We bring you the latest from around the World in wildlife and conservation news.
Up until a short while ago, it was not obvious whether ocean plastic pollution directly contributed towards the early death of turtles. That has all changed and it has now been confirmed that a sea turtle that has consumed just a single piece of plastic has more than a 20 per cent chance of dying according to the latest research from CSIRO and Atmosphere. The researchers analysed almost 1,000 turtles that had washed ashore dead around the beaches of Australian and found that the more plastic a turtle consumes, the greater the probability that the turtle will die as a result of it.
Poachers who hunt elephants in an attempt to take their ivory may have an obstacle they simply cannot overcome in the form of nature’s most powerful force, natural selection. There are at least two African national parks which have suffered greatly from poaching. What is truly fascinating is that in these parks the majority of females are now born without tusks. This is an astonishing development and were the trend to carry into the wider elephant population, it would have dramatic implications on elephant poaching.
A polar bear cub that appears to have been orphaned has been seen near a small town in the Chukotka region of Russia. Conservationists and locals are struggling to feed the polar bear cub because the concern is that the cub should not become attached to humans if it is to remain in the wild. A number of polar bears live near Ryrkaypiy which is a town in the far North of Russia. One of those polar bears is a cub that appears to be a year-old and who it would seem lost its mother to poachers.
Very close to South America’s Southern tip thousands of female Magellanic penguins seems to be vanishing from their nests. This species of penguin is native to the Patagonia region of South America and when not breeding Magellanic penguins migrate North, heading towards Uruguay and Brazil where they hunt for anchovies that live in the waters of that part of the world. Over the last ten years though conservationists have witnessed a disturbing trend, some of the migrating penguins swim far too North, often hundreds of miles away from where they breed and end up getting stuck there.
Conservationists are growing increasingly fearful about the fate of the world’s only known albino orangutan named Alba who was recently released into a protected forest. Alba was discovered a year ago in terrible shape, completely emaciated and bloodied in a remote village in Indonesia. After undergoing rehabilitation, the blue-eyed white-haired orangutan was declared very strong. The Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation (BOSF) found Alba caged, weighing just 8 kilograms in 2017 and nursed her back to health.
Since the beginning of time the people of Ladakh which is a region in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir have co-existed peacefully with nature. In fact, the people who live in this part of the world worship their environment which is unsurprising given their Buddhist heritage places a lot of importance on non-violence making hunting a non-starter for many people who live there. In contrast to the rest of mainland India where encounters between humans and wildlife end up in killing, Ladakh’s residents rarely tolerate this kind of action.
The mountain gorilla has reached a small but important milestone. The iconic species is no longer considered critically endangered and its status has officially been reclassified as endangered. This small step towards recovery is the product of intense conservation efforts. Mountain gorillas are the only species of great ape whose population is growing with all other gorilla populations remaining critically endangered. Eastern gorilla numbers for example have fallen 5 per cent this year.
The Sumatran Rhino is one of the world’s most critically endangered species. There are fewer than 80 wild Sumatran rhinos left. During the 1980’s conservationists devised a plan to save the Sumatran rhino from extinction by establishing a captive breeding program. Unfortunately, the program was a massive failure. Now a new coalition of conservation groups is hoping to learn from previous mistakes and begin fresh with a new initiative to Sumatran rhino.