Monday, 23 October 2017

Male chimpanzee seen snatching seconds-old chimp and eating it

13 October 2017

By Jessica Hamzelou

A rare sighting of a chimpanzee giving birth in the wild came to a grisly conclusion. Within seconds of the birth, the baby was snatched away and eaten by a male of the same group. The observation explains why female chimpanzees tend to go into hiding for weeks or months when they have their babies.

Little is known about how chimpanzees give birth in the wild because only five births have ever been observed, says Hitonaru Nishie of Kyoto University in Japan. Nishie and his colleagues have been studying chimpanzees in Tanzania’s Mahale mountains for the last few years.

One of the reasons so few have been witnessed is that the soon-to-be mothers often leave the group when the baby is due, and don’t return until the infant is weeks or months old. This absence has been described as a chimpanzee’s “maternity leave”.

So Nishie and his colleague Michio Nakamura were surprised when, at around 11 am one December day, a female member of the chimpanzee group they were observing began to give birth in front of the 20 other members.

As soon as the baby was out – and before the mother had even had a chance to touch it – the baby was snatched away by a male member of the group, who then disappeared into the bush. The researchers found him around 1½ hours later, sitting up a tree and eating the infant from the lower half of its body. He ate the entire body within an hour.

Snapper family ties provide new evidence on marine reserves

October 18, 2017 by Anne Beston

A higher proportion of young snapper in fishing areas north of Auckland are related to adult snapper from the Goat Island Marine Reserve, confirming what scientists have long suspected: the reserve acts as a giant snapper nursery.

The new study from the University of Auckland's Institute of Marine Science is the first time scientists have studied a temperate commercial fishing species to find evidence of a direct parental link between adults in a marine protected area to juveniles outside.

Led by Professor John Montgomery, Dr Shane Lavery, and former University of Auckland postdoctoral fellow Dr Agn├Ęs Le Port, the research team used a combination of genetic testing and hydrodynamic modelling of snapper larvae.

They found at least 11 percent of juvenile snapper up to 40km away were the offspring of spawning adults from the reserve at Leigh north of Auckland, whereas no offspring matches were found to adult snapper sampled from non-reserve areas.

"The contribution from the reserve is about 10 times higher than would be expected if snapper larval contribution was simply proportional to geographic area," Professor Montgomery says.
An area of 400 square kilometres was included in the study, from Mangawhai in the north to Mahurangi in the south. Goat Island Marine Reserve makes up just 1.3 percent of the area studied. It is a 'no take' marine reserve meaning fishing is strictly prohibited.

Skinned sea otter carcass found on California beach

October 19, 2017

The skinned carcass of a sea otter was found on a California beach, and investigators are trying to determine how it died and who took the pelt.

Federal and state wildlife officials said in a statement Wednesday that the young-adult female Southern sea otter was found on a beach in San Simeon on Sept. 26. Animals and insects had already scavenged it. Investigators made the discovery public in their search for information on who may be responsible.

Federal wildlife forensics specialists are examining the body.

Southern sea otters, sometimes called California sea otters, are a threatened species—though not yet an endangered species—under federal law.

Killing one can mean fines up to $100,000, and taking its pelt without a permit is illegal, even if it's already dead.

Record number of whales counted in Argentina's Patagonia

October 19, 2017

Conservation groups say a record number of Southern right whales were counted this year in Argentina's Patagonia region.

Thousands of tourists have enjoyed watching the whales and their calves this season swimming near the shoreline of El Doradillo area.

The Whale Conservation Institute says 788 Southern right whales were counted in the region this year. It says that is the highest since records began to be registered in 1971.

Southern right whales migrate from their icy feeding grounds off Antarctica to warmer climates.
Many come to El Doradillo, on the coast of Golfo Nuevo in the Argentine Patagonia, to breed and nurse their young.

The tiny inlet on the Atlantic coast is one of the few places on Earth where the whales can be seen from shore.

DRI busts animal smuggling racket, rescues 1,000 turtles (Editor- note the 852 red-eared sliders confiscated because its an exotic turtle so falls under endangered species act’s protection) – via Herp Digest

The gang procures turtles from forest areas in Telengana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka through its agents. DH File Photo (Example of species confiscated, not actual animals)
DH News Service, Bengaluru, Oct 10 2017, 2:39 IST

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has claimed to have busted an animal smuggling racket and rescued 1,012 exotic turtles and tortoises, whose notional value was put at Rs 4 crore in the international market.

The DRI sleuths arrested one person and are searching for his associate in Chennai. The sleuths refused to divulge details of the arrested.

“He had tightly packed animals in seven travel bags and had kept the bags in two car bound for Chennai from Bengaluru,’’ said a senior officer. On definite leads, DRI staff intercepted the car at Attibelle toll gate and arrested the man.

There were 76 Tricarinate hill turtles, 852 red eared sliders, 11 Indian star tortoises and 46 female melanochelys tricarinate turtles and 27 Indian tent turtles, the official stated.

Exotic turtles and tortoises fall under endangered species category and their illegal capture and transport attract a minimum prison term of seven years under Customs Act and Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

The suspect told DRI sleuths that he operated through his associates in Bengaluru since 2016. They would procure animals captured from forest areas in Telengana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, through their agnets. Later, they would transport animals to Chennai by road. They would send them by cargo flight to China.

Turtles will be treated at veterinary care centre for a few days and later released into the wild or rehabilitated in any government animal centre, the official added.
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