Snowshoe hare range moving northward following retreating snow cover
March 31, 2016 07:52 AM - University of Wisconsin-Madison via ScienceDaily
If there is an animal emblematic of the northern winter, it is the snowshoe hare.
A forest dweller, the snowshoe hare is named for its big feet, which allow it to skitter over deep snow to escape lynx, coyotes and other predators. It changes color with the seasons, assuming a snow-white fur coat for winter camouflage.
But a changing climate and reduced snow cover across the north is squeezing the animal out of its historic range, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Writing in the current (March 30, 2016) Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the Wisconsin researchers report that the range of the hare in Wisconsin is creeping north by about five and a half miles per decade, closely tracking the diminishing snow cover the animal requires to be successful.
Good news for the Sumatran rhino
March 22, 2016 10:15 AM - WWF Global
WWF researchers are celebrating the first live sighting of a Sumatran rhino in Kalimantan, the Indonesia part of Borneo, since it was thought to be extinct there. This is also the first physical contact with the species in the area for over 40 years and is a major milestone for rhino conservation in Indonesia.
The female Sumatran rhino, which is estimated to be between four and five years old, was safely captured in a pit trap in Kutai Barat in East Kalimantan on 12 March.
The Florida jail that is also an animal shelter
March 14, 2016 04:42 AM - Natalia Lima, Care2
Usually the word “jail” brings some harsh imagery to mind: barbed wire fences, orange jumpsuits and tall concrete walls. That’s not the case in the Key West, though. Ask a local about the jail, and the most likely image is Mo, an adorable and charismatic sloth who’s become the unofficial mascot of the Stock Island Detention Center, which doubles as a sanctuary for unwanted animals.
“All the animals here are either abandoned, abused, confiscated or donated,” Jeanne Selander, the caretaker for the facility, explains to Care2. “The animals are here because they need a forever home and we give them one.”
Record year for rhino poaching in Africa
March 10, 2016 07:19 AM - WWF Global
The number of African rhinos poached in 2015 is higher than previously thought with new figures from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) showing that a record 1,338 were killed across the continent last year – 33 higher than earlier estimates.
This is the highest level since the current poaching crisis began in 2008 and takes the number of African rhinos killed since then to at least 5,940.
Warming Arctic being exploited by trawlers
March 6, 2016 01:29 PM - Joe Sandler Clarke / Greenpeace Energydesk, The Ecologist
Ice melt in the Arctic Ocean is opening up previously untouched areas to industrial fishing fleets using ecologically risky bottom trawling methods, writes Joe Sandler Clarke. Ecosystems supporting walruses, polar bears, puffins and other sea birds could be stripped bare.
Bottom trawling is widely considered to be the among most destructive fishing techniques, with vast nets catching fish as they are dragged along the sea bed.
Using official data and ship tracking systems, researchers found that large numbers of fishing vessels owned by major companies have taken advantage of melting sea ice to fish in previously impossible to reach parts of the Norwegian and Russian Arctic.
Whales dine with their friends of the same species
March 3, 2016 08:00 AM - Jennifer Chu, MIT News
For a few weeks in early fall, Georges Bank — a vast North Atlantic fishery off the coast of Cape Cod — teems with billions of herring that take over the region to spawn. The seasonal arrival of the herring also attracts predators to the shallow banks, including many species of whales.
Now researchers from MIT, Northeastern University, the Institute of Marine Research in Norway, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, have found that as multiple species of whales feast on herring, they tend to stick with their own kind, establishing species-specific feeding centers along the 150-mile length of Georges Bank. The team’s results are published today in the journal Nature.
Can you guess the world's longest distance flyer?
March 3, 2016 07:18 AM - Rutgers University
A dragonfly barely an inch and a half long appears to be animal world's most prolific long distance traveler – flying thousands of miles over oceans as it migrates from continent to continent – according to newly published research.
Preserved moose with DNA of ancestors being studied in Russia
March 1, 2016 09:26 AM - NATIONAL RESEARCH TOMSK STATE UNIVERSITY via EurekAlert
Scientists of the Tomsk State University have found preserved moose in Western Siberia that have unique features of DNA structure. This discovery of Tomsk scientists will help determine the origin and path of moose movement in the last few tens of thousands of years and gives reason to believe that Siberia is a unique genetic repository. The research has been presented at International Conference "Theriofauna of Russia and adjacent territories" (X Congress of Russian Theriological Society).
Unique moose were found in the southeastern part of Western Siberia. Hunters of the Tomsk Region assisted in this discovery. Along with the license for opening the animals, they got set for the capture of prototypes and a small profile.
Beavers return to Britain
February 28, 2016 09:46 AM - Nigel Willby & Alan Law, University of Stirling, The Ecologist
Beavers are Britain's native aquatic engineers and their return to sites in Scotland and England is doing wonders for the local environment, write Nigel Willby & Alan Law: restoring wetlands, recreating natural river dynamics and ecology, filtering farm pollutants from water, and improving habitat for trout and other fish.
In Knapdale, damming by beavers transformed a small pond into a wetland of a type and complexity probably unseen in Britain for centuries. On the Bamff estate on Tayside, we found that grazing by beavers trebled the number of wetland plants in 9 years.
Beavers have recently made a tentative return to Britain.
Swimming pig colony is site to see in Bahamas
February 22, 2016 07:13 AM - Tex Dworkin, Care2
In the Bahamas, there is an uninhabited island called Big Major Cay, located in the Exuma district.
Actually, that’s not exactly true. The island is uninhabited by humans, but considered the ‘Official Home of the Swimming Pigs.’
Visitors to the island’s “Pig Beach,” as it is commonly called, get to feed and sometimes swim with the pig residents.