Africa has half as many lions as 20 years ago - but don't blame trophy hunting
The killing of Zimbabwe's Cecil the Lion has put a welcome spotlight on the alarming decline of Africa's lions, write Lochran Traill & Norman Owen-Smith. But to save the species, we should not obsess about trophy hunting, but tackle much more serious problems - like snaring and habitat fragmentation.
Faced with an unprecedented surge in wildlife crime, the UN this week adopted a historic resolution committing all countries to ramp up their collective efforts to end the global poaching crisis and tackle the vast illegal wildlife trade. Initiated by Gabon and Germany and co-sponsored by 84 other nations, the UN General Assembly resolution, Tackling the Illicit Trafficking in Wildlife, is the result of three years of diplomatic efforts and is the first time that every nation has acknowledged the seriousness of wildlife crime and the urgent need to join forces to combat it.
When does aging really begin? Two Northwestern University scientists now have a molecular clue. In a study of the transparent roundworm C. elegans, they found that adult cells abruptly begin their downhill slide when an animal reaches reproductive maturity.
A genetic switch starts the aging process by turning off cell stress responses that protect the cell by keeping important proteins folded and functional. The switch is thrown by germline stem cells in early adulthood, after the animal starts to reproduce, ensuring its line will live on.
When it comes to vaccinating their babies, bees don't have a choice -- they naturally immunize their offspring against specific diseases found in their environments. And now for the first time, scientists have discovered how they do it.
Scientists at University of California Davis and San Francisco State University have discovered that the combination of elevated levels of carbon dioxide and an increase in ocean water temperature has a significant impact on survival and development of the Antarctic dragonfish (Gymnodraco acuticeps). The research article was published today in the journal Conservation Physiology.
An entire ecosystem is at risk from the effects of climate change on the UK’s blanket bogs, scientists at the University of Leeds have warned.
These wetland habitats provide important feeding and nesting grounds for bird species including the dunlin, red grouse and golden plover. Blanket bogs are also the source of most of our drinking water and vital carbon stores.
The scientists warn that the effects of climate change, such as altered rainfall patterns and summer droughts, could drastically affect bog hydrology, which in turn could affect insect and bird populations.
In the virtual worlds of climate modeling, forests and other vegetation are assumed to bounce back quickly from extreme drought. But that assumption is far off the mark, according to a new study of drought impacts at forest sites worldwide. Living trees took an average of two to four years to recover and resume normal growth rates after droughts ended, researchers report today in the journal Science.
Wine-making is steeped in age-old traditions, but to address the threat of pests and concerns over heavy pesticide use, vintners are turning to science. With the goal of designing better grape breeds, scientists are parsing the differences between wild American grapes — which make terrible wine but are pest-resistant — and the less hardy grape species pressed for fine wines worldwide. They report their findings in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
The Faroe Islands' annual 'grindadráp', in which hundreds of pilot whales are slaughtered with knives and hooks, is a horrifying spectacle, writes David Lusseau. But unlike industrial whaling it poses no threat to the species. And is it really any worse than the industrial factory farming that we routinely ignore?
Anyone that signs a petition to stop the Faroese grindadráp only to go home and roast a chicken that never saw daylight or moved much when it was reared is a hypocrite.
In the mid-20th century pilot whaling still took place in many north Atlantic nations such as the US and Canada.
The United States marked an energy milestone this week as construction began on a pilot offshore wind program that will be used to test the economic feasibility of offshore wind energy. According to the Bureau of Energy, some four million megawatts of power lie in wait off the coasts and the shores of regions like the Great Lakes, where wind blusters far stronger than it does on land — and even a few miles an hour makes a big difference with turbines.
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