Wildlife

Ending Wildlife Crime Becomes Top Priority
August 4, 2015 04:50 PM - Jessica Ramos, Care2

The past few weeks have been filled with headlines of crimes against our wildlife from the heartbreaking loss of Cecil the Lion to five more elephant deaths. But justice for our wildlife is on the horizon. The United Nations recently recognized that wildlife crime matters, and it’s on a similar level as human, arms and drug trafficking.

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Are kangaroos left-handed?
July 6, 2015 12:11 PM - Judy Molland, Care2

President Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Gates are all lefties, and now they have unusual colleagues: kangaroos. According to a new study, some wild kangaroos tend to favor their left hands during common tasks like grooming and feeding. Yegor Malashichev, a Russian zoologist from Saint Petersburg State University and a co-author of the study, traveled to Australia to do the fieldwork. Along with his colleagues, he spent long hours observing seven species of marsupials living in the wild. Those species included red-necked wallabies, Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo, the eastern grey kangaroo, and the red kangaroo. The team watched as the animals groomed themselves, grabbed food with their paws, and leaned on their forearms while eating grass. Two species of kangaroo and one wallaby all showed the left-handed trend; some other marsupials, which walk on all fours, did not show the same bias. This new knowledge might seem pretty interesting in itself, but more importantly, the study, published in the journal Current Biology, could give scientists a better understanding of the evolution of mammals. 

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SPOTLIGHT

Fort Knox Military Base establishes Indiana Bat Management Area

Mary Jo Harrod, Public Information Officer, Energy and Environment Cabinet, Division of Compliance Assistance, Frankfort, Ky.

Fort Knox, a U.S. military installation located near Louisville, Kentucky, and famous for storing the nation’s gold bullion, has two of the largest known maternity colonies of federally endangered Indiana bats within the range of the species and the largest in Kentucky. On the same night, officials documented 451 and 478 Indiana bats emerging from two separate trees, both are records for this species. The first maternity colony of Indiana bats on Fort Knox (approximately 150 individuals) was discovered in 1999. The total number of Indiana bats in existence has declined due to white-nose syndrome, a devastating wildlife disease; a reduction and contamination of their insect food supply due to pesticide usage and disturbances by humans during the bats’ winter hibernation in caves and mines. During hibernation, bats cluster in groups of up to 500 per square foot, which means a single event can destroy a large number of bats.

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