1 Tahrcountry Musings: October 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Iguanas Listen To Birds To Avoid Predation

Iguana the world’s only sea-feeding lizard has come up with a surprise for researchers. Scientists have noted that Iguanas recognizes and utilizes the alarm call of the Galapagos Mockingbird. This is the first instance of a non-vocal species utilizing the calls of another species. Galapagos Hawk prey on both Iguanas and Mocking Bird. Scientists are trying to ascertain whether the eavesdropping on mockingbirds is a learned behavior or ingrained.
For more details refer to Maren N. Vitousek, James S. Adelman, Nathan C. Gregory, and James J. H. St Clair (2007).
Biology Letters, Heterospecific alarm call recognition in a non-vocal reptile.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ecological Vandalism In Cyprus

In what could be termed only as ecological vandalism Fifty-eight endangered Red footed Falcons (Falco vespertinus) have been shot dead in Cyprus. The red-footed falcon, nests in Europe and winters in Africa. Environmentalists the world over have condemned this irresponsible act and called for greater vigil.Cyprus is an important migratory route for birds.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Warning - From International Primatological Society

The International Primatological Society is ringing the alarm bell for primates. The report says Almost a third of the world's primates are in danger of extinction because of destruction of their habitat. 60 experts in the field led by the World Conservation Union prepared this report. Fate of Hainan gibbon from China and Miss Waldron's red colobus monkey from Ivory Coast hangs in balance. Scientist say as the primates are the closest living relatives of humans much more attention need to be paid to them.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New lynx population discovered in Spain

A previously unknown population of Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus ) has been discovered in Spain.Iberian lynx is considered to be the world’s most endangered cat species. The new population was discovered in previously unsurveyed estates in the Castilla-La Mancha region in central Spain. Conservationists are keen to find out whether this population is genetically distinct from the larger and more stable population of lynx found in Andujar in the south. The main threats faced by Iberian lynx are a lack of prey, accidental deaths from cars and trucks on Spanish roads, and new construction work destroying habitats.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Succour To The Birds Of Prey

Experts from 60 countries will gather for a conference at Loch Lomond , Scotland, United Kingdom from 22-25 October 2007, devising ways to save rare birds of prey. It is hoped that funds will be raised for future conservation activity. UK has chipped in with an initial £10,000 for conservation works. An agreement that will give teeth to the conservation initiatives will be finalised at a meeting in the United Arab Emirates in 2008 as a follow up to the present meeting.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mediterranean Monk Seal To Get More Protection

A new Memorandum of Understanding for the protection of the Eastern Atlantic Populations of the Mediterranean Monk Seal has been inked. The Islamic Republic of Mauritania, the Kingdom of Morocco, the Republic of Portugal and the Kingdom of Spain are the signatories. Monk Seal is classified as critically endangered by IUCN the World Conservation Union. No more than 500 seals remain in the Mediterranean and along the Eastern Atlantic coastline The Mediterranean Monk Seal plays an important role in coastal and marine ecosystems and is one of the most threatened marine mammals in the world. The MOU will help to stop the decline and promote recovery.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Ancient reptile tracks unearthed

315 million-year-old fossilised tracks of a reptile have been unearthed in Canada. The most likely track-maker was the Hylonomus lyelli reptile according to scientists. The footprints suggest reptiles evolved between one and three million years earlier than previously thought. Dr Falcon-Lang,University of Bristol, Professor Mike Benton, University of Bristol and colleagues from Britain and Canada were behind this path breaking discovery. Scientists believe that the reptiles gathering around a watering hole left the tracks preserved in sandstone. Look up the details in Journal of the Geological Society of London.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day

Today is blog action day.Bloggers world wide will be writing about environmental issues. Here is a small piece from me.

One thing that bothers me as a wildlifer is the increasing rate of human-wildlife conflict. This is bound to happen where the population is burgeoning. But the time has come to plan and put in to place schemes that take care of the needs of the people in and around wildlife reserves. There have been attempts in some areas. One of the finest examples is the scheme being implemented in Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala. Eco development committees of the local stakeholders have a say in running the affairs of the Park. Eco tourism related ventures bring in money to .the local community. It is truly a participatory approach in conservation. Other reserves also have to emulate this. One thing that puts off people is the delay in getting compensation for damages caused by wildlife attacks. This is one area that needs to be spruced up Compensation has to be adequate and it needs to be dispensed immediately. Delay brings in bad blood. The future of conservation in thickly populated countries lie in participatory approach. The local people have to be sensitized and brought in as partners of conservation.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

China – Rare South China Tiger Observed In The Wild

China's official Xinhua news agency reports that a rare South China tiger has been seen in the wild for the first time in decades. Chinese scientists had thought the tiger was extinct. It was a Chinese farmer in Shaanxi province who took the photograph and scientists had a close look at it before they confirmed it. The tiger is critically endangered and was last sighted in the wild in 1964. South China tiger is the smallest tiger subspecies.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Blog Action Day: One issue, thousands of voices

Thousands of voices will speak out for the environment for the first-ever Blog Action Day on 15 October. This non-profit event, partnered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is an unprecedented call for bloggers around the planet to write about environmental issues on the same day.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Wildlife – Use Of Human Shield

New research findings indicate that mammals use humans to shield against carnivores. This raise the possibility that redistribution has occurred in other mammalian taxa due to anthropogenic influences in ways we are yet to determine. This calls for new look at indirect anthropogenic effects on species distributions and behaviour. The new study was based in Yellowstone and demonstrated a substantive change in how Moose avoid predator brown bears, shifts birth sites shift away from traffic-averse brown bears and towards paved roads.If you are keen about more details look below.

  • Content Type Journal Article
  • Category Animal behaviour
  • DOI 10.1098/rsbl.2007.0415
  • Authors
    • Joel Berger, North America Program, Wildlife Conservation Society, Teton Valley, ID 83455, USA

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Wanna Make Elephants Run? Turn To Bees

African elephants are wary of bees. They have instinctive fear of the stings. The insects are able to inflict painful stings inside the animals' trunks. Researchers are using this information to drive away marauding elephants. Oxford University researchers found that elephants would quickly vacate a spot after hearing recordings of bees. The Oxford team set up concealed loudspeakers in trees where elephants regularly came. Ninety-four percent of the elephant families left the tree within 80 seconds of hearing bee sounds. More information can be accessed from the journal Current Biology.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Kouprey Is Real

The general belief to this day is that Kouprey, Cambodia’s national animal is a hybrid between Banteng and Zebu. Alexandre Hassanin and Anne Ropiquet from the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, France have turned this belief topsy turvy. Their DNA analysis has conclusively proved that kouprey is a real wild species, different from all other wild oxen. November issue of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. will carry the full details.

The world moves into "ecological overdraft"

The Economic Foundation UK says that the world as a whole is going into ecological debt driven by over-consumption. 'Ecological debt day' is the date when, in effect, humanity uses-up the resources the earth has available for the year, and begins eating into its stock of natural resources. Ecological Debt Day this year is three days earlier than in 2006 which itself was three days earlier than in 2005. This is just one of the findings of a new report from nef, Chinadependence: the second UK Interdependence report, published in association with the Open University. The report says the world's biggest carbon polluter is the United States. If everyone in the world had the same consumption rates as in the United States it would take 5.3 planet earths to support them. The figure was 3.1 for France and Britain, 3.0 for Spain, 2.5 for Germany and 2.4 for Japan. Green house emissions of Burgeoning economies like China and India are a fraction of those in Europe and the United States

Saturday, October 06, 2007

UNEP and Google On Clean Up Drive

People across the planet will be cleaning up their area and sharing the result with millions of people on the Internet in an innovative programme launched by Google and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). During International Cleanup Weekend on 13 and 14 October, community groups and individuals on every continent will be heading out in small groups with friends and family to clean up their local parks, beaches, streets and neighbourhoods. Under this new initiative, their activities and results will make history by being posted as photos and videos onto Google Map. This will give a global platform to every local initiative. Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP's Executive Director, said: "The power of local community action is being matched by the power of the World Wide Web. This should make a formidable partnership uniting and empowering groups from Bangalore to Bermuda and Berlin to Beijing in common cause." UNEP and Google encourage everyone to plan their own cleanup close to home, wherever they think there is the biggest need for it. To get started, go to: http://maps.google.com/help/maps/cleanup/

The inputs for this entry has comwe from UNEP

Friday, October 05, 2007

Crow Facts

The latest issue of journal science has some interesting facts about crows, to be specific, about New Caledonian crows (Corvus moneduloides). New Caledonian crows are found on the South Pacific island of New Caledonia. The birds are renowned for their sophisticated tool using ability, but until now, observing them in their natural habitat has not been successful. This species of crow is the only non-primate animal known to create and use new tools. Now scientists using miniature cameras have unraveled intricacies of how New Caledonian crows behave in the wild. They can use their bills to whittle twigs and leaves into bug-grabbing implements. The crows were also observed to be using grass stems on the forest floor for probing the leaf litter. Dr Christian Rutz, lead author of the paper is from the Department of Zoology at the University of Oxford, UK.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Indonesia – Plan To Plant 79 Million Trees in One Day

Indonesia, which is facing flak from world community for deforestation at alarming rate, has decided to bow to the demands from environmentalists or at least it seems to be so. Indonesia will plant 79 million trees in a single day on November 28th ahead of the U.N. climate change summit in Bali in December. This is part of a global campaign to plant one billion trees launched at U.N. climate change talks in Nairobi last year. Palm oil plantations have done irreparable damage to rain forests and the endangered Orangutans in Indonesia and this has earned the ire of the environmentalists.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Tragedy- 10000 Wildebeest Drowned

10,000 Wildebeest have drowned while attempting to cross Kenya's Mara River. They were swept away by the current at a deep crossing and drowned. Wildebeest make their annual migration from Serengeti Plain of Tanzania to greener pastures in Kenya covering a distance of 3,200 kilometers. One percent of the total species population has been wiped out in this tragedy.