Researchers have discovered a large population of Latin America’s largest land mammal, lowland tapirs living in national parks along southeastern Peru and northwest Bolivia border.
Scientists of the Wildlife Conservation Socierty have estimated at least 14,500 lowland tapirs live in the region. Researchers say that the population is linked to five national parks in northwest Bolivia and southeastern Peru.
The WCS conducted their study based on inputs from camera traps and photographs and also interviews with the park guards and hunters. The study is a culmination of 12 years of research that was conducted on the lowland tapirs.
“The Madidi-Tambopata landscape is estimated to hold a population of at least 14,500 lowland tapirs making it one of the most important strongholds for lowland tapir conservation in the continent,” said the study’s lead author Robert Wallace, of WCS’s Greater Madidi-Tambopata Landscape Program, in a statement. “These results underline the fundamental importance of protected areas for the conservation of larger species of wildlife threatened by hunting and habitat loss.”
According to the WCS, the lowland tapir is the largest terrestrial mammal in South America, weighing up to 300 kg (661 pounds). Its snout is used to reach leaves and fruit. Tapirs are found throughout tropical forests and grasslands in South America.
However, the mammals are threatened by habitat loss and especially unsustainable hunting due to their large size, low reproductive rate which is 1 birth every 2-3 years, and ease of detection at mineral licks in the rainforest.
The lowland tapirs, also known as Brazilian tapirs are considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, a global network of government and private groups that assesses the extinction risk of species. Their population numbers have decreased by more than 30 percent in the last 33 years, and are expected to decline by the same amount in the next 30 or so years, the ICUN reports.
Working with government partners in Bolivia and Peru, the Greater Madidi-Tambopata Landscape Conservation Program aims to build the local ability to preserve the landscape and eliminate the threats from wildlife.
Julie Kunen, WCS Director of Latin America and Caribbean Programs said: “WCS commends our government and indigenous partners for their commitment to the Madidi-Tambopata Landscape. Their dedication is clearly paying off with well-managed protected areas and more wildlife.”
Warming Oceans Threaten Global Fisheries, Study Reveals
People have depended on fish and other seafood for sustenance since the prehistoric people learned how to fish. Early civilizations are built in river banks and coastal regions because fishing is much sustainable the hunting. However, as society progress, the more than fishes and other marine animals become at risk. Thanks to climate change.
This reality was revealed by the extensive analysis of recent trends in marine biodiversity. The increasing temperatures in seas have reduced the productivity of some fisheries by 15% to 35% over the last eight decades, although there are fish species that are thriving in warm waters.
According to the study, the net effect is that the world’s oceans cannot produce as much sustainable seafood as before. It also warns that the situation is likely to worsen as the problem is quickly accelerating in the oceans.
However, the study also suggests that well-managed fisheries are thriving and have become more resilient to the rising water temperature, says Rainer Froese, a marine ecologist with the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, who was not involved in the work. “We have to stop overfishing to let the gene pool survive, so that [the fish] can adapt to climate change,” he says. “We have to give them a break.”
As cold-blooded animals, fish mirror the temperature of the water they swim in. When the water gets too warm, the enzymes they use for digestion and other functions are less efficient, impairing growth and reproduction. Also, warm water contains less oxygen, a further stressor.
Despite these well-known problems, only a few scientists have looked into the impact of climate change on the world’s oceans in terms of fishery production.
Chris Free, a fisheries scientist, dove into the topic for his dissertation at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He created a computer model of the way fish populations respond to temperature, relying on a large database of scientific assessments of stocks that represent roughly a third of the fish caught around the world. Free, now a postdoc at the University of California, Santa Barbara, looked for patterns of how these stocks had responded to changes in sea surface temperature.
“Managing a stock of fish, in simple terms, is like withdrawing cash from a bank account that earns interest. Each year, a certain amount can be caught by fishing boats without depleting the stock—that portion is known as the maximum sustainable yield. A more productive fishery—where the water temperature is optimal and food plentiful, for example—is like a bank account with a higher interest rate, which means more fish can be sustainably caught.” said Erik Stokstad in an article published in ScienceMag.
The study of Free and his colleagues revealed that: “Out of 235 stocks, Free and his colleagues found a few winners. Nine stocks had become on average 4% more productive. These stocks are in places where rising temperatures have made too-cold water more suitable for fish, such as far north and south of the equator. Off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada, for example, the maximum sustainable yield has increased by 14% since 1930. And fishing there could get even better. According to the new research, the productivity of Greenland halibut will increase 51% with each degree Celsius of warming. That’s like getting a big, fat boost to the interest rate on your saving account.”
“This local good news is outweighed by 19 stocks elsewhere that are on average 8% less productive than before. Many of these are around northern Europe and Japan, and they will likely continue to decline as their environment continues to heat up. Boats chasing Atlantic cod in the Irish Sea face a particularly grim future: The maximum sustainable yield of this stock will shrink by 54% for each additional degree of warming, the team reports today in Science.”
According to Free, the overall decline will most likely to steepen. Since 1930, average sea surface temperatures have risen by about 0.5°C. By the end of this century, more than three times that amount of warming will likely happen, and marine heat waves will become more frequent. Although temperatures will become more favorable to fish in higher latitude waters, “those benefits can’t last forever,” Free says. “There probably is a tipping point.”
Fishes, however, are not the only animals that are being threatened by climate change. Scientists have also said that because of a killer fungi, frogs are starting to become extinct. The rapid increase in rainforest temperature even more empowered the killer fungi. Insects are also in fast decline due to climate change. This serves as a scary reminder of the future we reap if we continue our path to unsustainable tomorrow.
11-Meter-Long Dead Whale Found In Brazilian Jungle
On February 22, an 11-meter-long and 6-meters wide humpback whale was found dead in the middle of the undergrowth of the forest of Pará, a Brazilian municipality located on the island of Marajó, at the mouth of the Amazon River.
Yes, a whale was found in the jungle, away from its natural habitat.
The discovery of the dead whale caused the Municipal Secretariat of Health, Sanitation, and Environment to launch an investigation to determine why the marine animal was found in an ecosystem away from its own and in the winter season.
The colossal animal reportedly had no visible wounds and biologists Bicho D’agua, a marine protection NGO, said that an autopsy is required to determine the cause of death.
Humpback whales are fed seasonally; it is possible that not finding food will migrate to the beach and swallowing large amounts of water will suffocate with plastics , being later his body pushed by the waves of the sea into the jungle.
“We only found the whale because of the presence of scavenging birds of prey,” said Dirlene Silva from the Department of Health, Sanitation, and Environment.
‘The vultures were spotted circling above the carcass which was found hidden in the bush some distance from the sea.’
A team of ten biologists struggled to reach the body of the whale at the first attempt and were only able to reach it at the second try.
Biologists from the Bicho D’agua Institute have been called in to collect forensic samples to determine the cause of death.
The gigantic animal was believed to be already dead when it was carried by the waves to the jungle.
‘Along with this astonishing feat, we are baffled as to what a humpback whale is doing on the north coast of Brazil during February because this is a very unusual occurrence.’ the team announced.
According to the expert, humpback whales are typically seen in Bahia on the northeast coast between August to November.
‘We are collecting as much information as we can get and identifying marks and wounds on its body to see if it was caught in a net or hit by a boat.’
For now, there are no plans to remove the hulk due to the size, weight, and location. Instead, researchers intend to bury much of carcass, and the skeleton will be sent to the Goeldi Natural History Museum in Belem for future studies. /apr
Notice Of Extinction: Frogs May Be Next
The team that discovered the case of the ‘amphibian plague’ that has devastated amphibian populations, especially that of frogs and toads, are worried that the worst is yet to come.
They have discovered that a killer fungus known as Bd has triggered a mass amphibian extinction that has spread across every continent and been described as among the worst infectious diseases ever recorded.
Rainforests around the world are left in deafening silence as the plague has successfully eliminated entire populations of local frogs in mere months, a scientist describes.
Since 1970, at least 200 frog species are thought to have been driven to extinction, with particularly heavy losses in B-infested Rainforests of Latin America.
East Asia is thought to have been the source of the disease as it was identified by researchers who traced and determined the condition.
Local conservation advocates have since worked tirelessly to quarantine the fragmented populations that remain.
AMPHIBIAN TRADE MAY CREATE HYBRIB BD
However, the international trade of amphibians has continuously posed a threat to the biodiversity of frogs and has worried the scientist for what the future may bring.
According to scientists, as the trade of amphibious continue, different strains of the fungi are transferred from one local area to another – mixing them together may create a hybrid that can be more powerful and difficult to control.
“If we keep hauling amphibians back and forth, you don’t know what the outcome is going to be, you might get something that’s more pathogenic [capable of causing disease],” said Dr. Joyce Longcore, the scientist who first identified the unusual aquatic fungus known as Bd.
“Unless you stop international travel and international trade, things like this are going to continue, and you can make your rules stronger for trade but if you have any volume at all something is going to get through.” /apr
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