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Twenty Percent of All Mammals at Risk of Extinction

August 16, 2011 Comments off

discovery

elephantElephants are among the mammals nearing extinction according to a new report.
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

At least twenty percent of all known mammals are nearing extinction, with large species at greatest risk, according to a recent assessment of the conservation status of 5,487 mammals.

Expanding agriculture and hunting are the primary extinction drivers, according to the findings, published in the latest Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. That means humans causing the most severe mammal extinction period in history.

“The example I often tend to bring up is Tasmanian Devil, familiar to many from the Looney Tunes cartoons, because it’s an example of how a species that is common, or at least not uncommon, can suddenly, through the emergence of a novel threat, be plunged into a steep decline,” lead author Michael Hoffmann told Discovery News, explaining that a relatively Read more…

Anomaly in Magnetosphere may be causing bird and fish die-off

August 8, 2011 Comments off

Loss of top animal predators has massive ecological effects

July 23, 2011 Comments off

terradaily


When sea otters, which feed on sea urchins, were hunted to extinction in some coastal areas of the Pacific Ocean, sea urchins increased in abundance and decimated underwater kelp forests, also affecting other species that inhabit the kelp. Credit: Matt Knoth.

“Trophic Downgrading of Planet Earth,” a review paper that will be published on July 15, 2011, in the journal Science, concludes that the decline of large predators and herbivores in all regions of the world is causing substantial changes to Earth’s terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems.

The paper claims that the loss of apex consumers from ecosystems “may be humankind’s most pervasive influence on nature.” The research was funded primarily by the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science at Stony Brook University with support from The Pew Charitable Trusts.

The paper is co-authored by the Institute’s executive director, Dr. Ellen K. Pikitch, and the lead author is Dr. James A. Estes, professor of ecology and evolution at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

The review, conducted by an international team of 24 scientists, illuminates the Read more…

Dead Penguins Washing Ashore With Disturbing Regularity

June 30, 2011 Comments off

treehugger

penguin dead on beach photo Photo: elisfanclub / cc

Last week, several dozen dead and dying Magellanic penguins were discovered on beaches throughout south Brazil, apparent victims of an oil spill. So far more than 140 penguins have been transfered to animal care facilities to be cleaned and rehabilitated, while an untold number more have already perished from contaminated waters. If this fact alone weren’t cause enough for concern, what’s more troubling is that it’s hardly an isolated incident. For the last ten years, with disturbing regularity, penguins have been washing ashore starving or covered in oil. And while the origins of these annual mass deaths remain officially a mystery — one biologists believes Read more…

A Microscopic Chytrid Fungus Is Causing Massive Declines In Frog Populations Worldwide

June 20, 2011 1 comment

nanopatentsandinnovations

A microscopic chytrid fungus is causing massive declines in frog populations all over the world and even the extinction of certain species. Together with colleagues from Europe and the USA, researchers from the University of Zurich present methods as to how the chytrid fungus can be combated in the journal Frontiers in Zoology: namely with bacteria and fungicides. However, the possibility of vaccinating the frogs is also being considered.

The midwife toad: a species that is particularly sensitive to the chytrid fungus.

Photo: Benedikt Schmidt

New pathogens are not just a growing problem for humans and livestock, but also wild animals. Along with the destruction of their habitats and the overexploitation of their populations, a disease caused by a chytrid fungus called chytridiomycosis is one of the three Read more…

Record wildlife die-offs reported in Northern Rockies

May 9, 2011 Comments off

msnbc

SALMON, Idaho — A record number of big-game animals perished this winter in parts of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming from a harsh season of unusually heavy snows and sustained cold in the Northern Rockies, state wildlife managers say.

“Elk, deer and moose — those animals are having a pretty tough time,” said Wyoming Game and Fish biologist Doug Brimeyer.

Snow and frigid temperatures in pockets of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming arrived earlier and lingered longer than usual, extending the time that wildlife were forced to forage on low reserves for scarce food, leading more of them to starve.

Based on aerial surveys of big-game herds and signals from radio-collared animals, experts are documenting high mortality among offspring of mule deer, white-tailed deer and pronghorn antelope.

This comes as big-game animals enter the last stretch of a period from mid-March through early May that is considered critical for survival.

Wildlife managers estimate die-offs in the tens of thousands across thousands of square miles that span prairie in northeastern Read more…

Millions of dead anchovies float to surface in Redondo Beach

March 8, 2011 Comments off

cnn

Enough anchovies to top much of the world’s pizza and Caesar salads have floated lifelessly to the surface in Redondo Beach, California’s King Harbor, according to a local newspaper.

Officials say millions of the pungent, oily fish are covering the sea bottom in the harbor. They began rising to the surface Tuesday morning, the Daily Breeze in Torrance, outside Los Angeles, reported.

“We need to get Read more…

Dolphin deaths in Alabama, Mississippi may be caused by measles-related illness

March 2, 2011 Comments off

http://blog.al.com/live/2011/03/dead_dolphins_measles_related.html

dead-dolphin-map.jpg

MOBILE, Ala. — With six new dolphin carcasses discovered in Mississippi and Alabama since Saturday, a review of the scientific literature associated with similar mass die-offs of marine mammals around the world suggests a common culprit: a morbillivirus.

In the same family as the viruses that cause measles in humans and canine distemper in dogs, there are well-documented outbreaks of fatal morbillivirus infections in dolphins, whales and seals around the world since the 1980s.

Jerry Saliki, a University of Georgia researcher and veterinarian who has published a number of scientific papers on morbillivirus infections in dolphins, said the virus could be responsible for the current mass die off.

“It is certainly possible. In the past, there have been significant die offs in the Gulf with dolphins that were attributed to morbillivirus,” Saliki said Monday. “But, there are Read more…

EXPERTS have no answers on what has caused the Death of Thousands of Squid in the River Derwent this week.

February 26, 2011 Comments off

Spate of Derwent fish deaths

MERYL NAIDOO | February 25, 2011

Dead and dying arrowhead squid have been washed ashore or spotted floating on the water at Austins Ferry and Berriedale since Tuesday.

Locals say they have never seen so many dead fish.

Tim Strange, of Claremont, with some of the dead squid that have washed up in the area. Picture: NIKKI DAVIS-JONES

The Environment Protection Authority yesterday confirmed reports of more dead squid further down the river.

It is the third case of mass fish deaths in the Derwent in the space of two weeks.

Early this week a large mass of dead juvenile barracouta was found in Windermere Bay near Claremont Primary School.

This followed a similar number of juvenile barracouta being found dead just south of the Norske Skog paper mill at Boyer the week before.

EPA director Alex Schaap said it was unlikely that the deaths of the squid and barracouta were related.

Mr Schaap said young barracouta were particularly intolerant of low salinity, which was thought to have caused the mass deaths.

But water tests have left the barracouta deaths a mystery.

“We haven’t found evidence of anything untoward,” Mr Schaap said.

Water testing is now being done to cast light on the squid deaths.

“When we have an event which involves a single species we tend to suspect there is some behavioural factor involved, a natural phenomenon,” Mr Schaap said.

Categories: Animal deaths Tags: ,

BABY DOLPHINS ARE WASHING UP DEAD ALONG THE GULF

February 23, 2011 Comments off

www.sunherald.com

By KAREN NELSON – klnelson@sunherald.com

        HORN ISLAND — The Institute for Marine Mammal Studies has confirmed that a fourth baby dolphin has washed ashore on Horn Island,

The island, one of the longest in the chain that comprises the Gulf Islands National Seashore Park, is about 12 miles south of Ocean Springs.

Three baby dolphins were pinpointed Monday and a fourth was reported today by National Resource Advisory employees who are working with BP cleanup crews on the island.