Tag Archives: wildlife

From disease to wildfires, Australia’s iconic koala faces a bleak future | Wider Image | Instant News

At work, Morgan Philpott (pictured below) looks after sick children. During her recess hours, the Australian pediatrician turns her attention to an equally defenseless group: the unhealthy koalas.

. Kurrajong, Australia. Reuters / Loren Elliott

Philpott collects leaves to give to koalas in rehabilitation.

“They are really at risk of extinction in our lifetime,” Philpott said of the New South Wales koala population at a veterinary hospital on the outskirts of Sydney while helping vets treat rescued koalas infected with the bacterial chlamydia disease.

. Sydney, Australia. Reuters / Loren Elliott

A sick koala named Wally, rescued by WIRES, is being treated at the University of Sydney Animal Education Hospital.

Widespread infection among koalas, raging forest fires, drought, deforestation and encroachment of urban habitats are some of the many destructive forces that continue to threaten their survival. This power, a government report warned in June, could make Australia’s symbolic animal extinct in New South Wales – the country’s most populous state – by 2050.

“If the areas that did not burn last year burnt this year, it will be catastrophic,” said Philpott, who joins the country’s largest animal rescue agency, Information Services, Rescue and Wildlife Education, or WIRES, at his urging. her daughter.

“Future fires could mean the end of them.”

. Jenolan, AUSTRALIA. Reuters / Loren Elliott

Burnt tree bark is seen in forested areas, in habitat for koalas damaged in forest fires, in Kanangra-Boyd National Park, in the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

The country’s worst summer wildfires in a generation scorched more than 11.2 million hectares (27.7 million acres), nearly half the size of Great Britain, pushing a tree-hugging gray marsupial into the center of national conversation and political issues. a warm one.

In New South Wales, at least 5,000 koalas died in fires that burned 80% of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area and 24% of koala habitat on public land, said a June government report.

As the summer comes, koalas face the threat of more wildfires, although forecasters expect months to be wetter and cooler than the previous year.

. Jenolan, Australia. Reuters / Loren Elliott

Research scientist Dr. Victoria Inman and Dr. Kellie Leigh, releasing the koalas named Pele and Joey back into their natural habitat, after a team from Science for Wildlife, caught them briefly to do Pele’s radio collar maintenance and assess him and Joey’s health.

A new state law seeks to limit farmers’ ability to clear land deemed important for koala habitat, sparking political clashes between urban conservationists and forest people who want to manage their own property.

“The rate of tree cutting and habitat loss is behind all the other factors threatening them in developing areas which includes domestic dog attacks and vehicle attacks,” said Kellie Leigh, head of Science for Wildlife, a non-profit conservation organization, before releasing mother koalas and joey. to a charred tree growing in a green ditch in Kanangra-Boyd National Park, about 200 km (124 miles) west of Sydney.

The release is part of his research, the Blue Mountains Koala Project, on koala recovery in areas ravaged by forest fires.

. Kurrajong Heights, Australia. Reuters / Loren Elliott

The houses stand near the foothills of the Blue Mountains on the outskirts of Sydney, an area where koalas are threatened by land clearing and urban expansion, visible from Kurrajong Heights.

Koala conservationists, who blame climate change for the majority of wildfires, are also focusing on cities as population growth in a metropolitan city like Sydney drives demand to clear forests and make way for homes. Traffic safety signs have appeared now on the outskirts of the developed city warning of the risk of koalas crossing the road.

. Wedderburn, Australia. Reuters / Loren Elliott

Tracey cares for koala twins Joey, who have been diagnosed with underweight, and their mother, Gladys, who was rescued from an area where urban development is disturbing koala habitat, in a rehabilitation pen next to her home.

“There needs to be a balance to ensure that these species survive,” said Tracey, a WIRES volunteer, who asked not to give her last name, as she fed mother and twins joeys eucalyptus leaves in a rehabilitation pen next to her home.



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Reasons for the decline in turtle sightings around the coasts of England and Ireland are unclear, scientists say Living environment | Instant News

Turtle sightings around the coasts of Britain and Ireland are showing signs of decline, scientists say, although it is not clear what is behind the decline.

The researchers said multi-agency database analysis had revealed that between 1910 and 2018 there were 1,997 recorded sightings, strandings or captures of sea turtles – alive or dead – with 84% linked to leatherback turtles.

Other species recorded include the green turtle, the Kemp’s ridley turtle, and the olive ridley turtle, a small, tropical-loving species, which washed ashore in Anglesey, Wales, in 2016.

When leatherback turtles come to British waters in search of jellyfish, loggerhead and Kemp turtles are transported to the area by currents from the Caribbean or North Atlantic.

However, the team behind the study says the record shows a trend. Among their findings, they said leatherback turtle reports increased over the decades to a peak in the 1990s, but since then the record appears to be gradually decreasing.

While there were 553 cases in the 1990s, there were 464 in the 2000s and 256 since 2010 – although data for the last decade are incomplete.

The team suggests an increase in previous decades could descend to an increase in true turtle numbers, greater awareness of reporting schemes, warmer waters or even an increase in prey. Likewise, Zara Botterell, lead author of the study from the University of Exeter, said the marked decline could be due to many different factors.

“It could be climate change [or] availability of prey, but it could also be reported, ”he said, noting that there had been a decline in the number of fishing vessels operating in the UK – a major source of turtle sightings.

Learning, published in the Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, too reveals turtle records at Kemp have increased since the 1980s, although they have also seen a decline recently, albeit only in recent years.

The team says this increase in species could be a result of conservation efforts in the US and Mexico to protect turtle nests and prevent nesting females from being caught in shrimp nets. The subsequent decline in turtle numbers, they added, may be related to the deep-sea horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 – a core part of the turtle range – among other factors, including a decline in observer numbers.


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Australia needs BoM for threatened species, say top scientists Australian News | Instant News

The federal government should set up a new agency similar to the Bureau of Meteorology (Bombs) to observe and forecast the state of Australian wildlife, according to leading Australian scientists.

The Australian Academy of Sciences said the “biodiversity bombing” could fill gaps in data and monitoring of Australia’s threatened species, with the current information system on the country’s unique flora and fauna “damaged”.

The call for the new body was contained in a briefing sent to all members of parliament urging the government to implement the full Australian environmental law review recommendations.

Scientists include colleague Craig Moritz of the Australian Academy of Sciences, an ecologist Chris Dickman, and Helene Marsh, chair of the Threatened Species Scientific Committee who advises the government threatened species lists, contribute to documents.

“In every measure available, Australia is failing to stop, slow or reverse biodiversity loss and species decline,” said the briefing.

The scientists said in their briefing a new national agency could observe, analyze, forecast and warn about the state and trends of Australia’s biodiversity, in the same way Bombs provide similar information about weather and climate.

They say Australia’s data curation standards are currently active species in decline and its accessibility to the general public is “inadequate”.

“This is an unacceptable situation, a situation that cannot be tolerated in other domains such as weather information, biosecurity, health and wellness,” the statement said.

Scientists argue that the national agency will bring benefits not only for threatened species but also project proponents who want timely assessments.

Moritz said Australia has world-class scientific capabilities in the area of ​​biodiversity, but data that tracks and shows trends in threatened species, even well-known koalas, are fragmented and systems inefficient.

“It doesn’t serve the purpose if our aim is to have an effective environmental assessment and almost all of this is invisible to the public, who is paying for this,” he said.

Scientists say interim report from a review of Australia’s Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, chaired by former chief competition watchdog Graeme Samuel, found that Australia’s legal and protection systems for endangered wildlife are part of the problem.

Among his findings, Samuel identified major gaps in the availability of up-to-date data on Australian biodiversity, with “no single source of national truth” that governments, developers and the public can rely on for information on threatened wildlife and heritage sites.

Samuel called for a new national “supply chain” containing easily accessible information, alongside other key recommendations for a framework national environmental standards, a independent environmentalist, and transfer of decision-making power under national law for state and territory governments.

Moritz said there was concern in the scientific community that the bill currently before parliament, which would make it easier to transfer approval powers to states, was only one part of what Samuel had recommended.

“It’s crazy that one piece has been pulled out and they’ve tried to break it without review and without Samuel’s final report,” he said.

The bill passed the lower house after the government choking debate in September. Attempts by Labor, the Greens and crossbench senators to be considered by a committee have been blocked by the government and One Nation.

The bill is now likely to be debated in the Senate during the November parliamentary session shortly after Samuel delivers his final report.

The environment minister’s spokesman, Sussan Ley, said Samuel had been involved with the Australian Academy of Sciences during the review.

“Prof Samuel’s interim report has highlighted the need for more data and indicated that the issue will be a further focus in the final report,” he said.

“The government hopes to consider Prof. Samuel’s recommendation which will be given at the end of this month.”


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Italian prosecutors investigate alleged mistreatment of ‘runaway genius’ bear | World News | Instant News

Italian prosecutors have launched an investigation into alleged mistreatment of the country’s most notorious bear, dubbed Papillon, who is currently being held at a wildlife center in the northeast. Italy after being recaptured a third time.

The 149kg light brown bear is accused of slaughtering dozens of cows and sheep in the mountains in the Trentino region, and to his property. catch last month is the most wanted wild animal in Europe.

Authorities considered the bear – officially known as M49 – a “runaway genius”, as he had twice escaped from his cage. On one occasion he managed to climb three electric fences and a 4 meters barrier before disappearing into the forest. The feat earned him the name Papillon, after the eponymous character from Henri Charrière’s book about escaping from a French penal colony.

His latest arrest angered environmental groups, who have promised to take legal action against the governor of Trento province, Maurizio Fugatti, of the far-right League party.


Guardian chart

Fugatti, who is sure there is too many bears in the region, issued the first orders to catch bears last June, and gave permission to guards to shoot an M49 if deemed dangerous.

Bear has been locked in a cage measuring 2 x 6 meters Since September 7, it has been surrounded by three 7,000 volt electric fences, a 4 meter barrier, CCTV and ranger cadres.

The Italian Minister for the Environment, Sergio Costa, has made this point the animal must be returned to the wild. However, he acknowledged that the central government had little say in the case because Trento’s autonomous status gave the province the authority to decide Papillon’s future.

The report from the environmental protection squad of the national police, released last month after a visit to the Casteller center, said bear is under pressure and live in unsuitable conditions. “M49 has stopped eating properly and filled the gates of his cage,” he said, adding that in the first week of being re-arrested, veterinarians administered sedatives to calm him down.

Papillon was detained along with two other bears, codenamed DJ4 and M57, who allegedly attacked a man last August.

The fence was broken in the center of Casteller after Papillon’s second escape in April. Photo: Corpo Forestale dello Stato / AFP / Getty Images

“The three bears suffered from severe psycho-physical stress,” said the police report. “Therefore, bear conditions of detention do not guarantee adequate welfare.”

Trento chief prosecutor, Sandro Raimondi, confirmed to The Guardian that an investigation had been launched into the alleged mistreatment of the bear.

The Alpine brown bear was reintroduced to the Trentino region in 2000 after its population had dwindled to just four. The herders protested when the bears began to prey on livestock, and as their numbers grew, armed “anti-bear” squads were formed to catch and, if necessary, shoot at bears deemed “potentially dangerous”.

Some of the bears were killed intentionally, while others died from an overdose of sedatives during the capture operation. Those caught ended up behind the fence, while about 10 simply disappeared.

The Papillon controversy revived the debate in Italy about who owns the wild and the rights of humans and nature. “This forest belongs to wolves, bears and deer,” said Ornella Dorigatti, Trento representative for the International Organization for Animal Protection (OIPA), which has been on a hunger strike for 10 days to protest Papillon’s detention. We humans are just guests.

Find out more age of extinction coverage here, and follow biodiversity reporters Phoebe Weston and Patrick Greenfield on Twitter for all the latest news and features


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Wildlife Suffer as Brazil’s Pantanal Wetlands Burn | Smart News | Instant News

The Pantanal – the world’s largest tropical wetland, spanning Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay – is home to indigenous peoples and a wide variety of wildlife including jaguars, tapirs and giant armadillos. But for months, the region caught fire.

Starting around the end of 2019 and intensifying in June and July this year, the fires have burned an estimated 8.1 million acres – 22 percent of the fertile and diverse region, reports Elizabeth Claire Alberts of Mongabay. To put that number in perspective, the unprecedented and destructive fires in California have burned less than half, at just under 4 million acres, reports Alex Wigglesworth for Los Angeles Times.

With more than 17,000 fires so far in Brazil’s Pantanal, this year has exceeded the record annual total for each year, which began in 1998, and has doubled the annual average, report Tatiana Pollastri and David Biller of Associated Press. Many of the fires were likely caused by farmers clearing land, reports Jill Langlois National geographic. Some of the flames were also the result of lightning strikes, igniting a dry landscape in the grip of the worst drought in nearly 50 years, reports Emiliano Rodriguez Mega for Natural.

The fires have destroyed the area’s wildlife. Natural to quote a 2019 study detailing more than 580 bird species, 271 fish species, 174 mammal species, 131 reptile species and 57 amphibian species known to inhabit the Pantanal.

“My lasting memories of being on the Pantanal are the hustle and bustle of life,” said Douglas Morton, a researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center who uses remote sensing to study fires and deforestation in Brazil, said Natural. “To me, that is what is so heartbreaking about seeing the extent of the fire.”

As the vast expanse of the usually green floodplain landscape has turned to ash, some of the area’s animal inhabitants have been left roaming the scorched landscape in confusion and despair. Per National Geographical, volunteers have rescued hundreds of animals and distributed food and cached water across the Pantanal.

The team has evacuated jaguars, tapirs and other injured species to receive medical care and rehabilitation before they are expected to be released back into the wild, according to National Geographical. Aquatic reptiles such as caimans have also been heavily attacked as their aquatic habitat has dried up.

Scientists studying ecosystems fear that the fires are so severe that they could permanently change the Pantanal, according to Natural. Climate change is projected to make the region hotter and drier, making it more susceptible to fires and possibly no longer able to support the diversity of flora and fauna that put it on the map as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Natural to quote a 2015 study which projects an increase in temperature of up to 12.6 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century.

Meanwhile, volunteers are still trying to save injured wildlife and provide food and water to those in need.

Carla Sássi, a veterinarian and firefighter with the non-profit Animal Disaster Rescue Group which is one of the groups working in the Pantanal, said National geographic, “In my life, I never thought we should bring water to the Pantanal.”

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