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Month: June 2018

Conservation News for Week of June 29,2018

Iceland Begins Hunting the Endangered Fin Whale

This past week Iceland began hunting endangered fin whales after a two-year hiatus. This comes despite an international ban on hunting fin whales. The company responsible is Hvalur hf. owned by Mr. Kristjan Loftsson. Rather than export the whale meat due to such little demand for whale meat in Iceland and in Japan, the company plans on producing nutritional supplements, gelatin from the bones and whale blubber for “unspecified” medical purposes. This is truly horrifying and defies all logic. We suggest a boycott of any product this company may produce in the future and that people do not travel to Iceland or support them until they curb this practice. Hunting any endangered species is absolutely abhorrent.

Whale hunting to begin again in Iceland

Iceland whalers kill first fin whale of the season

Seagull Gets Prosthetic Legs

‘Gumpy’ the seagull was rescued in Charleston, South Carolina and sent to the South Carolina Aquarium. Veterinarian Dr. Shane Boylan had to amputate both legs due to damage caused by fishing lines. However, Dr. Boylan worked with the College of Charleston and they have 3-D printed Gumpy a net set of legs. The bird is recovering under the care of the South Carolina Aquarium and is adapting to his new life.

Gumpy the sea gull lost both his legs. But 3-D printing could get him walking again.

Jaguars on the Rise in Mexico

Scientists over the past 8 years have been using camera traps to count jaguars. During this time, a total of 400 remotely activated cameras throughout 11 Mexican states recorded over 4,500 photographs. Within these, 348 had images of 46 different jaguars. The scientists now estimate there are now 4,800 jaguars in Mexico, which have a worldwide population of around 64,000 animals.

The Wild Jaguars of Mexico have some good news to share

Canada Works to Protect their Oceans

The Canadian government has pledged over $167 million dollars to protect whales and other sea life off their coasts. The money is mainly to be spent on whale conservation and investigation of disturbances to their habitat. This is incredible news!

Canadian government announces $167.4 million initiative to help protect whales

Starfish on the Rebound

In 2013, starfish off the west coast of North America began to die in unprecedented numbers. Scientists believe these marine invertebrates were infected with the densovirus, which ultimately turned these living creatures into a pile of goo. Over 80% of these starfish populations have died. Also, researchers believe warming of the earth’s oceans had a devastating impact allowing the virus to spread. However, starfish populations have begun to rebound. DNA evidence points to the newer generation of these creatures having a natural resistance to this disease.

The amazing return of the starfish: species triumph over melting disease

Chefs for Sustainable Seafood

While Canada is working to improve the health of their marine life, in the United States the current government is looking to remove protections of fish and other marine creatures. This week the US government will vote on a bill removing many important protections that are in place to protect endangered fish and other species. However, in a surprise move, many chefs from around the country have banded together to vote the bill. They are voicing support for sustainable fishing practices, which help provide them with the fish they need to serve their customers. Incredible initiative for these men and women, bravo!

Unlikely advocates: Chefs call on Congress to defend sustainable U.S. fisheries

Return of the Przewalski’s Horse

Just this week the Czech military transported 4 more female Przewalski’s horses to Mongolia for release back to the wild. This bring the total to 31 aniimals transported from the Prague Zoo to this area for reintroduction. Again, if you have not listened to Episode 6 Truly Wild, The Przewalski’s Horse, please do. It tells the incredible story of these animals and how the Prague Zoo and many others worked to save this species.

Prague Zoo transported four more Przewalski’s horse mares to Mongolia

New Species Discovered

Goblin Spiders

Ruby Seadragon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Conservation News for week of June 22, 2018

This week Chris was joined with Jim Weinpress from the Seneca Park Zoo. If you have not yet listened to his interview please do. It can be found HERE

Amazon’s Critical Role in Combating Climate Change

A recent article in Nature highlights a very concerning trend in the Amazon rainforest’s ability in sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. Scientists reported a decline in tree productivity and survival rate over the last ~ 20 years. This is data outside of the already 750,000 sqkm (289,000 sq mile) of the Amazon that has been lost to agriculture since 1978. In this study, researchers looked at individual plots of preserved rain forest and concluded due to climate change and the incredible increase of carbon in the atmosphere that trees are growing bigger, faster, often resulting in their deaths earlier. Furthermore, productivity of new growth has leveled off. In summary, they report the Amazon has lost ~ 30% of its ability to sequester carbon from our atmosphere over the study period and is declining.

Long-term decline of the Amazon carbon sink

Comparison of carbon sequestration potential in agricultural and afforestation farming systems

Mass Extinction of Primates

A team of international primate experts warn that nearly two thirds of all primate species may go extinct by the year 2100. The team highlights four countries that house over two thirds of the world’s primates: Brazil, Madagascar, Indonesia, Democratic Republic of Congo.  Both in Indonesia and Madagascar, over 90% of all primates living here are in population decline. More worrying, Brazil is predicted to lose almost 80% of its natural habitat over the same time period, with predictions for Indonesia at 70%, Madagascar 60% and the DRC 30%. All due mainly to agriculture production, highlighting palm oil and sugarcane. The team argues that unless a global effort is launched to combat the decline, to include individual consumers, many of these species will be lost forever.

Chimps and orangutans among species in danger of being wiped out in imminent mass extinction of primates

10 things you need to know about sustainable palm oil

iOS sustainable palm oil app

Android sustainable palm oil app

Manatees on a Treadmill

Researchers out of Florida are using an underwater treadmill to evaluate manatee metabolism. Two manatees held under human care are participating in experiments to evaluate their normal body functions.  The manatees are harnessed with heart rate monitors and are trained to breath in a special hood that captures their exhaled gases. Understanding the basic physiology of manatees will go a long way in evaluating conservation strategies in protecting these special mammals.

Mote manatees measure metabolism on treadmills

 Aquarium staff participating in dolphin research

Scientists and staff from the South Carolina Aquarium are evaluating the health wild bottlenose dolphins. Studying these animals are giving researchers a good idea on our current ocean health. Sadly, their results are shedding a lite on the many pollutants that exist in our oceans. Specifically, they report that 90% of the dolphins evaluated had high levels of contaminants, specifically PFCs and PCBs in their blubber. Not only are these and other contaminants passed on to their offspring through their milk, it is believed these can have drastic affects on dolphin health and reproduction. We all need to do our part to protect our oceans.

Aquarium staff participate in dolphin study in Florida

Scientists discover world’s first known manta ray nursery

Researchers out of UC San Diego and Scripts Institute have announced the discovery of a manata ray nursery. These ocean dwelling animal’s wingspans can stretch almost 21 feet (6.5 meters) yet many young or juveniles are rarely observed. The recent discovery, roughly 50 miles south of Galveston, Texas will give scientists a greater understanding to these creature’s life cycles and work with conservation experts to protect these areas.

Scientists discover world’s first known manta ray nursery

Link to Marine Conservation Society Guide to Free Good Fish Guide Apps

Five new species of snail eating snakes discovered

In Ecuador, scientists have discovered five new species of snakes that specialize in eating snails. In even more incredible news, the same group rather than submitting their own names to honor their discovery, have instead auctioned off the naming rights to use that money to preserve these animals.

Scientists find new snail-eating snakes, auctioning naming rights to save them

New Species Discovered

A 2,200-year-old Chinese tomb held a new gibbon species, now extinct

Hobbit shrimp with hairy feet discovered living inside hole in Sea Squirt

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Conservation News for week of June 15, 2018

Amur Leopard News

The Amur Leopard is the most endangered large cat on our planet. With an estimated less than 100 in the wild, and 200 housed under human care, this species is struggling to survive. This week the San Diego Zoo announced the birth of two FEMALE cubs. This has also been followed up with the announcement (a few hours after we recorded) of two MALE Amur Leopard cubs at the Brookfield Zoo.  Fantastic news for this animal.

San Diego Zoo Breeds Critically-Endangered Leopards, Producing Two Cubs

2 Healthy Amur Leopard Cubs Born at Brookfield Zoo

IUCN Information on Amur Leopard (under general Leopard)

Amur Leopard Fact Sheet

Technology Helping Fisherman Avoid Bycatch

The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has developed an application that helps fisherman go to areas where their targeted fish are currently at. The software called EcoCast using advanced algorithms can predict based on weather and other oceanographic variables in predicting where the fisherman will find their fish. This helps them avoid general fishing where they might catch endangered species in their nets.

Smart Software Helps Fisherman Catch the Fish They Want, Not Endangered Species

EcoCast Details from NASA

Viewing Wildlife Documentaries Are Good For Mental Health

Research now indicates that viewing nature documentaries help improve a person’s mood and makes them happier. Scientists have compared the benefits as the same as those for people who mediate daily. Even listening to this podcast (we hope) should improve your mood and motivate you to make positive changes for Mother Earth.

Watching This Type of TV is as Healthy as Meditating

Watching Nature Programmes Make You Happier New Research Reveals

United Kingdom Mammals in Crisis

This week multiple news agencies are reporting on the current extinction crisis in the UK. Reports now indicate that 1 in 5 mammals in the UK are endangered and threatened with extinction. The Wildcat, Greater Mouse-eared Bat and the Black Rat are all listed as critically endangered. Even the beloved Hedgehog is listed as endangered suffering a 70% decline in populations in the last 20 years. However, populations of otter, pine marten, polecat, badger and red deer are increasing.

One in Five Britain Mammals at Risk of Extinction

Healthy Habits for a Healthy Planet

This week Angie highlighted the use of Shampoo bars. Let’s get rid of those plastic bottles. The bars can be found HERE.

Dave Mathews Band Fundraiser

Meet Dave Mathews at the Hollywood Bowl & Travel to Africa

Scientists Using Robots to Study Bird Behavior

Researchers are using any new tools they can to study animal behavior. This week we discuss the use of a “fembot” to observe Saige Grouse mating rituals. We highly recommend you view the video attached to the article.

Why Scientist Turned This Taxidermy Bird Into a Robot

New Species Discovered

Coming out of their shells: New turtle discovered in Mexico

New Species of Shrew Discovered in the Philippines Sky Island

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Week in Conservation for June 8, 2018

Gorilla News

Reports indicate that the critically-endangered Mountain Gorilla populations have went above over 1,000 animals. These animals are the only large primate (other than humans) that are experiencing a population increase. This is good news for the gorilla, however they are still under severe threat for extinction.

Mountain Gorilla Population Rises Above 1,000

IUCN Data on Mountain Gorilla

Park Rangers Killed Protecting Gorillas

Artificial Intelligence Helping Wildlife Conservation

In how technology can help conservation efforts around the globe, scientists have revealed a new artificial intelligence system that has helped count animals in the wild. Camera traps are becoming more popular with researchers in their ability to detect motion and snap images of wildlife. Previously, it took thousands of hours for people, often volunteers, to count these animals. Now, with the use of AI, scientists claim the work can now be completed in just a few hours.

Artificial Intelligence Can Identify and Count Animals in the Wild

Scientists tackling conservation problems turn to artificial intelligence

Plastics in the Ocean Continue to Kill Wildlife

This week sad news from Thailand about a Pilot Whale died after attempts to save him were unsuccessful. After conducting a necropsy, it was found the whale had swallowed 80 plastic bags from its stomach. This report follows on the heels of another report last month of a Sperm Whale that had washed up on a beach in Spain with 29 kg of plastic in its stomach.

How This Whale Got Nearly 20 Pounds of Plastic in its Stomach

Plastic Pollution Killed Sperm Whale Found Dead on Spanish Beach

Plastic Pollution Coalition

Hut Rates to Increase in New Zealand

In efforts to increase support for ecotourism and tourist’s ability to experience New Zealand’s wild places, NZ Department of Conservation is looking to increase its rates on huts to help support their maintenance and upkeep.

Foreigners to Pay Double on Four of New Zealand’s Great Walks

Stay in a Hut in New Zealand

Queuing for Roys Peak Selfies

Giraffes and Communication

Researchers have discovered that giraffes hum to each other during the night. While they cannot yet identify what the communications may mean, this discovery is exciting in that another species communicates in frequencies that cannot be heard by the human ear. The link below has the humming available for listening.

Giraffes Hum to Each Other Throughout the Night

Giraffe Humming Sound

New Species Discovered

Fairy Wren of Australia

Five New Species of Salamander Discovered in China

Rock Fowl on Jesse’s wish list

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Conservation News for the week of June 1, 2018

Cloning

The article discussing the cloning of the Tasmanian Tiger discusses how close scientist are getting to resurrecting this species. It can be found here.

Here is another article from National Geographic discussing cloning of the Tasmanian Tiger here.

Another article discussing de-extinction https://www.avclub.com/science-finds-a-way-to-bring-back-extinct-animals-1826247517here.

Golden Lion Tamarin

This article discusses the use of wildlife corridors and helping to not only revive the Golden Lion Tamarin but the environment as well and can be read here.

Here you can learn more about Golden Lion Tamarins.

Giant Salamanders in China

Apparently, the Giant Salamander, the world’s largest amphibian, has been hunted to near extinction. Article discussing this tragic tale can be read here.

You can read more about these amphibians here.

The Ellen Degeneres Wildlife Fund can be found here.

Rhino Pregnant

Here is the article discussing the latest in the pregnant White Rhinoceros through artificial insemination.

New Species

Bizarre Ratfish

Exploding Ants

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