Wildlife Conservation

Science • Animals
Galapagos now has another inhabitant: a white penguin
Galapagos now has another inhabitant: a white penguin
Credit: Courtesy of Twitter / Parque Galápagos

A penguin considered "rare" because of its white colour was discovered in the national park of Galapagos, which has unique flora and fauna in the world.

Parque Galápagos states that "This case could be a genetic condition known as leucism that produces a partial loss of pigmentation in the animals' plumage or coat while maintaining the normal colour of their eyes, which differentiates them from albinos,".

Science • Nature
Mass stranding off New Zealand coast kills 100 pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins
Mass stranding off New Zealand coast kills 100 pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins
Credit: Source: Department of Conservation (NZ)

97 pilot whales and 3 bottlenose dolphins have died as a result of a mass stranding on the remote Chatham Islands, located 800 kilometers off New Zealand's east coast. New Zealand's Department of Conservation was notified of the incident on Sunday, however rescue efforts were thwarted by the remote location and rough sea conditions.

Science • Nature
Fourth-largest marine protected area in the world created in the South Atlantic
Fourth-largest marine protected area in the world created in the South Atlantic
Credit: unsplash.com / Yannis Papanastasopoulos

The British South Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha has created the world's fourth-largest marine reserve and has banned deep-sea mining and fishing with beam trawls over an area of 627,000 km². This created the largest protected area in the Atlantic Ocean and the fourth largest in the world.

The protected area is part of the so-called blue belt, a protection program for British overseas territories, which the British government is funding with 27 million pounds (approx. 30 million euros). So far, a total of 11.1 million square kilometers have been protected - that is one percent of the world's ocean area.

Science • Animals
Tasmanian devils are reintroduced to Australia after 3,000-year-absence
Tasmanian devils are reintroduced to Australia after 3,000-year-absence
Credit: Mathias Appel / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons CC0 Waiver)

Tasmanian devils are returning back to Australia after a 3,000-year-absence. Eleven of the carnivorous marsupials have been released into a 400-hectare wildlife sanctuary north of Sydney, New South Wales, Australian, the conservation group Aussie Ark that aided in the reintroduction program said in a statement.

"In 100 years, we are going to be looking back at this day as the day that set in motion the ecological restoration of an entire country. Not only is this the reintroduction of one of Australia's beloved animals, but of an animal that will engineer the entire environment around it, restoring and rebalancing our forest ecology after centuries of devastation from introduced foxes and cats and other invasive predators," so Aussie Ark president Tim Faulkner.

Science • Animals
Tasmanian devil returns to mainland Australia
Tasmanian devil returns to mainland Australia
Credit: unsplash.com / David Clode

For the first time in 50 years Tasmanian devils live on the Australian mainland again through a reintroduction action. Since Tasmanian devils play a crucial role in the ecosystem as scavengers, science has made great efforts to re-establish them in the mainland ecosystem. The 26 released animals now live in a 400 hectare fenced area of Wildlife Sanctuary north of Barrington Tops National Park.

Science • Animals
Scientists use false turtle eggs to track illegal egg trade
Scientists use false turtle eggs to track illegal egg trade
Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

Scientists have successfully used 3D-printed turtle eggs to track down the journey of robbed turtle eggs. Each of the artificial eggs had a transmitter in them to track the position, and the eggs were placed among 101 turtle nests on four beaches in Costa Rica.

Around a quarter of the fake eggs were stolen, giving the researchers insights into the trade behind the stolen eggs. Most of them remained in the region, giving them the researchers now the opportunity to do more to raise awareness among the population about the damages to the turtle species that are done by consuming the eggs.

According to the study published on the Current Biology journal, "Illegally collected clutches of turtle eggs containing a decoy transmitter enabled us to track the movements of traffickers, and thus gain a better understanding of illegal trade routes."

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
Environment Department in the UK considers total ban on fur sales after Brexit
Environment Department in the UK considers total ban on fur sales after Brexit
Credit: unsplash.com / Juliane Liebermann

According to reports Zac Goldsmith, minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, is considering a ban on all fur sales in the United Kingdom following the leave of the European Union's single market.

A spokesperson for the department has commented on the reports that "fur farming has rightly been banned in this country for nearly 20 years. Once our future relationship with the EU has been established there will be an opportunity for the government to consider further steps it could take in relation to fur sales".

Science • Animals
France plans to ban the use of wild animals in marine parks and circuses
France plans to ban the use of wild animals in marine parks and circuses
Credit: unsplash.com / Becky Phan

France's minister of ecological transition, Barbara Pompili, has announced that "in the coming years" bears, tigers, lions, elephants and other wild animals will not be banned from being held in traveling circuses.

With immediate effect, the three marine parks located in France won't be allowed to bring in and breed dolphins and killer whales.

Climate & Environment
United Nations members failed to reach goals to safeguard biodiversity, UN reports
United Nations members failed to reach goals to safeguard biodiversity, UN reports
Credit: Andreas Weith / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

According to the United Nations' Global Biodiversity Outlook report, zero of twenty goals that had been established in 2010 with the goal to preserve nature have been met fully.

Six of the 20 goals have been "partially achieved" namely preventing invasive species, conserving protected areas, access to and sharing benefits from genetic resources, biodiversity strategies and action plans, sharing information, and mobilizing resources.

The other targets only show slow progress or move in the opposite direction.

Regional News • Africa
Zimbabwe: Coal mining banned in national parks
Elephants at a water hole in the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Elephants at a water hole in the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe Credit: JackyR / Wikimedia Commons

Zimbabwe banned coal mining in all national parks. Previously the country allowed two Chinese firms to explore for coal in the country's biggest national park Hwange. The decision came after campaigners, in an effort to prevent "ecological degradation" in parks, took the government to court.

Numerous species live in the national parks, including 40,000 elephants and the endangered black rhino.

"Steps are being undertaken to immediately cancel all mining titles held in national parks," Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said as she announced the ban. The ban is effective with immediate effect.

Science • Animals
Numbers of elephants in Kenya have doubled over the last three decades
Numbers of elephants in Kenya have doubled over the last three decades
Credit: Kenya Wildlife Service via Facebook

Kenya's Tourism Minister Najib Balala has announced that the authorities of the country have "managed to tame poaching" over the past decades which lead to the doubling of the elephant population in the country.

While in 1989 only 16,000 lived in the country the number has grown to over 34,000 in 2018 according to the Director of the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) John Waweru.

Science • Animals
New Emperor penguin breeding sites have been found by satellites
New Emperor penguin breeding sites have been found by satellites
Credit: contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2019), processed by ESA (Open Government Licence v3.0)

The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) - the national Antarctic operation of the United Kingdom - has discovered new breeding sides of Emperor penguins. Through satellite images from the Europan Union's Sentinel-2 the BAS was able to identify the poo of the Penguins giving information about the location.

This discovery lifts the known global population of Emperor penguins by 5-10% as possibly as many as 278,500 pairs are breeding there. The new images have increased the number of known breeding sites from 50 to 61.

Science • Animals
Ecuador discovers fishing fleet of over 260 trawlers around 200 km from Galápagos Islands
Ecuador discovers fishing fleet of over 260 trawlers around 200 km from Galápagos Islands
Credit: amalavida.tv from Ecuador (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Around 200 miles into off the coasts from the Galápagos Islands, about 260 vessels have been spotted. Most of them have Chinese flags and all of them are outside the protected economic zone of 188-miles around the island.

The former minister of environment and conservationist Yolanda Kakabadse has stated that "this fleet’s size and aggressiveness against marine species is a big threat to the balance of species in the Galápagos".

Science • Animals
India: Tiger population has almost doubled in last 12 years
India: Tiger population has almost doubled in last 12 years
Credit: unsplash.com / satya deep

The Indian Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar has announced that India is home to 70% of the world's tiger population. According to him: "in 1973, there were just nine tiger reserves which have now increased to 50" and added that all of the tiger reserves are in good quality.

The published report covering the status of Tigers in India states that 1,923 tigers live in all reserves combined which makes 65 percent of the Indian tiger population.

Science • Animals
Owl rescued out of 40 metres deep airless well
Owl rescued out of 40 metres deep airless well
Credit: Freiwillige Feuerwehr der Stadt Bad Segeberg

After a citizen from the city of Bad Segeberg in northern Germany reported an animal in distress to the police, the Technical Relief Agency and fire brigade were able to rescue an owl from the bottom of an abandoned 40m deep well.

A special measuring device had been lowered on a long line to determine the ambient air in the weel which indicated poor oxygen levels after a few meters. With the help of binoculars and a spotlight, the owl could be spotted at the bottom of the well. The fire brigade then lowered an oxygen bottle into the well to provide the animal with oxygen and the Technical Relief Agency tried to lure it into a new. As this did not work, one of the emergency helpers was equipped with ropes and breathing protection and lowered into the well.

The owl could then be rescued out of the well and will now be looked after by the professionals from the Noctalis Bat Centre, who supported the rescue work the whole time.

Science • Animals
Vietnam bans import of wild animals
Monkey in Con Son Island, Vietnam
Monkey in Con Son Island, Vietnam Credit: Marek Michalsky

As one of the biggest Asian consumers of wildlife products, Vietnam has announced a suspension of all imports of wild animal species. The prime minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has signed a directive that bans the import of "dead or alive" wild animals and fathers contains a vow that all illegal markets across Vietnam will be "eliminated".

The order also covers parts of these animals, their eggs or derivatives. The chairman of the anti-animal-trafficking group Freeland, Steven Glaster, has stated that "Vietnam is to be congratulated for recognising that COVID-19 and other pandemics are linked to the wildlife trade".

Regional News • Africa
Malawi: Nine jailed over wildlife crimes
Malawi: Nine jailed over wildlife crimes
Credit: Save-Elephants / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Nine members (seven Chinese nationals, two Malawians) of a Chinese wildlife trafficking gang were found guilty of trafficking protected animal species and parts. These parts include ivory, rhino horns and pangolin scales. Each member will have to serve seven years in jail and will be deported upon release.

Science • Animals
Botswana: Mysterious death of hundreds of elephants
Botswana: Mysterious death of hundreds of elephants
Credit: Bernard DUPONT (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Botswana reports the death of hundreds of elephants since May. The cause of their death is still unknown, and Anthrax poisoning has been ruled out. Elephants were found with their tusks, so poaching was also ruled out. Authorities have collected samples which will be tested in Canada, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

"We have had a report of 356 dead elephants in the area north of the Okavango Delta, and we have confirmed 275 so far," reports the director of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks Cyril Taolo.

Science • Animals
Endangered smoky mouse that had been feared to be extinct discovered alive

After the Australian bushfires in the beginning of 2020 the critically endangered smoky mouse had been feared have become wiped out. Now the New South Wales Office of Environment has spotted multiple of them alive in the Australian Kosciuszko national park. Matt Kean the New South Wales environment minister has stated that "We are relieved and delighted by this news as we were fearing the worst as more than 90% of their habitat was burnt".

Climate & Environment
Trump re-allows previously banned hunting methods

While the Obama administration had banned multiple hunting methods such as the use of doughnuts soaked in bacon grease to bait grizzly bears, the Trump administration has now reversed those bans. The new rules that are stated in the Federal Register and published by the National Park Service policy now state that the practices will be allowed again in 30 days.