October52014
The earliest monarch butterflies arose in North America and were migratory, contrary to what scientists believed. Over time, the butterflies evolved populations in other locations, some of which stay put year-round, scientists conclude October 1 in Nature. 

Because many of the monarch’s closest butterfly relatives live in the tropics and do not migrate, “the thought was that the butterflies [came] from South and Central America and became migratory from resident populations,” says Tyler Flockhart, a conservation biologist who concentrates on monarchs at the University of Guelph in Canada. “But that doesn’t seem to be the case.” (via Monarch butterflies’ ancestors migrated | Science News)

The earliest monarch butterflies arose in North America and were migratory, contrary to what scientists believed. Over time, the butterflies evolved populations in other locations, some of which stay put year-round, scientists conclude October 1 in Nature.

Because many of the monarch’s closest butterfly relatives live in the tropics and do not migrate, “the thought was that the butterflies [came] from South and Central America and became migratory from resident populations,” says Tyler Flockhart, a conservation biologist who concentrates on monarchs at the University of Guelph in Canada. “But that doesn’t seem to be the case.” (via Monarch butterflies’ ancestors migrated | Science News)

April222014
"OTTAWA — The Harper government is downgrading the protection of the North Pacific humpback whale despite objections from a clear majority of groups that were consulted. 

Critics say the whales could face greater danger if two major oilsands pipeline projects get the go-ahead, since both would result in a sharp increase in movement of large vessels on the West Coast that occasionally collide with, and kill, whales like the humpback. 

The decision was made under the Species At Risk Act (SARA), and declares the humpback a “species of special concern” rather than “threatened.” 

The reclassification means the humpback will no longer be “subject to the general prohibitions set out in SARA, nor would its critical habitat be required to be legally protected under SARA,” states the federal government notice published this month in the Canada Gazette. 

The decision removes a major legal hurdle that the environmental group Ecojustice said stood in the way of the $7.9-billion Northern Gateway pipeline project that would bring 550,000 barrels of diluted bitumen crude from Alberta to Kitimat.” 

(Read entire article here: Ottawa removing North Pacific humpback whales from list of ‘threatened’ species)

"OTTAWA — The Harper government is downgrading the protection of the North Pacific humpback whale despite objections from a clear majority of groups that were consulted.

Critics say the whales could face greater danger if two major oilsands pipeline projects get the go-ahead, since both would result in a sharp increase in movement of large vessels on the West Coast that occasionally collide with, and kill, whales like the humpback.

The decision was made under the Species At Risk Act (SARA), and declares the humpback a “species of special concern” rather than “threatened.”

The reclassification means the humpback will no longer be “subject to the general prohibitions set out in SARA, nor would its critical habitat be required to be legally protected under SARA,” states the federal government notice published this month in the Canada Gazette.

The decision removes a major legal hurdle that the environmental group Ecojustice said stood in the way of the $7.9-billion Northern Gateway pipeline project that would bring 550,000 barrels of diluted bitumen crude from Alberta to Kitimat.”

(Read entire article here: Ottawa removing North Pacific humpback whales from list of ‘threatened’ species)

January272014
"A Hong Kong-based conservation group claims a Zhejiang company is running the world’s largest shark abattoir, processing hundreds of endangered specimens a year to produce health supplements and meat for restaurants. 

The factory on the southeastern coast of the province processes more than 600 endangered whale sharks a year, as well as dealing in two other threatened species of shark, according to a four-year investigation by the marine conservation group WildLifeRisk. 

"We went there three times in the past three years and each time the scale of the slaughter was truly staggering," directors Paul Hilton and Alex Hofford wrote in a report. "It’s even more incredible that this carnage is all for the sake of non-essential lifestyle props, such as lipsticks, face creams, health supplements and shark’s fin soup." 

Hilton said WildLifeRisk was tipped off about the factory by a local wildlife conservation group in 2010.” 

(via Zhejiang firm the world’s largest shark abattoir, says WildLifeRisk | South China Morning Post)

"A Hong Kong-based conservation group claims a Zhejiang company is running the world’s largest shark abattoir, processing hundreds of endangered specimens a year to produce health supplements and meat for restaurants.

The factory on the southeastern coast of the province processes more than 600 endangered whale sharks a year, as well as dealing in two other threatened species of shark, according to a four-year investigation by the marine conservation group WildLifeRisk.

"We went there three times in the past three years and each time the scale of the slaughter was truly staggering," directors Paul Hilton and Alex Hofford wrote in a report. "It’s even more incredible that this carnage is all for the sake of non-essential lifestyle props, such as lipsticks, face creams, health supplements and shark’s fin soup."

Hilton said WildLifeRisk was tipped off about the factory by a local wildlife conservation group in 2010.”

(via Zhejiang firm the world’s largest shark abattoir, says WildLifeRisk | South China Morning Post)

January162014
feathersandbeaks:

"Two endangered whooping cranes mated for life have been found dead in Western Kentucky, the likely victims of an illegal shooter — and officials are offering a reward to catch the perpetrator.
Federal wildlife authorities have kept quiet about the rare cranes’ deaths last November while they have gathered evidence, but they say they plan to ask for the public’s help today.
“We are putting together a reward package,” said Tom MacKenzie, spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional office in Atlanta.”

feathersandbeaks:

"Two endangered whooping cranes mated for life have been found dead in Western Kentucky, the likely victims of an illegal shooter — and officials are offering a reward to catch the perpetrator.

Federal wildlife authorities have kept quiet about the rare cranes’ deaths last November while they have gathered evidence, but they say they plan to ask for the public’s help today.

“We are putting together a reward package,” said Tom MacKenzie, spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional office in Atlanta.”

October182013
October72013
October32013
September132013
"Thousands of fish — gasping desperately, then floating lifelessly — surfaced in Honolulu Harbor this week, suffering from oxygen deprivation caused by a massive molasses spill. This strange case of sugary suffocation was brought on by the Matson Shipping Company, which was loading one of its vessels with 1,600 tons of molasses through a pipeline in the harbor early Monday morning when a leak sprung. Matson reported that up to 1,400 tons of the sludgy syrup may have escaped into the harbor and nearby Ke’ehi Lagoon."
[Read more of the depressing story here: What’s Worse Than an Oil Spill? A Molasses Spill]

"Thousands of fish — gasping desperately, then floating lifelessly — surfaced in Honolulu Harbor this week, suffering from oxygen deprivation caused by a massive molasses spill. This strange case of sugary suffocation was brought on by the Matson Shipping Company, which was loading one of its vessels with 1,600 tons of molasses through a pipeline in the harbor early Monday morning when a leak sprung. Matson reported that up to 1,400 tons of the sludgy syrup may have escaped into the harbor and nearby Ke’ehi Lagoon."

[Read more of the depressing story here: What’s Worse Than an Oil Spill? A Molasses Spill]

September92013
Climate Change Leaves Hares Wearing The Wrong Colors
”[…]”If the hares are consistently molting at the same time, year after year, and the snowfall comes later and melts earlier, there’s going to be more and more times when hares are mismatched,” he says.
Scott Mills of North Carolina State University leads the research. He says they’re finding that mismatched hares die at higher rates. That’s a concern for the threatened Canada lynx, which mainly eats these hares.
"It’s a picture that paints a thousand words," Mills says. "It’s a very clear connection to a single climate change stressor."
Mills says hares might be able to adapt over time. Some snowshoe hares in Washington State don’t turn white at all. Mills is trying to figure out whether hares and other wildlife can adapt as fast as the climate is changing.
"But really what we don’t know very well is how fast is too fast?" he says."
^Just another victim of climate change…probably more likely to cause local extinction rather than a complete population collapse. 

Climate Change Leaves Hares Wearing The Wrong Colors

”[…]”If the hares are consistently molting at the same time, year after year, and the snowfall comes later and melts earlier, there’s going to be more and more times when hares are mismatched,” he says.

Scott Mills of North Carolina State University leads the research. He says they’re finding that mismatched hares die at higher rates. That’s a concern for the threatened Canada lynx, which mainly eats these hares.

"It’s a picture that paints a thousand words," Mills says. "It’s a very clear connection to a single climate change stressor."

Mills says hares might be able to adapt over time. Some snowshoe hares in Washington State don’t turn white at all. Mills is trying to figure out whether hares and other wildlife can adapt as fast as the climate is changing.

"But really what we don’t know very well is how fast is too fast?" he says."

^Just another victim of climate change…probably more likely to cause local extinction rather than a complete population collapse. 

September82013
"The rogue chytrid fungus that has devastated more than 200 kinds of amphibians worldwide has an accomplice: a second species that researchers have discovered attacking fire salamanders.
Populations of frogs, salamanders and their relatives have been dwindling worldwide, and in 1999 scientists identified a surprising contributing factor – the fungus now nicknamed Bd. This Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis was the first member of the phylum of fungi called chytrids found to attack, and often kill, vertebrates. Now genetic tests have identified a second vertebrate-killing chytrid, the newly named Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans.
Researchers found the new fungus when volunteers reported a population crash in a yellow-and-black fire salamander, Salamandra salamandra, in the Netherlands. Numbers of salamanders fell to 4 percent of previous population levels in just three years. But genetic tests failed to find Bd, leading An Martel of Ghent University’s veterinary center in Merelbeke, Belgium and her colleagues to realize that they had found another chytrid.
Lab tests showed that fungus spores from a sick salamander caused the disease in another one, Martel and her colleagues report September 2 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“It looks very cruel,” Martel says. Within days of infection, the fungus eats away the skin of a salamander until scientists need a microscope to see skin remnants. Martel can treat animals in captivity but what to do in the wild remains a puzzle. “You cannot treat an environment with an antifungal,” she says.”
[SOURCE: News in Brief: New fungus species found killing salamanders]

"The rogue chytrid fungus that has devastated more than 200 kinds of amphibians worldwide has an accomplice: a second species that researchers have discovered attacking fire salamanders.

Populations of frogs, salamanders and their relatives have been dwindling worldwide, and in 1999 scientists identified a surprising contributing factor – the fungus now nicknamed Bd. This Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis was the first member of the phylum of fungi called chytrids found to attack, and often kill, vertebrates. Now genetic tests have identified a second vertebrate-killing chytrid, the newly named Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans.

Researchers found the new fungus when volunteers reported a population crash in a yellow-and-black fire salamander, Salamandra salamandra, in the Netherlands. Numbers of salamanders fell to 4 percent of previous population levels in just three years. But genetic tests failed to find Bd, leading An Martel of Ghent University’s veterinary center in Merelbeke, Belgium and her colleagues to realize that they had found another chytrid.

Lab tests showed that fungus spores from a sick salamander caused the disease in another one, Martel and her colleagues report September 2 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“It looks very cruel,” Martel says. Within days of infection, the fungus eats away the skin of a salamander until scientists need a microscope to see skin remnants. Martel can treat animals in captivity but what to do in the wild remains a puzzle. “You cannot treat an environment with an antifungal,” she says.”

[SOURCE: News in Brief: New fungus species found killing salamanders]

← Older entries Page 1 of 10