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Leakey backing for elephant cull

Wildlife News

By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website

The eminent conservationist Richard Leakey has given qualified backing for South Africa's plan to cull elephants.

"Though I find elephant culling repugnant, I can see the sense in it "-- Richard Leakey

In an article for the BBC News website, the former head of the Kenyan Wildlife Service says culling is "a necessary part of population management".

But Dr Leakey says there is also a responsibility to curb human activities that impinge on elephant habitat.

South Africa plans to allow culling after a gap of 14 years because of growing numbers of elephants.

The population is estimated to have expanded from 8,000 to 18,000 in little more than a decade. The plan has aroused the ire of some environment and animal welfare groups.

Some are so opposed to the plan that they have called for tourist boycotts.

Necessary evil

Having made his name as a palaeontologist studying the origins of humanity in Africa, the 1980s saw Dr Leakey at the forefront of the movement campaigning for the suspension of elephant culling.

But now he sees it as necessary.

"While I will never 'like' the idea of elephant culling, I do accept that given the impacts of human-induced climate change and habitat destruction, elephants inside and outside of protected areas will become an increasingly serious problem unless key populations are reduced and maintained at appropriate levels," he writes in an article for the BBC's Green Room series.

To read the remainder of this story please visit the website below:

Qualified support for Elephant Cull from Dr. Richard Leakey


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Beck's is back: Photos prove 'lost' bird still alive

Conservation & Preservation

A bird not seen for almost 80 years has been discovered in the Pacific to the delight of conservationists.

Only two records of Beck’s petrel existed previously, from the late 1920s when ornithologist Rollo Beck collected two of the tube-nosed seabirds on his quest for museum specimens from the region.

Now, an expert on a ship in the Bismarck Archipelago, north-east of Papua New Guinea, has photographed more than 30 Beck’s petrels and his account is being published (March 7) in the Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. Young birds were amongst the group indicating that the birds have a breeding site close by.

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Eagles will Raise Money for Children

Wildlife News

Soon, the proud Bald Eagle will migrate onto the streets of Vancouver, Vancouver Island and beyond to complete the trilogy of public arts projects by the BC Lions Society. The first being the Orca coming out of the Pacific Ocean, then the Spirit Bear coming out of the forests of Northern BC and now the Bald Eagle soaring through the skies of the West Coast from April 2009 to April 2010 in support of the BC Lions Society’s Easter Seal Services and the Canucks for Kids Fund.

Local artists, in partnership with sponsoring individuals or organizations, will create a unique design and apply it to the surface of a 7 ˝ foot custom formed fibreglass Bald Eagle. The Bald Eagle becomes the artist's canvas. Once the work is complete, the Bald Eagle will be displayed in prominent public spaces around the participating cities

Please use the link below to learn more:

BC Lions Society presents Eagles in the City

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Scientists finally see Rumored White Orca

The Associated Press

(03/07/08 01:37:34)

A white killer whale spotted in Alaska's Aleutian Islands sent researchers and their ship's crew scrambling for their cameras.The nearly mythic whale was real after all.

"I had heard about this whale but we had never been able to find it," said Holly Fearnbach, a research biologist with the National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle who photographed the rarity. "It was quite neat to find it."

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Butterflies remember caterpillar experiences

Wildlife news service
Phil McKenna
05 March 2008


Once a Brain, Always a brain?

Don't be cruel to caterpillars – they won't forget it. Moths and butterflies can remember what they learned as caterpillars, a study reveals.

The findings challenge the accepted wisdom that the insects – brains and all – are completely rewired during metamorphosis, and may provide clues about neural development. "Practically everything about the two phases of the organism are so different – morphology, diet, how they move, and what they sense," says Martha Weiss of Georgetown University in Washington, DC, in the US. "We were curious to see if we could train a caterpillar to do something it could remember as an adult," she says Weiss and colleagues exposed tobacco hornworm caterpillars, Manduca sexta, to ethyl acetate – a chemical often used in nail polish remover – and a series of mild electric shocks.

Caterpillar soup
Seventy-eight percent of the caterpillars that were shocked directly after exposure avoided the compound in subsequent tests while still in the larval stage. The tests were conducted inside a Y-shaped pipe that allowed the animals to choose an area smelling of ethyl acetate or of unadulterated air.
About a month later, after the caterpillars had metamorphosed, the adult moths were given the same choice test. Seventy-seven percent of them avoided the ethyl acetate pipe, suggesting that the lesson learned as a caterpillar is remembered as an adult. "People always thought that during metamorphosis the caterpillar turns to 'soup' and all the ingredients are rearranged into the butterfly or moth," says Weiss. "That clearly isn't what happens. Parts of the brain are retained that allow memories to persist through this very dramatic transition."

What does happen? Find out by reading the complete article at:

NewScientist Online


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