Sharks and Rays get Entangled in Plastic Waste.
Scientists counted more than 1,000 documented instances of sharks and rays becoming tangled in our plastic debris in a recent study published yesterday (July 4) in the journal Endangered Species Reports. The actual number is probably much higher.
Sharks and rays are at higher risk of extinction than most other animals, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with only 23% of species classified as “least concern.”.
In 2016, while conducting research in Winyah Bay, South Carolina, researchers pulled on board a sandbar shark that had become badly entangled in plastic packaging twine. The plastic had sliced a ring all the way around the shark’s body, horrifying the researchers.
The USA to Dump Rat Poison on Farallon Islands
For most humans, life on these jagged islands off the coast of San Francisco would be a nightmare: Waves lash the shore with treacherous force, the stench of guano fills the air, and the screech of seagulls is so loud that resident scientists wear earplugs to bed.
But wildlife thrive on “the Devil’s Teeth” — the name given to the Farallon Islands by sailors over a century ago.
The islands boast one of the world’s largest breeding colonies for seabirds, including the rare ashy storm-petrel, and their beaches are covered with lolling sea lions and seals. The waters surrounding the islands teem with 18 species of whales and dolphins.
The islands also host tens of thousands of house mice — an invasive species that is wreaking havoc on the native ecosystem, according to biologists.
The explosive growth in mice has attracted burrowing owls, who not only eat the mice but also prey upon the storm-petrels, a rare bird with a declining population.
The federal government contends that the only way to get rid of the mice is to drop 1.5 tons of rat poison pellets from a helicopter onto the islands. But Bay Area conservationists are worried that the poison, an increasingly controversial rodenticide called brodifacoum, will kill other species and make its way up the food chain.