1 Tahrcountry Musings: July 2006

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Scientists Solve Flying Reptile Mystery

The crest on the head of prehistoric flying reptiles was a puzzle for the scientists. Now UK scientists say they have resolved the mystery. A rare skull specimen found in Brazil shows the crest appeared at puberty, suggesting it was used to attract attention from the opposite sex. Dr Naish and colleague Dr David Martill who led the study examined the skull and found that the crest was different in the juvenile.Dr Naish said This is a significant find as it links the growth of the crest to physical maturity and therefore presumably to sex. The findings are published in the journal Palaeontology

Friday, July 21, 2006

Tiger Habitat Down By 40%

According to a comprehensive study just concluded, Tiger habitat is down by 40% from what they were a decade ago. WWF, Wildlife Conservation Society, the Smithsonian society, National Zoological Park and Save The Tiger Fund did the study. The study has identified 76 “tiger conservation landscapes”, places that have the best chance of supporting viable tiger populations into the future. The largest tiger landscapes exist in the Russian Far East and India. The conservation groups warn that it is critical to also address poaching of tigers along with the efforts at preserving tiger habitats.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Chinese Panda Sanctuary Gets World Heritage Status

The Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries in southwestern China has been named a World Heritage site by the United Nations. Out of the 1,600 Giant Pandas that are left in the wild,30% lives here. The move brings cheer to the conservationists who have been clamouring for this for many years.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Taiwanese authorities seize Illegal ivory

Taiwanese authorities have confiscated more than five tonnes of ivory in the southern port city of Kaohsiung Harbour. The seizure weighed a total of 3,026kg. The illegal consignment originated from Tanzania and was destined for Manila, the Philippines. Asian and African elephants are listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES), which prohibits all commercial trade in these species. Environmentalists have urged Taiwanese authorities to link up with the ASEAN-WEN( Association of South-east Asian nations Wildlife Enforcement Network), as well as at the source in Tanzania, to ensure follow-up investigations.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

West African black rhino feared extinct

The West African black (Diceros bicornis longipes) is now feared extinct. This is according to new estimates announced by the African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG) of the IUCN’s Species Survival Commission. An intensive survey earlier this year of the West African black rhino has failed to locate any sign of their continued presence in their last refuges in northern Cameroon. AfRSG chairman Dr Martin Brooks said “this subspecies has been tentatively declared as extinct”

Friday, July 07, 2006

Scientists Unravel Mammoth Coat Colour

Scientists have determined the coat colour of mammoths that roamed the Earth thousands of years ago. The information came from a 43,000-year-old woolly mammoth bone from Siberia using the latest genetic techniques. The animals would have sported dark brown coats. Dr Michael Hofreiter from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany, led the study. Details of the study appear in the latest issue of journal Science.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

World Conservation Union Recommends Three New World Heritage Sites

Based on a rigorous yearlong evaluation process, World Conservation Union has recommended for inscription on the World Heritage List 3 new sites. The sites are China ’s Giant Panda Sanctuaries, the species rich Pacific waters surrounding Colombia ’s Malpelo Island, and the uplifting Kvarken Archipelago of Finland. World Heritage Committee will take decisions next week at its 30th session in Vilnius, Lithuania.