May 28

Arkive’s Week in Review — Wildlife News

ICYMI: Arkive has compiled some of the biggest and most interesting headlines from this week.

Article originally published on Friday, May 22, 2015

Octopus has the ability to see with its skin


Common octopus

In a recent study, researchers found that octopus skin contains the same light-sensitive proteins found in eyes. The skin responds to light independently of the central nervous system, and detects changes or increases in light brightness.

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Article originally published on Saturday, May 23, 2015

Rescue workers try to save oil-soaked pelicans


Brown pelican on water

Rescuers have been able to rescue eight brown pelicans, but an intensive clean-up process awaits them. Pelicans must acclimate to their new surroundings for 48 hours and are afterwards extensively cleaned. They are then taken care of for two weeks after which they can return to the wild.

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Article originally published on Sunday, May 24, 2015

Synthetic horns may offer hope to endangered rhinos


Black rhinoceros

Currently, three of the five rhino species are critically endangered primarily due to poaching for their horns. A California biotech start-up, however has posed an unorthodox solution; creating synthetic rhino horns to offer consumers an ethical alternative. Conservationists are skeptical that synthetic horns will reduce demand for the real thing.

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Article originally published on Monday, May 25, 2015

Endangered saiga antelope mysteriously dying in vast numbers in Kazakhstan


Male saiga antelope

Around one-third of the saiga antelope population in Kazakhstan has mysteriously died. Their agriculture ministry hypothesizes that a pasteurellosis epidemic might be the culprit. As of yet the cause has not been officially determined.

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Article originally published on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Mozambique loses almost 10,000 elephants in just five years


African elephant family

In 2010, Mozambique was home to approximately 20,000 elephants, but today it houses only 10,300. Almost all of the poaching occurred in the remote northern region of the country. Celso Correia, Mozambique’s new Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development, has stated that tackling poaching is a top priority of the government.

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Article originally published on Wednesday, May 27, 2015

World’s rarest porpoise is dying to feed a black market in fish bladders


Vaquita calf at the surface

In a recent report, Greenpeace officials noted that vaquitas are being caught and drowned in illegal gillnets, which are meant to catch totoabas, another endangered species. The vaquita population was 200 in 2012, but now only 97 individuals remain.

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Article originally published on Thursday, May 28, 2015

An erupting volcano threatens one of the world’s rarest animals


Galápagos pink land iguana

Isabela Island, where a volcano is currently erupting, is the sole home of the Galápagos pink land iguana. Park officials are monitoring lava flows, which thus far have not affected the 200 iguanas on the island.

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Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA




Jul 26

Male mountain nyalas (Tragelaphus buxtoni)

Species: Mountain nyala (Tragelaphus buxtoni)

Status: Endangered (EN)

Interesting Fact: The male mountain nyala is larger than the female, and has long, spiralling horns, which may grow to 118 centimetres long. As the male matures, the tips of its horns develop an ivory colouration.

More information: The mountain nyala is an elegant and rather attractively marked antelope and is endemic to the highlands of Ethiopia, where it is found to the southeast of the Rift Valley. Most active in the evening and early morning, the mountain nyala browses on bushes, trees and herbs, and will also take grasses, ferns, aquatic plants and lichens. Individuals often shelter in dense cover such as woodland and heather during periods of extreme cold or heat, and the attractive markings may help to conceal individuals from predators by breaking up its outline.

The mountain nyala population has undergone a substantial decline in recent decades, and has decreased from an estimated 7,000 to 8,000 individuals in the 1960s to perhaps fewer than 4,000 today. The range of the mountain nyala has been reduced dramatically, and the remaining populations have become fragmented, which has made them particularly vulnerable to population declines. The main threats to the mountain nyala come from the negative effects of human activities throughout its range, with increasing human and livestock populations putting ever-increasing pressure on this species through illegal hunting, competition with cattle and predation by domestic dogs, as well as habitat clearance for agriculture, grazing, firewood harvesting, and settlement. Despite being fully protected by law, enforcement of legislation is generally absent, and the mountain nyala is only effectively protected within a small area in the north of Bale Mountains National Park. The mountain nyala is a flagship species for conservation in Bale Mountains National Park, but its future survival will depend on increased protection from illegal activities, and action to reduce or manage human utilisation of the park.

See images and videos of the mountain nyala on Arkive.

Find out more about the wildlife of Ethiopia on Arkive.

Read about the Saint Louis Zoo’s project to conserve the mountain nyala.

Ben Hogan, Wildscreen ARKive PIPS Intern

Mar 1
Female addax and young

Addax (Addax nasomaculatus)

Species: Addax (Addax nasomaculatus)

Status: Critically Endangered (CR)

Interesting Fact: An addax is able to obtain all the water it requires from the food it consumes.

The addax is a desert antelope that is well adapted to its harsh habitat. It has splayed hooves that help it to travel more easily across sand. Its short, glossy coat is grey-brown in winter, fading to almost white during the summer, and both sexes possess the distinctive long, twisted horns.

These antelope are mainly active during the night. In the day, they dig ‘beds’ into the sand in shady areas to avoid the heat of the desert sun, which also shelters them from sandstorms. Small nomadic herds of this species spend the majority of their time wandering in search of food. These herds previously contained around 20 individuals, but today they are found in groups of four or less.

Once found across northern Africa, wild addax populations now only exist in a fragment of their former range. This dramatic decrease is mainly attributed to over-hunting, as their meat and leather is prized by local people. Other factors contributing to their decline include desertification, drought and habitat encroachment. It is estimated that fewer than five hundred individuals survive in the wild today, with the bulk of these found between the Termit region in eastern Niger and the Bodélé region in western Chad.

International trade of the addax is prohibited and the Sahara Conservation Fund has developed a regional strategy to protect the remaining wild populations and facilitate the re-colonisation of suitable habitats. A protected population exists in the Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve in Israel that was set up in 1968 to bolster populations of endangered desert species. There are currently around 2,000 individuals in captivity around the world that are being used in reintroduction programmes in Tunisia and Morocco.

Find out more about the addax at the Sahara Conservation Fund and WildAddax.

See images and videos of the addax on ARKive.

Phoebe Shaw Stewart, ARKive Text Author


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