Wildlife

Farmed fish, the dark side
June 27, 2014 06:24 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

It seems as more and more of the fish available to us in the supermarket and in restaurants is farmed. Is this good or bad? Probably a bit of both. Raising fish in fish farms doesn't impact the wild fish to any great extent, but fish farms must be well situated, and well run to prevent problems. They are not natural ecosystems! Aquaculture has become a booming industry in Chile, with salmon and other fish farmed in floating enclosures along the South Pacific coast. But as farmers densely pack these pens to meet demand, diseases can easily pass between fish — for example, an outbreak of infectious salmon anemia that emerged in 2007 caused the deaths of more than a million fish and threatened to cripple the industry. And unsustainable aquaculture methods can have a wider impact, spreading disease to the world’s already vulnerable ocean fisheries and contaminating the environment.

Young gorillas caught dismantling poachers' snares
June 24, 2014 08:00 AM - Danielle Radin, The Ecologist

In the wild, gorillas are turning into primitive engineers as the newest field findings show that some of these large primates have taught themselves how to dismantle poaching traps in Africa. "It's just amazing", says Dr. Patricia Wright, a Primatologist at Stony Brook University in New York with over 27 years anthopological experience. "One of the most extraordinary things that has just happened is that very young gorillas, that are just four years old, have started to take apart traps and snares so that poachers can't catch gorillas."

Stones in bird baths are a GOOD idea!
June 22, 2014 10:19 AM - Laura Simpson, Care2

Turns out that stones in the bird bath are more than just an aesthetic element. In fact, they may even save a life. "This morning a little bird was flapping his wings frantically in the bird bath," said Crystal Carvotta-Brown, a cat rescue volunteer in Massachusetts. "At first I thought he was just cleaning his feathers but then I realized that he was in distress." Crystal, an avid community organizer who has helped place hundreds of throw-away cats, was quick to take action when she sensed danger.

New study challenges theory that emperor penguins return to same area each year
June 20, 2014 02:09 PM - Allison Winter, ENN

Philopatry is the tendency of an organism to stay in, or return to its home area. Many animal species are considered philopatric because they often return to their birthplace year after year to breed. Revisiting the same site is advantageous because nests and courtship areas have already been established while competition from other animals is largely non-existent due to territoriality. Researchers have long thought that emperor penguins were a prime example of this phenomenon, however a new study shows that this species may be adapting to changing environments and may not necessarily be faithful to previous nesting locations.

New study shows link between bald eagle deaths and lead ammunition
June 20, 2014 07:32 AM - Alicia Graef, Care2

Endangered California condors have been the poster birds for calls to get lead ammunition out of our environment, but they might have to make some room for our nation's most iconic raptors thanks to a new study showing how lead ammunition is also harming bald eagles. It might be illegal to hunt bald eagles, but a study conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service investigating the link between lead ammunition and bald eagle deaths in the Upper Mississippi River U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge.

Over $1 Billion Pledged to Project Marine Habitats
June 19, 2014 10:16 AM - Ben Hogan, ARKive.org

'Our Ocean' 2014 brought together leaders from business, government and academic institutions, and NGOs from over 80 countries to discuss how economic development and ocean conservation can be reconciled. The oceans are extremely important for humans, generating more than 50 percent of the oxygen we breathe, absorbing excess carbon dioxide, and providing a source of food and income for millions of people worldwide.

"Tuning" the silk: How spiders use vibrations to learn about their prey, mates, and web
June 18, 2014 01:36 PM - Allison Winter, ENN

The fine craftsmanship of a spider's web helps these eight-legged arachnids catch their prey. But these silk-threaded designs can tell a spider a lot more than what they will be having for dinner. The spider that sits in the middle of its web monitors the silk threads for vibrations. And according to a new discovery by researchers at the Universities of Oxford, Strathclyde, and Sheffield the frequencies of these vibrations carry specific information about the prey, mates, and even the structural integrity of the web.

Are fruit flies smarter than we thought?
June 18, 2014 11:34 AM - University of Oxford

Oxford University neuroscientists have shown that fruit flies take longer to make more difficult decisions. In experiments asking fruit flies to distinguish between ever closer concentrations of an odour, the researchers found that the flies don't act instinctively or impulsively. Instead they appear to accumulate information before committing to a choice. Gathering information before making a decision has been considered a sign of higher intelligence, like that shown by primates and humans.

President Obama addresses seafood fraud and illegal fishing
June 17, 2014 09:44 PM - Jen Boynton, Triple Pundit

This morning, President Barack Obama announced an initiative to tackle seafood fraud and illegal fishing in the United States. His announcement coincides with the Global "Our Ocean" conference convened by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. In President Obama's announcement, he referenced the negative financial repercussions of overfishing as one of the key reasons for the initiative.

800+ Species added to IUCN Threatened List
June 17, 2014 08:58 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM

Experts have added 817 species to the threatened categories of the IUCN Red List in the latest update. Those added include 51 mammals—mostly lemurs—and over 400 plants. The new update finds that over 90 percent of lemurs and 79 percent of temperate slipper orchids are threatened with extinction.

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