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Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Printable Version

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RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Ngala - 06-13-2016

Slovenian brown bear released in the Catalan Pyrenees
08 June 2016 by Matt Ford

*This image is copyright of its original author

FREEDOM: Goiat is released into the wilds of the High Pyrenees.

A BROWN BEAR has been transferred from the Jelen game reserve in Slovenia to Isil in Lleida province, Cataluña, in order to compete with a dominant male by the name of Pyros, who is the father, grandfather and great-grandfather of almost all bears currently residing in the Catalan Pyrenees.
Pyros arrived to the region in 1997, and is also of Slovenian origin, but the reproductive monopoly is not considered a positive thing, and the hope is that the new bear will add new genetic variability to the population.
He has been named ‘Goiat’, which roughly translates as young or unmarried boy in the local Pallaresa dialect, is estimated to be between 9 and 10 years old, and weighs 205 kilos.
There are currently between 30 and 36 brown bears inhabiting the central Pyrenees, of which seven are adult males and 10 are sexually mature adult females.
A team of nine people have been caring for Goiat since his trapping on Monday June 6, following a series of failed attempts to catch him, and he has been fitted with special tags in his ears, as well as a GPS ‘necklace’, so that experts from the ‘Piroslife’ project can track his movements.
The transmitter is powered by a battery, and the bear will be located by conventional means such as droppings, footprints, hair and camera traps once this expires.
During the mid-1990s the brown bear almost became extinct in the Pyrenees, with only a tiny relict population inhabiting the Atlantic side in France, Navarra and Aragon, therefore an EU-funded LIFE programme was developed in the latter half of that decade.
The first two bears, both female, were released in 1996 before Pyros joined them in 1997, with Slovenian bears chosen due to their genetic relatedness to their Spanish cousins.
Pyros is now 27 years old and is starting to show signs of old age, although he has been busy in the two decades since his relocation, fathering 28 known cubs with six different females.

Spanish article:
La Generalitat libera un nuevo oso esloveno en el Pirineo


RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Ngala - 06-17-2016

After mass die-off, saiga antelope numbers go up in Kazakhstan
17th June 2016 by Shreya Dasgupta

A recent aerial survey of saiga antelopes conducted between April 18 and May 3, 2016 has revealed that the numbers of all three saiga populations in Kazakhstan—Ural, Betpak-Dala and Ustyurt — are going up.

-The surveys counted a total of 108,300 adult saigas in the three sites.
-The Ural population has 70,200 individuals, up from 51,700 in 2015, while the Ustyurt population has 1,900 individuals, up from 1,200 in 2015.
-The Betpak-Dala population also showed promise with 36,200 individuals.

Last year, catastrophe hit saiga antelopes in Kazakhstan. About 200,000 of these critically endangered antelopes died in Betpak-Dala in May, deeply worrying conservationists. The deaths, scientists eventually found, were most likely caused by bacterial infection.

But there may be hope for these severely threatened migratory mammals.

A recent aerial survey of saigas carried out from April 18 to May 3, 2016 has revealed that the numbers of all three saiga populations in Kazakhstan—Ural, Betpak-Dala and Ustyurt — are going up. The surveys were conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan in partnership with the Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (ACBK) and JSC “Kazaviaspas”, Kazakhstan government announced on Tuesday.

“The news about recovering saiga populations in Kazakhstan is a sign of hope after the catastrophic mass saiga die-off event in 2015,” Bradnee Chambers, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), said in a statement.

*This image is copyright of its original author

About 200,000 saiga antelopes died last year likely due to a bacterial infection. Photo by Klaus Nigge.


*This image is copyright of its original author

Saiga distribution map. Image copyright: Steffen Zuther.

The surveys counted a total of 108,300 adult saigas. The Ural population has about 70,200 individuals, up from 51,700 in 2015, while the Ustyurt population has around 1,900 individuals, up from 1,200 in 2015. The Betpak-Dala population also showed promise with about 36,200 individuals, the results revealed.

“This is far below the 242,000 animals we counted in spring 2015, before the mass-die off,” Albert Salemgareyev from ACBK, co-leader of the Altyn Dala Conservation Initiative, said. “But we are grateful for this glimpse of hope.”

*This image is copyright of its original author

Saiga herds as seen from the helicopter during the census 2016. Photo by Timoshenko

Scientists are continuing to investigate the conditions that could have led to the 2015 mass deaths.

Meanwhile, poaching is an immediate threat to saigas, conservationists say. Male saigas are especially targeted by poachers for their horns that are used by the Chinese in their traditional medicine.

“Poaching remains a serious threat to the species and we need to be aware of the fact that mass die-offs such as the one which shocked the world in 2015 can occur again and that we have still not fully understood the underlying causes of the mass die-off,” Chambers said.


RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 06-27-2016

Rhinos Translocated from Kaziranga to Manas National Park

Rhinos trans-located from Kaziranga to Manas National Park, it will help to improve population of rhinos in manas national park because The rhino population in Manas National Park faces the threat of extinction in the next two to three decades.









RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 07-20-2016

Seven new animal species discovered in Bolivia

Scientists have discovered seven new animal species in Bolivia’s Madidi National Park.

The finds, which include three frogs, three lizards and one catfish.


*This image is copyright of its original author



Read full story in the link below

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2016/04/28/seven-new-animal-species-discovered-in-bolivia.html


RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Polar - 07-20-2016

There's plenty more to be discovered throughout the planet's rainforests, water bodies, and quite possibly, very deep under the Earth's surface.


RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Ngala - 07-28-2016

Mysterious New Whale Species Discovered in Alaska
By Craig Welch, PUBLISHED JULY 26, 2016

Scientists say a dead whale on a desolate beach and a skeleton hanging in a high school gym are a new species. Yet experts have never seen one alive.

 
*This image is copyright of its original author

This whale washed up dead on Alaska's St. George Island in June 2014. Scientists say it is a newly discovered species of beaked whale. Photo by Karin Holser

Like many good mysteries, this one started with a corpse, but the body in question was 24 feet (7.3 meters) long.

The remains floated ashore in June of 2014, in the Pribilof Islands community of St. George, a tiny oasis of rock and grass in the middle of Alaska's Bering Sea. A young biology teacher spotted the carcass half-buried in sand on a desolate windswept beach. He alerted a former fur seal researcher who presumed, at first, that she knew what they'd found: a Baird's beaked whale, a large, gray, deep-diving creature that occasionally washes in dead with the tide.

But a closer examination later showed that the flesh was too dark, the dorsal fin too big and floppy. The animal was too short to be an adult, but its teeth were worn and yellowed with age.

"It's just so exciting to think that in 2016 we're still discovering things in our world—even mammals that are more than 20 feet long." Phil Morin | NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center

It turns out, according to new research published Tuesday, that this was not a Baird's beaked whale at all, but an entirely new species—a smaller, odd-shaped black cetacean that Japanese fishermen have long called karasu, or raven.

"We don't know how many there are, where they're typically found, anything," says Phillip Morin, a molecular geneticist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Southwest Fisheries Science Center. "But we're going to start looking."

It’s rare to uncover a new species of whale. Advances in DNA research have helped scientists identify five new cetaceans in the past 15 years but two were dolphins and most were simple category splits between fairly similar species. This animal, in the genus Berardius, looks far different than its nearest relative and inhabits an area of the North Pacific where marine mammal research has been conducted for decades.

"It's a really big deal," says study co-author Paul Wade of NOAA's National Marine Mammal Laboratory. "If you think about it, on land, discovery of new species of large mammals is exceptionally rare. It just doesn't happen very often. It's quite remarkable."

Skeletons, Beaks, and Bone Powder
Morin and his team examined the St. George carcass, took bone powder from old museum specimens, and reviewed DNA tests of whales from the Sea of Okhotsk. They studied skulls and beaks and analyzed records from whaling fleets in Japan. They even tracked down a skeleton hanging from the ceiling in a high school gymnasium in the Aleutian Islands.

The scientists conclude in their study published in Marine Mammal Science that this type of whale, which has not yet been named, is nearly as far removed genetically from the Northern Hemisphere's Baird's beaked whales as it is from its closest known relative, Arnoux's beaked whales, which swim in the Antarctic Ocean. The differences, in fact, are so dramatic that the animal has to be something else, they say.

"It's just so exciting to think that in 2016 we're still discovering things in our world—even mammals that are more than 20 feet long," Morin says.


*This image is copyright of its original author

This skull of a newly discovered species of whale shows its blowhole vestibule and its nasal and frontal bones. Photo by L. Michelle Ridgway

He is not alone in his enthusiasm. Robert Pitman serves on a taxonomy committee for the Society for Marine Mammalogy, which publishes an annual list of all recognized marine mammal species. He is not among the 16 co-authors on Morin's paper. But at a time when the diversity of marine mammals is shrinking—the Yangtze River dolphin is now functionally extinct and Mexico’s vaquita porpoise is dangerously close—Pitman calls the discovery "heartening."

"It boggles my mind to think that a large, very different-looking whale has gone unnoticed by the scientific community for so long," Pitman says. "It sends a clear message about how little we know about what is in the ocean around us."

The discovery also raises new questions about how well humans are understanding the threats posed by marine activities, from energy exploration to sonar use, given that so few people even knew such a creature existed.

An Unrecognizable, Baffling Creature
Of the 88 recognized living cetacean species, including orcas and humpbacks, bottlenose dolphins and Dall's porpoises, 22 are beaked whales. The largest of those, Baird's beaked whales, also called giant bottlenose whales, can reach 35 to 40 feet (10.7 to 12 meters) and weigh more than 24,000 pounds (10,900 kilograms). They travel in large groups, may dive 3,000 feet (914 meters), and can be underwater for an hour. While beaked whales are still hunted in Japan, little about them is known. In part that’s because they spend so much time feeding and exploring vast, deep canyons far from shore.

When Christian Hagenlocher on St. George, a 35-square-mile (91-square-kilometer) island inhabited by 100 people, frequented by hundreds of thousands of seals, and visited by 2.5 million birds, pointed out the dead whale in Zapadni Bay to former seal researcher Karin Holser, she thought it was a Baird's beaked whale. But later, as tides and currents revealed more of the animal, Holser realized she didn't recognize it at all. She consulted a colleague's cetacean identification book and sent pictures to other experts in Alaska.


*This image is copyright of its original author

This skull provided scientists evidence that the whale was smaller and had different bone structure than other beaked whales. Photo by L. Michelle Ridgway

"This dorsal fin was larger, further aft, and had more curvature than that of a Baird's beaked whale," says independent ecologist Michelle Ridgway, who arrived on the island days later. "The jaw structure and the shape of the melon were not quite right, either.” And this whale, while clearly an adult, was just two-thirds the size of full-grown Baird’s beaked whales.

Holser and other island residents measured the whale. Ridgway collected tissue, arranging to ship the slightly fetid samples through intermediaries to Morin's lab in Southern California.

Morin was intrigued.

So Mysterious It's 'Almost Folklore'
Just nine months earlier, he'd spied new research by Japanese scientists attempting to describe differences between Baird's beaked whales and a rare black form that whalers had whispered about since the 1940s. Groups of these smaller whales were sometime spotted in Japan’s Nemuro Strait, but only between April and June. There was no record of scientists ever seeing one alive.

"They're almost folklore," Morin says.

The Japanese scientists had speculated in fall of 2013 that this may be an unknown species of beaked whale. But they were forced to draw conclusions from DNA taken from just three of the creatures that had stranded off Hokkaido. They concluded more evidence was needed.

Even before receiving the samples from St. George, Morin had been trying to hunt down more specimens.

He went through NOAA's tissue collection, pulling all 50 or so that had previously been identified as a Baird's beaked whale. Using DNA testing he found that two were actually a closer genetic match to the small black whales tested by Japanese scientists in 2013. One of those was from a whale that washed ashore in 2004 and now hangs in a school gym in Dutch Harbor. Scientists there had long assumed it was a younger Baird's beaked whale.

Morin also took the suggestion of one of the Japanese scientists, who had identified a skeleton from 1948 with an unusual shaped head at the Smithsonian Institution. And he tracked down another skeleton from the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History with body measurements that suggested they were the small black form. Morin took bone powder from both, and tested their DNA. They, too, were a match for karasu.

Along with the whale from St. George, Morin now had found five new specimens that were similar to the three found in Japan.

To describe a new species, however, "you build up lines of evidence, but that's very hard with an animal we've never seen alive," Morin says. But body measurements between Baird's beaked whales and the smaller black creature proved vastly different, as did their DNA.

Baird's beaked whales range throughout the North Pacific from Russia and Japan to Mexico. Genetic variation among Baird’s beaked whales was tiny. But for the five new black specimens Morin tested, all initially from the Bering Sea or the Aleutians, the sequences differed from the Baird's beaked whales significantly.

"The genetic variation within the forms was little, while the divergence between them was much larger," Morin says. "That's our strongest argument."

The whale still needs to be formally described and named, and Morin's findings would have to be accepted by outside experts who track cetacean taxonomy. But Pitman and others say the case is strong that it’s a new species.

"We're doing increasing damage to our environment, and we can't even begin to conserve the biodiversity we know is out there," Morin says. "Yet there's so much more about our world we don't even understand."


RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Pckts - 07-28-2016

Horrible news coming out of Bolivia

Nick's Adventures Bolivia

Very sad news for Madidi National Park - A place which is literally one of the most amazing places i have ever visited and hosts some the the greatest biodiversity on the planet.

This is another nail in the coffin for the Amazon Rainforest and all of its incredible species.


http://www.hydroworld.com/articles/2016/07/bolivia-to-carry-out-final-design-studies-for-3-251-mw-el-chepete-425-mw-el-bala-hydro-projects.html



Bolivia opens up national parks to oil and gas firms

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/andes-to-the-amazon/2015/jun/05/bolivia-national-parks-oil-gas


RE: Hoofed Animals ~ - brotherbear - 08-29-2016

http://www.theverge.com/2016/8/29/12688614/lightning-strike-kills-reindeer-norway 
 
Lightning strike kills 323 reindeer in Norway
Officials say the animals could have died because they huddled together 'out of fear'
  • By Amar Toor
     
  • on August 29, 2016 05:57 am
     



RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Ngala - 09-04-2016

Ancient phylogenetic divergence of the enigmatic African rodent Zenkerella and the origin of anomalurid gliding Heritage et al., 2016

*This image is copyright of its original author

Figure 1: Photographs of Zenkerella insignis DPC 91001 male.
(A) dorsal view, scale bar 50 mm. (B) lateral view, scale bar 50 mm. © palmar view of right hand and plantar view of left foot, scale bar 10 mm. (D) ventral view of proximal tail and genitals, scale bar 25 mm.

Abstract:
"The “scaly-tailed squirrels” of the rodent family Anomaluridae have a long evolutionary history in Africa, and are now represented by two gliding genera (Anomalurus and Idiurus) and a rare and obscure genus (Zenkerella) that has never been observed alive by mammalogists. Zenkerella shows no anatomical adaptations for gliding, but has traditionally been grouped with the glider Idiurus on the basis of craniodental similarities, implying that either the Zenkerella lineage lost its gliding adaptations, or that Anomalurus and Idiurus evolved theirs independently. Here we present the first nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences of Zenkerella, based on recently recovered whole-body specimens from Bioko Island (Equatorial Guinea), which show unambiguously that Zenkerella is the sister taxon of Anomalurus and Idiurus. These data indicate that gliding likely evolved only once within Anomaluridae, and that there were no subsequent evolutionary reversals. We combine this new molecular evidence with morphological data from living and extinct anomaluromorph rodents and estimate that the lineage leading to Zenkerella has been evolving independently in Africa since the early Eocene, approximately 49 million years ago. Recently discovered fossils further attest to the antiquity of the lineage leading to Zenkerella, which can now be recognized as a classic example of a “living fossil,” about which we know remarkably little. The osteological markers of gliding are estimated to have evolved along the stem lineage of the AnomalurusIdiurus clade by the early Oligocene, potentially indicating that this adaptation evolved in response to climatic perturbations at the Eocene–Oligocene boundary (∼34 million years ago)."

Other articles related:
Researchers seek Zenkerella, an elusive scaly-tailed squirrel that has never been spotted alive by scientists


RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Ngala - 09-10-2016

Africa May Have New Giraffe Species—And This Could Help Protect Them
The discovery may help save the long-necked herbivore, whose numbers are plummeting in sub-Saharan Africa.

By Christine Dell'Amore
PUBLISHED SEPTEMBER 8, 2016

*This image is copyright of its original author

A herd of Rothschild's giraffes browse in Uganda's Murchison Falls National Park. Scientists have found that there may be four species of giraffe, not just one as previously thought. PHOTOGRAPH BY JOEL SARTORE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE

HONOLULU, HAWAII
Schoolchildren worldwide may now have more African animals to memorize: Four species of giraffe could roam the continent, a new study says.

Until now the consensus has been that there’s just one giraffe species, with nine subspecies. But the authors of the study claim they’ve uncovered clear genetic differences among four populations of the long-necked herbivore: the northern giraffe, southern giraffe, reticulated giraffe, and Masai giraffe.

“It was surprising to see these different subspecies were genetically so distinct—there was no intermixing,” says Axel Janke, co-author of the study, published September 8 in the journal Current Biology.

How could such large creatures be hiding in plain sight? Part of the reason is that scientifically “the giraffe is a neglected species. Only 400 scientific papers have been written about giraffes, versus 20,000 papers on white rhinos,” says Janke, an evolutionary biologist at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center, in Germany.

A global focus on endangered or heavily poached species, such as the elephant, compounded with our fascination with carnivores such as lions, have also contributed to the giraffe’s obscurity, he says. “Despite its size, the giraffe has been completely overlooked.”

As the world has turned its attention elsewhere, during the past 15 years numbers of the world's tallest animal have plummeted from an estimated 140,000 to around 90,000 today—what some scientists call a “silent extinction.” (See “Inside the Fight to Stop Giraffes’ ‘Silent Extinction.’”)

Giraffe expert John Doherty, who was not involved in the study, says in an email that he welcomes the study “as a valuable contribution to the continuing giraffe taxonomy debate.” But he notes that the authors “are by no means the first to suggest more than one species of giraffe.”

In addition, says Doherty, of the Nairobi-based Reticulated Giraffe Project and Queen’s University Belfast, the study’s proposed classification relies solely on genetic data and not important body characteristics or other factors. Considering that, “it would be more than premature to present their findings as definitive.”

Doherty also says he supports the authors’ highlighting the “urgent need to address giraffe conservation across the African continent.”

Cracking the Genes
The Namibia-based Giraffe Conservation Foundation first approached Janke several years ago about developing genetic markers to distinguish subspecies of giraffes, which live throughout sub-Saharan Africa and look similar.

The foundation, which has permits to shoot small darts at the animals to collect useful scientific information, provided Janke and colleagues with about 200 biopsy samples from giraffes throughout the continent.

Janke first examined the samples’ mitochondrial DNA—the DNA that’s passed down by mothers—and found that the differences between the giraffe populations “were as large as between that of polar and brown bear,” he says. (Doherty notes that "since brown bears are widely regarded as a species complex that includes polar bears, this is not a valid analogy.”)
When Janke analyzed the samples’ nuclear genes—located in the cell nucleus—“one marker after another told us the same story,” he says. “We saw distinct groups.” (See 14 incredible pictures of giraffes.)

For instance, all nuclear genes have mutations, and he found that mutations common to one group of giraffes were completely different from those of another group.

Janke says he was reluctant initially to name the giraffes as separate species, but the data show it’s “absolutely justified.”

“A Wonderful Thing”
“It’s a wonderful thing—something new and cool and big that doesn’t happen that much in science,” says David O'Connor, a conservation ecologist with San Diego Zoo Global, who collaborates with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.

The discovery is also great news for efforts to help giraffes, whose conservation has long been complicated by a lack of scientific knowledge.

Knowing what giraffe species exist “help us working in the field to better prioritize what we’re doing,” O’Connor said on Monday at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s World Conservation Congress. (Related: "Giraffes, Zebras Face Surprising Top Threat: Hunting")

Simply naming the species may put pressure on governments to reallocate resources to help giraffes, he says.

But Doherty cautions that “an approach based solely on genetic analyses can sometimes undermine rather than reinforce conservation efforts.”

For instance, the study suggests that a giraffe called Thornicroft’s be included with the Masai species, though the two populations are separated by large distances and play a vital role in their own habitats. According to Doherty, protecting the two groups independently maintains their evolutionary potential. Lumping them together may “reduce rather than enhance the conservation importance accorded to them.”

Giraffes in Trouble
The two species in the direst straits are the northern and reticulated giraffe species.

The northern giraffe—which has three subspecies, the Kordofan, Nubian, and West African—has a combined population of fewer than 5,000 animals. Many live in unstable areas in central Africa, and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Kordofan is being hunted for its tail, which is considered a status symbol.

The reticulated giraffe has one of the most rapid declines, O’Connor says, with an 80 percent drop in recent decades because of habitat loss and poaching.

Study co-author Janke points out that the IUCN lists the giraffe as a species of least concern, but now that the population of roughly 90,000 is divided into four subsets—including two with fewer than 10,000 animals each—a new conservation status may be warranted.

“Hopefully [the new study] will really shine the spotlight on these unique and important animals,” O’Connor adds. “They are really an icon of Africa—they exist nowhere else.”


RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Ngala - 09-13-2016

Russian customs seize hundreds of bear paws in illegal smuggling operation to China
RT
Sun, 31 Jul 2016 14:11 UTC

© RT News
Russian customs seize 500+ bear paws heading to Chinese black market

*This image is copyright of its original author

Customs officers carrying out an anti-smuggling operation in Russia's Far East came across a grisly discovery - 525 bear paws headed for China. Apart from the bear paws, 3,978 mink furs, 2.4 kilograms of jade, and a 4-kilogram fragment of mammoth tusk were among the contraband seized on Monday, RIA Novosti reports. 

The total value of the undeclared goods is estimated at around US$620.000. The cargo, which was sealed in big bags with labels written in Chinese, was seized from a boat in Russia's Khabarovsk Region. The owner of the vessel has been charged with two counts of smuggling. The perpetrator confessed that the cargo was to be transported from Khabarovsk to Tongjiang city in the Heilongjiang province of China to be sold on the black market. 

Bear paws are considered a delicacy in Chinese restaurants, where they are often added to soups or barbecued. Some dishes containing them can cost up to $1000. According to experts, the paws from the smuggled load belonged to both Brown and Himalayan bears. Himalayan bears are on the critically endangered list, as their population is dramatically decreasing. 

Several petitions demanding that an end be put to eating bear meat in China and elsewhere in Asia have been signed by hundreds of thousands of people. Activists say the animals often undergo barbaric treatment when being converted to food, which often includes being cooked alive. 

"It's horrendous. It's despicable. I would say that anybody who can afford these so-called delicacies would be much better off going and buying themselves a heart and getting some compassion because in 2016 there's simply no reason to eat the paw of a bear," Elisa Allen, an associate director of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), told RT. 

Besides being served as food, Allen says the bear paws are also "used to cure everything from impotency to fevers. And also sometimes they're simply used as trinket and they end up collecting dust."

(Video inside the link)


RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Ngala - 09-17-2016

Norway plans to cull more than two-thirds of its wolf population
Fiona Harvey Environment correspondent
Friday 16 September 2016 18.53 BST

Environmental groups criticise plan that will allow hunters to shoot up to 47 of an estimated 68 wolves living in wilderness

Norway’s green groups say the new legal hunting limit is beyond anything the wild wolf population can withstand. Photograph: Kevin Rushby

*This image is copyright of its original author

Norway is planning to cull more than two-thirds of its remaining wolves in a step that environmental groups say will be disastrous for the dwindling members of the species in the wild.

There are estimated to be about 68 wolves remaining in the wilderness areas of Norway, concentrated in the south-east of the country, but under controversial plans approved on Friday as many as 47 of these will be shot.

Hunting is a popular sport in the country. Last year more than 11,000 hunters applied for licences to shoot 16 wolves, a ratio of more than 700 applicants to each licence.

The government has justified this year’s planned cull – the biggest in more than a century – on the basis of harm done to sheep flocks by the predators. Environmental groups dispute this, saying the real damage is minimal and the response out of all proportion.

The government did not reply to a request from the Guardian for comment.

The government has taken action to prevent illegal wolf hunting. Wolves are also an attraction for some tourists to the country. But the new legal hunting limit is beyond anything that the wild population can withstand, according to Norway’s leading green groups.

Under the arrangements, 24 wolves will be shot within the region of the country designated for wolf habitat, while another 13 will be shot in neighbouring regions and a further 10 in other areas of the country.

According to environmental groups, the number of wolves the government plans to kill this year is greater than in any year since 1911.

 ‘This is mass slaughter. We have not seen anything like this in a hundred years, back when the policy was that all large carnivores were to be eradicated.’ Photograph: Kevin Rushby

*This image is copyright of its original author

Nina Jensen, chief executive of WWF in Norway, said: “This is mass slaughter. We have not seen anything like this in a hundred years, back when the policy was that all large carnivores were to be eradicated.

“Shooting 70% of the wolf population is not worthy of a nation claiming to be championing environmental causes. People all over the country, and outside its borders, are now reacting.”

She said the losses to farmers from wolves had been minimal, and pointed to settlements by the Norwegian parliament in 2004 and 2011 that stipulated populations of carnivores must be allowed to co-exist with livestock.

“This decision must be stopped,” said Silje Ask Lundberg, chair of Friends of the Earth Norway. “With this decision, three out of six family groups of wolves might be shot. We are calling on the minister of environment to stop the butchering. Today, Norway should be ashamed.”


RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Bronco - 09-24-2016

Rhino Horn weighing 1.43 kg valued at Rs.4.54 crores (US$ 0.7 million) seized by Sashastra Seema Bal (Indian Border Police) @ Hasimara, Jaigaon, West Bengal (on Indo-Bhutan border). Two poachers apprehended.


*This image is copyright of its original author



RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Apollo - 09-29-2016

Brazilian fisherman hugs his PENGUIN pal who swims 5,000 miles to see him every year after he saved its life in 2011 


*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author




Read full story

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3808151/It-s-great-Brazilian-fisherman-hugs-PENGUIN-pal-swims-5-000-miles-year-saved-life-2011.html?ito=social-facebook


RE: Animal News (Except Bigcats) - Spalea - 09-29-2016

@Apollo:

About #151: Quite crazy and touching story ! Who could have believed that ?