Best of our wild blogs: 16 Nov 13

Responsible Business Forum: 25-26 November
from Green Drinks Singapore

Green Beginnings
from Gamefish And Aquatic Rehabiliation Society

Nature Walk @Pulau Ubin
from Nikita Hengbok

Malaysia has the world's highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest map from news by Rhett Butler

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Rescued birds released into rehabilitation aviary

Today Online 16 Nov 13;

Four rescued birds were released into a rehabilitation aviary at the Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West yesterday, part of an effort by Jurong Bird Park and National Parks Board to conserve the native bird population in Singapore.

The birds — a pair of pink-necked green pigeons and a pair of black-naped orioles — were placed into a purpose-built rehabilitation aviary, the first of its kind in a town park.

The birds were taken to Jurong Bird Park by a member of the public, and veterinarians had to rehabilitate and nurse three young birds back to health.

This included hand-raising the birds until they were old enough to eat on their own. They will remain in the aviary for seven days so they can get used to their surroundings before they are released.

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Indonesia: Garuda Bans Shark Fin Transport on Flights: WWF-Indonesia

Jakarta Globe 15 Nov 13;

The World Wildlife Fund-Indonesia praised the nation’s flagship carrier Garuda-Indonesia on Friday for banning the transportation of shark fins aboard all flights.

The blanket embargo, effective on Oct. 8, has Garuda joining a growing list of international airlines taking a stance against the destructive practice. Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Emirates Airlines, Fiji Airways and Korean Air are among the carriers to ban the transport of shark fins, the statement read.

“WWF-Indonesia commends this move by Garuda Indonesia,” Nazir Foead, conservation director for WWF-Indonesia, said. “Their policy to cease transporting shark fin products is a positive step that should generate further momentum in the shark conservation movement.”

The airline’s commitment represents a major step in curbing the global trade of shark fins. Garuda previously transported some 36 tons of shark fins a year, WWF-Indonesia said. Indonesia is the world’s leading source of shark fins — which are used as the main ingredient in a popular, and expensive, Chinese soup.

The practice has grabbed the attention of conservationists as global shark populations decline.

WWF-Indonesia has launched a “Save Our Sharks,” campaign and is working with the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries to work on drafting a national shark conservation plan.

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Indonesia: The Fierce Urgency of Saving Asia’s Endangered Rhinos

Diana Parker Jakarta Globe 15 Nov 13;

Indonesia’s rhinos are in crisis.

The one-horned Javan rhino (Rhinoceros sondaicus), which once ranged through South and Southeast Asia, is now extinct in all but one rare lowland forest in western Java, specifically the Ujung Kulon National Park in Banten.

With only around 50 individuals left in the wild — and none in captivity — the Javan rhino is one of the world’s most endangered large animals.

And the furry, two-horned Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) — the world’s smallest rhino species but still weighing in at an impressive 600-950 kilograms — is not doing much better.

There may be just 100 Sumatran rhinos left worldwide, a figure announced at the Sumatran Rhino Crisis Summit, an emergency meeting held in Singapore from March 31-April 4. At the summit, rhino experts and conservationists convened with government officials to discuss the dire situation facing the Sumatran rhino and the steps needed to protect it from extinction.

The governments of Malaysia and Indonesia, the only two countries that can still boast Sumatran rhino populations, vowed at the summit to work together to protect the species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature, a global conservation network that organized the summit, called the agreement “groundbreaking” in a media release in April.

However, conservationists warned, governments still needed to take concrete action to save the species.

“Serious steps must be taken to roll back the tide of extinction of the Sumatran rhino,” Widodo Ramono, director of the Indonesian Rhino Foundation (YABI), said in the IUCN release.

“We need to act together urgently, hand in hand, replicating some of the inspirational successes of other conservation efforts and aim to stop any failures that might impede progress.”

Fast forward nearly six months and Widodo was in Way Kambas National Park in Lampung, attending a workshop together with local and international conservationists and rangers from across Indonesia who are working to protect rhinos on the ground.

The goal of the workshop was to take one simple but critical step toward protecting Sumatran rhinos — figuring out exactly how many rhinos are left in the wild and where.

“We are looking for something that can’t be seen. It’s invisible. So we must search for a method to use to study what can’t be seen directly,” Widodo said in Way Kambas on Sept. 27.

Keeping track

Sumatran rhinos are notoriously shy. Even for rangers who spend years tracking and protecting the animal, actual sightings of the rhino are rare. So how does one count and keep safe an animal that can’t been seen?

One answer: set a trap — a camera trap. According to Sunarto, a species specialist at WWF Indonesia, the first camera trap used in Indonesia was nothing more than a traditional film camera hooked up to a pressure pad. When a large animal like a rhino would walk across the pad, it would trigger the camera to snap a photo, “capturing” the animal on film.

Today’s camera traps are much more sophisticated, and scientists all over the world use these specially made digital cameras to take still photos and videos of rare animals. At the workshop, rangers from various rhino habitat sites in Indonesia trekked through the forest for a demonstration on how to install and use the traps.

Although some sites are already using camera traps to track and study Sumatran and Javan rhinos, conservationists hope that more widespread, systematic use of the traps will help them get a more complete picture of just how many are left.

Another answer that is perhaps even more surprising is DNA sampling. Each individual rhino’s DNA is unique, so testing DNA can help scientists learn how many rhinos are living in a particular area — for which rangers turn to poop.

During treks through rhino territory they search for droppings, and if they are lucky enough to find fresh feces, they collect a small sample. These samples are brought back to a lab, the DNA is analyzed, and scientists can then determine which specific rhino the feces sample came from.

“We hope that with this kind of survey [using camera traps and DNA sampling], later on, we will find that we can actually approach [in our estimates] the actual number of rhinos,” Widodo said.

“And then, after that, we will be able to count what the increase may be.”

While the Crisis Summit estimated there may be fewer than 100 Sumatran rhinos left in the world, other figures put that number closer to 200, scattered throughout Way Kambas and Bukit Barisan Selatan national parks in Lampung and the Leuser Ecosystem in Aceh and North Sumatra, as well as a small community in Sabah, in Malaysian Borneo.

On Oct. 2, WWF Indonesia released camera trap photos and video of what may be a lone Sumatran rhino in the jungles of East Kalimantan, a surprising find since rhinos had long been considered extinct in Indonesian Borneo. But while work still needs to be done to count the exact number left, workshop participants agreed that without better protection, Sumatran rhinos were at serious risk of becoming extinct.

In the past 20 years alone, WWF Indonesia estimates Sumatran rhino numbers have declined by 82 percent, with rhinos going extinct at eight habitat sites. Habitat fragmentation and encroachment are two of the major threats facing the species, both unsurprising given the high deforestation rates in Sumatra over past two decades.

But according to many conference participants, poaching is currently the most serious threat facing the remaining wild rhinos.

Although other endangered animals such as elephants and orangutans are sometimes killed in Indonesia because they are perceived as a threat to farms or plantations, rhinos are killed almost exclusively for their horns, which can fetch huge sums on the black market.

Although there is no scientific evidence that rhino horns have any medical properties (the horns are made mostly of keratin, like human fingernails), it remains a sought-after ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, and demand for the horns in countries like China and Vietnam has led to thousands of rhinos being killed across Africa and Asia in recent years.

The threat is so serious that even the announcement that at least one rhino still exists in Kalimantan was criticized by some researchers, who fear publicizing the existence of the rhino will draw the attention of poachers.

“What WWF should have done is keep quiet, lobby in the background for the protection of the forest and the establishment of effective conservation management,” Erik Meijaard, a researcher who has worked in Indonesia for more than 20 years, told conservation news website in an Oct. 9 article, after WWF released the photos and video footage of the rhino.


WWF Indonesia and the local government of East Kalimantan’s West Kutai district have already set up a joint monitoring team that has been conducting regular patrols in the area to help protect the rhino from poachers.

But according to Meijaard, the measure isn’t enough.

“The problem is that no one in Indonesia, apart possibly from the Ujung Kulon people, have been able to stop rhino poaching,” he said.

In Way Kambas, workshop participants, including experts from WWF, also stressed the need for more and better patrols to protect Sumatran rhinos.

“The most urgent [step] will be protection of the places where we definitely know there are rhinos. Because there are many places that do not have adequate protection,” Sunarto told the Jakarta Globe during the workshop.

“You have to have the almost 24-hour presence of a good team. A team that can prevent, to begin with, the poachers from coming in. And if they detect one, they should be able to handle it and prevent [the poacher] from killing the rhinos.”

Sunarto said it was not difficult to get people in Indonesia to support rhino conservation, including among communities living near rhino habitats, arguably some of the most critical supporters of conservation efforts.

“But the thing is, with rhino conservation, even if you have a village where 99 percent of the people support [it], if you have one person, with one gun, that can wipe out the rhino,” Sunarto said.

But there have been success stories for rhinos in Asia. In Nepal and India, greater one-horned rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis) populations have been able to bounce back with serious anti-poaching efforts.

Indonesia also has its own rhino success story. While the Javan rhino is still critically endangered, 40 years ago it would have been hard to predict that even 50 would survive in Ujung Kulon. In the 1960s and 1970s, the species was holding on by a thread with only around 25 individuals left in the wild.

But after serious protection measures were put in place, including patrols by special privately funded forest ranger teams know as Rhino Protection Units (RPUs), the Javan rhinos began to make a comeback. Now, the population appears to have stabilized at around 40 or 50 individuals.

There have been some indications that the Indonesian government is starting to get serious about Sumatran rhino conservation. On Oct. 2-3, Indonesia convened the first ever Asian Rhino Range States Meeting in Bandar Lampung.

At the ministerial-level meeting, representatives from Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nepal agreed that just maintaining the populations would not be enough. Steps need to be taken to help rhinos recover.

In a press release, WWF Indonesia applauded the meeting, but said it would take more than words to make this a reality. Proven techniques from places like Ujung Kulon must be implemented throughout the region.

“The rhino, it is a magnificent animal,” Sunarto said. “And we still manage to have two species, which is so special.

“Our effort has to be successful. Everyone will watch us. Everyone will hope for us. The rhino conservation is in our hands now. We don’t want to lose in this battle.”

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Indonesia: The Quest for Green Palm Oil

Diana Parker Jakarta Globe 15 Nov 13;

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s 11th annual meeting in Medan kicked off this week amid harsh criticism from environmental, human rights and labor groups claiming the organization has failed in its mandate to make sustainable and rights-respecting palm oil the norm.

Thousands of protesters representing 10 labor unions gathered outside the meetings on Tuesday to deliver a set of demands to RSPO secretary general Darrel Webber regarding widespread labor abuses they claim are occurring on plantations owned by RSPO members.

Decent wages, working conditions, and the freedom to establish or join a union are all guaranteed by the RSPO’s Principles & Criteria — a set of standards member companies are expected to meet. But on the ground, serious abuses such as child labor, violence against women and arbitrary firings continue to occur, the Indonesian Trade Unions Alliance (Serbundo) said in a statement.

And, according to the alliance, workers who try to establish unions “are faced with intimidation, displacement, wage cuts and are even fired.”

“As a certification body to palm oil plantation companies, RSPO have failed to resolve any violation done by RSPO member plantation companies,” Serbundo said, adding that the body has never reprimanded a member company for abuses against plantation workers.

“The RSPO certification has become a tool to [make] legitimate environmental and human rights violations in palm oil plantations.”

The RSPO was formed in 2004 as a coalition of NGOs and companies linked to the palm oil industry. This includes growers and producers as well as companies that trade in palm oil, finance palm oil companies, or buy palm oil to use it in their products.

Companies who join must meet standards including those laid out in the RSPO’s Principles & Criteria, which were designed to minimize harm to the environment and society. Members can then be certified as “sustainable” by undergoing an audit to guarantee that their operations meet RSPO standards.

Calls for stronger action

Unions were protesting in part because they feel labor is not adequately represented in the RSPO certification process. They demanded the body form a Labor Working Group and involve workers and local communities in the certification process. They also urged the RSPO to revoke certification for plantations found violating the rights of workers, farmers or local communities.

And unions are not the only ones frustrated by a perceived lack of action on the part of the RSPO to penalize companies found violating standards.

On Thursday last week, a coalition of NGOs, including UK-based Forest Peoples Program (FPP) and Sawit Watch in Bogor, released a 400-page report detailing numerous cases where RSPO member companies had failed to gain consent from local communities before planting oil palms on their land.

Amid the criticism, however, it appears that many NGOs are not yet ready to give up on the RSPO. According to Marcus Colchester, a senior policy advisor at FPP, the RSPO executive board and many palm oil growers are taking last week’s report seriously.

“Rather than rejecting it they seem to have accepted that they have a responsibility to address the problems that our study exposes,” Colchester told the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday.

He added that, while they “find serious deficiencies in the RSPO’s systems for addressing complaints and resolving disputes … the RSPO still provides much needed options for communities to get redress.”

Steps toward change?

Discussing ways to improve the RSPO’s complaints mechanism is on the agenda at the meetings this week. Today the organization’s general assembly will vote on a resolution to guarantee fairness, transparency and impartiality in the complaints resolution process.

Specifically, the resolution calls for a separation of executive powers to minimize conflict of interest in the complaints process. It also raises concerns about the large backlog of complaints that have been filed but not addressed, saying that poses a serious threat to the environment, local communities, and the RSPO’s integrity.

“In order to strengthen access to redress by affected communities, the RSPO has established a Dispute Settlement Facility (DSF) — the first of its kind for a standard system,” Danielle Morley, European director of outreach & engagement at the RSPO, told the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday.

Morley confirmed that improving the implementation of this dispute resolution would be discussed in Medan. She added that the RSPO had strengthened its commitment toward human rights earlier this year when it adopted its revised principles and criteria.

The revised criteria include requirements that member companies must have policies to counter corruption and prevent human rights abuses in their operations and a ban on the use of forced labor.

New ways to clean up the industry’s act

The palm oil industry has long been criticized not just for labor and human rights abuses but also for the environmental consequences of palm oil expansion into forests and peatlands.

According to a series of papers released by the RSPO ahead of the meetings this week, 3.5 million hectares of forest was converted to palm oil plantations in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea from 1990 to 2010.

Expansion of palm oil onto peatlands was relatively smaller, the papers showed, but as peatlands store large amounts of carbon this was still a big part of palm oil’s carbon footprint. Between 2006 and 2010, an average of 88 million tons of carbon dioxide per year was released due to conversion of peatlands for plantations. The creation of the RSPO was one response to concerns about the sustainability of the industry, but lately many environmental groups are saying that is not enough .

In September, US-based Rainforest Action Network launched a campaign against what it calls “conflict palm oil,” aimed at major snack food producers who use palm oil in their products. RAN is urging these companies to make sure none of the palm oil entering their supply chains was linked to deforestation, child labor, displacement of communities or peatland destruction.

Some of these companies have engaged with RAN and seem willing to look for ways to eliminate conflict palm oil from their supply chains, Laurel Sutherlin, the communications manager for RAN’s forest program, told the Jakarta Globe on Wednesday. Others, he said, simply claim “we’ve got it covered.”

According to Sutherlin, this generally means they are relying on the RSPO’s certification system, which RAN says is not enough. “Unfortunately, the RSPO so-called sustainable certification is not adequate to ensure that palm oil is not produced in ways that are contributing to deforestation and to human rights abuses,” Sutherlin said.

“There is no one that would like to see RSPO succeed more than us,” he added. “But, unfortunately, we are not at that point yet.”

On Wednesday, environmental organizations including RAN, Greenpeace and WWF launched the Palm Oil Innovation Group, together with several palm oil companies aiming to be leaders in sustainability.

“The palm oil industry has suffered from a bad reputation from its association with forest destruction and exploitation,” they said in a statement. “We are building a strong case that palm oil does not need to be linked to forest destruction and exploitation.”

The Jakarta Globe is a co-organizer of the B4E Indonesia Summit 2013

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Vanishing Forests: New Map Details Global Deforestation

Stephanie Pappas LiveScience Yahoo News 14 Nov 13;

A new global map of deforestation reveals that 888,000 square miles (2.3 million square kilometers) of forest has vanished since 2000.

The interactive map (viewable online) is based on satellite data and is the first of its kind. The calculations are accurate down to about 100 feet (30 meters), enough detail to provide useful local information while still covering the whole globe.

"We say that it's globally consistent but locally relevant," said Matt Hansen, a geographer at the University of Maryland who led the mapping effort. "We can describe a global dynamic and compare regions as apples to apples, but if you cut out any particular corner, it would be accurate and have meaning."

Mapping deforestation

The map covers the time frame from 2000 to 2012, and includes both forest losses and forest gains. During that time, 309,000 square miles (800,000 square km) of new forests were gained. Of the 888,000 square miles lost and 309,000 square miles gained, about 77,000 square miles (200,000 square km) were areas that were lost between 2000 and 2012 and then re-established.

The rest of the loss and gain occurs in tandem all over the globe. For example, Brazil's efforts to slow deforestation have paid off, with about 500 square miles (1,300 square km) less loss each year. But the rest of the tropics more than made up for Brazil's improvements with rapidly increasing losses.

Indonesia saw the fastest increases in deforestation. Before 2003, the country lost less than 4,000 square miles (10,000 square km) per year. By 2011, more than 7,700 square miles (20,000 square km) of Indonesian forests vanished each year, Hansen and his colleagues report in the Nov. 15 issue of the journal Science.

Humans are the main driver of deforestation, through logging and clear-cutting, Hansen told LiveScience. Forest fires come next, mostly in the boreal forests of temperate regions. Storm damage also harms forests. [7 Ways the Earth Changes in the Blink of an Eye]

"We see a lot of blowdowns and that kind of thing," Hansen said.

Incredible detail

The broad-scale yet fine-grained map was made possible by three technology windfalls, Hansen said. The first was data from the Landsat 7 satellite, which launched in 1999 and has been snapping satellite photos of the globe ever since.

Next, Landsat's operator, the U.S. Geological Survey, altered its policies to make all of the data from Landsat 7 and previous Landsat satellites free. Previously, Hansen said, researchers had to buy the data piecemeal. It would have cost millions to purchase the data for the entire globe.

"We never had the data we needed," he said. "We had the data we could afford."

Finally, with access to all the satellite data came the need for major computing power to process it. Hansen and his colleagues teamed up with Google to make it happen. On a single computer, processing the data archive would have taken 15 years, Hansen said. With Google's cloud computing, it took mere days.

The fine scale of the map allows researchers to zoom in close enough to see logging roads, river meanders and even tornado tracks, Hansen said.

"There are a ton of stories here," he said. Some of the information that comes from forest maps is entirely unexpected, he added. One researcher took another of Hansen's maps and found that tree cover correlates with human health, because forest dwellers eat a more diverse diet than people in other environments do.

In the North American West, damage from fire, logging and infection by the devastating mountain pine beetle is evident. A windstorm in 2009 shows up as leveled trees in southwestern France. In southern Sweden, an extratropical cyclone flattened forests in 2005.

Still, 32 percent of global loss occurred in the tropics, with half of that amount attributable to South American countries, the researchers found.

The data reveal that some areas that are supposedly protected really aren't, Hansen said. Clear-cutting appears even inside national-park boundaries in some countries.

Now, the team is working to map primary forest — native habitat that is crucial for biodiversity and storing climate-warming carbon — and differentiate it from secondary forests, which may provide tree cover but without the original ecosystems. The team also plans to continue to update the map annually, and hopes to be able to raise the deforestation alarm even more frequently in the future.

"We want to get in real-time mode," Hansen said.

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Destruction of Brazil's Amazon jumps 28 percent

Marco Sibaja Associated Press Yahoo News 14 Nov 13;

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Brazil's government reported Thursday that annual destruction of its Amazon rainforest jumped by 28 percent after four straight years of declines, an increase activists said was linked to recent loosening of the nation's environmental law meant to protect the jungle.

However, the destruction was still the second-lowest amount of jungle destroyed since Brazil began tracking deforestation in 1988.

The increase in deforestation came in the August 2012 through July 2013 period, the time when Brazil annually measures the destruction of the forest by studying satellite images. The country registered its lowest level of Amazon felling the year before.

The Amazon rainforest is considered one of the world's most important natural defenses against global warming because of its capacity to absorb huge amounts of carbon dioxide. About 75 percent of Brazil's emissions come from rainforest clearing, as vegetation burns and felled trees rot.

That releases an estimated 400 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, making Brazil at least the sixth-biggest emitter of the gas.

Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said Thursday that the most recent figures show 2,256 square miles (5,843 square kilometers) of rainforest were felled. That's compared to the 1,765 square miles (1,571 square kilometers) cleared the previous year.

Environmentalists blame the increase on a loosening of Brazil's environmental laws. They also say that the government's push for big infrastructure projects like dams, roads and railways is pushing deforestation.

A bill revising the Forest Code law passed Congress last year after more than a decade of efforts by Brazil's powerful agricultural lobby to make changes to what has been one of the world's toughest environmental laws, at least on paper.

The changes mostly eased restrictions for landowners with smaller properties, allowing them to clear land closer to riverbanks and other measures. Perhaps the most controversial portion of the new law was what activists say was an amnesty, allowing those who illegally felled land to not face penalties if they signed an agreement to replant trees, which many environmentalists question could be enforced.

Paulo Adario, coordinator of Greenpeace's Amazon campaign, said that it was scandalous that there was such a spike in the destruction.

"The government can't be surprised by this increase in deforestation, given that their own action is what's pushing it," he said. "The change in the Forest Code and the resulting amnesty for those who illegally felled the forest sent the message that such crimes have no consequences."

Adario also said the Rousseff government's strong push for infrastructure projects in the Amazon region was leading to increased deforestation, and Thursday's government report showed that much of the destruction was centered along a government-improved roadway running through the states of Para and Mato Grosso.

Better roads make it easier to illegally extract timber from the jungle and push more soy farmers and ranchers, who clear trees so they can work land and plant pasture, into previously untouched areas.


Associated Press writer Brad Brooks contributed to this report from Rio de Janeiro.

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Oceans suffer silent storm of acidification: international study

Alister Doyle PlanetArk 15 Nov 13;

Global warming is causing a silent storm in the oceans by acidifying waters at a record rate, threatening marine life from coral reefs to fish stocks, an international study showed on Thursday.

The report, by 540 experts in 37 nations, said the seas could become 170 percent more acidic by 2100 compared to levels before the Industrial Revolution. Carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, can become a mild acid when mixed with water.

Acidification is combining with a warming of ocean waters, also caused by a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and other man-made factors such as higher pollution and overfishing, the report said.

"It is like the silent storm - you can't hear it, you can't feel it," Carol Turley, a senior scientist at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory in England, told Reuters.

The study, released on the sidelines of a meeting of almost 200 nations in Warsaw on ways to slow global warming, estimated that acidity of the oceans had already increased by 26 percent since the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries.

A 170 percent increase in acidity is equivalent to cutting the Ph level of the ocean, a scale of acidity and alkalinity, to 7.9 from 8.2 on a logarithmic scale. Battery acid rates about 1 and soap, an alkaline, is about 10.


The pace of acidification was the fastest in at least 55 million years, the scientists said. Acidification undermines the ability of everything from corals to crabs to build protective shells and has knock-on effects on the food web.

"Marine ecosystems and biodiversity are likely to change as a result of ocean acidification, with far-reaching consequences for society," according to the summary led by the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme.

"Economic losses from declines in shellfish aquaculture and the degradation of tropical coral reefs may be substantial owing to the sensitivity of molluscs and corals to ocean acidification," it said.

And some studies have found that young clown fish, made famous by the movie "Finding Nemo", behaved as if drunk in more acidic waters, their brains apparently disoriented.

Another study found that rockfish can become more anxious.

"A normal fish will swim equally in light and dark areas in a tank ... an anxious one on high carbon dioxide spends more time in the darker side, the more protected side," said Lauren Linsmayer of the University of California, San Diego.

"If society continues on the current high emissions trajectory, cold water coral reefs, located in the deep sea, may be unsustainable and tropical coral reef erosion is likely to outpace reef building this century," the report said.

Deep cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases, from power plants, factories and cars, would limit acidification.

The Warsaw talks are working on plans for a global deal, due to be agreed in 2015, to limit climate change.

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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