Thursday, 30 October 2014

Two new lizard species found in Queensland rainforest

Cape Melville rainbow skink and Cape Melville bar-lipped skink bring the tally of species unknown to science that have been found in small, remote area to eight


theguardian.com, Thursday 30 October 2014 06.17 GMT

Two species of lizard previously unknown to science have been uncovered in a remote part of far north Queensland.

Dr Conrad Hoskin, a researcher at James Cook university, found the two species after landing by helicopter in a largely inaccessible area of rainforest on top of the Melville range, about 170km north of Cooktown.

The species have been named as the Cape Melville rainbow skink and the Cape Melville bar-lipped skink. The scientific names of the species – Carlia wundalthini and Glaphyromorphus othelarrni – were chosen by local Aboriginal leaders in a nod to previous traditional owners of the land.

Hoskin said the discoveries were “very exciting” and added to three other species he uncovered during a series of trips to Cape Melville last year: a leaf-tailed gecko, a boulder frog and a golden lizard.

“In each of those cases, as soon as I saw them I knew they were new species,” he told Guardian Australia.

Private zoos boasting exotic animals – the new status symbol of Armenia's elite

Government accused of turning blind eye to importation of endangered species with cheetahs, lions, tigers and bears kept as pets. EurasiaNet.org reports

Marianna Grigoryan for EurasiaNet.org, part of the New East network

theguardian.com, Thursday 30 October 2014 10.33 GMT

The neighbours of Mher Sedrakian, an MP in Armenia’s rulingRepublican party, have a persistent problem with noise. But this is not about wild parties or car horns. Rather, it is about lions.

The lions that Sedrakian allegedly keeps as pets at his home in the Armenian capital Yerevan roar continuously, his neighbours complain.

Increasingly, many Armenians can understand that concern. Private zoos with lions, tigers and bears are emerging as a popular hobby for the wealthy and powerful, and the government does not seem inclined to intervene.

Instead, recent amendments to wildlife legislation seem to facilitate this pastime. Private citizens are allowed to own wild animals, including endangered species, as long as they provide areas for the animals that ensure their “life, health and safety”, and prevent escape from captivity, the law says. Supervision is supposed to be “constant”. 

But it is not. Last November, tiger cubs were found in the streets of Etchmiadzin, a town about 12 miles from the capital, Yerevan, local media reported.

Although tigers, as an endangered species, cannot be exported from the wild, their import from zoos is allowed. 

A search of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) database for 2008 to 2013 shows the import of six tigers to Armenia, including three Siberian tigers from Ukraine. The others came from Belgium, Chile and Kazakhstan.


Long-Lost Species Returns Home After A Century In Exile

For the last 100 years, cougars have been absent from the forests of Wisconsin, a state where they once roamed. The Department of Natural Resources confirmed two cougar sightings on trail cameras this week — bringing the total number of sightings in 2014 to three. These, coupled with a handful of others in the past few years, have led experts to say that the cougar is likely back in Wisconsin for the first time since 1910.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, it's possible that the two sightings could’ve been of the same animal — they were spotted about 90 miles away from one another about three weeks apart. 

Plump turtles swim better: First models of swimming animals

Date:
October 29, 2014

Source:
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Summary:
Bigger is better, if you're a leatherback sea turtle. For the first time, researchers have measured the forces that act on a swimming animal and the energy the animal must expend to move through the water.

A surprising finding: Longer, slender turtles are less efficient swimmers than more rotund turtles, which get better stroke for their buck.


New frog species found in the urban jungle of New York City

When thinking about where a new frog species might be discovered, the dense rainforests of Papua New Guinea, the humid jungles of Central Africa or other equally remote and tropical destinations instantly come to mind. But surprisingly, the latest new frog species to have been discovered has been found in the urban jungle of New York City and surrounding coastal areas.

The new species of leopard frog, Rana kauffeldi, was first identified in the New York City metropolitan area, but its range extends to the north and south, following a narrow and predominantly coastal lowland area from central Connecticut to northeast North Carolina.

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