Wildlife

Environmental crimes increasing according to the UN
June 13, 2016 06:44 AM - Lizabeth Paulat, Care2

A new report by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and Interpol has highlighted the sophistication and growth of environmental crimes across the world. These crimes range from the illegal trade of wildlife, illegal mining, illegal forestry and fishing. And despite our growing global attention towards conservation, these crimes have jumped 26 percent in the past two years alone. 

The report highlights the criminal fluidity of these trades. They say that transnational crime rings are no longer focusing on just one flow of illicit trade; rather, “criminals coordinate, evade or even shift their focus from drugs, human trafficking, counterfeit products and arms to any new opportunity – hazardous waste and chemicals, forest products, pangolins, giant clams, minerals and illegally extracted gold.”

According to the UNEP, the reasons behind this rise is linked to both increasing demand, primarily in Asia, as well as poverty in the regions where the smuggling of these goods take place. Local wildlife authorities across Africa, which often scrape by on a minimal budget, must constantly adapt to new methods and new extremes employed by poachers.

Fish use tools!
June 11, 2016 07:04 AM - s.e. smith, Care2

Fish: charming, but not terribly bright, right? That’s been the party line for years, but it turns out that it’s not quite accurate.

Some fish actually use tools, and as researcher Culum Brown points out, the lack of studies on fish populations means that we don’t actually know the extent this skill. Opening our eyes a little might reveal some fascinating new information about creatures we’ve traditionally identified as sitting at the lowest rung of animal life — even some vegetarians don’t see a conflict with including fish in their diets!

The first documented instance of tool use by a fish occurred in 2011, when a diver noticed a blackspot tuskfish doing something odd as he drifted along the Great Barrier Reef. When the diver investigated, he found that the fish was using a rock to crack open clam shells in order to access the meat inside. It showed a degree of resourcefulness that researchers hadn’t expected to see in fish — and it wasn’t the only intelligent tuskfish behavior.

 

Thousands Ask Feds to Protect West Coast's Beloved Orcas Before It's Too Late
June 10, 2016 03:36 PM - Alicia Graef, Care2

Thousands of people spoke out this week to ask for more protection for a highly endangered and beloved population of orcas, otherwise known as the Southern Resident killer whales who live in the Pacific Northwest.

Thanks to whale watching tours, and organizations like the Orca Network and Center for Whale Research, which keeps an official census of their population, we have had the opportunity to glimpse into their daily lives. We’ve been able to celebrate births, mourn deaths and root for the elders among them, like Granny, who has been around long enough to see how drastically our actions have changed their home and families.

Thousands Ask Feds to Protect West Coast's Beloved Orcas Before It's Too Late
June 10, 2016 03:36 PM - Alicia Graef, Care2

Thousands of people spoke out this week to ask for more protection for a highly endangered and beloved population of orcas, otherwise known as the Southern Resident killer whales who live in the Pacific Northwest.

Thanks to whale watching tours, and organizations like the Orca Network and Center for Whale Research, which keeps an official census of their population, we have had the opportunity to glimpse into their daily lives. We’ve been able to celebrate births, mourn deaths and root for the elders among them, like Granny, who has been around long enough to see how drastically our actions have changed their home and families.

NOAA, USGS, partners predict an average 'dead zone' for Gulf of Mexico
June 10, 2016 10:53 AM - NOAA Headquarters

Scientists forecast that this year's Gulf of Mexico dead zone--an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and marine life - will be approximately 5,898 square miles or about the size of Connecticut, the same range as it has averaged over the last several years.

NOAA, USGS, partners predict an average 'dead zone' for Gulf of Mexico
June 10, 2016 10:53 AM - NOAA Headquarters

Scientists forecast that this year's Gulf of Mexico dead zone--an area of low to no oxygen that can kill fish and marine life - will be approximately 5,898 square miles or about the size of Connecticut, the same range as it has averaged over the last several years.

Is sunscreen bad for coral reefs?
June 10, 2016 07:01 AM - Natalia Lima, Care2

You only use a little bit of sunscreen — a squeeze of the bottle or two or three sprays. Sure, it has some chemical ingredients, but it won’t kill anyone, right? Wrong. Sunscreen is actually one of the culprits of putting over 60 percent of the planet’s coral reefs in critical danger — and bringing a whole lot of other wildlife down with them.

Using Lake Michigan turtles to measure wetland pollution
June 9, 2016 12:03 PM - University of Notre Dame

Decades of unregulated industrial waste dumping in areas of the Great Lakes have created a host of environmental and wildlife problems. Now it appears that Lake Michigan painted and snapping turtles could be a useful source for measuring the resulting pollution.

Using Lake Michigan turtles to measure wetland pollution
June 9, 2016 12:03 PM - University of Notre Dame

Decades of unregulated industrial waste dumping in areas of the Great Lakes have created a host of environmental and wildlife problems. Now it appears that Lake Michigan painted and snapping turtles could be a useful source for measuring the resulting pollution.

Raid uncovers truth behind Thailand's Tiger Temple
June 7, 2016 07:32 AM - Simon Evans, Anglia Ruskin University, The Ecologist

Thailand's 'tiger temple' was a front for the commercial exploitation of tiger bones, skins and other parts for the lucrative international trade, writes Simon Evans. It made no contribution to conservation and the animals were subject to extreme cruelty. But while the temple's closure is good news, there are hundreds of similar tiger farms across the region that are no better - or even worse.

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