Wildlife

Establishing marine protected areas to fight illegal fishing
November 25, 2014 09:10 AM - Kerry Klein, MONGABAY.COM

Do you know how that tuna sashimi got to your dinner plate? Probably not—and chances are, the restaurant that served it to you doesn’t know, either. A new policy paper argues that illicit fishing practices are flying under the radar all around the world, and global society must combat them in order to keep seafood on the menu. According to the paper, published in Science, fishing practices that are illegal, unreported and unregulated (collectively referred to as IUU) are ubiquitous. They range from bottom trawlers scouring the seafloor—sometimes catching more illegal species than legal ones—to small boats simply not reporting their catch. 

Climate change, species extinctions and tipping points
November 25, 2014 07:35 AM - North Carolina State University via EurekAlert.

Researchers from North Carolina State University have created a model that mimics how differently adapted populations may respond to rapid climate change. Their findings demonstrate that depending on a population's adaptive strategy, even tiny changes in climate variability can create a "tipping point" that sends the population into extinction.

Carlos Botero, postdoctoral fellow with the Initiative on Biological Complexity and the Southeast Climate Science Center at NC State and assistant professor of biology at Washington State University, wanted to find out how diverse populations of organisms might cope with quickly changing, less predictable climate variations. 

Hope for the Monarch Butterfly
November 24, 2014 03:59 PM - Imogen Mathers, SciDevNet

When millions of monarch butterflies take to the sky and fly thousands of kilometres from the United States and southern Canada to Mexico, the view is breathtaking. But over the last few decades, their numbers have plummeted, and last year hit an all-time low. Illegal logging in Mexican forests, where the monarchs hibernate during winter, has traditionally been to blame. But large-scale logging by companies appears to have been halted. And now small-scale logging by local people for firewood and timber — a “growing concern in 2013” — has also stopped, according to a study published last month (27 October) in Biological Conservation.

World Bank warns effects of warming climate now unavoidable
November 24, 2014 11:29 AM - , ClickGreen

As the planet continues to warm, heat-waves and other extreme weather events that today occur once in hundreds of years, if ever, will become the “new climate normal,” creating a world of increased risks and instability, a new World Bank study warns. 

The consequences for development would be severe as crop yields decline, water resources shift, sea-levels rise, and the livelihoods of millions of people are put at risk, according to a new scientific report released today by the World Bank Group.

Good News for the Black-Footed Ferret
November 24, 2014 11:21 AM - Tex Dworkin, Care2

When you hear about an animal becoming extinct, most assume that the species is gone for good, never to be seen again. That’s not the case for North America’s rarest mammal, the black-footed ferret. 35 years after being declared extinct, the adorable critter is re-emerging in the western U.S. and Canadian prairie land.

If ladybugs move into your house this fall, make them welcome
November 21, 2014 09:49 AM - Rob Forman, Rutgers University

During the warm months of the year, ladybugs are like adorable, bright-colored lapel pins. They land on us, accessorize our clothing in brilliant red or orange with stylish black spots, and are delightful to have around. Several cultures even think of ladybugs as good luck charms for anything from marriage to childbirth to the weather to a good harvest. Then fall arrives and the ladybugs need to find warmth, which is most available inside people’s homes – where they often descend in large numbers. Suddenly they’re not as cute to many people as they seemed outdoors. But Jessica Ware, an insect expert and assistant professor of biology at Rutgers University-Newark, says having ladybugs indoors serves a very useful purpose, and humans should welcome their temporary houseguests. 

310 Species Added to IUCN Red List
November 18, 2014 07:46 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

Today, 22,413 species are threatened with extinction, according to the most recent update of the IUCN Red List. This is a rise of 310 species from the last update in the summer. The update includes the Pacific bluefin tuna (moved from Least Concern to Vulnerable), the Chinese pufferfish (newly listed as Critically Endangered), and Chapman's pygmy chameleon (also newly listed as Critically Endangered). 

Study Tracks Southern Beaufort Sea Polar Bear Population Decline
November 17, 2014 12:30 PM - USGS Newsroom

In a new polar bear study published today, scientists from the United States and Canada found that during the first decade of the 21st century, the number of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea experienced a sharp decline of approximately 40 percent. The scientists, led by researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey, found that survival of adult bears and cubs was especially low from 2004 to 2006, when most of the decline occurred. 

New protection for migratory birds
November 14, 2014 01:53 PM - Editor, The Ecologist

Two new international agreements will help to save migratory birds from hunting, trapping and poisoning, and to protect their long-distance flyways. A key objective is to phase out lead shot within three years, and eliminate the toxic drug diclofenac.

Mongoose sentinels coordinate their duty
November 13, 2014 05:49 AM - Julie M Kern and Andrew N Radford, University of Bristol.

Just as soldiers on sentry duty constantly adjust their behaviour to match the current threat level, dwarf mongoose sentinels exhibit flexible decision-making in relation to predation risk, new research from the University of Bristol has shown. 

Biologists Julie Kern and Dr Andy Radford found that decisions about when to go on duty, what position to adopt and how long to remain on post were all affected by information about the likelihood of danger. Sentinels altered their behaviour depending on both environmental conditions, such as wind speed and social signals, such as alarm calls.

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