The Box Jelly Fish

The box jelly fish. Its Venom attackes the heart, nervous system, and skin cells. the most venomous marine animal in the world.

Often found floating (or moving at speeds close to five miles per hour) in the Indo-Pacific waters north of Australia, these transparent, nearly invisible invertebrates are considered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as the most venomous marine animal in the world. Their namesake cubic frames contain up to 15 tentacles at the corners, with each growing as much as 10 feet long, all lined with thousands of stinging cells—known as nematocysts—that contain toxins that simultaneously attack the heart, nervous system, and skin cells. While antivenins do exist, the venom is so potent and overwhelming that many human victims, of the hundreds of reported fatal encounters each year, have been known to go into shock and drown or die of heart failure before reaching shore. Even if you are lucky enough to make it to the hospital and receive the antidote, survivors can sometimes experience considerable pain for weeks afterward and bear nasty scars from the creature’s tentacles.

The Golden Poison Frog

The poisonous  golden frog is found in the pacific coast of colombia
The golden poison frog (Phyllobates terribilis), also known as the golden frog, golden poison arrow frog, or golden dart frog, is a poison dart frog endemic to the Pacific coast of Colombia. The optimal habitat of P. terribilis is the rainforest with high rain rates (5 m or more per year), altitudes between 100 and 200 m, temperatures of at least 26 °C, and relative humidity of 80–90%. In the wild, P. terribilis is a social animal, living in groups of up to six individuals; however, captive P. terribilis specimens can live in much larger groups. These frogs are often considered innocuous due to their small size and bright colours, but wild frogs are lethally toxic.

The golden poison frog is endemic to humid forests of the Pacific coast of Colombia in the Cauca and Valle del Cauca Departments. Its range is less than 5,000 square km. It is only known from primary forest. The eggs are laid on the ground; the males transport the tadpoles to permanent pools.

P. terribilis is the largest species of poison dart frog, and can reach a size of 55 mm as adults, with females typically being larger than males. Like all poison dart frogs, the adults are brightly colored, but they lack the dark spots present in many other dendrobatids. The frog's colour pattern is aposematic (which is a warning coloration to warn predators of its toxicity). The frog has tiny adhesive disks on its toes, which aid climbing of plants. It also has a bone plate in the lower jaw, which gives it the appearance of having teeth, a distinctive feature not observed in the other species of Phyllobates. The frog is normally diurnal. P. terribilis occurs in three different color varieties or morphs:

MINT GREEN
The largest morph of P. terribilis exists in the La Brea area of Colombia, and is the most common form seen in captivity. The name "mint green" is actually rather misleading, as the frogs of this morph can be metallic green, pale green, or white.

YELLOW
The yellow morph is the reason it has the common name golden poison dart frog. Yellow P. terribilis specimens are found in Quebrada Guangui, Colombia. These frogs can be pale yellow to deep, golden yellow in color. A frog sold under the name "gold terribilis" was once believed to be a deeper yellow P. terribilis. However, genetic tests have proven these frogs to be uniform-colored morphs of Phyllobates bicolor.

ORANGE
While not as common as the other two morphs, orange examples of P. terribilis exist in Colombia, as well. They tend to be a metallic orange or yellow-orange in color, with varying intensity.

The golden poison frog's skin is densely coated in an alkaloid toxin, one of a number of poisons common to dart frogs (batrachotoxins). This poison prevents its victim's nerves from transmitting impulses, leaving the muscles in an inactive state of contraction, which can lead to heart failure or fibrillation. Alkaloid batrachotoxins can be stored by frogs for years after the frog is deprived of a food-based source, and such toxins do not readily deteriorate, even when transferred to another surface.

The golden poison frog is not venomous, but poisonous: venomous animals have a delivery method for the toxin, such as fangs or spines, while poisonous animals and plants do not have a delivery method and rely on transference of the toxin, typically by, but not limited to, ingestion. Like most poison dart frogs, P. terribilis uses poison only as a self-defense mechanism and not for killing prey.

The average dose carried will vary between locations, and consequent local diet, but the average wild P. terribilis is generally estimated to contain about one milligram of poison, enough to kill about 10,000 mice. This estimate will vary in turn, but most agree this dose is enough to kill between 10 and 20 humans, which correlates to up to two African bull elephants. This is roughly 15,000 humans per gram.

This extraordinarily lethal poison is very rare. Batrachotoxin is only found in three poisonous frogs from Colombia (genus Phyllobates), nine birds from Papua New Guinea (including the genus Pitohui); and four Papuan beetles of the genus Choresine in the family Melyridae; C. pulchra, C. semiopaca, C. rugiceps and C. sp. A. Other related toxins, histrionicotoxin and pumiliotoxin, are found in frog species from the genus Dendrobates.

The golden poison frog, like most other poisonous frogs, stores its poison in skin glands. Due to their poison, the frogs are deterrent to predators; P. terribilis poison probably kills any predator, except for one snake species, Liophis epinephelus. This snake may be resistant to the frog's poison, but is not immune (Myers & Daly, 1978).

The poisonous frogs and birds themselves are perhaps the only creatures to be immune to this poison. Batrachotoxin attacks the sodium channels of nerve cells, but the frog has special sodium channels the poison cannot harm.

Since easily purchased foods are not rich in the alkaloids required to produce batrachotoxins, captive frogs do not produce toxins and they eventually lose their toxicity in captivity. In fact, many hobbyists and herpetologists have reported that most dart frogs will not consume ants at all in captivity, though ants constitute the larger portion of their diets in the wild, likely due to the unavailability of the natural prey species of ants to captive frog keepers. Though all poison frogs lose their toxicity when deprived of certain foods, and captive-bred golden poison frogs are born harmless, a wild-caught poison frog can retain alkaloids for years. It is not clear which prey species supplies the potent alkaloid that gives golden poison frogs their exceptionally high levels of toxicity, or whether the frogs modify another available toxin to produce a more efficient variant, as do some of the frogs from the genus Dendrobates.

Thus, the high toxicity of P. terribilis appears to be due to the consumption of small insects or other arthropods, and one of these may truly be the most poisonous creature on Earth. Scientists have suggested the crucial insect may be a small beetle from the family Melyridae. At least one species of these beetles produces the same toxin found in P. terribilis. Their relatives in Colombian rainforests could be the source of the batrachotoxins found in the highly toxic Phyllobates frogs of that region.

The Cone Snail


Poisonous Snail,  The venom contain many different toxins that vary in their effects; some are extremely toxic
Photo Credit: diveralertnetwork.org

Cone snails, cone shells or cones are common names for a large group of small to large-sized extremely venomous predatory sea snails, marine gastropod molluscs.

Until fairly recently, over 600 species of cone snails were all classified under one genus, Conus, in one family, the Conidae. However, in recent years, it was suggested that cone snails should occupy only a subfamily that should be split into a very large number of genera. A 2014 paper attempted to stabilize a newer classification of the group, significantly reducing the number of new genera, but keeping a fairly large number of subgenera. Although the taxonomy has changed significantly several times during recent years, in the current (2015) version of the taxonomy of these snails and their close relatives, cone snails once again comprise the entire family Conidae.

Geologically speaking, fossils of cone snails are known from the Eocene to the Holocene epochs. Cone snail species have shells that are shaped more or less like geometric cones. Many species have colorful patterning on the shell surface. Cone snails are almost all tropical in distribution.

Because all cone snails are venomous and capable of "stinging" humans, live ones should never be handled, as their venomous sting will occur without warning and can be fatal. The species most dangerous to humans are the larger cones, which prey on small bottom-dwelling fish; the smaller species mostly hunt and eat marine worms. Cone snails use a hypodermic needle-like modified radula tooth and a venom gland to attack and paralyze their prey before engulfing it. The tooth, which is sometimes likened to a dart or a harpoon, is barbed and can be extended some distance out from the head of the snail, at the end of the proboscis.

Cone snail venoms are mainly peptides. The venoms contain many different toxins that vary in their effects; some are extremely toxic. The sting of small cones is no worse than a bee sting, but the sting of a few of the larger species of tropical cone snails can be serious, occasionally even fatal to humans. Cone snail venom is showing great promise as a source of new, medically important substances.

The Africa Buffalo

The african buffalo is an animal found in the forest of central and west africa.

The African buffalo or Cape buffalo (Syncerus caffer) is a large African bovine. It is not closely related to the slightly larger wild water buffalo of Asia and its ancestry remains unclear. Syncerus caffer caffer, the Cape buffalo, is the typical subspecies, and the largest one, found in South and East Africa. S. c. nanus (African forest buffalo) is the smallest subspecies, common in forest areas of Central and West Africa, while S. c. brachyceros is in West Africa and S. c. aequinoctialis is in the savannas of East Africa. The adult buffalo's horns are its characteristic feature; they have fused bases, forming a continuous bone shield across the top of the head referred to as a "boss". They are widely regarded as very dangerous animals, as they gore and kill over 200 people every year.

The African buffalo is not an ancestor of domestic cattle and is only distantly related to other larger bovines. Owing to its unpredictable nature, which makes it highly dangerous to humans, the African buffalo has never been domesticated, unlike its Asian counterpart, the water buffalo. Other than humans, African Cape buffaloes have few predators aside from lions and large crocodiles, and are capable of defending themselves. Being a member of the big five game, the Cape buffalo is a sought-after trophy in hunting.

The african buffalo is an animal found in the forest of central and west africa.
Photo Credit: sibuya.co.za

The African buffalo is a very robust species. Its shoulder height can range from 1.0 to 1.7 m (3.3 to 5.6 ft) and its head-and-body length can range from 1.7 to 3.4 m (5.6 to 11.2 ft). Compared with other large bovids, it has a long but stocky body (the body length can exceed the wild water buffalo, which is heavier and taller) and short but thickset legs, resulting in a relatively short standing height. The tail can range from 70 to 110 cm (28 to 43 in) long. Savannah-type buffaloes weigh 500 to 1,000 kg (1,100 to 2,200 lb), with males normally larger than females, reaching the upper weight range. In comparison, forest-type buffaloes, at 250 to 450 kg (600 to 1,000 lb), are only half that size. Its head is carried low; its top is located below the backline. The front hooves of the buffalo are wider than the rear, which is associated with the need to support the weight of the front part of the body, which is heavier and more powerful than the back.

Savannah-type buffaloes have black or dark brown coats with age. Old bulls have whitish circles around their eyes. Females tend to have more-reddish coats. Forest-type buffaloes are reddish brown in colour with horns that curve back and slightly up. Calves of both types have red coats.

A characteristic feature of the horns of adult male African buffalo is fusion of their bases, forming a continuous bone shield referred to as a "boss". From the base, the horns diverge downwards, then smoothly curve upwards and outwards. In large bulls, the distance between the ends of the horns can reach upwards of one metre. The horns form fully when the animal reaches the age of five or six years. In cows, the horns are, on average, 10–20% smaller, and the boss is less prominent. Forest buffalo horns are smaller than those of the savannah buffalo, usually measuring less than 40 centimetres (16 in), and are almost never fused.

South Africa’s rhino poaching trends show a slight decrease—but death toll remains too high

South Africa’s rhino poaching trends show a slight decrease—but death toll remains too high

New rhino poaching numbers out of South Africa show a small decrease from the previous year, but the death toll remains perilously high.
The South African Department of Environmental Affairs announced that poachers killed 1,028 rhinos in 2017, down from 1,054 in 2016. Officials recorded a record loss of 1,215 rhinos in 2014.
Much of the poaching has shifted to rhino populations living outside of South Africa’s Kruger National Park to places where the risk of getting caught is lower and the benefits are greater.
Unfortunately, we’re seeing an increase in poaching numbers for other species in Kruger. Elephant losses grew to 67 in 2017 from 46 in 2016.

South Africa’s rhino poaching trends show a slight decrease—but death toll remains too high
Photo Credit: cnet.com
“Wildlife trafficking remains a pervasive threat to rhinos, and increasingly to other species such as elephants and lions which bring tourists and jobs to our important protected areas,” said Dr. Jo Shaw, African rhino lead for WWF International. “These crimes also affect people living around our parks by exposing them to criminals connected to international trafficking syndicates.”
Despite the still dangerously high rhino poaching numbers, the South African government has made some progress in tackling the issue. It has increased the number of convictions for illegal activities relating to rhinos, especially higher up within the criminal syndicates behind the poaching. And it’s working closely with communities to get them involved in the legal wildlife economy, including ecotourism.

Gorilla twins of Dzanga-Sangha turn 2 years old

Gorilla twins of Dzanga-Sangha turn 2 years old


Despite these ordinary behaviors, these siblings are quite extraordinary: Inganda and Inguka are the first twins born to habituated western gorillas in the Dzanga-Sangha Protected Areas complex in the Central African Republic (CAR).

As the twins mark their second birthday, conservationists are celebrating. “I have observed many infant gorillas grow and develop from birth into sub-adults,” says Terence Fuh Neba, a primate conservationist working for WWF-CAR, “But observing the twins is a heartening and an extraordinary experience for me.”

Western lowland gorillas like Inganda and Inguka are Critically Endangered. They face serious threats from poaching, disease and habitat loss across Central Africa.

To protect these gorillas and their forests, WWF and the government of the CAR launched the Primate Habituation Program in the Dzanga-Sangha Protected Areas in 1997. Together, we work to habituate gorillas for tourism and research.

Habituating great apes to human presence is important for conservation as it not only increases scientific knowledge and understanding of the species, it can also generate funding for conservation activities and revenue for local economies, strengthening the link between conservation and communities.

To date, the program has successfully habituated three western lowland gorilla groups while two additional groups are presently undergoing habituation. The program is also a major source of employment for local people. This includes indigenous Ba’Aka people hired as trackers and Bantu people working as guides. Today, the Primate Habituation Program is considered one of the most successful Western Lowland Gorilla tourism and research programs in Central Africa.

Meanwhile, Iganda and Inguku continue to explore the world around them. Inganda seems to be his mother Malui’s preferred twin—or maybe just the weaker one—and spends most of his time riding on her back. Inguka, on the other hand, has gained his position within the group, staying close to the silverback and interacting with other group members. Inguka is most often on the ground and can climb to nearly 100 feet without assistance. The twins’ older siblings have played a great role in raising Inguka, making the job easier for Malui.

“Every day with the gorillas is special,” says Terence. Though Western gorilla populations are declining, the mountain gorillas’ story offers hope for the species and its forest home.  

Tanzania: Plans to auction 3.5 tonnes of hippo teeth sparks outrage

Creatures increasingly threatened by demand for body parts and meat, conservationists warn



Wildlife conservation groups have criticized plans by Tanzanian authorities to auction 3.5 tonnes of hippo teeth next week. They said the move could increase poaching.
Licensed dealers will be able to bid for 12,500 pieces of hippo teeth at the tourism and natural resources ministry in the city of Dar es Salaam, wildlife authorities in the east African nation said.
Conservationist said the sale could encourage the killing of the creatures, which are classified as “vulnerable” on the international “red list” of endangered species.
There are up to 130,000 hippos in sub-Saharan Africa, according to estimates.
But the animal has become increasingly threatened by a demand for their meat, skin and teeth as well as habitat loss.
A regulated trade in hippo parts is allowed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Their teeth are carved for ornaments and sold in parts of Asia.

Photographer captures astonishing moment butterfly lands on barn owl's head

Photographer captures astonishing moment butterfly lands on barn owl's head


This perfectly-timed photo shows a stunning barn owl - with a butterfly on its head.
Rob Bates, 34, took the photo of the bird of prey when it landed on a hay bail just 20 feet away.
He noticed a butterfly flapping around the owl's head - and waited patiently for the perfect shot, in Bridlington, Yorkshire.
Rob, a tattoo artist, from Aston, Sheffield, said: “I was on a bird of prey photography workshop.
“Everyone took a few shots then moved onto the next bird, while the owl still stood there.
“Then out of the corner of my eye I noticed something flying around it.
“It was a beautiful butterfly so I re-positioned myself and waited for the perfect shot.
“This butterfly looked as though it was almost attracted to the owl as it wouldn't leave it alone, flying around its head, while the owl wasn't bothered at all.

A Persian leopard makes her debut into the wild—for the second time

A Persian leopard makes her debut into the wild—for the second time


Meet Victoria. She was among three Persian leopards released in 2016 into the wild of the Caucasus Nature Reserve—a place where the species had gone extinct. Last June, she went off the grid, only to reappear six months later in November in the village of Lykhny. Residents found traces of a leopard entering the community at night, so local authorities notified the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment of Russia about the animal’s approximate location. 

The specialists who came to safely capture and examine the leopard quickly realized it was Victoria. They brought her to the leopard reintroduction center in Sochi. After examinations showed she was in great health, experts decided to re-release her with a new GPS collar. 

Will there be enough fish to feed the world in 2050?

Will there be enough fish to feed the world in 2050?

Will there be enough fish to feed the world in 2050?

The world must do more to sustainably manage fishing if we’re to address increasing global demand for protein in the coming decades. If the situation doesn’t improve, millions of people may no longer be able to afford fish by 2050, particularly those in developing coastal countries. 
More than 3 billion people get at least 20% of their animal protein from fish. On top of that, roughly 500 million people depend on the fishing industry for work and a pay check. Still, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization tells us that 90 percent of assessed wild fish populations cannot handle the pressure of additional fishing and for about a third of that, fishing actually needs to be substantially reduced.
What does that mean as the global population continues to rise?
The world will be able to catch an additional 10 million metric tons of fish in 2050 if management stays as effective as it is today, says the report. But increasing catches without significantly improving management risks the health of predator species and could destabilize entire ecosystems.
There is only one way to increase global catch quantities that are relevant, sustainable and meet growing demand and that is to improve fishery management significantly worldwide. Ecological impacts must be considered far more than has been the case to date.
If such a management system is enforced, an additional 35 million metric tons of fish could be caught sustainably in 2050. Responsible aquaculture could provide even more to help fill the demand.
The best way to protect the long-term food and economic security that the ocean provides is for all fishing to be done sustainably.

A photographer gets close to one of the world’s rarest cats

A photographer gets close to one of the world’s rarest cats,Iberian Lynx



The Iberian lynx is one of the world’s most endangered cat species. Once found in Spain, Portugal, and parts of France, this small, short-tailed carnivore is now mostly confined to a few regions of Spain. Fewer than 500 are estimated to exist in the wild.
In 2009, I spent three months documenting these rare and beautiful cats in the Sierra de Andujar, a rocky, semi-mountainous park in southern Spain. My assignment was to follow a team of biologists who were trying to support the lynx population through “predator-proof” enclosures.
These enclosures were designed to help the cats catch rabbits, which make up 95% of their diet. In recent decades, disease and unsustainable hunting have hit the area’s rabbit populations hard, reducing the lynxes’ food supply. To combat that problem, scientists have been artificially introducing rabbits into the enclosures. Each one has a fence that’s low enough for lynxes to jump over, but high enough to keep out badgers, foxes, wild boar, and other predators.
As the biologists went about their work, I pitched a camouflaged tent by one of the enclosures. I stayed in it for days on end, ate food that left a strong scent, and even peed around the area—anything to get the lynxes used to me and help them see that I wasn't a threat.
Eventually, the waiting paid off. The cats started venturing near, and a handful spent hours in close proximity to me. One kept jumping over a particular low point in the fence. Eventually, when I saw it approaching, I aimed my camera at that spot—and caught its beautiful leap before it hit the ground in search of its next meal.

New study shows 27% decrease in area occupied by monarch butterflies

New study shows 27% decrease in area occupied by monarch butterflies


The latest survey of monarch butterfly’s winter habitat in Mexico is a stark reminder that these butterflies are in need of protection: The area occupied by the butterfly colonies has decreased 27% compared to last year’s survey, which is conducted every winter at the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve.
The forest area occupied by these butterflies is an indirect indicator of the number of migratory monarchs that arrive to Mexico for the winter. Each year, these butterflies migrate between 1,200 to 2,800 miles from Southeast Canada and Northeast United States to establish colonies in temperate forests in the mountains located at the border of Michoacán and the State of Mexico.
The monarch butterfly migration is a natural phenomenon like no other. But across their migratory routes, monarchs face multiple threats to their survival. Milkweed, the only plant monarchs use to lay eggs and the main source of food for baby caterpillars is disappearing due to herbicide use and land conversion. The forests in Mexico where monarchs spend their winters are under threat from illegal logging. Extreme weather conditions, from warmer climate to winter storms are an additional threat.

Police arrest 'kingpin' of Asia's biggest wildlife smuggling syndicate

Police arrest 'kingpin' of Asia's biggest wildlife smuggling syndicate


The Thai police have arrested the alleged kingpin of Asia’s biggest illegal wildlife trading 

network, accusing him of smuggling protected animal parts like rhino horns and elephant 

ivory.
Boonchai Bach, 40, a Thai of Vietnamese origin, was detained on Friday in Nakorn Panom, a town next to the Mekong River on the border with Laos, for his alleged involvement in trafficking 14 rhino horns worth about  £ 700,000 from Thailand to Africa in December.
The police claim he is the “ringleader” of a “major smuggling syndicate” that has been trading in illicit animal parts for over a decade. He faces up to four years in jail if convicted.
Mr Bach’s arrest has been hailed as a breakthrough in dismantling the world’s fourth most lucrative black market industry after drugs, people and arms smuggling – worth £17.5bn a year.
He and his family are suspected of being major players in an international supply chain selling poached animal parts from elephants, rhinos, pangolins, tigers and lions to dealers in Laos, Vietnam and China.
One of Mr Bach’s clients is believed to be Vixay Keosavang, who is reportedly Southeast Asia’s biggest wildlife dealer. The illicit network of regional traffickers has been dubbed “Hydra” by the authorities and animal rights activists.
According to the Guardian, an investigation by Freeland, an organisation countering wildlife trafficking and human slavery, enabled the police to swoop on the suspect.
The build-up to Mr Bach’s arrest began last month after a routine inspection of cargo on a flight to Ethiopia uncovered rhino horns. The bags were allowed to pass through, to allow the Thai police to pinpoint the culprits.
After tracking all the people involved in the consignment, the authorities say they have enough evidence to charge him.
“This arrest is significant for many reasons,” said Police Colonel Chutrakul Yodmadee. “The confiscated items are huge in value. And we are able to arrest the whole network involved.”
In a statement released on Saturday, Freeland documented how it had tracked the illicit international trafficking networks for several years.
“This arrest spells hope for wildlife. We hope Thailand, its neighbouring countries, and counterparts in Africa will build on this arrest and tear Hydra completely apart,” said Steven Galster, founder of Freeland, who has followed Hydra since 2003.

Seal pup births show conservation efforts are working

Seal pup births show conservation efforts are working
Photo Credit: worldwildlife.org





This past winter, the rare ringed seals of Lake Saimaa received a lifeline via man-made snowbanks. The seals were struggling to find nests to give birth, so a group of volunteers, including WWF, went to work to create snow banks for them. Out of the 81 pups born months later, 90% were born in these man-made snowbanks.


With an estimated 360 individuals left in the wild, the Saimaa ringed seal is one of the rarest seals in the world. Found only in the Saimaa water system in Finland, the seals face increasingly low-snow winters due to climate change and this makes nesting more difficult. The ringed seal gives birth to its pups in a cave-like nest that it builds inside a snow bank on top of the lake’s ice. In recent years, there has not been enough snow for the seals to build nests and they have had to give birth to their pups on bare ice, where they have no shelter against predators, the cold and other disturbances.

The man-made snow banks make it considerably easier for the pups to survive. The operation is coordinated by the Finnish Metsähallitus (Parks and Wildlife Finland) and a large group of volunteer workers take part in it every year. This past winter, nearly 280 artificial snow banks were made, which saved the nesting season of the Saimaa ringed seal.

 “Making these snow banks is a prime example of concrete and productive nature conservation. The volunteers who helped to build the snow banks have once again done a great and worthwhile job to help the Saimaa ringed seal. Without this large group of volunteers, the operation could not have been completed all throughout the Saimaa region”, says Petteri Tolvanen, WWF Finland’s Head of Program.

WWF Finland has worked in many ways to protect the Saimaa ringed seal since 1979 and thanks to these efforts, the population of the Saimaa ringed seal, previously facing extinction, has been preserved and even increased. But the seals will need protection for years to come. In addition to climate change, the Saimaa ringed seal is threatened by fishing nets and disturbance. WWF aims to get the Saimaa ringed seal population up to 400, which is considered the level at which a population is deemed to be safe.

Shocking declines in bird numbers show British wildlife is 'in serious trouble'

British wild life animals, birds in serious trouble
Photo Credit: sciencemag.org

Populations of farmland, woodland and marine birds have all fallen dramatically over the past 50 years, according to new government figures.

In all bird species, populations have declined by six per cent since 1970, but some species saw stunning declines over the past five decades, as pesticides, the intensification of farming and the removal of hedgerows wreaked havoc.

Bird populations are seen as a key indicator of the health of the natural world as they tend to feed on small insects that are the basis of the food chain.

British wild life animals, birds in serious trouble
Photo Credit: audubon.org

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said the figures, produced by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), said that “wildlife is in serious trouble”.


However, the charity added that in most cases it was known what to do to help the species recover.

The figures cover 130 bird species, including turtle doves, corn buntings, willow tits and grey partridges, which have all fallen to less than 10 per cent of the levels in 1970.

There were also some success stories with populations of birds like blackcaps, great spotted woodpeckers, red kites and collared doves increasing by several times.

British wild life animals in serious trouble

But the overall picture was one of decline.

Birds associated with farmland, which covers 75 per cent of land in the UK, were down by 55 per cent, woodland birds by 21 per cent and seabirds by 20 per cent.

On farmland birds, the Defra report said: “The majority of this decline occurred between the late 70s and the 80s largely due to the impact of rapid changes in farmland management during this period.

“More recently decline has continued but slowed; the smoothed index decreased by eight per cent between 2009 and 2014.”

How climate change is turning green turtle populations female in the northern Great Barrier Reef

How climate change is turning green turtle populations female in the northern Great Barrier Reef

A new study reveals rising temperatures are turning green turtle populations almost completely female in the northern Great Barrier Reef. 
More than 200,000 nesting females—one of the largest populations in the world—call the northern Great Barrier Reef home. But this population could eventually crash without more males, according to the study published in Current Biology
How does climate change impact sex?
Because incubation temperature of turtle eggs determines the animal’s sex, a warmer nest results in more females. Increasing temperatures in Queensland’s north, linked to climate change, have led to virtually no male northern green sea turtles being born.
For the study, scientists caught green turtles at the Howick Group of islands where both northern and southern green turtle populations forage in the Great Barrier Reef.  Using a combination of endocrinology and genetic tests, researchers identified the turtles’ sex and nesting origin.
Of green turtles from warmer northern nesting beaches, 99.1% of juveniles, 99.8% of subadults, and 86.8% of adults were female. Turtles from the cooler southern reef nesting beaches showed a more moderate female sex bias (65%–69% female).
Lead author Dr. Michael Jensen, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says northern Great Barrier Reef green turtle nesting beaches have been producing primarily females for more than two decades resulting in “extreme female bias”.

Germany’s 'first wild bison in 250 years’ shot dead by authorities

Wild Animal, Bison shot dead in germany

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) says it will be filing charges against officials in eastern Germany who ordered hunters to shoot a wild bison believed to be the first of its kind spotted in the country in over 250 years. 

Police say a man spotted the bison near the Oder River in Lebus, a town nearly 88km east of Berlin, on 13 September, The Local reports. 

WWF Germany said local officials determined the creature to be a threat to the safety of the community and order the bison to be killed.

“The release of a strictly protected animal without a potential hazard is a criminal offence,” WWF chief nature conservation officer Christoph Heinrich has said in a statement.

“After more than 250 years a wild bison had been spotted again in Germany and all the authorities could think to do is shoot it,” he also told The Local.

The Independent has contacted local officials for comment.

WWF says on its website that the “species-specific behaviour of [bison] is not a threat to humans”, adding there have been “successful projects with wild-living [bison] both in Poland and now in Germany”.

“The shooting is unfortunately also an expression of the helplessness of the authorities, how they should deal with wild animals,” Mr Heinrich added. 

“There is a lack of professional trained staff in the area.”