Posts Tagged ‘Conservation’

Red Pandas found in Langtang National Park

June 19, 2008

The finding of Red Pandas within the Langtang National Park area has encouraged conservationists.

A team of conservationists led by lecturer Hari Prasad Sharma, department of zoology (TU), had recently found one Red Panda each in Chandanbari area of Rasuwa and Dhadepani area of Nuwakot. It is believed that the areas harbor around 100 Red Pandas. The areas lie at an altitude of 2,800 to 4,000 metres above sea level.

The mission was initiated by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation’s Himalayan Landscape Project supported by WWF.

The Langtang National Park said it was preparing a long-term conservation strategy to protect the Red Pandas by securing food and habitat for them so that internal and foreign tourists could be lured to the area and contribute to the living condition of the people living in the region.

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New Findings On Immune System In Amphibians May Assist Conservation Efforts

June 19, 2008

Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) genes produce proteins that are crucial in fighting pathogen assault. Researchers from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow and from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) characterized genetic variation and detected more than one MHC class II locus in a tailed amphibian. Unlike mammals, not much has been known until now about the immune defence of amphibians.

Globally, amphibian populations are in an unprecedented decline, to a considerable extent caused by rapidly spreading infectious diseases, such as the fungal infection Chytridiomycosis. Therefore future conservation strategies for amphibians could benefit from knowledge about species-specific adaptations indicated by MHC variation, say the researchers writing in the journal Molecular Ecology.

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Large Areas Of Conservation Land Needed To Save Small Frogs, Turtles And Other Marine Species

June 12, 2008

Scientists were surprised with findings of a recent study that reveals many animal species believed to persist in small contained areas actually need broad, landscape level conservation to survive.

With more species at risk of extinction today than any other time in human history, the findings of the study published in the debut issue of Conservation Letters provides new insight into how to improve protection for many species worldwide. Scientists from organizations including Conservation International (CI) and BirdLife International identified appropriate scales of conservation efforts for 4,239 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians included on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

“The biggest surprise was the frogs,” said Claude Gascon, executive vice president for programs and science at CI, and co-chair of the IUCN Amphibian Specialist Group. “Amphibians are small animals, and many have tiny ranges restricted to a single forest or a mountain stream. But astonishingly many species – like the Critically Endangered Lake Titicaca Giant Frog (Telmatobius culeus) from Peru – are greatly impacted by ecological processes at the landscape scale.”

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Taxonomists Describe The Top 10 Most Surprising Species Discovered In 2007

June 3, 2008

Each year the scientific community identifies around 17,000 new animals and plants. To attract people’s attention on the discovery of species, a key for their evolution, survival and conservation, an international committee of experts has just published a list of the 10 most curious and surprising species described in 2007.

Of all living or extinct animal and plant species, discovered on the Earth in 2007, only ten have been selected for a Top 10 presented on the 23 May on the occasion of the anniversary of the birth of Carlos Linneo, initiator of the species classification and naming system. 2008 also marks the 250th anniversary of the start of animal identification.

In the list prepared each year by the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) at the University of Arizona (USA), in first place is an electric ray, Electrolux addisoni, whose name reflects the “vigorous action of hoovering as a method of feeding”, according to experts. Discovered on the east coast of South Africa, this peculiar ray “could compete with the well-known function of the hoover for hoovering, in its case, the ocean floor”.

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EPA aims to keep rat poison from children, animals

May 30, 2008

Ecological and conservation groups are praising a move by the Environmental Protection Agency to impose new restrictions on rat poisons to help reduce the threat of accidental exposure to children and wildlife.

“We are very happy that the EPA has done all it can to get these products off of the consumer market,” said Michael Fry, director of conservation advocacy for the American Bird Conservancy. “By putting these restrictions in place, they are allowing a compromise to be made between themselves and organizations who have been working on this problem for a long time.”

The EPA’s new measures, which were handed down Thursday, require that rat poisons be kept in bait stations above ground and in containers that meet agency standards.

Loose bait, such as pellets, and the four most hazardous types of pesticides, known as “second-generation anticoagulants,” will no longer be sold for personal use.

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Protecting Polar Bears Must Include Mitigating Global Warming, Group Argues

May 23, 2008

Following a three-year legal battle to protect the polar bear from extinction due to global warming, three environmental groups won protection for the species with the announcement today that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is listing the polar bear as a federally “threatened” species.

The decision was issued in response to a 2005 scientific petition from the Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and was required by a court order in a lawsuit brought by the groups to end the administration’s delay in issuing a final Endangered Species Act listing decision.

While the polar bear listing is one of the administration’s clearest acknowledgments to date of the urgent threat posed by global warming, the administration is simultaneously attempting to reduce the protections the bear will receive under the Act. It claims in the listing decision that federal agencies need not consider the impact of global warming pollution on the polar bear; it has also proposed a separate regulation reducing the protections the polar bear would otherwise receive.

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Alaska Will Sue to Block U.S. Listing of Polar Bears as ‘Threatened’

May 23, 2008

The state of Alaska will sue to challenge the recent listing of polar bears as a threatened species, Gov. Sarah Palin announced Wednesday.

She and other Alaska elected officials fear a listing will cripple oil and gas development in prime polar bear habitat off the state’s northern and northwestern coasts.

Palin argued that there is not enough evidence to support a listing. Polar bears are well-managed and their population has dramatically increased over 30 years as a result of conservation, she said.

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Coral Sea species facing extinction: WWF

May 21, 2008

The Coral Sea must be declared a protected zone to save sharks and some other marine species from rapid extinction, says the conservation group WWF.

The organisation says two separate reports show many Coral Sea marine species are isolated and vulnerable to overfishing.

It is home to populations of whitetip and grey reef sharks, nautilus, maori wrasse and other fish species, which WWF says have been decimated in similar habitats around the world.

“For this reason alone, we are renewing our calls to the federal government to declare the entire Coral Sea a marine protected area,” WWF spokeswoman Gilly Llewellyn said.

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With animals living longer and advances in medicine, Fresno zoo handles special needs

May 21, 2008

It’s survival of the less-than-fittest at Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

Sheep and goats are on Celebrex. One sea lion is blind and another is half-paralyzed. A hedgehog-like critter is so old it must eat mushy food.

At nearly 20, “it’s like a 170-year-old person,” said zoo veterinarian Lewis Wright.

Advances in medicine mean animals are living longer in Fresno – and in zoos nationwide – even if they have maladies that could make them dinner in the wild.

“It’s a relatively new phenomenon, where zoos have gotten so good at what they do that we are surpassing median life expectancy,” said Andy Snider, the zoo’s director of animal care and conservation.

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Dying Bats In The Northeast U.S. Remain A Mystery

May 13, 2008

Investigations continue into the cause of a mysterious illness that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of bats since March 2008. At more than 25 caves and mines in the northeastern U.S., bats exhibiting a condition now referred to as “white-nosed syndrome” have been dying.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently issued a Wildlife Health Bulletin, advising wildlife and conservation officials throughout the U.S. to be on the lookout for the condition known as “white-nose syndrome” and to report suspected cases of the disease.

USGS wildlife disease specialist Dr. Kimberli Miller advises that “anyone finding sick or dead bats should avoid handling them and should contact their state wildlife conservation agency or the nearest U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service field office to report their observation.”

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Priority Regions For Threatened Frog And Toad Conservation In Latin America

May 12, 2008

Nearly 35% of all amphibians are now threatened of extinction raising them to the position of the most endangered group of animals in the world. Decline of amphibian populations and species is ongoing due to habitat loss, fungal disease, climate shift and agrochemical contaminants. These impacts are even worse to frogs that reproduce in water bodies such as streams and ponds.

Despite of that, no study ever proposed key broad-scale regions for conserving these species till now. Rafael D. Loyola and his colleagues propose now a priority set of areas for the conservation of frogs and toads in Latin America. The study, published in this week’s PLoS ONE, is unprecedented in terms of not only the proposition of key-conservation areas, but also because it shows that the inclusion of species biological traits, such as reproductive modes, affects the performance of area-prioritization analyses.

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“Virtual Nature” Raises Concerns For Conservation

May 8, 2008

Biologists have found that in addition to promoting an unhealthy lifestyle, the rising use of video games correlates with a reduction in outdoor nature experiences, and experiencing only “virtual nature” has negative implications for conservation efforts.

Intrepid nature photographers now use high-definition photography to bring unparalleled images of wildlife and a “you-are-there” experience approaching virtual reality to the viewer. It can be at once informative, thrilling and terrifying — and all from the comfort of your easy-chair or sofa.

While such video gives the public a view of nature never before seen, two biologists warn this technological wonder represents a proverbial double-edge sword.

“Virtual nature, defined as nature experienced vicariously through electronic means, has potential benefits particularly for children dependent on adults for access to many natural areas … yet virtual nature appears to directly compete with time previously allocated to more beneficial, direct contact with the outdoors,” write biologists Oliver Pergams and Patricia Zaradic in the Spring 2007 issue of the Journal of Developmental Processes.

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In accordance with the data presented in this article, I, Kitty Mowmow, am hereby advising you to supplement your Kitty Mowmow’s Animal Expo viewing time (oooooh, look at all the pretty animal pictures and nifty articles!) with genuine contact with nature and non-human members of the animal kingdom.

So go for a walk, play in the mud, climb a tree, sit in a field, and pat a cow on the head.  And after you’re breathless with the thrill of a tactile experience with nature, you can thank me for my magnanimous suggestion. ;D

-Kitty Mowmow

Bison Can Thrive Again, Study Says

May 5, 2008

Bison can repopulate large areas from Alaska to Mexico over the next 100 years provided a series of conservation and restoration measures are taken, according to continental assessment of this iconic species by the Wildlife Conservation Society and other groups.

The assessment was authored by a diverse group of conservationists, scientists, ranchers, and Native Americans/First Nations peoples, and appears in the April issue of the journal Conservation Biology.

The authors say that ecological restoration of bison, a keystone species in American natural history, could occur where conservationists and others see potential for large, unfettered landscapes over the next century. The general sites identified in the paper range from grasslands and prairies in the southwestern U.S., to Arctic lowland taiga in Alaska where the sub-species wood bison could once again roam. Large swaths of mountain forests and grasslands are identified as prime locations across Canada and the U.S., while parts of the desert in Mexico could also again support herds that once lived there.

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Species loss ‘bad for our health’

April 27, 2008

A new generation of medical treatments could be lost forever unless the current rate of biodiversity loss is reversed, conservationists have warned.

They say species are being lost before researchers have had the chance to examine and understand their potential health benefits.

The findings appear in Sustaining Life, a book involving more than 100 experts.

It is being published ahead of a global summit in May that will look at ways to stem biodiversity loss by 2010.

“While extinction is alarming in its own right, the book demonstrates that many species can help human lives,” said co-author Jeffrey McNeely, chief scientist at IUCN (formerly known as the World Conservation Union).

“If we needed more justification for action to conserve species, it offers dozens of dramatic examples of both why and how citizens can act in ways that will conserve, rather than destroy, the species that enrich our lives.”

Click here for the full article.

Many Captive Tigers Are Of Purebred Ancestry; Finding Raises Their Conservation Value

April 22, 2008

Tigers held in captivity around the world–including those in zoos, circuses, and private homes–may hold considerable conservation value for the rapidly dwindling wild populations around the world, according to a new report published online on April 17th in Current Biology. Using a new method for assessing the genetic ancestry of tigers, researchers discovered that many apparently “generic” tigers actually represent purebred subspecies and harbor genomic diversity no longer found in nature.

” Assessment of ‘verified subspecies ancestry’ (VSA) offers a powerful tool that, if applied to tigers of uncertain background, may considerably increase the number of purebred tigers suitable for conservation management,” said Shu-Jin Luo, of the National Cancer Institute, Frederick. “This approach would be of particular importance to tiger subspecies that have suffered severe population decline in the wild and/or lack of efficient captive breeding.”

For instance, he said, the Indochinese tiger has been classified as a different subspecies from the Malayan tiger, leaving just 14 recognized Indochinese individuals in captivity. “Thus,” Luo added, “verification of VSA Indochinese tigers, establishment of captive breeding programs, and preservation of remaining Indochinese tiger populations in the wild should be set as one of the top priorities in the global tiger conservation strategy.”

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Bird decline shocks experts

March 7, 2008

Birds that eat flying insects are in a shocking and mysterious decline, says the co-editor of the new Atlas of Breeding Birds in Ontario.

“It is an alarm bell,” Gregor Beck, a wildlife biologist and the book’s co-editor, said this week.

The atlas, created after five years of research and employing 1.2 million individual bird records from Pelee Island to Hudson Bay, found most of the birds that eat flying insects declined 30 to 50 per cent in the last 20 years. The birds include some swallows, the common nighthawk, the whip-poor-will and the chimney swift. The decline was the biggest shock that came from the research, Beck said.

We need to be very concerned, he said.

“It’s really scary because we’re not certain what’s going on or why,” Beck said. “There’s not going to be a simple fix to this one.”

In the Carolinian zone, which stretches from Windsor to Grand Bend and Toronto, scientists found 79 species had increased while 131 species of birds had decreased in the last 20 years.

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For more animal-esque music, news, and issues, tune in to Kitty Mowmow’s Animal Expo online at www.thecapstone.ua.edu, Sunday nights 8-10 central.

Preserving the pronghorn corridor

February 7, 2008

Federal land managers last week signed a pledge supporting efforts to protect the “path of the pronghorn” from Sublette County to Jackson Hole, one of the longest mammal migration corridors in North America…

…The pledge could have implications for Jackson Hole’s pronghorn, according to conservationists who expressed their approval. Further, Bridger-Teton National Forest Supervisor Kniffy Hamilton is considering an amendment to the Forest Plan that would protect her forest’s portion of the migration corridor.

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Conservation grazing: It’s a maaa-rvellous idea!

January 24, 2008

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A rare breed of sheep could be the key to preserving some of Leicestershire’s most treasured countryside.

A group of Leicestershire experts are meeting next month to thrash out a plan which could see flocks of Hebridean sheep being used to turn county scrubland back into rolling green fields and wildflower meadows…

…Hebridean sheep were bred to cope with the barren conditions on the Hebridean Isles and thrive on land not suitable for other breeds.

Their ability to eat coarse grasses and young tree seedlings make them ideal for “conservation grazing” – a system where animals are grazed on land specifically to return it to its former glory.

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Border fence may drive largest American cat to extinction

January 23, 2008

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The Bush Administration’s decision to not prepare a recovery plan for the endangered jaguar in its native habitat in Arizona and New Mexico may spell the end for the big cat in the United States, says an environmental group.

The Center for Biological Diversity says the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision seeks to circumvent the Endangered Species Act from plans to build thousands of miles of wall on the U.S.-Mexico border without environmental review.

“The wall will short-circuit current efforts by jaguars to recolonize the United States,” said the group in a statement. The jaguar once ranged from Monterey Bay, California, to the Appalachian Mountains, and currently occurs in southern Arizona and New Mexico where it is listed as an endangered species.

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Conservation Congress: Should we hunt wolves?

January 15, 2008

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Wisconsin’s Conservation Congress plans to ask sportsmen this spring whether they want to hunt timber wolves, a year after the federal government removed the animals from the endangered species list.

The question isn’t binding on the state Department of Natural Resources or the Legislature, but it illustrates what some say is growing frustration with wolves in northern Wisconsin as their numbers rise.

Ron Waller, an Eagle River grouse hunter, said wolves are all over his part of the state. One of his hunts was ruined last fall when he and his dog, Zeke, came face-to-face with a wolf and had to hightail it back to the car, he said.

“If they don’t do something appropriate soon, it’s going to migrate to the three ‘S’ method – shoot, shovel and shut up,” Waller said. “People are just going to start taking things in their own hands.”

But others say the state’s current management methods are working.

“You send people out there hunting wolves, it’s going to screw everything up. It’s just not a good idea,” said Jim Olson of Eau Claire, who represents the Wisconsin Sierra Club chapter on a group of wolf stakeholders that works with the DNR.

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