Mar 6

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 27, 2015

Salish Sea seagull populations halved since 1980s

Glaucous-winged-gull-in-flight-ventral-view

Glaucous winged gull in flight

Researchers believe that the decline in the number of glacous winged gulls reflects changes in the availability of marine food. Considering that gulls are the ultimate diet generalist, their decline suggests some profound changes to local marine ecosystems.

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Article originally published on Saturday, Feb 28, 2015

European beavers pair up for life and never cheat

Juvenile-Eurasian-beaver-feeding

Juvenile Eurasian beaver feeding

Less than 5 percent of animals are believed to pair together for life, yet not without instances of cheating. One of the exceptions appears to be the Eurasian beaver who is completely faithful to its partner for its entire life.  Conversely, the American beaver is known to mate with others besides their partner.

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Young-American-beaver-feeding-on-leaves

Young American beaver feeding on leaves

 Article originally published on Sunday, Mar 1, 2015

Hoary bat may become Hawaii’s state mammal

Hoary-bat-roosting

Hoary bat roosting

A bill has been introduced to designate the endangered hoary bat as the state’s official land mammal. They are solitary creatures that have a wingspan of only 12 inches.

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 Article originally published on Monday, Mar 2, 2015

Incredibly rare bird sighted

Aldabra-rail

Aldabra rail

The critically endangered Zapata rail (Cyanolimnas cerverai) was finally seen for the first time in almost four decades. Fewer than 400 Zapata rails are estimated to exist. They belong to the genus Rallidae which includes the Aldabra rail.

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 Article originally published on Tuesday, Mar 3, 2015

Peacocks’ tails make noises too low for humans to hear

Male-Indian-peafowl-displaying

Male Indian peafowl displaying

Peacocks make ‘infrasound’ noises with their tails that are about as loud as a car going by a few meters away. Researchers hypothesize that in males the sound could be used to attract females or ward away other males.

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 Article originally published on Wednesday, Mar 4, 2015

Last ditch: Mexico finally gets serious about saving the vaquita

Vaquita-calf-at-the-surface

Vaquita calf at the surface

There are reportedly less than 100 vaquita on the planet. The Mexican government announced that it would ban gillnet fishing in the vaquita’s habitat for two years and fisherman would be compensated for their lost income.

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Article originally published on Thursday, Mar 5, 2015

WCS re-discovers ‘extinct’ bird in Myanmar

Dorsal-view-of-Jerdons-babbler-

Jerdon’s babbler

Jerdon’s babbler had not been seen in Myanmar since July 1941. At the beginning of the 20th century, the species was common in the vast natural grassland that once covered the Ayeyarwady and Sittaung flood plains around Yangon.

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Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA 


Jun 10

The Mexican government has approved an important measure which aims to protect the vaquita, a porpoise species thought to be the world’s rarest and most threatened marine mammal.

Vaquita image

The vaquita is classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List

Critically Endangered

The vaquita is the smallest porpoise species in the world, reaching a maximum length of just 1.5 metres, and is the only cetacean endemic to Mexico, being found only in the upper Gulf of California.

Sadly, it also has the unfortunate distinction of being the most threatened marine mammal. Classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the vaquita is struggling for survival as a result of becoming entangled in gill nets and trawl nets cast by commercial and artisanal fisheries to catch shrimps and fish, including sharks. It is estimated that between 39 and 84 vaquitas drown as bycatch every year, which is a worryingly high number given that, in 2007, only an estimated 150 individuals of this species remained.

Positive action

Fortunately, according to WWF-Mexico, positive action is now being taken to promote sustainable fisheries in the vaquita’s range, in measures which will benefit the species as well as fishermen and their families. A new regulation will establish shrimping standards in Mexico, and will define the types of fishing gear permitted in different zones of the country.

Vaquita image

Drowning in fishing nets is the main threat to the vaquita

An official norm

The new regulation, known as an ‘official norm’, has come into play as a result of a WWF petition to Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto. Signed by an impressive 38,000 people from 127 countries, the petition requested that measures be established to protect the vaquita whilst also ensuring that fishermen can continue to earn a living through sustainable fishing.

With this norm, drift gillnets – one of the nets used in artisanal shrimping operations in which vaquitas die incidentally – will be gradually substituted, during a three year period, for selective fishing gears that do not kill this porpoise, but that allow fishers to keep earning their livelihoods,” said Omar Vidal, WWF-Mexico’s Director General.

The effective application of the norm requires the participation and commitment of local fishermen. The optimal use of the net requires the development of particular skills; therefore, the support of the government and other organizations through training and temporary compensation programs will be essential along the fisher’s learning curve.”

This positive action represents a major opportunity to promote sustainable fisheries in the Gulf of California region, whilst simultaneously protecting an endemic threatened species.

View more photos of the vaquita on ARKive.

To learn more about protecting our marine environment, visit the World Oceans Day page or take part in ARKive’s ocean-themed virtual scavenger hunt.

 

Kathryn Pintus, ARKive Text Author

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