The Week in Conservation for August 10, 2018
Blesbok born in Belfast
This week the Belfast Zoo announced the birth of a new Blesbok calf. The Blesbok is an antelope spcies native to Africa and once thought to number in the millions. They were almost hunted to extinction in the 19th Century. With conservation efforts they have bounced back and their populations are on the rise.
Endangered horse breeds
The Shire horse is the largest horse breed ever. Once numbering in the millions, these animals were critical to helping humans farm and also in transportation pulling carts and carriages. In 1900, there were an estimated over 1 million Shire horses in the UK. Today they number around 1500. The Rare Breeds Survive Trust warns the Shire, Clydesdale and Suffolk horse breeds are at risk of extinction in the UK. This is interesting, since these unique breeds are no longer needed by humans to do the work we once needed from them, they are barely hanging on. It also raised interesting questions on conservation efforts of domestic animals compared to wild animals. Stay tuned for future news/discussion on this topic.
Red Tide Strikes Florida
A major concern for oceanic wildlife is happening off the Southwestern Florida coast. A massive red tide, or algae bloom, has been killing off wildlife at an unprecedented rate. The red tide stretches from south of Tampa down to Naples, Florida. Many species have died as a result to include many manatees, dolphins, fish, endangered sea turtles, and even a whale shark. The exact causes cannot be specifically outlined but climate change, agriculture, massive hurricanes, and other factors are believed to the cause. The toxic algae bloom releases toxic gases that has even sickened many people, and is no doubt negatively impacting the economies of local communities.
Orca mother grieves for dead calf
Scientists continue to monitor a female Orca off the coast of Washington state in the US that continues to hold on and carry her dead calf. It has been 16 days, and the whale identified as J35, or given the nickname ‘Tahlequah’ has carried her calf after it died within the hour after giving birth. The Southern Resident Orca population is considered endangered as over the past 20 years 40 calves have been born, but the pod has lost 72 of its members. They are clearly in decline. Additionally, this story brings up a really interesting question on just how deep animal emotions can go. We will put this on a future podcast and discuss the science behind animal feelings, emotions, and other interesting behavior.
Leopard Gecko and the brain
Researchers have observed the leopard gecko can regenerate brain cells faster than many other animals. The potential this discovery has on human medicine cannot be understated. Studying the mechanisms by how these geckos can do this will lead scientists to potential new therapies for human medicine. Nature continues to astound us at every turn.
42,000-year-old worms come to life
In what reads almost as a science fiction story, scientists in Asia have been able to resuscitate roundworms that have been frozen in the Siberian permafrost for tens of thousands of years. The researchers were able to bring the frozen worms back to the lab and bring them back to life. They report the worms moved around and even ate. This discovery can have profound implications to human medicine, specifically with cryomedicine, cryobiology, and astrobiology.
Never give up your dreams
We want to recognize Mr. Elfyn Pugh who after retiring for 30 years as a police officer has gone back to his passion, conserving wildlife. Elfyn now works as a Marine mammal Surveyor Team Leader and is working to catalogue the life in our oceans.
New Species this Week