Wildlife

Beaver Cull – Indiana, USA

Wildlife officials are culling beavers and demolishing their dams in a swampland nature preserve in southwestern Indiana to protect a species of oak tree rarely found in the state.

Overcup oaks thrive in swamps, but beaver dams in the Twin Swamps Nature Preserve have elevated water levels so high that the trees have been damaged or killed.

Now, the state has stepped in to combat the threat at the 500-acre (200-hectare) property in Mount Vernon. Despite the delicacy of the habitat and the apparent destruction of the beavers, the goal isn’t to eliminate the beaver population from the preserve altogether, but to reduce it.

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Wildlife

Dam Good Work

Returning wild beavers to their former habitats can help clean up polluted waterways and restore the natural environment for other wildlife, according to a new study by the University of Exeter.

The British scientists worked with the Devon Wildlife Trust to find that the toothy animals can remove large amounts of sediment, as well as nitrogen and phosphorus pollution created by agriculture, from the water that flows through the ponds they create with their dams.

All that material can create problems for wildlife and, without the beavers, needs to be removed at processing plants before the water can be used by humans.

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Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

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In the North Atlantic Ocean: Tropical Storm Maria is located about 145 mi…235 km E of Cape Hatteras North Carolina with maximum sustained winds…70 mph…110 km/h. Present movement…N or 5 degrees at 5 mph…7 km/h.

Hurricane Lee is located about 520 mi…840 km ESE of Bermuda and about 1750 mi…2820 km W of the Azores with maximum sustained winds…110 mph…175 km/h. Present movement…WNW or 285 degrees at 09 mph…15 km/h.

Newsbytes:

North Carolina, USA – Tropical Storm Maria is pushing high surf over North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where more than 10,000 visitors were told to leave the islands while floodwaters surrounded numerous homes.

England – In 2012, the center of Lydbrook, a village skirting the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, England, was deluged with several feet of water. The flash flooding, unleashed by torrential rainfall across the region, sparked a mandatory evacuation and left badly damaged homes and businesses in its wake. Now, two years later, the Forestry Commission has decided to bring in the big guns to further prevent flooding: beavers. The idea is that once released, the clan of industrious semiaquatic rodents will get to work doing what they do best: constructing an intricate network of dams, ponds and canals that, in this instance, will slow the flow of Greathough Brook and prevent upwards of 6,000 cubic meters (1.6 million gallons) of water from rushing into the valley-bound village below. While a qualified team of engineers that don’t have webbed hind feet could be brought in to dam the stream, the beaver is, well, cheaper and can get the job done in a swifter and less intrusive manner.

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Wildlife

Arctic Migrants

An Inuvialuit hunter high in the Canadian Arctic came across the first beaver anyone in the region has ever killed — another sign climate change is driving the species northward.

“We saw something walk toward us and it was a beaver. So I drove up to it and I shot it,” said Richard Gruben, vice president of the Tuktoyaktuk Hunters and Trappers Association.

The invading beavers pose a significant threat to the Arctic ecosystem because of the way they reshape the landscape with dams. Gruben says some lakes have already dried up because of beaver dams.

Serengeti Invasion

Non-native plants that have been brought in by visitors or planted for decoration around tourist lodges threaten to spread across East Africa’s Serengeti-Mara landscape, where they could disrupt the annual migration of 2 million grazing animals.

A survey by an international team of researchers reveals that the invasive plants are now on the edges of the vast savannas, home to Africa’s famed wildebeest, zebra and gazelle populations.

The researchers say that if the plants were to spread and displace native vegetation, it would mean less forage for the wildlife.

Wildlife

Beaver Cull

Argentina and Chile have declared all-out war on 100,000 invasive beavers that are devastating ancient forests in a far southern region known as the End of the World.

Fifty beavers were imported from Canada to Tierra del Fuego in 1946 in a misguided attempt to create a fur trade industry. But the population of the big-toothed rodents has since exploded, causing severe damage to the forest ecology.

Experts say the beavers will be trapped, then bashed in the head for a swift death in a cull approved by the U.N. and environmental groups.

Wildlife

Beavers control flash floods in Scotland

A population of beavers in Scotland that was blamed for flooding may actually be preventing it, a study has shown.

Dams built by beavers in eastern Scotland act like a sponge, experts say, and mitigate flooding by storing and then slowly releasing water.

The presence of the reintroduced animals also benefits the wider environment by improving biodiversity and lowering levels of agricultural pollutants, according to the study published in the journal Freshwater Biology this week.

The research comes after residents in Alyth blamed beavers for flash flooding in July last year, saying some of the debris washed through the village in Perthshire showed signs of being chewed by animals upstream. But in October, experts said beavers were not responsible and the flooding had been caused by heavy rain and a high flow in the river.

Naturalists confirmed last year that more than 150 beavers are living and breeding successfully in the wild in the southern Highlands after escaping from nearby private collections. Ecologists called a reintroduction scheme at Knapdale in Argyll an “outstanding success” after four pairs produced 14 young in five years.

Last year, Natural England agreed to allow wild beavers living in Devon to remain at large after a campaign by conservationists.

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Wildlife

Beavers Help Remove Pollution in Rivers

The dams that beavers build, sometimes at the expense of human development, are a natural way of keeping rivers, streams and estuaries free of certain pollution.

A University of Rhode Island study found that beaver habitats, and all of the organic material used by the animals to build them, can remove a large portion of the nitrogen runoff from fertilizer used in agriculture and suburban life.

High levels of nitrogen in waterways promote the growth of algal blooms, which cause low oxygen levels that can kill fish.

Researchers found that holding back water and organic matter within beaver ponds leads to ideal conditions for nitrogen removal.

Between 5 and 45 percent of the nitrogen in the water is removed by the dams, depending on the pond and amount of nitrogen present.

Beavers were largely wiped out hundreds of years ago in Europe and parts of North America by the fur trade, but they have been making a comeback in recent decades.

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Wildlife

England’s First Wild Beavers in Centuries Can Stay

England’s first beavers to live in the wild for more than 400 years will not be evicted from a Devon river and taken to a zoo, thanks to the efforts of locals, tourists and wildlife campaigners.

But Natural England says that the approximately nine beavers living in the River Otter must be proven to be of Eurasian origin and free of disease.

The nongovernmental public body also licensed the Devon Wildlife Trust to conduct a five-year study on the returning beavers’ impact on the environment.

Results of the study could eventually lead to the reintroduction of the toothy dam builders in other waterways across England.

Beavers were hunted to extinction during the reign of Henry VIII in the 16th century.

But last January, night-vision footage revealed that a few had set up home along the river.

Plans to remove them prompted a public outcry. If the small group of wild beavers being studied in the River Otter doesn’t pose environmental risks, the animals could later be reintroduced elsewhere in England.

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Rare Red Fox Reappears in Yosemite Park

The elusive and rare Sierra Nevada red fox has been spotted in Yosemite National Park for the first time in nearly a century, park officials said yesterday.

Camera traps caught the sleek animal in a remote northern corner of the park on Dec. 13, 2014, and again on Jan. 4 of this year.

here hasn’t been a verified sighting of the Sierra Nevada red fox inside Yosemite National Park since 1916, said Ben Sacks, director of the University of California, Davis Veterinary School’s Mammalian Ecology and Conservation Unit. That year, two animals were killed in Yosemite’s Big Meadows, northeast of El Portal, for the University of California, Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology.

Until recently, only a handful of Sierra Nevada red foxes were thought to still exist in the wild, in a remnant population near Lassen Volcanic National Park in northeastern California. The subspecies, which is genetically distinct from other red foxes, once ranged more widely, across the snowy high mountains from Oregon to California.

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Wildlife

Wild U.K. Beavers to Be Made Extinct … Again

Wildlife campaigners say they are outraged by the U.K. government’s plans to capture the first wild beavers to be seen in the English countryside in 500 years.

Beavers were hunted to extinction during the reign of Henry VIII in the 16th century.

In January, night-vision footage revealed that up to three beavers had set up home along the River Otter, which runs through Somerset and Devon.

They have since become a tourist attraction but have also felled trees around their new home.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs says it plans to capture and “rehome” the toothy animals and is looking for a zoo or wildlife sanitary to take them in.

Some say the countryside has changed since the beavers disappeared, and there needs to be a study to see how their reintroduction might affect today’s environment. Others say they want to make sure the dam-building creatures are disease-free.

But wildlife consultant Derek Gow told the Daily Mail: “This will be the first time in history that we have exterminated a native mammal twice, setting an extraordinary historical precedent.”

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Wildlife

Beavers Pitched to Ease Britain’s Flooding

The seemingly never-ending rounds of flooding that have plagued Britain for the past two years could be averted in the future by reintroducing beavers to the wild, a leading scientific organization advises.

The U.K. Mammal Society has recommended to the environment secretary that the “master river engineers” could permanently alleviate the nation’s frequent floods.

The animals were hunted to extinction in the U.K. during the reign of Henry VIII in the 16th century by those who wanted their fur and by landowners keen to protect their trees and fish.

Manmade diversion of waterways since then have set up conditions that reduced the land’s natural ability to hold water, allowing frequent devastating floods.

One wild beaver was recently sighted in Dorset, and a trial introduction of the animals is nearing completion in Scotland.

The government has considered paying farmers to hold back water in the uplands, at the cost of millions of pounds per year.

“The beaver could achieve the same effects for free and forever if we are bold enough to re-establish and tolerate it as a natural component of our river systems,” said Marina Pacheco, the society’s chief executive.

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Wildlife

5,500 Siberian Beavers to Be Culled

Several thousand beavers in western Siberia are facing a cull by the summer in a drive to avoid an outbreak of disease.

Gazeta Kemerova news website cited a statement by the Kemerovo Region’s environmental protection department as saying as many as 5,500 beavers could be killed to thin out the ranks of the animal.

Overpopulation of beavers is also reportedly responsible for numerous road-flooding incidents caused by their dams.

No up-to-date information on the beaver population of Kemerovo Region is available. In 2011, the population of beavers stood at 18,000 and was growing steadily.

The Eurasian beaver was hunted to the brink of extinction in the early 20th century, but the population has bounced back enough for it to lose its threatened status.

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