New Shark Refuge

Sharks now have new refuges totaling 2.5 million square miles in French Polynesia and the Cook Islands where they are safe from fishermen. Up to a third of all shark species face some threat of extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

They are slaughtered around the world for their fins, which are prized in Chinese culture and used to make soup.

Sharks are often caught, their fins sawed off and then discarded still alive only to tumble uncontrollably in the water until they die.

The new refuges established this month are in addition to several others that have recently begun to provide protection for sharks.

Venezuela and the European Union have banned the practice of cutting off shark fins and discarding the body at sea in their territorial waters.


Environment – Wildlife

Finland study tracks global warming impacts on bird populations.

Researchers in Finland say they’ve documented bird populations trends that are at least partly linked with global warming. Comparing data from extensive bird counts conducted between 1981 to 1999, and 2000 to 2009, the biologists said that, in general, northern species have decreased and southern species increased.

Mean temperatures in Finland rose between the two periods, with April to June mean temperatures climbing by 0.7 degrees Celsius. According to the study, population densities of common forest habitat generalists remained the same between the two periods, while species preferring old-growth or mature forests increased, but those living on mires and wetlands, and species of Arctic mountains decreased.

The trends suggest that climate change impacts on species in natural boreal and Arctic habitats most probably are habitat-specific with large differences in response times and susceptibility. Open mires and mountain heaths change more rapidly in consequence of climate warming than old-growth forests, for which reason populations on mires and mountain heaths may also be more affected by climate change.


Hundreds of squid have intentionally stranded themselves on the shores of California and scientists only have guesses as to why. The Santa Cruz coastline is littered with squid carcasses.



Migrating Song Birds Late in Arriving in Europe

– The extensive 2011 drought in the Horn of Africa had significant consequences for European songbirds such as thrush, nightingale and red-backed shrike. These birds visit northern Europe every spring. Year-round tracking revealed that the cause of the delay was a prolongation of stopover time during spring migration at the Horn of Africa, which was affected by extreme drought.


Wild turkeys are beginning to overrun some urban areas of Massachusetts after being reintroduced into a region where they were hunted into extinction more than 150 years ago. About 20,000 of the heritage birds now call the state their home.

Communities surrounding Boston are increasingly coping with the aggressive birds causing traffic jams by gathering in the middle of intersections.



While residents living in South Australian towns ravaged by this week’s bushfires have escaped injury, the local wildlife has not been so lucky.

Dozens of badly burned koalas, possums and echidnas have been rescued and taken to wildlife carers around the Port Lincoln area where the worst blaze hit.

Injured animals are receiving round-the-clock care at Adelaide’s AMWRRO Centre.




Well over 100,000 migratory birds are killed for food or to be sold on the black market each year in far northeastern India, according to Conservation India. During the peak of migration, 12,000 to 14,000 birds are captured each day on their passage over Nagaland, a remote, mountainous state that borders Burma.

One of the more disturbing examples of the poaching is the capture of raptors, using nets set up near lakes and reservoirs to trap the birds when they come to roost at night or as they leave in the morning.

Conservation India urges Nagaland officials to enforce laws protecting the birds, and to work with local populations to prevent the killings.


Thirty hippos die in an anthrax outbreak in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. The outbreak in the north of the Park, which initially began in August, has now killed dozens of hippos in the Letaba and Olifants Rivers.


Volunteers were working Sunday to save the few survivors among about 100 whales and dolphins stranded on a Tasmanian beach, hoping to help them back out to sea.

More than 80 of the animals were dead when a fisherman found them Saturday on King Island. Two whales and six dolphins were considered to be strong enough to attempt to refloat them.


beached whale


Pollution and bush fires choke honey production in the Rift Valley, Kenya.

The heavy presence of pesticides in the air and environmental degradation in bee keeping areas is affecting production. Some of the agrochemicals being used to spray large-scale farms and ranches are harmful and have affected production of honey by poisoning pollen which is the main food of the bees.

Sporadic fires in Mt Kenya forest worsened matters for bee keepers in Laikipia East as heavy smoke was swept into hives, killing millions of bees.


Outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) has produced more than 8,500 confirmed deer deaths in Michigan, USA this year.


Today, the United Nations unveiled a report detailing the world’s 25 most endangered primates — mankind’s most biologically similar living relatives.


25 most endangered


A giant mystery eyeball was found washed up on a Florida beach. However, marine scientists have identified the eyeball as probably belonging to a giant swordfish – and not some mysterious marine monster.





A plan to cull thousands of wild badgers to stem the spread of tuberculosis in cattle is sharply dividing rural England. Marksmen could start the cull any day but details are being kept secret for fear of clashes between farmers determined to protect their livestock and livelihoods and activists who have pledged to foil the plan by scaring away the badgers.


Conservationists on Thursday asked a state judge to end trapping of wolverines in Montana, USA at a time when fewer than 300 of the elusive animals roam the Northern Rockies and Northern Cascades.

Montana is the only one of the lower 48 U.S. states that permits the harvesting of wolverines, carnivores that resemble small bears with bushy tails. They are sought for their fur.


Six penguins have died in a malaria outbreak in the London Zoo. The birds contracted the avian strain of the disease from mosquitoes.