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Wildlife

What inspires people to support conservation?
March 10, 2015 09:11 AM - Cornell University via EurekAlert!

What inspires people to support conservation? As concerns grow about the sustainability of our modern society, this question becomes more important. A new study by researchers at Cornell University provides one simple answer: bird watching and hunting.

This survey of conservation activity among rural landowners in Upstate New York considered a range of possible predictors such as gender, age, education, political ideology, and beliefs about the environment. All other factors being equal, bird watchers are about five times as likely, and hunters about four times as likely, as non-recreationists to engage in wildlife and habitat conservation. Both bird watchers and hunters were more likely than non-recreationists to enhance land for wildlife, donate to conservation organizations, and advocate for wildlife-all actions that significantly impact conservation success.

Alcoholic Russian Bears may finally get the help they deserve!
March 7, 2015 08:48 AM - Megan Drake, Care2

Taken in as cubs, two bears have been living in a small trash-ridden cage at a restaurant in Sochi, Russia, for over 20 years. In an effort to help the bears, some local animal advocates notified Anna Kogan, founder of Big Hearts Foundation (BHF), an animal welfare organization that helps animal causes in Russia.

BHF worked along with the Prosecutor General in Sochi to get the bears released and sent to a sanctuary and, on February 3, 2015, the court ruled in favor of the bears.

The Story of Misha and Pasha

Never receiving veterinary care and given inappropriate food–as well as alcohol by restaurant patrons–the two male bears, named Misha and Pasha, have become addicted to alcohol.

What's a fish native to Japan doing in the ocean off the coast of Oregon?
March 6, 2015 08:07 AM - Oregon State University

A team of scientists from Oregon State University and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is studying an unusual fish captured alive in a crab pot near Port Orford this week called a striped knifejaw that is native to Japan, as well as China and Korea.

The appearance in Oregon waters of the fish (Oplegnathus fasciatus), which is sometimes called a barred knifejaw or striped beakfish, may or may not be related to the Japanese tsunami of 2011, the researchers say, and it is premature to conclude that this non-native species may be established in Oregon waters.

But its appearance and survival certainly raises questions, according to OSU’s John Chapman, an aquatic invasive species specialist at the university’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport.

Amazon deforestation 'threshold' causes species loss to accelerate
March 4, 2015 03:32 PM - University of Cambridge

One of the largest area studies of forest loss impacting biodiversity shows that a third of the Amazon is headed toward or has just past a threshold of forest cover below which species loss is faster and more damaging. Researchers call for conservation policy to switch from targeting individual landowners to entire regions.

Some plants "prefer" certain pollinators and respond to them!
March 3, 2015 07:19 AM - Oregon State University

Rather than just waiting patiently for any pollinator that comes their way to start the next generation of seeds, some plants appear to recognize the best suitors and “turn on” to increase the chance of success, according to a new study published this week.

Being picky may increase access to genetic diversity and thus give the plants a competitive advantage over their neighbors, but there is a risk, the researchers say. If the preferred pollinators decline for any reason, the plants may not reproduce as easily and could decline as well.

How did Emperor Penguins survive the last ice age?
March 2, 2015 07:00 AM - University of Oxford

The study of how climate change has affected emperor penguins over the last 30,000 years found that only three populations may have survived during the last ice age, and that the Ross Sea in Antarctica was likely the refuge for one of these populations.

The findings, published in the journal Global Change Biology, suggest that while current climate conditions may be optimal for emperor penguins, conditions in the past were too extreme for large populations to survive.

In California, Beavers are essential to recovering wild salmon
March 1, 2015 04:35 PM - Miria Finn / onEarth, The Ecologist

With California's wild Coho salmon populations down to 1% of their former numbers, there's growing evidence that beavers - long reviled as a pest of the waterways - are essential to restore the species, writes Maria Finn. In the process, they raise water tables, recharge aquifers and improve water quality. What's not to love?

Beavers are the single most important factor in determining whether Coho salmon persist in California. They work night and day, don't need to be paid, and are incredible engineers.

China bans carved ivory imports
February 27, 2015 09:00 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM

China has established a one-year ban on imports of carved African elephant ivory. 

Conservationists say the move, effective immediately, sends an important signal, but alone won't be enough to slow elephant poaching. 

"This announcement is an encouraging signal that the Chinese government is ratcheting down the import of African elephant ivory into the country," said Iris Ho, director of wildlife for Humane Society International, in a statement. "We are hopeful that more meaningful actions are being considered by the leadership and relevant government agencies of China that will further strengthen the country’s efforts on combating the elephant poaching and ivory trafficking crisis."

Antifreeze protein from ticks fights frostbite in mice
February 26, 2015 08:54 AM - Ziba Kashef, Yale University

A protein that protects ticks from freezing temperatures also prevents frostbite when introduced in mice, a Yale-led study has found. The research is the first to demonstrate the protein’s ability to boost frostbite resistance in an adult mammal.

BLM vs the Sage Grouse
February 25, 2015 07:45 AM - Center for Biological Diversity

The Bureau of Land Management’s proposal to offer new oil and gas leases on 89,000 acres in northwestern Wyoming would have devastating effects on greater sage grouse, including allowing industrial operations in some of the birds’ most important nesting and rearing habitat, according to comments submitted to the agency this week by the Center for Biological Diversity. Even though sage grouse have declined 60 percent over six years in Wyoming, the plan repeatedly ignores federal scientists’ recommendations for protecting these prairie birds from fossil fuel development.

“Rather than protecting these vanishing birds, the BLM is proposing to hand over some of their last remaining habitat to the oil and gas industry,” said Michael Saul, an attorney with the Center. “A few companies may squeeze some short-term profits out of it, but the long-term effect will be pushing these great prairie birds toward extinction.”

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