Dr Kathy Townsend from Turtles in Trouble with the debris extracted from a coastal sub-adult flat back turtle in Moreton Bay, Australia. Much of this was plastic bag remnants.
EUROPEAN UNION PROHIBITS SHARK FINNING
Shark protection groups have applauded the move, saying it marked a key chapter for shark conservation.
by AP staff
The European parliament on Thursday called a definitive halt to shark finning, the long contested practice of fishermen slicing off fins and throwing the live body overboard to drown.
The EU prohibited shark finning in 2003, but an exemption allowed fishermen with special permits to remove the fins from their carcass out at sea and bring back the remainders or land them in different ports.
In March, fisheries ministers endorsed a proposal to force fishermen to bring sharks to port intact, but the measure needed the approval of the parliament.
“The measure closes long-standing enforcement loopholes in EU policy on shark finning, will improve the collection of valuable data about shark catches, and will help to prevent the trade of fins from threatened shark species,” the conservation group OCEANA in a statement.
Asia’s taste for shark fin soup is viewed as a key threat to sharks, with marine protection groups saying up to 73 million are killed annually to satisfy demand for the delicacy...
(read more: Discovery News) (photo: Corbis)
This is HUGE news :D
Whale shark with extreme scarring, probably caused by a boat propeller
For the love of Neptune, that poor poor shark.
Propeller contact is a common threat to whale sharks, who spend some of their time feeding at plankton blooms near the surface. With ever increasing boat traffic in the oceans, we’ll be seeing more and more of these.
Please show your support - In 24 hours, the Australian government could approve the world’s biggest marine reserve to help preserve spectacular coral reefs and endangered species. But the commercial fishing industry is lobbying to oppose it. We need a flood of support to the public consultation to win. Send a message now!
First ever survey shows Sumatran tiger hanging on as forests continue to vanish
The first-ever Sumatran-wide survey of the island’s top predator, the Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae), proves that the great cat is holding on even as forests continue to vanish. The study, carried out by eight NGOs and the Indonesian government, shows that the tiger is still present in 70 percent of the forests surveyed, providing hope for the long-term survival of the subspecies if remaining forests are protected.
“This survey is a milestone for Sumatran tigers. The results provide the most up-to-date and reliable information ever collected for this Critically Endangered subspecies and is the first time that such a large number of organizations have worked together so effectively,” lead author Hariyo Wibisono of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and chairman of the Sumatran Tiger Forum (HarimauKita) said in a press release. WCS was joined by Panthera’s Tigers Forever program, Fauna and Flora International (FFI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) among others.
Researchers surveyed 13,500 kilometers of forest transects seeking indirect signs of the tiger, such as footprints. They found new priorities for tiger conservation, including the Leuser-Ulu Masen landscape in Aceh Province.
“This study puts Aceh’s previously unsurveyed forest firmly on the map as a global priority for wild tigers in Asia,” explained co-author Matthew Linkie with FFI. Notably, Aceh has implemented an effective logging moratorium since 2007, preserving its forests. Another region that showed tigers doing well was the Kerinci Seblat-Batang Hari forest landscape.
** Some good news at last **
Should Gay, Endangered Penguins Be Forced to Mate?
By John R. Platt
What do you do when a species is rapidly disappearing in the wild and two of its most likely in-captivity studs decide to cuddle with each other instead of with eligible bachelorettes?
That’s the problem Toronto Zoo is encountering this week as two endangered male African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) recently brought to the zoo for breeding purposes seem more concerned with spending time with one another than with two eager females.
African penguins (also known as black-footed penguins) only live on South Africa’s southern coast. Their population in the wild has dropped nearly 75 percent in the past two decades, from as estimated 225,000 in the 1990s to around 60,000 today, most likely due to changes in food availability brought on by climate change.
With the penguins’ wild population at risk, zoos are actively taking up the breeding mantle. According to the National Post, “the sexual partners of almost all captive African penguins are carefully mapped out by researchers at Chicago’s Population Management Center. There, penguins are paired, split up and even moved to different zoos purely on the basis of maximizing genetic diversity.”
Separating the two male penguins might be enough to get them breeding. A study released in 2010 by the Center for Functional and Evolutionary Ecology and published in Ethnology found that supposedly gay penguins weren’t solely attracted to the same gender, but were instead just “lonely.”
** Stupid title, but quite the little controversy! **
Juvenile Barramundi Cod (Chromileptes altivelis)
IUCN status: Vulnerable
Threats: Habitat loss, fishing, aquarium trade
A critically endangered Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) by Dave Bretherton.
Within the sea turtles, E. imbricata has several unique anatomical and ecological traits. It is the only primarily spongivorous reptile. Because of this, its evolutionary position is somewhat unclear. Molecular analyses support placement of Eretmochelys within the taxonomic tribe Carettini, which includes the carnivorous loggerhead and ridley sea turtles, rather than in the tribe Chelonini, which includes the herbivorous green turtle. The hawksbill probably evolved from carnivorous ancestors.[
An investigation released today reveals that Auckland based company Cottonsoft is sourcing its toilet paper from rainforests in Indonesia, home of the critically-endangered Sumatran tiger.
The evidence is the result of an eight-month investigation by Greenpeace, the Green Party and WWF-New Zealand into exactly where the toilet paper sold by New Zealand retailers originates from.
Cottonsoft refused to disclose where they were sourcing their toilet paper from so samples were sent to a US laboratory for forensic testing. This confirmed the presence of mixed tropical hardwoods (timber that comes from rainforests) in a range of Cottonsoft products.