Thursday, 30 July 2015

Britain's biggest barbel fish, the Big Lady, killed by otter

Anglers want to banish otters amid depleting fish stocks after 20lb barbel dragged out of River Ivel in Bedfordshire and has its throat torn out

By Agency

10:44AM BST 30 Jul 2015

Britain's biggest barbel fish has been killed by an otter, sparking renewed calls by the angling community for a clampdown on the aquatic animals that are now thriving in the countryside.

The large freshwater fish, nicknamed the Big Lady and which was hugely popular with anglers, was seen to be dragged out of a river by a marauding otter that then tore its throat out and partially ate it.

The record specimen weighed more than 20lbs and was believed to be the largest living barbel in UK waters. Six more large coarse fish from the same river, the Ivel in Bedfordshire, have also fallen victim to otter predation in the last three months.

Otters are enjoying a comeback after they were re-introduced into British waterways by conservationists in the 1980s after once being on the brink of extinction.

Despite their fluffy appearance and association with Henry Williamson's much-loved children's book, Tarka the Otter, the marine animals are carnivourous and ferocious hunters.

Critics say the conservation scheme was ill-thought out as there is not enough food in our waterways to sustain their booming numbers. As a result, otters - which have no natural predator - are said to have been picking off expensive, cumbersome fish like carp and barbel from fisheries and putting businesses in jeopardy.


Manatees show up in North Carolina again as more 'sea cows' leave Florida

The ‘sea cows’ have also traveled north to Georgia and even Virginia
There have been nine sightings in North Carolina this year

Associated Press in Wilmington, North Carolina

Thursday 30 July 2015 16.38 BST
Last modified on Thursday 30 July 201516.53 BST

Researchers say manatees have again been spotted in the marinas and waters in south-eastern North Carolina – far from their natural Florida habitat.

The StarNews of Wilmington reported that local researchers have found that the manatees have travelled north to Georgia, the Carolinas and even Virginia.

Erin Cummings with the University of North Carolina Wilmington has charted the “sea cows” in North Carolina waters since the 1990s. Cummings says manatees have been reported in North Carolina dating to the 1930s.

Humpback whale recovery in Australia: A cause for celebration

Australian humpback whales be downlisted from threatened species status

Date:July 28, 2015

Source:Elsevier

Summary:Australia has one of the highest rates of animal species that face extinction in the world. However, over the last decade, there have been animals that are rebounding. One example is the conservation success story of the recovery of the humpback whales that breed in Australian waters. A new study reviews data collected in past studies and proposes a revision of the conservation status for humpback whales found in Australian waters.

Single hair shows researchers what a bear has been eating


New technology reveals protein intake, mercury levels

Date:
July 28, 2015
Source:
Washington State University
Summary:
Researchers have found they can get a good idea of a grizzly bear's diet over several months by looking at a single hair. The technique, which measures residues of trace metals, can be a major tool in determining if the threatened animals are getting enough of the right foods to eat.
Continued ...

'Extinct' fly found in Devon nature reserve

30 July 2015 

A fly thought to be extinct in the UK has been found in a Devon nature reserve.

The rhaphium pectinatum was last recorded in Britain 147 years ago in 1868 but was rediscovered in Old Sludge Beds on the outskirts of Exeter.

The fly is from the Dolichopidiae family, a group known as long-legged flies, and is usually found in tropical parts of the world.

Devon Fly Group member Rob Wolton said he was surprised by the find.

The last recorded sighting was on 19 July 1868 when the Victorian entomologist George Verrall caught a male and female at Richmond in south-west London.
'Brackish conditions'

Mr Wolton, who is also a member of Dipterists Forum, which specialises in the study of flies, said: "Imagine my surprise when I examined my catch that evening to find it included a fly that was presumed extinct in Britain.

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