Bulwer’s Pheasant: Risk

music
ambience: Borneo rainforest ambience, Bulwer’s pheasant call

We’re listening to sounds of the Borneo rainforest — the home of a rare and beautiful bird called the Bulwer’s pheasant. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. The male Bulwer’s pheasant is about the size of a chicken, with a brilliant blue wattle on its face and striking white tail feathers. There are as few as one thousand of these dramatic-looking creatures alive today. Scientists tell us that Bulwer’s pheasants and other members of their ecosystem are at risk. Borneo rainforest trees are being cut down — and it’s not only for their lumber.

“Gaharu is a fungus that infects certain species of trees, and creates this resinous wood inside of them which is used in Chinese medicine, and is a sustainable product, because all you really have to do is go into the tree and cut the heartwood out that has the gaharu in it, and the tree doesn’t die. And what they’re doing is rather than going and carving bits of gaharu out, they’ll just chop the trees down. They’re going in farther and farther into the forest to collect the stuff. Animals that are disturbed by human presence, like Bulwer’s pheasant, are retreating from that. And so the exploitation needs to be managed to some extent.”

John Rowden is Assistant Curator of the bird department at the Bronx Zoo. He says that products bought by Westerners may also be contributing to the destruction of the Borneo rainforest.

“One of the things that’s a problem in this area is the destruction of the forest for palm oil plantations. Now the palm oil is used to a certain extent in cooking, but it’s also used as a component of certain products, cosmetics and things like that. And so you might not think about it when you go to the drugstore and look at things that you want to buy. The ingredients that are going into that might be coming from a place that used to be a rainforest.”

If you’d like to hear about our new Pulse of the Planet CD, please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation.

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Bulwer's Pheasant: Risk

The destruction of the Borneo rainforest is bringing the Bulwer's pheasant closer to extinction.
Air Date:07/24/2008
Scientist:
Transcript:


music
ambience: Borneo rainforest ambience, Bulwer's pheasant call

We're listening to sounds of the Borneo rainforest -- the home of a rare and beautiful bird called the Bulwer's pheasant. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. The male Bulwer's pheasant is about the size of a chicken, with a brilliant blue wattle on its face and striking white tail feathers. There are as few as one thousand of these dramatic-looking creatures alive today. Scientists tell us that Bulwer's pheasants and other members of their ecosystem are at risk. Borneo rainforest trees are being cut down -- and it's not only for their lumber.

"Gaharu is a fungus that infects certain species of trees, and creates this resinous wood inside of them which is used in Chinese medicine, and is a sustainable product, because all you really have to do is go into the tree and cut the heartwood out that has the gaharu in it, and the tree doesn't die. And what they're doing is rather than going and carving bits of gaharu out, they'll just chop the trees down. They're going in farther and farther into the forest to collect the stuff. Animals that are disturbed by human presence, like Bulwer's pheasant, are retreating from that. And so the exploitation needs to be managed to some extent."

John Rowden is Assistant Curator of the bird department at the Bronx Zoo. He says that products bought by Westerners may also be contributing to the destruction of the Borneo rainforest.

"One of the things that's a problem in this area is the destruction of the forest for palm oil plantations. Now the palm oil is used to a certain extent in cooking, but it's also used as a component of certain products, cosmetics and things like that. And so you might not think about it when you go to the drugstore and look at things that you want to buy. The ingredients that are going into that might be coming from a place that used to be a rainforest."

If you'd like to hear about our new Pulse of the Planet CD, please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation.

music