Tag Archives: wildlife

Rowley Shoals: Australia’s thriving coral reefs show what might happen if ecosystems are left untouched by humans | Environment | Instant News

What would a tropical reef look like if it escaped the dangers of global warming and overfishing?

A new study suggests that it will look like Rowley Shoals, an isolated coral reef archipelago 260 km off the northwest coast of Australia.

“Once you dive in, you realize that there is something special,” says fish biologist Matthew Birt. “Incredible coral cover.”

Birt recently led research on the three coral reefs that make up the uninhabited Rowley Shoals, using a bait camera that allowed Birt and his colleagues to analyze marine life over 14 years.

The study found the relative isolation of Rowley Shoals, protection from commercial fishing, and their shape and location have sustained threatened species and rich biodiversity during a time of “unprecedented coral reef degradation” elsewhere around the world.

Giant fish like humphead Maori wrasse and humphead parrot fish – both growing to over 1.5m – are seen regularly in Rowley Shoals, despite their globally threatened status.

“What’s amazing is that there is no real change in abundance [of fish] passing time. We don’t see any evidence of decline, ”said Birt, of the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences (Aims).

Humphead wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus) in the Rowley Shoals Islands off Western Australia. Photo: Nick Thake

The three Rowley Shoals atolls – Imperieuse, Clerke and Mermaid – are about 30 km away. Mermaid Reef is a marine park managed by the Australian government where fishing is not allowed.

The Imperieuse and Clerke reefs are managed by the state government of Western Australia which also imposes a fishing ban on all reef areas.

Reef at Rowley Shoals

Cameras installed in Rowley Shoals capture changes to coral reefs over time. Photo: Matt Birt BRUV

Across the three atolls, some 752 sq km are classified as “no-take” where fishing is not allowed. Its location – further off the coast of Australia and even further from Indonesia – also provides regional protection.

Birt and colleagues mounted camera sets 88 times on three atolls and compared their results with previous observations on atolls in 2004.

The researchers also compared fish species and numbers with other locations in the same area but further north – Scott Reef, Browse Island, Ashmore Reef, Cocos Islands and Christmas Island – where protection from fishing has not been that strong.

The diversity of fish in the Rowley Shoals stands out, making it one of the last coral reef systems in the Indian Ocean free from human disturbance, studies in the journal. Ecology and Evolution the word.

“Under the right conditions, this is what coral reefs look like,” said Birt.

Although the Rowley Shoals have been hit by typhoons in the past years, the reef has escaped the devastating bleaching that has hit reefs further north in previous years.

Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier), on the Rowley Shoals Islands off Western Australia.

Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier), on the Rowley Shoals Islands off Western Australia. Photo: Matt Birt BRUV

Coral ecologist Dr James Gilmour said Rowley Shoals are now one of the healthiest reef systems in Australia.

The high number and types of fish make the coral ecosystem more resilient, he said.

Last year, a Global studies find fishing is unsustainable on tropical reefs around the world have led to a drop in shark numbers – a species marine scientists think is essential for healthy ecosystems.


image source

Engineer by profession, animal lover at heart | Instant News


Ahmer Bin Shahid, a software engineer by profession and a resident of the Federal Area B, did not sleep for two days and one night. Three month old Romeo’s worries keep him awake. Romeo had stopped eating and drinking a few days ago and his condition is getting worse with time. When he was brought to the doctor, he was diagnosed with severe dehydration and was immediately given intravenous fluids.

One day passed, then two… Finally, after 12 grueling and worrying days, Romeo started to show signs of recovery, which made Shahid relieved.

“It was as if a child in the house had fallen ill,” recalled Shahid, speaking of a Barbary lion cub who is now six months old.

The child was born in Karachi, on the outskirts of the city where Shahid had bought a farmhouse which he used as a wildlife sanctuary.

Apart from Romeo, Shahid has eight to 10 types of rabbits, 25 to 30 types of rare pigeons, 45 types of chickens, turkeys, peacocks, ostriches, peacocks, including a white peacock, a pair of rheas, llamas, seven types of dogs, a pair of lions, a deer. , parrots and reptiles. He recently sold a pair of white lions and is now looking to add to his sanctuary chimpanzees, the Balck panther and the leopard.

Read: The fear of a violent reaction prevents the zoo from putting the animals to sleep

However, he loved the lion the most.

The beginning of an affair

“My love for lions started at the age of 16 when a friend of my uncle gave me a cheetah cub,” he said. It was 1997, Shahid was only 16 years old and the big cat, which cost Rs200,000 at the time, was raised and raised at his home in Azizabad.

Dogs, including pedigree dogs, follow the cheetah and then no one looks back.

In 2010, he bought a lion cub for the first time for Rs700,000. He named it Simba, but sold it after a year

His love for wildlife led him to launch a business, where he partners with investors to sell and buy animals. Apart from that, he also sells animals to the Karachi Zoo.

Until now, he bought animals every chance he got.

All about big cats

According to Shahid, the trend of raising wildlife is increasingly popular around the world, such as in Karachi.

“There are about 350 privately bred lions in Karachi and 24 to 25 lions owned by residents in Federal Territory B alone,” he estimates.

He explained that keeping big cats, especially lions, is an expensive hobby because lions weighing around 200 kilograms (kg) consume 30 kg of meat every day. He calculated the cost of raising a lion together with two lionesses to be around Rs2 million.

“It’s expensive, but a pair of kids makes about six cubs a year, worth Rs 600,000 each. They can be sold at very high prices, ”said Shahid. “It’s not just a hobby, but it can also be a profitable business.”

But all is not well

However, there is a problem for wildlife farmers in Pakistan.

According to Shahid, only 50 of the city’s 350 lions were brought legally.

“A group jointly issued a permit to import wildlife into the metropolitan city and all the license holders have now died. The license is no longer valid and no new permits have been issued, ”he said, further regretting the indifference of the authorities concerned and the lack of facilities.

Shahid explained, due to difficulties in obtaining import permits and permits, the illegal sale and purchase of animals continues to increase.

Big plans, more obstacles

While Shahid saw potential in running a wildlife captive business in Pakistan, he denounced the lack of facilities and legal barriers.

Also read: SHC summons the director of the Karachi Zoo over the conditions of the animals

Nonetheless, taking advantage of his background in IT, he aims to launch a space for buying and selling animals and providing guidelines for animal care.

“I want to make Pakistan a center for wildlife breeding, starting from Karachi,” he said, adding that he had applied for the establishment of a wildlife breeding, research and quarantine center in the metropolis.

It has been two months and he is still waiting for a response from the relevant authorities.

In fact, his ambition is high.

“This project will play an important role in making Pakistan a prominent region for raising and exporting wild animals,” said Shahid.

In addition, he pointed out the need to raise awareness about animal care, which he wants to build on a separate platform in the future.

This story is part of a weekly series that seeks to unravel the unknown hero of Karachi – hawkers, merchants, doctors, teachers, engineers, lawyers and day-to-day wages. They are the ones who make Karachi the city of light.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 29th, 2021.


image source

Rat plague rampant in eastern Australia – video | Australian News | Instant News

Much of rural eastern Australia is inundated with rats as farmers and rural communities struggle to combat an escalating plague.

Increased pest populations, brought about by the end of the dry season, destroy crops, destroy stored hay and attack silos, warehouses and houses. The outbreak has also had an impact on health, with reports of poisoned rats finding their way into drinking water tanks.


image source

The smell of ‘rotting’ whale carcasses on Australian shores has locals vomiting | Australian News | Instant News

The carcass of a dead whale that washed up on Phillip Island, south of Melbourne, quickly decomposed, leaving locals vomiting from the stench and rotting fat.

Sperm whale, measuring more than 16 meters, washed ashore on the beach of Forrest Caves last Saturday.

Phillip Island resident Mat Bowtell, who founded the charity Free 3D Hands, went with his staff during a Wednesday lunch break to pay tribute to the pope.

The experience reminded her of a scene from Fight Club, she says, when Brad Pitt’s character steals fat from a liposuction clinic.

“They threw fat over the fence, and the bag broke, and the fat ran all over him and he just choked – like that,” Bowtell told Guardian Australia.

“You are walking towards this whale – this beautiful and majestic creature – and suddenly you can feel your legs getting heavier and heavier. And you look down and it’s just the sand that thickens. All this fat and fat has been washed out to sea and brought back to high tide.

“It’s like you’ve dipped your feet in an oil tray. And the more you try and remove it, the more it rubs off. “

Bowtell regretted wearing his favorite pair of shoes – a pair of blue leather Jordans – on the sand, because he feared they would be stolen if left by the stairs.

“It’s funny when you think about it,” he said. “My shoes got stolen on the stairs would have been better since you couldn’t give them away now.”

Residents use social media to describe the smell of rotting carcasses.

“I thought it might smell a little like rotten fish (which is bad enough) but this is not like anything I’ve ever smelled before,” commented Samantha Hutchinson on a public Facebook post about a stranded whale.

“Our distance is not more than 30 meters but everyone has to shower and wash their hair to get rid of the smell. It stays in your nostrils and throat for hours. “

Another user named David Clarke wrote: “If the wind is blowing in the right direction, you can smell it on Phillip Island Road as you pass.”

Bowtell agreed that it smelled “foul,” and locals even 5 to 6 km away said they could smell it.

“I wear a mask on the beach but it doesn’t matter,” he said. “It travels through you, your body absorbs it. It felt like my entire nose and lungs were covered in this rotting flesh.

“But there are no seagulls or flies near the body. They didn’t even want to get close to him. “

Bunurong Environmental Center education officer and Phillip Island resident Mike Cleeland told ABC Radio Gippsland that he suspected a giant squid had attacked the whale after seeing “sucker marks” on its side.

“These sperm whales dive to a depth of a kilometer or so to eat giant squid, but if they get to squids and squids trying to defend themselves by wrapping themselves around the sperm whale, they will end up with this sucker mark and seen on this one at Forrest Caves, ”said Cleeland.

“There’s no clear cause of death, so it’s possible to have reached the end of its natural life and become stranded on a nearby beach here on Phillip Island.”

Despite the smell, a spokeswoman for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) Victoria said the plan was to let the whales decompose naturally.

“The decomposition process gives off a strong odor, which indicates a natural process is in progress,” said the spokesperson.

“DELWP, after the discovery of the carcass, conducted an assessment of a number of options for removing the whales from this location, however, due to the location of the whales on the beach there was no access to remove the whales.

“People are encouraged not to visit the area because of the strong odor and the risk of pathogens from rotting whales and are reminded that being within 300 meters of the whales is against the law.”

The spokesman said the department was concerned about the illegal disturbance of the carcass that occurred overnight after parts of a whale’s jaw were missing on Friday morning.


image source

Hemiandrus jacinda: insects named after the prime minister of New Zealand | World News | Instant News

Prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has received what is perhaps his greatest award: a large insect named in his honor.

The new species wētā – the giant flightless cricket which is endemic New Zealand – has been named Hemiandrus jacinda for being the “long-legged” red Labor Party.

Steven Trewick, a professor of evolutionary ecology at Massey University in New Zealand and the scientist who named and officially described the insect, said the insect surprised him because it “reflected the prime minister’s features”.

It was a “striking species,” he said, and he found it beautiful.

The prime minister’s office said Ardern was “aware of this and very honored”. A spokesman added: “A beetle and lichen, along with an ant in Saudi Arabia, are also named after him.”

More than 100 different species of wētā are found in trees, caves, shrubs and sometimes in suburban parks. As with all members Hemiandrus group, jacinda burrows in the ground, where it appears to hunt at night.

This newly discovered species is larger and brighter than the 17 recorded wētās, and is found in native forests in Northland, the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and the Coromandel in the upper North Island. Past described in the journal Zootaxa for the first time on Friday as “relatively large, leggy, shiny and predominantly orange-red in color”.

Trewick said it was wonderful jacinda had avoided recognition until now, given that it had been found close to a densely populated area and that it “was not a faint little animal but a large, strong insect with a flamboyant color.”

It is evidence that “in a time of accelerating environmental change, loss of natural habitats, and a drastic reduction in the planet’s biodiversity globally, species discovery efforts are continuing,” he said.

“New Zealand’s wētā is a species rich and diverse radiation that lives in all types of habitats – but there is still much to be recognized.”

But just like jacinda has been discovered, Trewick warns the possibility has already declined in large numbers toward extinction. Wētā is threatened by introduced predators such as rats and cats, as well as by loss and modification of habitats such as agricultural land.

A key feature of the Department of Conservation’s work to conserve wētā is to classify them, with significant variation among the species despite genetic similarities and large gaps in knowledge of their distribution, abundance and ecology.

This highlights another similarity between big cricket and prime minister, said Trewick: “Both are very important for New Zealand.”


image source