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Mother Birds Know Best -- Even Before Birth

Wildlife News

ScienceDaily (Mar. 27, 2010) — Mother birds communicate with their developing chicks before they even hatch by leaving them messages in the egg, new research by a team from the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, has found.

By changing conditions within the egg, canary mothers leave a message for their developing chicks about the life they will face after birth. In response, nestlings adjust the development of their begging behaviour.

If chicks get a message that they will be reared by generous parents then they beg more vigorously for food after hatching. But chicks that are destined to be raised by meaner parents end up being much less demanding.

By attending to messages in the egg, nestlings gain weight more rapidly because they match their demands to the parents' supply of food, and can avoid either begging too little or wasting effort on unrewarded begging.

The Cambridge team made the discovery using fostering experiments, exchanging eggs between canaries' nests so that the chicks grew up in an environment that they were not expecting.

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Villagers told not to feed Red Kites near RAF base

Wildlife News
Villagers told not to feed Red Kites near RAF base
Bird strikes cause an estimated £800m damage a year to commercial aircraft worldwide, and are responsible for several accidents Photo: PA

Red Kites, which have seen their numbers soar as a result of a 20-year campaign to protect them - gather round RAF Benson base in Oxfordshire because locals are putting out scraps for them to eat.

The RAF is worried the huge birds will collide with helicopters which regularly fly in and out of the base.

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Central African gorillas may go extinct

Wildlife News
A gorilla looks on while relaxing in a clearing on the slopes of
Mount Mikeno in the Virunga National Park on November 28, 2008.
A gorilla looks on while relaxing in a clearing on the slopes of Mount Mikeno in the Virunga National Park on November 28, 2008.

(CNN) -- Gorillas may go extinct in much of central Africa by the mid-2020s -- victims of a meat trade, of logging and mining, and even the Ebola virus, a new report says.

Unless action is taken to guard the gorillas' habitat and counter poaching, the dire prediction will come to pass, said the joint report from the United Nations and Interpol released Wednesday.

Until now, the Congo Basin in Central Africa had been a rainforest refuge for gorillas and other apes.

But the threats to the gorillas' survival are so acute that a similar study that predicted only 10 percent of the gorilla population will remain by 2030 is now considered too optimistic.

That study -- conducted in 2002 -- did not take into account the rise in the demand for timber and metals destined for Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

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Orphaned cougars arrive at the zoo

Wildlife News

Male orphaned cougar

The male orphaned cougar is believed to be 14-months-old.

Updated: Wed Mar. 24 2010 11:15:23

Two orphaned cougars are now calling the Calgary Zoo home.

The male and female siblings arrived from the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter in Smithers, B.C.

The 14-month-old cubs had been living there for the past nine months.

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Wildlife News



22 March 2010

U N I T E D  N A T I O N S                           N A T I O N S U N I E S Water is the source of life and the link that binds all living beings on this planet. It is connected directly to all our United Nations goals: improved maternal and child health and life expectancy, women’s empowerment, food security, sustainable development and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Recognition of these links led to the declaration of 2005-2015 as the International Decade for Action “Water for Life”. Our indispensable water resources have proven themselves to be greatly resilient, but they are increasingly vulnerable and threatened. Our growing population’s need for water for food, raw materials and energy is increasingly competing with nature’s own demands for water to sustain already imperiled ecosystems and the services on which we depend. Day after day, we pour millions of tons of untreated sewage and industrial and agricultural wastes into the world’s water systems. Clean water has become scarce and will become even scarcer with the onset of climate change. And the poor continue to suffer ��irst and most from pollution, water shortages and the lack of adequate sanitation. The theme of this year’s World Water Day, “Clean Water for a Healthy World”, emphasizes that both the quality and the quantity of water resources are at risk. More people die from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war. These deaths are an affront to our common humanity, and undermine the efforts of many countries to achieve their development potential. The world has the know-how to solve these challenges and become better stewards of our water resources. Water is central to all our development goals. As we mark the mid-point of the International Decade for Action, and look forward to this year’s MDG Summit, let us protect and sustainably manage our waters for the poor, the vulnerable and for all life on Earth.
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Organizers hope one billion will participate in Earth Hour

Wildlife News

OTTAWA — One billion is a big number. But that’s how many people around the world organizers are hoping will turn out their lights for Earth Hour, 2010.

Earth Hour is a global initiative by the World Wildlife Fund in which businesses, governments, communities and individuals are asked to turn off their lights at 8:30 p.m. local time next Saturday — March 27 — for one hour in an effort to take action on climate change.

Earth Hour started in 2007 in Sydney, Australia, when 2.2 million homes and businesses turned their lights off for one hour to make a statement about climate change. A year later the event had gone global. ...


 To read the rest of this story please visit:

Organizers hope for One Billion Participants


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Poaching threatens to wipe out African rhinos

Wildlife News

12:00 AM CDT on Friday, March 19, 2010
Robyn Dixon, Los Angeles Times

LIMPOPO PROVINCE, South Africa – A sharp upsurge in rhino poaching by organized-crime gangs has devastated Zimbabwe's rhino population and threatens to wipe out South Africa's critically endangered black rhinos within a decade.

South African rancher Pelham Jones, who leads a rhino owners' group organized to combat poaching, warns that the more common white rhino won't be far behind unless something is done.

A report last year by the World Wildlife Fund, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the wildlife-trade monitoring network Traffic said poaching had reached a 15-year high, pushing the animals close to extinction. About 1,500 rhino horns were traded illegally in the past three years, despite a long-standing ban on international trade.

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UN rejects Atlantic bluefin tuna ban

Wildlife News

Last Updated: Thursday, March 18, 2010 | 3:41 PM ET

The Associated Press


A U.S.-backed proposal to ban the export of Atlantic bluefin tuna prized in sushi was rejected Thursday by a UN wildlife meeting, with scores of developing nations joining Japan in opposing a measure they feared would devastate fishing economies.


It was a stunning setback for conservationists who had hoped the 175-nation Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, or CITES, would give the iconic fish a lifeline. They joined the proposal's sponsor Monaco in arguing that extreme measures were necessary because the stocks have fallen by 75 per cent due to widespread overfishing.

"Let's take science and throw it out the door," said Susan Lieberman, director of international policy with the Pew Environment Group in Washington. "It's pretty irresponsible of the governments to hear the science and ignore the science. Clearly, there was pressure from the fishing interests. The fish is too valuable for its own good."



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