We bring you the latest from around the World in wildlife and conservation news.
Over the last ten years the population of giant pandas have expanded quite significantly with a census in 2015 estimating the total wild population at 1,864 up from a low of 1,200 during the 80’s. The numbers were so positive in fact that the very next year the IUCN Red List downgraded the species threat level from “endangered” to “vulnerable”. However, as a recent piece in National Geographic suggests, this iconic species is far from safe yet.
A rare species of river dolphin that was believed to be solitary and largely silent has been revealed to make hundreds of sounds. The discovery of Araguaian river dolphin sounds raises some interesting questions about the evolution of the way marine mammals communicate. The species is closely related to the Amazon river dolphin.
Recently Nicholas Pilford a conservationist from the San Diego Zoo spotted a black leopard in Kenya’s Laikipia area. There have been several reports of black leopards in Africa but few of the sightings have actually been confirmed. In 2017 there was a global review undertaken of black leopard observations which found that sightings had been reported in South Africa, Kenya, and Ethiopia going back to 1909, however the only sighting that was ever confirmed was in Ethiopia.
Explorers and settlers have been warning for more than a hundred years about the negative impact of hunting lions and other wild animals in Africa. Now the latest research bears out these fears and has revealed the true impact of predation on lions. Lion numbers in the range studied have plunged and it would seem that their genetic fitness has also experienced a decline. The study reveals that lions killed by hunters over a century ago were more genetically diverse than today’s African lions.
A New study of tigers in three Indian tiger reserves has found that they are about 20 per cent more stressed than the 200 Amur tigers roaming the Russian Far East. The team of researchers made up of both Indians and Russians measured the stress levels of the tigers by studying the metabolites present in tiger faeces. The lead researcher says that tigers undergoing prolonged periods of increased stress will see their fitness and immunity affected.
The latest research surrounding environmental stressors caused by human activity and how it is harming coastal green sea turtle populations has been released. It is hoped the research will inform future conservation efforts. The study sought to evaluate the health of turtles, the quality of water and any other factors that may have caused the catastrophic mass death of Australian green turtles. The researchers say they found evidence of heavy metals with cobalt in particular present in sea turtle populations.
The tusk and horn of the elephant and rhino make them iconic and is unfortunately the same reason both species are endangered. Both poachers and hunters look to target the rhino because many people incorrectly believe their horns have healing powers. Elephants are targeted for their ivory which is seen as a status symbol and even a financial investment in Asia. There is a however a question that many people ask, do tusks and horns ever grow back?
Recently a Russian village went on lockdown after being terrorised by roaming polar bears and that may well be just the beginning as Moscow allows greater activity to take place in an Arctic that is growing warmer. It is highly likely that human conflict with polar bears is only going to increase. Earlier in the year 50 polar bears invaded the Russian settlement called Belyushya Guba which is on the Novaya Zemla archipelago in the far North.