Endangered Delmarva Peninsula Fox Squirrel still looks threatened
September 20, 2014 08:53 AM - Center for Biological Diversity
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced today the recovery of the Delmarva Peninsula fox squirrel, previously protected as an endangered species. The Interior Department made its finding based on an increase in distribution since 1967 from 4 to 10 counties where the squirrel can be found, and an overall population of 20,000. But despite these modest population gains, sea-level rise remains a severe threat to the species. "No one should discount the heroic conservation work that has been done to keep this squirrel from going extinct," said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity. "But most of the places where the squirrel lives will eventually be underwater due to climate change and sea-level rise, and unfortunately most of the places on higher ground have already been lost to development."
Egyptian art sheds light on changing ecosystem
September 19, 2014 07:47 AM - Bristol University
Depictions of animals in ancient Egyptian artefacts have helped scientists assemble a detailed record of the large mammals that lived in the Nile Valley over the past 6,000 years. A new analysis of this record shows that species extinctions, probably caused by a drying climate and growing human population in the region, have made the ecosystem progressively less stable. The study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), found that local extinctions of mammal species led to a steady decline in the stability of the animal communities in the Nile Valley.
September 18, 2014 08:47 AM - The University of Exeter
Clownfish spend their entire lives nestling in the protective tentacles of host anemones, but new research shows that as babies they sometimes travel hundreds of kilometres across the open ocean. Although the process of long-distance dispersal by reef fish has been predicted, this is the first time that the high level exchange of offspring between distant populations has been observed. Dr Steve Simpson, Senior Lecturer in Marine Biology and Global Change in Biosciences at the University of Exeter, and colleagues from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (ARC COE CRS), Sultan Qaboos University (Oman) and the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (France) have published their findings on the dispersal of Omani clownfish larvae in the journal PLOS ONE.
Australia to end shark cull
September 13, 2014 08:59 AM - Alicia Graef, Care2
In a major win for sharks and their advocates, Australia’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recommended Western Australia (WA) end its controversial shark killing program. After a series of fatal attacks, WA's government proposed a new program in an effort to keep beachgoers safe that involved setting out baited drum lines, which consist of a large baited hook attached to a buoy and an anchor to hold it in place, in designated zones along popular beaches with the intention of killing great white sharks, bull sharks and tiger sharks who were larger than three meters.
Family pets are prey for Leopards in India
September 12, 2014 09:18 AM - WIldlife Conservation Society
A new study led by the Wildlife Conservation Society reveals that in India's human dominated agricultural landscapes, where leopards prowl at night, it's not livestock that’s primarily on the menu — it is man's best friend. The study, which looked at scat samples for leopards in India's Ahmednagar’s district in Maharashtra, found that 87 percent of their diet was made up of domestic animals. Domestic dog dominated as the most common prey item at 39 percent and domestic cats were second at 15 percent.
Help for Bluefin Tuna!
September 11, 2014 07:13 AM - Dennis Normile Science
A multinational organization that coordinates fishing activities in the western Pacific is throwing a lifeline to heavily overfished Pacific bluefin tuna stocks. Speaking today at a press briefing, Japanese officials provided details on a plan agreed to last week that aims to rebuild the spawning population by halving the catch of juveniles and limiting takes of mature fish as well. The proposal calls for total Pacific bluefin catches to be kept below the 2002 to 2004 annual average levels and for catches of fish weighing fewer than 30 kilograms—juveniles too young to spawn—to be reduced to 50% of those levels.
How is a warming climate impacting coral reefs?
September 10, 2014 07:34 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN
How is a warming climate impacting life in the oceans? Fish can move to cooler areas, but coral reefs are anchored in place. Late-summer water temperatures near the Florida Keys were warmer by nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit in the last several decades compared to a century earlier, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey. Researchers indicate that the warmer water temperatures are stressing corals and increasing the number of bleaching events, where corals become white resulting from a loss of their symbiotic algae. The corals can starve to death if the condition is prolonged.
Greenhouse gases hit new record
September 9, 2014 11:07 AM - Alex Kirby, The Ecologist
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has reported that the amounts of atmospheric greenhouse gases reached a new high in 2013, driven by rapidly rising levels of carbon dioxide. The news is consistent with trends in fossil fuel consumption. But what comes as more of a surprise is the WMO's revelation that the current rate of ocean acidification, which greenhouse gases (GHGs) help to cause, appears unprecedented in at least the last 300 million years.
Norway has biggest whaling season in over 20 years
September 9, 2014 07:48 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
As of late August, Norway has killed 729 northern minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) during its annual whaling season, the highest number taken since 1993. Norway continues whaling by having filed an "objection" under the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which has banned whaling worldwide aside from a few exceptions for indigenous peoples. Only three countries continue to practice whaling: Iceland, Norway, and Japan. In contrast to Norway, both Iceland and Japan conduct whaling under a research banner.
Should the Pacific walrus be considered a threatened species?
September 8, 2014 03:52 PM - USGS Newsroom
A recent U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the Pacific walrus population nearly halved between 1981 and 1999, the last year for which demographic data are available. The study notes that the decline was most severe in the mid-1980s, and then moderated in the 1990s. Currently, the USGS is working to obtain more recent population data of the Pacific walrus. This information will be vital because the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is expected to determine whether the Pacific walrus should be listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2017.