Featured Weekly News — February 19, 2013
The monk parakeet (is one of more than 400 exotic wildlife and fish species in Florida that threaten native species. (Credit: Marina Torres/Wikimedia)

The monk parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) is one of more than 400 species of exotic wildlife and fish in Florida that threaten native wildlife,and can damage cropland and infrastructure. Monk parakeets build large, communal nests, sometimes wrapped around power lines and transformers. The nests weaken the equipment, causing fires and power outages. (Credit: Marina Torres/Wikimedia)

Invasive Species Threatening South Florida Wildlife, Economy
(WFOR-TV)
Florida has the worst problem in the world when it comes to non-native amphibians and reptiles. “This should concern everyone on the planet,” said Joe Wasilewski, a local biologist. The Burmese Python has become the poster child for invasive species in South Florida. And though it receives the overwhelming majority of attention when it comes to non-native species taking up residence in our local communities, it is just the tip of the iceberg. More

 

 

NEWS FROM NORTH AMERICA

Bills Would Give Counties More Control Over Wildlife
(Billings Gazette)
Two bills that would give counties more control over big-game populations are being opposed by sporting groups and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. Rep. Nancy Ballance submitted House Bills 375 and 376 to allow more local control over impacts from deer, elk and antelope that forage on agricultural land. HB375 would make FWP reimburse landowners for crop damage; HD376 would allow counties to present plans to FWP to lethally remove big game in counties. More

Puppy Born from Frozen Embryo May Offer Hope to Endangered Wildlife
(WATE-TV)
A frisky 9-month old Labrador-beagle mix named Klondike could hold the secret to how to preserve endangered species of foxes or wolves. That’s because Klondike is the first canid pup born from a frozen embryo in the Western Hemisphere, according to researchers at Cornell University. Canids encompass species such as dogs, foxes and wolves. In the study, researchers artificially inseminated a beagle using sperm from a Labrador. More

How a Fall in Duck Hunting is Shooting a Hole into Conservation Efforts
(Science Daily)
The annual duck hunting season in the United States is traditionally big business, but while bird numbers are rising faster than they have for decades, the number of hunters continues to fall. Far from being good news for ducks, a new study in the Wildlife Society Bulletin shows how the loss of revenue from “duck stamps” could result in millions of lost dollars for vital conservation work. More

Wild Hogs Continue to Hurt Economy, Ecosystem
(The Associated Press via Mississippi Business Journal)
Mississippi’s rapidly growing wild hog population is cutting its own destructive swath through the state, and along the way exacting a heavy toll on the state’s ecosystem. Wild hogs, sometimes referred to as feral pigs, are swine that were once domesticated and were released or escaped into the wild. Their ability to reproduce quickly and insatiable appetite have make wild hog sightings a common occurrence for Golden Triangle sportsmen and farmers. More

Are Hybrid Species Being Created Due to Climate Change?
(Mother Nature Network)
In the hush of a snowy Ontario winter woods Jeff Bowman’s radio wave tracker beeps insistently, pointing him toward a nearby tree cavity. Inside, a group of tagged flying squirrels huddle in the comfort of each other’s body heat. In a few weeks, the rodents will begin to mate. Some of their babies will emerge looking a bit like a southern flying squirrel, a bit like a northern flying squirrel, and a lot like the product of climate change. More

Genetic Study Pursues Elusive Goal: How Many Humpbacks Existed Before Whaling?
(Phys.org)
Scientists from Stanford University, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the American Museum of Natural History, and other organizations are closing in on the answer to an important conservation question: how many humpback whales once existed in the North Atlantic? Building on previous genetic analyses to estimate the pre-whaling population of North Atlantic humpback whales, the research team has found that humpbacks used to exist in numbers of more than 100,000 individuals. More

WILDLIFE HEALTH AND DISEASE NEWS

Diversity Breeds Disease Resistance in Frogs
(ScienceNews)
In the frog pond, more species means better health for all. More diverse amphibian communities are less likely to transmit a virulent parasite that causes limb deformities in frogs, researchers report in the Feb. 14 Nature. Pieter Johnson of the University of Colorado Boulder and colleagues used field data from hundreds of California ponds to show that susceptible species dominate in less diverse amphibian communities. More

1st Potential Case of Deadly Bat Fungus Found in Canadian Province
(CBC News)
A pathologist with the Atlantic Veterinary College says a bat recently found dead in Bonshaw, Prince Edward Island, shows signs of a deadly fungus that has wiped out entire colonies of bats throughout North America. “I would say that we’re probably 99 percent sure this is going to be the first confirmed case of bat white-nose syndrome on Prince Edward Island,” said Dr. Scott McBurney, of the Atlantic Veterinary College. More

Wisconsin Veterinary Medical School Adopts Wildlife Health Project
(University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Outbreaks of disease in wildlife may seem remote and, for most humans, inconsequential. But disease events that arise in wild animal populations can be far-reaching and can even pose a threat to humans and domestic animals far removed from the source of animal affliction. New strains of flu, for example, often arise in birds and are first detected in surveys of waterfowl long before they begin to infect domestic animals and humans. More

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

World’s Biggest Camera Trapping Program Hits 1 Million Photos of Tropical Animals
(Mongabay)
The world’s largest study of wildlife using remote camera traps has captured one million photographs. The project, known as the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network, takes photos of mammals and birds in 16 protected areas across 14 tropical countries in Asia, Africa, as well as Central and South America. Remote camera traps, which take stealth photos of wildlife when no humans are around, have become an increasingly important tool in the conservationists’ toolbox. More

Feral Felines: Managing their Impact on Australian Fauna
(The Conversation)
Australian fauna have suffered serious declines since European settlement, with small- and medium-sized mammals being the worst affected. Feral cats depredate native birds, mammals and reptiles and are listed as a Key Threating Process under the Commonwealth EPBC Act. Reducing the harmful impact of feral cats on native fauna presents wildlife managers with a formidable challenge. Domestic cats came to Australia with European settlers in the late 18th century. More

Singapore Animal Rights Activists Cry Foul Over India Zoo Swap
(Bikya News)
A group of young animal rights activists in Singapore are attempting to stoke public outrage over the potential shipping of animals from Singapore to India as part of deal that would see an Indian zoo become the caretakers of animals from the Southeast Asian country. The Indian government has tentatively given its approval for three chimpanzees and four bat-eared foxes from Singapore’s Zoo to join the Mysore Zoo in India as part of an exchange in animals. More

The Gathering: Sri Lanka’s Great Elephant Migration
(CNN)
Poachers have decimated elephant populations across Africa and parts of Asia, killing thousands of animals for their revered ivory. Yet in Sri Lanka, home to some 7,000 wild Asian elephants, a different, more hopeful story is playing out. It’s a story that’s attracting truckloads of tourists from around the world to witness a stunning wildlife spectacle, simultaneously raising concerns among conservationists about how increasing numbers of visitors may be impacting the large mammals. More

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