Wildlife

Melting polar ice, rising sea levels not only climate change dangers
February 23, 2017 04:25 PM - Steve Byrns

Climate change from political and ecological standpoints is a constant in the media and with good reason, said a Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientist, but proof of its impact is sometimes found in unlikely places.

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Forests worldwide threatened by drought
February 23, 2017 04:23 PM - University of Stirling

Forests around the world are at risk of death due to widespread drought, University of Stirling researchers have found. An analysis, published in the journal Ecology Letters, suggests that forests are at risk globally from the increased frequency and severity of droughts.

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SPOTLIGHT

Wildlife Farming: Does It Help Or Hurt Threatened Species?

Richard Conniff, Yale Environment360

More than a decade ago, looking to slow the decimation of wildlife populations for the bushmeat trade, researchers in West Africa sought to establish an alternative protein supply. Brush-tailed porcupine was one of the most popular and high-priced meats, in rural and urban areas alike. Why not farm it? It turned out that the porcupines are generally solitary, and when put together, they tended to fight and didn't have sex. In any case, moms produce only one offspring per birth, hardly a recipe for commercial success. 

Wildlife farming is like that — a tantalizing idea that is always fraught with challenges and often seriously flawed. And yet it is also growing both as a marketplace reality and in its appeal to a broad array of legitimate stakeholders as a potentially sustainable alternative to the helter-skelter exploitation of wild resources everywhere. 

Food security consultants are promoting wildlife farming as a way to boost rural incomes and supply protein to a hungry world. So are public health experts who view properly managed captive breeding as a way to prevent emerging diseases in wildlife from spilling over into the human population.

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