Jan 27

#LoveSpecies nominee: sperm whale

Nominated by: Ocean Alliance

Why do you love it?

Sperm whales might not be as beautiful as some of their cousins, but they are enormously charismatic animals of immense power and grace, grafted into our legends and folklore through stories such as Moby Dick. When a sperm whales dives, it is descending to the deep, dark depths of our oceans: an alien world at the boundaries of human understanding. They are true Olympians of the natural world: the largest toothed predator to have ever existed on our planet, the largest brain of any animal ever and currently the loudest animal alive. We know of only one species which can dive as deep, for as long a period of time. Through their role in ocean food webs, we also know that sperm whales actually slow climate change!

What are the threats to sperm whales?

Whales in our oceans today face more threats than ever before. One of the biggest problems with studying sperm whales is that they live far out in the open ocean, far from land, and so it is almost impossible to tell exactly how their population is faring. Sperm whales face a particular risk from chemical pollution owing to the dual effects of bio-accumulation and bio-magnification. Most mammals, including humans and sperm whales, find it difficult to get rid of toxicants which enter their bodies, and over time these toxicants accumulate, a process known as bio-accumulation. Bio-magnification is a term which describes how doses of toxicants increase significantly each step up a food chain. As long-lived apex predators, sperm whales thus face a particular risk from these two processes.

As animals reliant on sound for finding food and communicating with other sperm whales, the impacts of an increasingly noisy ocean (owing to increases in human-caused sounds such as shipping, military sonar and seismic exploration) are to likely cause significant stress for sperm whales. Other threats include climate change, bycatch in fishing lines/nets and ship strikes.

What are you doing to save it?

Ocean Alliance has been working to protect whales and their ocean environment since 1971. After commercial whaling ended, our founder and president, Dr. Roger Payne, predicted that chemical pollution would replace the whalers harpoon as the greatest threat to whales. In response to this, from 2000-2005 Ocean Alliance carried out the Voyage of the Odyssey, a 5 ½ year research expedition which collected the first ever baseline data on pollution in our oceans from every major ocean basin using a single indicator species: sperm whales.

More recently, our efforts have switched to using drones to study whales. We believe that rapid recent advances in drone technology will create a new generation of powerful, cost-effective, non-invasive tools that will allow us to increase our understanding of whales, and how we might protect them, at a time when they need this desperately.

VOTE NOW!

Link to sperm whale species profile

May 22

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 15, 2015

The war on India’s tiger preserves

Bengal-tiger-portrait

Bengal tiger

The government of India provides funds to help willing residents move out of protected tiger habitat and onto nearby farmland.  At times, however, factors working against tigers include luxury resort chains that want to build “ecotourism” lodges that do not allow tigers to live nearby. Other times, it is mining companies that wish to move deeper into protected areas.

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Article originally published on Saturday, May 16, 2015

Controversial bear hunt awaits final approval from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

American-black-bear-scratching-head

American black bear scratching head

Florida is awaiting approval to host its first bear hunt in 20 years. The hunt is considered a method of controlling the bear population, since Florida has seen an increase in human-bear conflicts. Opponents of the bear hunt note that improperly secured food/trash attracts bears and that people should focus on trash management and not on hunts.

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Article originally published on Sunday, May 17, 2015

Wildlife experts counteract fallacies about coyotes

Adult-coyote

Adult coyote

Two recent coyote attacks in Bergen county, New Jersey have brought this canid to the forefront of the conversation about wildlife. Wildlife experts stress that while coyotes are predators, they very rarely attack humans. They also informed the public that coyotes are not the top carriers of rabies in the area. Most importantly, coyotes play a vital role in the ecosystem by controlling rodent populations.

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Article originally published on Monday, May 18, 2015

Fuzzy ducklings are the future of this Hawaiian species

Male-Laysan-duck

Male Laysan duck

The Laysan duck is a critically endangered bird endemic to Hawaii that in 1911 had fewer than 20 birds due to invasive rats. Conservation efforts brought the population back to almost 1,000 birds, but 40 percent of them were lost in 2011 due to the Japan Tsunami. In 2014, however 28 young Laysan ducks were moved to Kure Atoll State Wildlife Sanctuary in an effort to establish a population on Kure.

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Article originally published on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Giant panda gut bacteria can’t efficiently digest bamboo

Giant-panda-eating-bamboo

Giant panda eating bamboo

The giant panda is known for primarily eating bamboo, but the microbiota it harbors in its stomach actually resembles that which is found in carnivores, a recent study found. It poses a conundrum since pandas spend up to 14 hours a day consuming up to 12.5 kg of bamboo leaves and stems, yet can only digest 17 percent of it.

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Article originally published on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

EU concerned about farming impact on its wildlife

Skylark-portrait

Skylark

In the EU major threats to grasslands, wetlands, and dune habitats were overgrazing, fertilization and pesticides. Fifteen percent of birds in the EU are near threatened or in decline including once common birds such as the skylark.

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Article originally published on Thursday, May 21, 2015

Photos from the front: the California oil spill in pictures

Adult-gray-whale-breaching

Adult gray whale breaching

On Tuesday, an underground oil pipeline burst near Goleta, California spilling crude oil into the Pacific. Whales and sea lions were spotted in the area where the spill occurred.  It is estimated that 21,000 gallons of crude oil entered the ocean.

View original article

Young-California-sea-lion

Young California sea lion

Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA

 

May 8

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 1, 2015

Bat wings use sensory cells to change shape mid-flight

Bechsteins-bat

Bechstein’s bat

The hair on a bat’s wings has receptors that fire messages to the brain, which allow them to slow down quickly and make tight turns. In most mammals, pathway messages from the forelimbs travel to the neck, in bats however, messages travel to both the neck and the trunk.

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Article originally published on Saturday, May 2, 2015

Malnourished sea lion found hidden under car in San Francisco

Young-California-sea-lion

Young California sea lion

A sea lion pup was coaxed from its hiding spot through the efforts of police and animal rescue crews. Apparently this is the second time that this particular pup has been found wandering the streets. Diminishing food sources, appear to be one of the reasons that several pups have been found malnourished and sick.

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Article originally published on Sunday, May 3, 2015

Starfish suffer mysterious and gruesome demise along west coast

Crown-of-thorns-starfish-

Crown of thorns starfish

From southern Alaska down to Baja California, sea stars have been dying in droves. The cause seems to be a poorly understood wasting disease known as sea star associated densovirus.  Encouraging though, is the news that baby sea stars have been found along the coast in some of the affected areas.

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Article originally published on Monday, May 4, 2015

Wolves and coyotes feel sadness and grieve like humans

Eurasian-wolf-side-view

Eurasian wolf

Author Marc Bekhoff describes how a pack of wolves lost their spirit and playfulness after the loss of one of their female members. He also hypothesizes that similar to dogs, wolves and coyotes can experience physiological disorders.

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Adult-coyote

Adult coyote

Article originally published on Tuesday, May 5, 2015

30 illegal orangutan pets seized in West Kalimantan

juvenile-southern-bornean-orangutan-p-p-wurmbii-

Juvenile southern Bornean orangutan

Thirty orangutans being kept as pets have been seized and placed in a rehabilitation center. Orangutans usually live with their mother until the age of seven or eight. The orangutans are learning to fend for themselves so they can be released into the wild.

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 Article originally published on Wednesday, May 6, 2015

New species of diving beetle found living in isolation in Africa

Great-diving-beetle-portrait

Great diving beetle

A scientist has discovered a new species of diving beetle on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa. It has no direct relatives and has been placed in its own genus with its scientific name being Capelatus prykei. Its closest relatives are diving beetles found in the Mediterranean and New Guinea.

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Article originally published on Thursday, May 7, 2015

New species of marine worm discovered on the Antarctic Deception Island

Peacock-worm

Peacock worm

The new species (Parougia diapason) belongs to a group of marine worms that commonly occur in marine seabeds rich in organic matter. The species was found in the bones of a common minke whale.

View original article

Dwarf-minke-whale-head-detail

Common minke whale

Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA 

May 1

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, Apr 24, 2015

Fracas over Costa Rican shark-fin exports leads American Airlines to stop shipping fins

Smooth-hammerhead-swimming

Smooth hammerhead photo

An American Airlines plane traveling from Costa Rica to Hong Kong was carrying 904 lbs. of dried hammerhead shark fins when it touched down in Miami. The ensuing outcry caused by the incident led to American Airlines announcing that it has ceased to ship shark fins. The species’ fins found on the plane were from the vulnerable smooth hammerheads and the endangered scalloped hammerheads.

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Scalloped-hammerheads-swimming-with-shoal-of-fish

Scalloped hammerheads swimming with fish

Article originally published on Saturday, Apr 25, 2015

Wildlife officials move forward to lift wolf protections

Mackenzie-Valley-wolf-in-winter-side-view

Mackenzie Valley wolf

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission decided to move forward with the process of delisting the grey wolf from their endangered species list. The two options they are considering are: delisting the wolves statewide or partially, in eastern Oregon only.

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Article originally published on Sunday, Apr 26, 2015

New England amphibian migration endangered by late spring

wood-frog-on-mossy-log

Wood frog on mossy log

Every spring salamanders and frogs use vernal pools to mate and lay eggs. With the delayed spring, the time available for offspring to grow is reduced, which could affect their development. Among the affected species is the wood frog.

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Article originally published on Monday, Apr 27, 2015

Bumblebees use nicotine to fight off parasites

Vestal-cuckoo-bee-on-flower

Vestal cuckoo bee on flower

Parasite-infected bumblebees that consume nicotine-laced nectar delay the progress of the infection. However, the life expectancy of these bumblebees is not increased. On the other hand, healthy bees that consume nicotine appear to shorten their lifespans.

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Article originally published on Tuesday, Apr 28, 2015

Five tons of frozen pangolin: Indonesian authorities make massive bust

Sunda-pangolin-side-view

Sunda pangolin

Officials in Medan, Sumatra confiscated 169 lbs. of pangolin scales and 96 live Sunda pangolins from a smuggler. The pangolins were destined for China, where their scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

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Article originally published on Wednesday, Apr 29, 2015

Jane Goodall wants SeaWorld shut down

Orca-pair-underwater

Orca pair underwater

Jane Goodall believes the marine park giant should be shut down because the tanks for dolphins and whales create an “acoustical hell”. Goodall also noted that she hoped the awareness generated by documentaries like “Blackfish” led to greater understanding of how amazing these animals are.

View original article

Beluga-whale-swimming-underwater

Beluga whale swimming

Article originally published on Thursday, Apr 30, 2015

Can assisted reproduction save the cheetah?

juvenile-cheetah-head-portrait

Juvenile cheetah

Today’s cheetah population suffers from low genetic diversity with most living cheetahs being between 5 percent and 10 percent genetically alike. Cheetah experts agree that assisted reproduction is only a stop gap with the real progress involving restoring habitat and preventing their hunting and killing.

 View original article

Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA 

Apr 17

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, Apr 10, 2015

Elephant mother and calf reunite after 3 years apart

Indian-elephant-cow-and-calf

Indian elephant cow and calf

MeBai, a female Asian elephant, was just three years old when she was separated from her mother to enter the tourism industry. Three years later, however, MeBai has been reunited with her mother Mae Yui, with plans to rehabilitate and release them into the wild.

View original article

Article originally published on Saturday, Apr 11, 2015

Cat-eating Nile lizards targeted in Florida

Nile-monitor-head-detail

Nile monitor

Florida state wildlife officials have said that Nile monitors can be dangerous to pets and people. Officials are asking residents to report any sightings. Nile monitors join the Burmese python and lionfish as invasive species residing in Florida.

View original article

burmese-python

Burmese python

Article originally published on Sunday, Apr 12, 2015

The last male northern white rhino must now be kept under armed guard 24/7

Male-northern-white-rhinoceros

Male northern white rhinoceros

Sudan, the last remaining male northern white rhino, is being cared for at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya along with two females. Including two other females in captivity, there now remains only 5 individuals of this white rhinoceros subspecies.

View original article

Article originally published on Monday, Apr 13, 2015

Hope for world’s zaniest fish

Smalltooth-sawfish-in-shallow-water

Smalltooth sawfish in shallow water

Researchers discovered that smalltooth sawfish spend most of their time in a subtropical Florida bay near the coast. The next step involves understanding the behavior the sawfish exhibit in this environment.

View original article

Article originally published on Tuesday, Apr 14, 2015

Rare Omura’s whale washes up in Australia

Fin-whale

Fin whale

This is only the second sighting of an Omura’s whale in Australia, and one of the few sightings globally. There is no population estimate for this species and little is known about its ecology or reproductive biology. This species is often incorrectly identified as a fin whale.

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Article originally published on Wednesday, Apr 15, 2015

Iowa State anthropologist finds female chimps more likely to use tools when hunting

Female-chimpanzee-with-infants

Female chimpanzee with infants

At a research site in Fongoli, Senegal it appears that female chimpanzees are more likely to use tools to hunt, but only at this site. The underlying reason seems to be that dominant males allow females and low-ranking males to keep their prey as opposed to taking it from them as is observed in other sites.

View original article

Article originally published on Thursday, Apr 16, 2015

100 volunteers fail to rescue a beached whale shark after hours of struggling

Whale-shark-filter-feeding-surrounded-by-other-smaller-fish

Whale shark filter feeding

On Monday, a whale shark washed up on a beach in Ecuador. Volunteers attempted to return the whale to the water, but were unsuccessful. Whale sharks are currently listed as vulnerable and are known for being quite docile.

View original article

Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA

 

 

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