We bring you the latest from around the World in wildlife and conservation news.
Most of Kenya’s leopards are characterised by their iconic light coat and dark spots, however there are a tiny fraction of the population that have a rare genetic mutation known as melanism which makes them appear all black in sunlight. San Diego Zoo Global says leopards with melanism have spots that show up at night under infrared imagery. The black leopard has achieved mythical status with lots of stories in central Kenya’s Laikipia County, the location of the most recent sightings.
New research suggests that in response to growing scarcity of food resources in an increasingly desert landscape, Namibian lions have taken to hunting seals and seabirds. Namibia has a population of desert lions which can only be found within the Skeleton Coast region. Theses are the only known lions that hunt marine life. They have been seen eating fur seals, cormorants and flamingos. Experts say the discovery suggests that the lions have learned that the key to their survival in unforgiving terrain is adaptability of diet.
Currently the only species of tiger that lives in a predominantly snowy habitat is the Amur tiger following the extinction of the Caspian tiger. However, it would now appear that the Indian Subcontinent’s Bengal tiger will likely be next species to embrace snow largely as a result of climate change. The high-altitude areas of Nepal, India and Bhutan with a combined area of 52,671 square kilometres between them could well end up serving as potential habitats for Bengal tigers according to a recent study.
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.