said: “The point of the reclassification is to allow police to target class A drugs like heroin and crack cocaine, which cause the most harm to families and the community.

“The view of the medical experts on the advisory council that advised on the reclassification remains unchanged.”

In a another report 1999 by Borges, Walters, and Kessler the report on to chirp;

“The question of suicide and cannabis use is considered by Borges, Walters, and Kessler who examined whether cannabis use heightens the risk of suicide or attempted suicide. Cross-sectional data from the US National Comorbidity Survey indicated that cannabis-dependent individuals were 2.4 times more likely to report a suicide attempt than non-cannabis-dependent individuals, after controlling for socio-demographic factors, psychiatric disorders and other drug use.  Beautrais et al. (1999) examined 302 hospitalized cases of suicide attempts and found that 16% screened positive for cannabis abuse or dependence, compared with 2% of a random community sample. After controlling for depression and social disadvantage the study found this translated to a twofold suicide attempt risk for those who had a cannabis use disorder.

In a 2012 August report the report goes on to state (factual evidence) from a twenty five year study;

The new study followed participants from birth till the age of 38. Researchers administered cognitive testing (that measures intellectual abilities such as IQ) at two time periods: when the participants were 13—before they began regular marijuana use, and when they were 38 years-old. Participants’ marijuana use was ascertained via interviews at four other time periods as well; when the subjects were 18, 21, 26, and 32 years-old.

The researchers assumed that because the teenage brain is still developing, regular marijuana use would affect the brains of teenagers and adults differently. Their data allowed them to compare any cognitive/intellectual changes that occurred in chronic marijuana users who began smoking in their teens to changes that occurred among chronic users who started smoking pot as young adults or adults.

The Findings

Researchers found that participants who began chronic marijuana use in adolescence showed significant cognitive and intellectual declines by age 38, with heavy users dropping as much as 8 IQ points. Chronic users who began later in life showed significantly smaller declines across all measures. In addition, the more persistent their marijuana use was in adolescence, the greater the cognitive declines the participants exhibited later in life. Further, ceasing marijuana use in adulthood did not fully restore these declines among users who started in their teens.

The Conclusion

Although these findings need to be replicated by other studies, they contribute to a growing body of research demonstrating the vulnerability of the teenage brain, in this case, to the neurotoxic effects of chronic cannabis use. The study does not suggest regular marijuana use has no detrimental affects for adults, only that cognitive declines were more significant for users who began smoking in their teens.

Since developing dependence might have extremely damaging and non-reversible affects in adolescents (especially when chronic use persists into adulthood), parents, educators, and especially teenagers should become informed about the potential harm of initiating marijuana use at young ages.

Cannabis is also the top number one “illegal” drug used in “high quantities” to date with Heroin, Amphetamine, Ecstasy, and Cocaine being the next in line report published http://www.testcountry.co.uk/info/Top_5_Most_Abused_Drugs_in_the_UK

There are then also again the major agricultural and climate problems that are going to become even worse should the go ahead be given to farm yet another crop in all parts of Africa to even more continents for Hemp consumption.

Industrial hemp as it is better known is still the same “species” as the “psychoactive Cannabis plant”. The hemp plant just has less Tetrahydrocannabinol than that of its cousin of which in total there are 2000 species of the Cannabis plant with literally 150-200 being used for the use of heavy narcotic abuse to professional usage in the medical world producing pain reliving and relaxing medications.

The hemp plant is used to date in “many” nations to produce Paper, textiles, clothing, biodegradable plastics, construction (as with Hempcrete and insulation), body products, health food and bio-fuel. Hemp is thus legally grown in many countries across the world including Spain, China, Japan, Korea, France, North Africa and Ireland. Although hemp is commonly associated with marijuana (hemp’s THC-rich cousin), since 2007 the commercial success of hemp food products has grown considerably.

Hemp is one of the faster growing biomasses known, producing up to 25 tonnes of dry matter per hectare per year. A typical average yield in large scale modern agriculture is about 2.5–3.5 t/ac (air dry stem yields of dry, retted stalks per acre at 12% moisture). Approximately one tonne of bast fiber and 2–3 tonnes of core material can be decorticated from 3–4 tonnes of good quality, dry retted straw.

Hemp like the palm oil plant that are both still relatively new to the agricultural world hence now the use of them in foods are warming the planet’s ozone, causing soil erosion loss that is more than evident and proven all throughout the world and scientific journals, is adding up to more land use with more green natural forests and natural medicinal plants being wiped out this in turn = more animals displaced which = hunting to move animals that have been moved on to other land by over farming and usage of “alternative agricultural crops” = “Flora and Fauna Endangerment” (The hunter calls this though land invasion) what the hunter doesn’t realize is it that he (part of the human race) is actually responsible for this catastrophic vicious circle just like every other human.

In 2008 the Royal Society for the European Commission stated;

(The report had to be criticized by uneducated media as usual)

The Royal Society, the European Commission and the UK government have all managed, in the last few days, to take the wind out of the sails of the bio-fuel industry, publishing reports that suggest bio-fuels could be causing more harm than good, the crops not being as environmentally friendly as first thought, with the Commons environmental audit committee calling for a moratorium on bio-fuel targets until more research can be done.

Last year, the Conservative MP David Maclean tabled a question to the then environment secretary, Ian Pearson, asking what assessment had been made about the potential to grow hemp as a bio-fuel crop in England. Pearson responded: Research into the potential of hemp as a bio fuel crop suggests it is not currently competitive compared to other sources of biomass. However, hemp does have a number of high-value end uses. For example, as a fiber crop it is used in car panels, construction and as horse bedding. In addition, hemp-seed oil is used in food, cosmetics and various industrial applications. As a result, there is little interest in this country at present in growing it for bio-fuel production.

The arrogant most likely Dope smoker goes on to state -

So the government cannot point to ignorance of hemp’s uses, which makes hemp’s omission from any of the recent reports even more perplexing. The fact that hemp does not need to have land cleared to grow it, grows faster than any of the crops currently used and leaves the ground in a better state when it is harvested should surely be enough for it to be considered a perfect crop to offset the carbon currently produced by fossil fuels and by the less efficient bio fuels currently being so roundly criticized by the various official research bodies. (WRONG HEMP DOES NEED LAND CLEARED) by growing hemp and harvesting one is adding more damage to the ozone, more carbon, more soil erosion, more soil evaporation more land needed as of “customer demand”


The influential Bio diesel magazine reported last year on the cultivation of hemp as a bio fuel and it too could only point to its lack of economic competitiveness (due to its minimal production) as a reason for not seeing it as a viable bio-fuel  But surely if it was mass-produced, this one drawback could be overcome and its many benefits as an efficient bio-fuel could be harnessed. As far as research and implementation of hemp for bio-fuel  the US is way ahead of Europe and there are a range of websites dedicated to the use of hemp as a fuel for cars.

In the UK, companies such as Hemp Global Solutions have been set up very much with climate change and the reduction of carbon emissions in mind, but there is little, if any, research in this country that has looked into the viability of the hemp plant as a fuel for cars. So why was there not a single mention of this miracle crop, that, in addition to being able to be used as fuel, can also be used as paper, cloth, converted into plastic and is a rich food source containing high levels of protein?

What we see and many other environmentalists is just another answer to the “symptoms” and not curing the actual problem here with climate change. Not wishing to move “too much of the Cannabis issues here” one does have to understand though like when treating a human with an illness if one continues to mask the symptoms then the underlying problems i.e. climate change will only become worse.

In today’s modern world we have rape seed, palm oil, corn, switch grass and wildflowers. We also have to take into account the arable farms becoming by far greater as of families wanting “more” on the good side though family size has been “decreasing” since early 2001. Take America the average family size for the Census of 2010 showed a dramatic drop of the big families lowering considerably http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2011/05/26/census-shows-average-md-household-size-stabilized/ however what the governments seem to be forgetting is that although the family sizes are lowering immigration and illegal asylum is increasing thus = more homes, schools, and hospitals constructing to cope with the vast influx of immigrants and illegal immigrants.

It’s already a fact that Palm oil is here to stay as the RSPO www.rspo.org has now demanded along with governments to press ahead for “sustainability of palm oil agriculture” which is a sustainable compulsive lie.

We have ethanol and other fuels, now the governments are wanting, “more” agriculture from industrial cannabis hemp farms. This is not the answer and is only destroying more fragile forest green-land, more botanical species, displacing more people and animals = human and animal habitual destruction and loss.

Palm oil and rape seed oil are the number one Bio fuels at this moment BUT there are other alternatives such as algae and this is fantastic as it does not need vast forests to be ploughed down, on a monthly basis, algae doesn’t need to be dug up and then replanted again = soil erosion and agricultural fumes = carbon footprint. Algae grows from water waste in vast tanks of which is used for “bio fuel” the number one answer “for all bio fuel and arable feed to more” and the governments are pushing for this at last (but not fast enough).

Advantages of Algae fuel to palm and Industrial Cannabis Hemp are;

No need to use crops such as palms to produce oil. Algae oil extracts can be used as livestock feed and even processed into ethanol. High levels of polyunsaturates in algae bio-diesel are suitable for cold weather climates. Grows practically anywhere. Can reduce carbon emissions based on where it’s grown.


“Vertical farming using algae is already in the system and outweighs on the good factor most everyday farming including hemp farming that it just going to cause more problems in the long run to the environment and more displacement” 

Now this is new up to date research, 2012. Yes it needs to be on a vast scale. In the long run but there is no slashing and burning of trees + massive reduced animal displacement and habitual destruction + can be grown at just about any location on the earth rather than that of the palm oil tree that has to be grown in the tropics along with Corn, Hemp and Rape seed that need warm stable climates = Algae = Less environmental destruction, very low carbon output, and no need to soil tilling = Less soil erosion, dust storms, soil evaporation, and over usage of water.

We have a long way to go yet as humans to fully understand what is good and what is bad for us, however if we keep masking the symptoms and not treating the problems then by 2050 the world’s climate temperature will heat up by another 3-4oc that’s 1-2 oc more than the safe recommended level.

The further this goes on generations of our children to flora and fauna will suffer dearly.

Cannabis plantations for farming to using cannabis for recreational use is just tantamount to more human misery for our teenagers along with our climate suffering more as of negligent idiotic governments and propagandist’s swaying the public because they want to make a quick buck.

Dr J C Dimetri V.M.D, B.E.S, Ma, PhD , MEnvSc

To be continued ………….


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