Feb 20

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, Feb 13, 2015

Male black widows smell hungry cannibal females

Black-widow-female-showing-distinctive-red-egg-timer-shaped-markings-on-abdomen

Female black widow

Female black widows only eat courting males about 2% of the time. However, just in case, males can smell how peckish a female is just from the pheromones in her silk.

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  Article originally published on Saturday, Feb 14, 2015

 Wildlife: Southwest wolf populations tops 100 for first time in modern era

Mexican-wolf-portrait

Mexican wolf portrait

The Mexican wolf population in New Mexico and Arizona has grown by 31% to  109 individuals total.

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  Article originally published on Sunday, Feb 15, 2015

 Increasing number of stranded sea lion pups being rescued this year

Female-California-sea-lion-on-rock

Female sea lion

So far 185 sea lion pups have been rescued in 2015 in the San Diego area. Stranded pups are nursed back to health and once healthy released into the wild.

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   Article originally published on Monday, Feb 16, 2015

 Cold-blooded animals grow bigger in the warm on land, but smaller in warm water

Velvet-swimming-crab

Velvet swimming crab

Arthropods like crabs and insects, grow larger on land in warmer climates. Moreover, researchers hypothesize that reduced oxygen availability in water causes aquatic animals to reduce their body size more.

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Golden-ringed-dragonfly

Golden-ringed dragonfly

 Article originally published on Tuesday, Feb 17, 2015

 42 pangolins rescued…then sold to restaurant

Sunda-pangolin-side-view

Sunda pangolin

On Feb. 1, local Vietnamese police seized 42 live Sunda pangolins from poachers. Police handed them over to forest rangers who in turn ended up selling them to restaurants for a reported $56 a kilo.

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  Article originally published on Wednesday, Feb 18, 2015

Grizzly bears are waking up too early

Brown-bear-walking-Alaskan-population

Brown bear walking

Grizzly bears are emerging from their dens a month early according to Yellowstone Park officials. The warmer weather appears to be the reason for the grizzlies’ altered schedule.

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  Article originally published on Thursday, Feb 19, 2015

Great white sharks are late bloomers

Great-white-shark-swimming-anterior-view

Great white shark swimming

Male great white sharks take 26 years to reach sexual maturity. This differs significantly from the previous estimate that suggested that males reached maturity between 4 and 10 years of age.

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 Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA 

Sep 26

Populations of some of Europe’s key animals have increased over the past 50 years, according to recent research.

European bison image

The European bison is one of several species which have increased by more than 3,000% in the last 50 years

Species recovery

Through studying a total of 18 mammal and 19 bird species found across Europe, researchers found that key species, including grey wolves, brown bears and eagles, have increased in number in recent decades. This is welcome news for conservationists, as European animals have not always fared so well over the course of the last few centuries, with habitat loss, pollution and hunting all contributing to the decline of some of the continent’s most charismatic species.

The report, commissioned by conservation group Rewilding Europe, found that all species studied, with the exception of the Iberian lynx, have increased in number since the 1960s. The European bison, Eurasian beaver and white-headed duck were among some of the species whose populations had increased by more than 3,000% in the last 50 years, while several top predators such as the brown bear have doubled in number. The iconic grey wolf has seen serious losses in the past, but this latest research has shown positive progress in its conservation, with numbers climbing by a promising 30%.

Iberian lynx image

The Iberian lynx was the only animal in the study which was found not to have increased in number

Conservation works

People have this general picture of Europe that we’ve lost all our nature and our wildlife,” said Frans Schepers, Director of Rewilding Europe. “I think what the rest of the world can learn from this is that conservation actually works. If we have the resources, a proper strategy, if we use our efforts, it actually works.”

The comeback of European wildlife began in the 1950s and 1960s, and although numbers aren’t anywhere near those present in the 1600s and 1700s, conservationists are encouraged by the increasing populations. It is thought that various factors have contributed to the boost in animal numbers, including better legal protection and hunting limits. In addition, more and more people are moving away from the countryside in favour of cities, leaving more space for wildlife.

Successful areas

Analysis of the research, carried out by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), BirdLife and the European Bird Census Council, found that the south and west of Europe showed the largest comeback for mammals, with the ranges of these species increasing by an average of about 30%. For bird species, average ranges remained stable.

Grey wolf image

The grey wolf, once highly persecuted, has increased by a promising 30%

Concern among farmers

While it is great news for conservationists and for the future of European ecosystems, the recovery of some species, particularly large predators, has raised some issues. With the return of the grey wolf, many farmers, for instance, are concerned for the safety of their livestock.

The report acknowledges the challenges faced by farmers as a result of wildlife increases, and suggests that compensation schemes should be put in place by governments to offset any livestock losses. However, the report also highlights the benefits that rural communities may gain from thriving wildlife, including a boost to local economies as a result of ecotourism.

White-tailed eagle image

The white-tailed eagle was one of the 19 bird species studied

Focussed conservation

The results of this latest research are both encouraging and surprising, as biodiversity on a global scale continues to decline. However, scientists are keen to ensure that conservation efforts continue to build upon the success in Europe, by focussing on positive action and scaling up the conservation movement globally.

There are massive challenges out there globally,” said Professor Jonathan Baillie, Director of Conservation at the Zoological Society of London, “And we have to realise that the threats that Europe creates are not just within our borders, it’s internationally, and that we are having an impact on the 60% decline we’re seeing in low income countries around the world.”

Professor Baillie also highlighted the need to carry on moving forward with European species conservation, saying, “We just have to be aware that into the future there will be increasing pressure for food production and so on within Europe, and for a lot of these species, where we have seen the gains, we might lose them again if we are not careful. So it’s our job to keep our eye on the ball.”

Read more on this story at BBC News – Europe’s key animals ‘making a comeback’.

View photos and videos of European species on ARKive.

 

Kathryn Pintus, ARKive Text Author

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