Join us as we take a look through the lens at some green events from around the world over the past week, including a South African decision to lift a ban on domestic rhino horn trading and selfie monkeys in danger.
Over the past few weeks, Californians have been treated to the sight of vast carpets of wild flowers blooming across southern parts of the U.S. state following its wettest winter in years. Orange poppies have sprung up in what is known as a "super bloom" in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains in what is now the lush green Chino Hills State Park. The poppy is California's state flower. The Chino Hills Park is filled with oaks, sycamores and undulating, grassy hills that stretch for nearly 31 miles. It is a key refuge for many plant and animal species.
Indonesia's famous "selfie monkey" is back in the news but this time for less light-hearted reasons. The black crested macaque is listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It's believed only 4,000 to 6,000 individuals are left on Indonesia's Sulawesi Island. The islander's taste for macaque meat means the monkey is fighting for survival. A macaque originally hit the headlines in 2014 after taking a number of selfies with a wildlife photographer's camera. The photos were then at the center of a legal dispute, in which animal rights group PETA unsuccessfully argued that the monkey should own the copyright to his own image.
In Ecuador, vast tracts of forest are cleared to make way for cocoa plantations to feed our chocolate habit. Spider monkeys are getting caught in the crossfire and are losing habitat as a result. One project is encouraging farmers in the Choco region to shift to single-source cocoa and to farm it sustainably. The farmers get a higher price for their product and monkey habitat is being saved in the process.
The Czech parliament has passed a new National Park law giving priority to nature protection. The country's four national parks will be divided into four zones with different levels of environmental protection. But the parks will still be open to "soft eco-tourism" and visitors will still be able to explore lesser known beauty spots.
A ruling by South Africa's highest court means a ban on the domestic trade in rhino horn may be lifted for traders holding permits, according to The Guardian. The department of environmental affairs had backed retaining a moratorium on domestic trade in rhino horn but the court dismissed the government's application in a one-paragraph ruling. Rhino breeders say the high Asian demand for rhino horn could be met by sawing off the horns of anaesthetized animals. They say the horns grow back and this could end poaching. Most conservationists disagree, says the paper.