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News articles on wildlife
Mongabay.com news articles on wildlife in blog format. Updated regularly.
(11/07/2007) While the mention of Amazon destruction usually conjures up images of vast stretches of felled and burned rainforest trees, cattle ranches, and vast soybean farms, some of the biggest threats to the Amazon rainforest are barely perceptible from above. Selective logging -- which opens up the forest canopy and allows winds and sunlight to dry leaf litter on the forest floor -- and 6-inch high "surface" fires are turning parts of the Amazon into a tinderbox, putting the world's largest rainforest at risk of ever-more severe forest fires. At the same time, market-driven hunting is impoverishing some areas of seed dispersers and predators, making it more difficult for forests to recover. Climate change -- an its forecast impacts on the Amazon basin -- further looms large over the horizon.
Asia's tigers could get big boost from small conservation efforts
(11/05/2007) Small changes to the management of wildlife reservers in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal could dramatically boost endangered tiger populations, reports a new study published in the journal Biological conservation.
New peccary species discovered by embattled Amazon scientist
(11/04/2007) A new species of peccary has been discovered in the Amazon rainforest by a scientist recently charged with biopiracy by the Brazilian government.
Amphibian extinction may be worse than thought
(10/31/2007) Amphibian extinction rates may be higher than previously thought, according to new DNA analysis that found more than 60 unrecognized species in the Guiana Shield of South America.
Threatened Amur tiger shows signs of recovery
(10/31/2007) In a world where many animals are under siege, the Amur tiger -- popularly known in the West as the Siberian tiger -- offers an encouraging message: the population of the huge cat is showing signs of recovery.
As colorful frog leaps toward extinction, experts look for clues
(10/29/2007) A brightly coloured tropical frog under threat of extinction is the focus of a new research project hoping to better understand how environment and diet influence its development and behaviour.
Iguanas listen to birds to avoid predators
(10/29/2007) As the world's only sea-feeding lizard, Galapagos Marine Iguanas have long held a unique place in the animal kingdom. While most of their life is spent on land, these lizards forage the seas for their staple food: algae. Now, new research has provided this species with another distinction: although the Galapagos Marine Iguana is mute, it recognizes and utilizes the alarm call of the Galapagos Mockingbird. This is the first instance of a non-vocal species eavesdropping on another species' calls. Both the iguana and mockingbird fall prey to the Galapagos hawk, so by recognizing the mockingbird's warning the iguanas gain important information on avoiding predation.
Scientists find treatment for killer frog disease
(10/29/2007) New Zealand scientists have found a treatment for a disease blamed for the death of millions of amphibians worldwide, according to a report from BBC News. However, at best, the cure would only be applicable to captive populations. The disease is killing many amphibians in apparently pristine habitats.
Bears pressured by development in the Canadian Rockies
(10/29/2007) The southern Canadian Rockies are still home to the most diverse assemblage of carnivores in North America, but a new report released today by the Wildlife conservation Society Canada (WCSC) says booming development there could threaten them without careful planning and the implementation of conservation safeguards.
Parasites a key to the decline of red colobus monkeys in forest fragments
(10/25/2007) Forest fragmentation threatens biodiversity, often causing declines or local extinctions in a majority of species while enhancing the prospects of a few. A new study from the University of Illinois shows that parasites can play a pivotal role in the decline of species in fragmented forests. This is the first study to look at how forest fragmentation increases the burden of infectious parasites on animals already stressed by disturbances to their habitat.
Global warming puts primates at greater risk
(10/25/2007) 29 percent of the world's primate species are in danger of going extinct warns a new report from the Primate Specialist Group of IUCN's Species Survival Commission (SSC) and the International Primatological Society (IPS).
Mass extinctions happen when temperatures are the warmest
(10/24/2007) Warming temperatures could trigger a mass extinction event, warn scientists writing in the latest issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Comparing ancient records of marine and terrestrial diversity with historical temperature estimates, researchers from the Universities of York and Leeds found a close correlation between Earth climate and extinctions over the past 520 million years: higher extinction rates occur at higher temperatures.
Elephants use smell to distinguish hunters from farmers
(10/18/2007) Elephants can determine whether a human is a friend or foe by their scent, reports new research published in Current Biology.
Black jellyfish, strange marine species discovered in deep ocean
(10/17/2007) An expedition to an unexplored deep ocean basin south of the Philippine Islands has turned up a trove of previous undiscovered species including a black jellyfish, a transparent sea cucumber, and a tentacled worm that resembles a squid.
Mexican fishing villages work to change practices to preserve loggerhead turtles
(10/17/2007) Industrial fishing operations take plenty of blame for both depleting fish stocks and inadvertently catching innocent bystanders such as dolphins, sharks, seabirds, and sea turtles--a phenomenon known as "bycatch.".
Scientists find fish that literally lives in trees
(10/17/2007) Scientists have found a fish that literally lives in trees, according to research published in The American Naturalist and highlighted in New Scientist Magazine.
Snake uses trick to avoid poisoning from toxic frogs
(10/16/2007) An Australian snake employs a special feeding behvaior to avoid poisoning by toxic frogs, reports The American Naturalist.
Photo: baby flamingo at the Bronx Zoo
(10/16/2007) For these Bronx Zoo flamingos, the mantra "you are what you eat" really rings true.
Photo: brown and white pelicans at the Bronx Zoo
(10/16/2007) Colorful autumn leaves are starting to fall but they don't dampen the sunny disposition of these brown and white pelicans at the Bronx Zoo.
First photos of a wild South China Tiger in 34 years
(10/14/2007) While there has been proof that the South China Tiger still lives in the Shaanxi province--sightings by locals, findings of footprints, hair, and teeth--there has been no photographic evidence of this species since 1964. But on October 3rd a local farmer, Zhou Zhenglong, took a total of 71 pictures of a South China Tiger in the wild. For his efforts the farmer received a payment of 20,000 yuan.
11 new species discovered in Vietnam's Green Corridor
(09/29/2007) On September 26th, scientists from World Wildlife Fund announced the discovery of eleven new species: one snake, two butterflies, five orchids, and three other plants in Vietnam's biologically rich Green Corridor. The discoveries were made between 2005 and 2006.
16,306 species threatened with extinction
(09/12/2007) 16,306 of 41,415 species on the IUCN Red List are threatened with extinction, reports the World conservation Union (IUCN). The total number of known extinct species now stands at 785, while a further 65 are only found in captivity or in cultivation. One in four mammals, one in eight birds, one third of all amphibians and 70% of the world's assessed plants on the 2007 IUCN Red List are considered at risk.
Wind power takes a toll on migratory bats
(09/12/2007) The danger of wind turbines to birds has long been known and well documented. Most recently several studies and articles have attempted to place the level of bird casualties in perspective: "More birds killed by cats than wind turbines". But lesser known--and lesser studied--is the effect wind turbines have on bat populations. Collisions between groups of bats and wind turbines have been observed at numerous turbines in America, Australia, and Europe. While these fatalities, sometimes killing hundreds of bats, have been seen for years, their cause remains unknown.
Wolves push out coyotes in wilderness areas
(09/11/2007) Coyote densities are more than 30 percent lower in areas they share with wolves, according to a paper published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Animal Ecology. The results show that wolves limit the range and number of coyotes in an area.
Bird flies 7,150 miles in a week
(09/11/2007) The bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica baueri) makes the longest non-stop migratory flight of any bird species in the world, reports a new study.
Two new species of salamander discovered in Panama
(09/09/2007) Scientists have discovered two new species of salamanders from the mountainous Costa Rica-Panama border region. The findings, published by David B. Wake, Jay M. Savage, and James Hanken in the journal Copeia, push the number of salamanders known in the region to 24, making it a hotspot in terms of salamander biodiversity.
Congress urged to protect big cats, endangered dogs
(09/07/2007) Efforts to protect many of the world's largest and most endangered wild relatives of cats and dogs recently moved a step closer to victory with a congressional hearing on the Great Cats and Rare Canids bill. Today's hearing was the first since the bill's introduction in 2004, according to the Wildlife conservation Society and other environmental groups which support this legislative initiative.
Environmentalists may use Endangered Species Act to pressure gov't on global warming
(09/07/2007) The addition of elkhorn and staghorn corals to the Endangered Species Act due to threats from climbing ocean temperatures, may be environmentalists' best weapon for levering the U.S. government into action on global warming, writes Mark Clayton of The Christian Science Monitor.
Two-thirds of polar bears at risk of extinction by 2050
(09/07/2007) Two-thirds the world's polar bears could be threatened with extinction by 2050 due to melting sea ice, said U.S. government scientists Friday. U.S. Geological Survey scientists said that the United States (the north coast of Alaska) and Russian would likely lose all of their polar bear populations. The only bears expected to survive would be those in the northern Canadian Arctic islands and the west coast of Greenland. Overall, bears are forecast to lose 42 percent of the Arctic range they need to hunt and breed during summer months.
Malaysia suffers big drop in shorebird populations
(09/05/2007) Malaysia suffered a big drop in shorebirds, reports a new study by Wetlands International. The environmental group attributes the 22 percent decline between 1983-1986 and 2004-2006 to destruction of habitat for aquaculture, agriculture, industry, housing and recreation.
Chinese demand takes toll on wildlife in Burma (Myanmar)
(09/04/2007) If the market of Mong La is anything to go by, the remaining wild elephants, tigers and bears in Myanmar's forests are being hunted down slowly and sold to China.
Rebels invade Congo gorilla sanctuary, park rangers evacuated
(09/04/2007) Guerillas have invaded Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, causing park rangers to flee, and leaving critically endangered mountain gorillas at great risk, reports Wildlife Direct, a group that promotes wildlife protection through blogs by rangers and conservationists.
Rare Chinese river dolphin sighting in doubt
(09/01/2007) A prominent researcher is skeptical of last week's reported sighting of the baiji, the Chinese river dolphin declared extinct earlier this year, according to the New York Times. The sighting near Tongling city in Anhui Province -- widely reported in Chinese and Western media -- was captured on video.
Large mammals disappearing from Africa's parks
(08/31/2007) Large mammals are disappearing from Africa's national parks, warn researchers writing in the September 2007 issue of the African Journal of Ecology.
Saving beautiful - and ugly - species from extinction
(08/30/2007) Allow me to wax poetic about the world's newest wildlife organization, EDGE. I must admit I'm a little in love. This singular organization was founded in January as a part of the London Zoological Society. Its basic tenants remain similar to other endangered species programs: survey populations, set up conservation programs, work with local governments and communities to ensure protection. However, what is unique about EDGE is not their approach to saving species, but rather the species they choose to focus their efforts on. This year they have selected ten mammalian species: the Yangztee River Dolphin, Attenborough's Long-Beaked Echidna, Hispaniolan Solenodon, Bactarian Camel, Pygmy Hippopotamus, Slender Loris, Hirola, Golden-rumped Elephant Shrew, Bumblebee Bat, and the Long-eared Jerboa.
"Extinct" baiji river dolphin spotted alive in China
(08/29/2007) An "extinct" baiji has been spotted alive in the Yangtze River, reports Chinese state media.
Meeting seeks to save Sumatra's tigers and elephants from extinction
(08/29/2007) Over 100 wildlife experts and government officials will meet in Indonesia Wednesday to draft an action plan to save Sumatran elephnts and tigers from extinction, reports Reuters.
Largest-ever Endangered Species Act lawsuit filed
(08/29/2007) An environmental group plans the largest ever legal action in the history of the Endangered Species Act.
New poison frog species discovered in Colombia
(08/28/2007) Scientists have discovered a previously unknown species of poison frog in a remote mountainous region in Colombia. The tiny frog has been dubbed the "golden frog of Supata" and lives only in a 20 hectare area in Colombia's Cundinamarca region.
How do snakes survive starvation?
(08/27/2007) Starving snakes employ novel survival strategies not seen before in vertebrates, according to research conducted by a University of Arkansas biologist. These findings could be used in conservation strategies to determine the health of snake populations.
Scientists meet in Hungary to discuss saving dying frogs
(08/27/2007) Scientists are meeting this week in Budapest, Hungary to discuss last-ditch efforts to save the world's most threatened frogs from extinction.
U.S. to spend $27M on possibly extinct bird
(08/26/2007) The U.S. government plans to spend $27 million on the recovery efforts for a bird species that may already be extinct, reports the Associated Press.
European blood-sucker falls victim to global warming
(08/26/2007) Europe's only known land leech may be on the brink of extinction due to shifts in climate, report researchers writing in the journal Naturwissenschaften. The findings are significant because they suggest that "human-induced climate change without apparent habitat destruction can lead to the extinction of populations of cold-adapted species that have a low colonization ability," according to the authors.
Monkey mothers use "baby talk" too
(08/24/2007) Female rhesus monkeys use special vocalizations to communicate with infants much like human mothers use "baby talk" or "motherese" reports a new study by researchers at the University of Chicago.
Iceland halts whaling
(08/24/2007) With stagnant demand for whale meat nearly a year after ending its ban on commercial whaling, Iceland said it would not issue new whale-hunting quotas until it gets an export license from Japan, reports Reuters.
Animal trafficking at Miami International airport
(08/23/2007) Wildlife Inspector Carlos Pages vividly remembers the times when he opened a crate of imported animals only to discover that not all of them were still in the cloth bags that serve as their shipping cages. Those are the moments when his speed trumps their speed.
Photo: newborn mountain gorilla born in Congo
(08/23/2007) conservationists announced the birth of a critically endangered mountain gorilla in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Virunga National Park. The newborn marked a positive development for the embattled apes in the park -- nine out of its 100 gorillas have been killed this year by poachers, including five last month.
U.S. military attacks illegal wildlife trade in Afghanistan
(08/22/2007) The U.S. military has teamed with the Bronx Zoo-based Wildlife conservation Society (WCS) to attack the illegal wildlife trade in Afghanistan, according to a statement from the Department of Defense.
Elephants get Photo IDs for Protection
(08/15/2007) Asian elephants don't carry photo identification, so scientists from the Wildlife conservation Society and India's Nature conservation Foundation are providing the service free of charge by creating a photographic archive of individual elephants, which can help save them as well.
Clearing rainforest for cattle pasture drives surge in vampires
(08/15/2007) A new study confirms that vampire bats are thriving due to the clearing of rainforest for cattle pasture in Costa Rica. Instead of having to seek out scarce wildlife in the forest, vampire bats now prey on cattle kept in high densities on ranches.
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