Sunday 31 March 2013

First beaver spotted at a Perthshire loch in 400 years is given a DNA test

The first wild beaver in more than 400 years has been trapped at a Perthshire nature reserve in order to perform health checks and a DNA test.

The wild beaver had been spotted at the Loch of the Lowes in August.

Staff have managed to catch the animal, which has been identified as a two to three year old male European Beaver.

The aquatic mammal was taken to Edinburgh Zoo for a proper health check and DNA testing, before being released back into the reserve.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT), along with the Tayside Beaver Study Group, has been monitoring the animal at the Loch of the Lowes since it was first spotted last summer.

Staff placed a humane trap, baited with carrots and apples, near the beaver's lodge.

Once caught, it was taken to the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) vet in Edinburgh, where the male beaver was given a full check for diseases and a sample of DNA taken.

Monitoring impact
The animal was re-released on the reserve later the same day, where staff said "he ambled happily down to the water's edge" and swam back to his lodge.

A spokesman at the reserve said: "We intend, of course, to continue monitoring the beaver at Loch of the Lowes and his behaviour, as well as any impact he has on the reserve's ecology.

Sea hares' sticky defence uncovered

By Michelle Warwicker, Reporter, BBC Nature

The sea hare, a soft-bodied marine creature, uses a sticky secretion to fool hungry predators, say scientists.

The slow-moving animals are known for defending themselves by squirting an off-putting mixture of purple ink and a white substance called opaline.

However, exactly how this sticky opaline is used to deter predators was previously unknown.
Now scientists have shown the substance coats predators' antennae, deactivating their chemical senses.

Researchers suggested that with their sense of smell blocked predators lose their appetite and spend a long time cleaning themselves of the sticky coating, allowing the sea hares to escape.

Sneaky predator avoidance
The team from Georgia State University, Atlanta, US said that their study is the first time "sensory inactivation" as a defence against predators has been shown in an experiment.

Details of their findings are published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

New Bone Survey Method Could Aid Long-Term Survival of Arctic Caribou

Mar. 27, 2013 — A study co-authored by a University of Florida scientist adds critical new data for understanding caribou calving grounds in an area under consideration for oil exploration in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

The research may be used to create improved conservation strategies for an ecologically important area that has been under evaluation for natural resource exploration since enactment of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980.

By studying bone accumulations on the Arctic landscape, lead author Joshua Miller discovered rare habitats near river systems are more important for some caribou than previously believed. The study appearing online today in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B shows bone surveys conducted on foot provide highly detailed and extensive data on areas used by caribou as birthing grounds.

"The bone surveys are adding a new piece of the puzzle, giving us a way of studying how caribou use the landscape during calving and providing a longer perspective for evaluating the importance of different regions and habitats," said Miller, an assistant scientist at the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus and a Fenneman assistant research professor at the University of Cincinnati.

Unlike other species in the deer family, both male and female caribou grow antlers. Males shed them after they mate, while pregnant females keep their antlers until they calve, losing them within a day or two of giving birth. Newborn caribou calves also suffer high mortality rates within the first couple days of birth. The female antlers and newborn skeletal remains offer a unique biological signal for understanding calving activity, Miller said.

Mate Choice in Mice Is Heavily Influenced by Paternal Cues, Mouse Study Shows

Mar. 28, 2013 — Hybrid offspring of different house mice populations show a preference for mating with individuals from their father's original population.

Mate choice is a key factor in the evolution of new animal species. The choice of a specific mate can decisively influence the evolutionary development of a species. In mice, the attractiveness of a potential mate is conveyed by scent cues and ultrasonic vocalizations. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön investigated whether house mice (Mus musculus) would mate with each other even if they were from two populations which had been separated from each other for a long time period. To do this, the researchers brought together mice from a German population and mice from a French population. Although to begin with all the mice mated with one another randomly, the hybrid offspring of French and German parents were distinctly more choosy: they showed a definite preference for mating with individuals from their father's original population. According to the researchers, this paternal imprinting accelerates the divergence of two house mouse populations and thus promotes speciation.

In allopatric speciation, individuals of a species become geographically isolated from each other by external factors such as mountains or estuaries. Over time, this geographic separation leads to the sub-populations undergoing various mutations, and thus diverging genetically. Animals from the two different sub-populations can no longer successfully reproduce, so two new species evolve.

To find out what role partner selection plays in such speciation processes, Diethard Tautz from the Max Planck Institutefor Evolutionary Biology and his colleagues conducted a comprehensive study on house mice -- the classic model organisms of biology. "To investigate whether there are differences in the mating behaviour of the mice in the early stages of speciation, we caught wild house mice in southern France and western Germany. The two populations have been geographically separate for around 3,000 years, which equates to some 18,000 generations," says Diethard Tautz. Due to this geographical separation, the French and German mice were genetically different.

Largest ever seizure of Critically Endangered Ploughshare Tortoises made in Thailand

Hundreds of protected tortoises found at Bangkok Airport
March 2013. Just a day after the close a global wildlife trade conference here in Bangkok, authorities at Suvarnabhumi International Airport made two big seizures, discovering hundreds of threatened tortoises and apprehending two smugglers. Among the tortoises seized were some of the rarest in the world.

Authorities arrested a 38-year-old Thai man as he was attempting to collect a bag containing tortoises from Madagascar, from a luggage carousel, at the airport. The bag was registered to a 25-year-old woman who had flown from Madagascar to Bangkok via Nairobi the same day.

54 Ploughshare tortoises and 21 Radiated Tortoises
Royal Thai Customs officers and their counterparts in the CITES management authority found 54 Ploughshare Tortoises and 21 Radiated Tortoises Astrochelys radiata, both of which are assessed as being Critically Endangered.

Critically Endangered
Ploughshare and Radiated Tortoises are endemic to Madagascar, totally protected in the country and are both listed in CITES Appendix I. The wild population of Ploughshare Tortoises, considered among the rarest species in the world, is estimated to be as few as 400 individuals, and is declining fast.

Why Cuckolded Males Stick Around to Raise Kids

Tanya Lewis, LiveScience Staff Writer
Date: 26 March 2013 Time: 05:18 PM ET

No man wants to be cuckolded. But the males of many species actually stick around to raise offspring that aren't their own, so long as the effort doesn't cost them much, new research suggests.

An analysis of several animal studies found that males whose mates had strayed were, on average, 12 percent less likely to care for their offspring than other males. Even so, a high proportion of male animals care for offspring that may not have been theirs. They did so as long as the likelihood of cuckoldry was low and providing care would not harm the males' own future reproductive prospects. The findings were detailed March 26 in the journal PLOS Biology.

"The vast majority of species studied show some level of cuckoldry," study leader Charlie Cornwallis of Lund University, Sweden, told LiveScience. The question is, "why should those males continue caring when those offspring don't have their genes?"

Being a caring father takes work. By one estimate, the amount of effort a typical garden bird expends rearing chicks is the bird-equivalent of cycling the Tour de France. It stands to reason that male animals should only spend this much effort on their own offspring. Yet, bafflingly, research shows that males of many species continue to care for young they did not sire.

'Dead' deer jumps out of car boot

Police officers in the US had a shock when they opened the boot of a car - and a supposedly dead deer jumped out.

They had stopped the car for a routine check, near Kalamazoo, Michigan, when the driver told them he had a roadkill deer in the boot.

The motorist told officers he had accidentally hit and killed the deer with his car on a nearby road.

Michigan motorists who hit animals are allowed to keep the meat but must report the incident and acquire a state deer kill permit.

But it turned out the deer had been only stunned - and it jumped up and ran off into nearby woods when officers opened the boot.

Kalamazoo lieutenant Stacey Geik said: "It was a fun story, to maybe get a smile on people's faces for a change."

Brit catches massive monster fish

A British adventure angler achieved a lifelong ambition when he landed a 250lb monster fish in South America - using a piranha as bait.

Steve Townson landed the wild arapaima - the world's largest scaled freshwater fish - from Middle River Essequibo in Guyana.

Mr Townson, who travels the world catching exotic fish, used a 2lb piranha to catch the mighty fish, plus another weighing around 150lb.

"The Arapaima is one of the world's biggest and mightiest freshwater fish and to catch them in the wild is a rare privilege," he said.

"They are protected and cannot be removed by law for the table, but our partners in Guyana are working on strictly catch and release with the local Amerindians.

"The Arapaima is the largest scaled freshwater fish in the world, but they can be delicate and must be handled with care.

"The fish I caught were never removed from the water and swam away strongly to fight another day!"

Mr Townson runs UK-based company - a company specialising in South American angling holidays.

Saturday 30 March 2013

NEW Illinois Herp Bill-Introduced – SB 2362 - via Herp Digest

On February 15, 2013, Illinois Senator Heather Steans introduced Senate Bill 2362.  SB 2362 as introduced was a shell bill, meaning that the substance of the ballot initiative was not filled out at the time of filing.

On March 8, 2013, the primary sponsor was changed to Senator James F. Clayborne, Jr.  On March 14th it was assigned to the Agriculture and Conservation Committee.

On March 15th, Senator Clayborne introduced his first amendment.  

SB 2362 is the first bill of its kind in the United States because it seeks to carve out all herpetofauna and to deal with them in a separate statutory section all to themselves.  It is a proposed “herp code.”  It states specifically that:

For purposes of this Act, reptiles and amphibians shall be exempt from the definition of “aquatic life” under Section 1-20 of the Fish and Aquatic Life Code. All rules and enforcement actions under the Illinois Conservation Law and the dangerous animals provisions in Section 48-10 of the Criminal Code of 2012 related to reptiles and amphibians shall be covered exclusively by this Act.

Under current Illinois law, it is illegal to privately keep any venomous or life threatening reptile.  The Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that pythons of 15′ in length are life threatening and therefore illegal.

SB 2362 would lift the prohibition on large constrictors currently in place, and instead proposes certain “captive maintenance requirements” as set forth in the bill are met.

SB 2362 would also make it legal to keep certain venomous snakes, crocodilians, Komodo dragons and crocodile monitor lizards with a permit only if used for bona fide educational purposes.

SB 2362 makes it unlawful to buy, sell or offer to sell any aquatic or semi-aquatic turtles with a carapace of under 4″ or their eggs in the state.  This means that the Illinois State Department of Natural Resources could enforce the 4″ provision of aquatic or semi-aquatic turtles without USDA.

SB 2362 imposes insurance requirements and liability on owners of all of the “special use herptiles” within the bill and provides for criminal and civil penalties for noncompliance.


Public zoos or aquaria accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums;
Licensed veterinarians or anyone operating under the authority of a licensed veterinarian;
Wildlife sanctuaries;
Accredited research or medical institutions;
Licensed or accredited educational institutions;
Circuses licensed and in compliance with the Animal Welfare Act and all rules adopted by the Department of  Agriculture;
Federal, State, and local law enforcement officers, including animal control officers acting under the authority of this Act; 
Members of federal, State, or local agencies approved by the Department; 
Any bonafide wildlife rehabilitation facility licensed or otherwise authorized by the Department; and
Any motion picture or television production company that uses licensed dealers, exhibitors, and transporters under the federal Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C.

Courtesy of Herp Alliance which remains neutral on SB 2362 until they  have fully analyzed all of its provisions. But as states so far I like it’s separation of herps from other animals, it’s a recognition that like in other laws concerning “dangerous animals” they are not an after thought but different kind of animal, needing different attention, traits that must be addressed. To me the most important advance is it “imposes insurance requirements and liability on owners of all of the “special use herptiles”. You want them, you have to be responsible for them. I hope it talks about minimum care requirements for a variety of species and looks into the problem of feral animals. What people must do if they no longer can possess these animals. Am I asking for too much? A comprehensive herp in captivity law?

Boom Over, St. Patrick’s Isle Is Slithering Again - via Herp Digest

By AMY CHOZICK, Published: March 15, 2013, New York Times

BALLIVOR, Ireland — Legend has it that St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland. The economic crisis has brought some of them back.

During the Celtic Tiger boom, snakes became a popular pet among the Irish nouveaux riches, status symbols in a country famous for its lack of indigenous serpents. But after the bubble burst, many snake owners could no longer afford the cost of food, heating and shelter, or they left the country for work elsewhere. Some left their snakes behind or turned them loose in the countryside, leading to some startling encounters.

A California king snake was found late last year in a vacant store in Dublin, a 15-foot python turned up in a garden in Mullingar, a corn snake was found in a trash bin in Clondalkin in South Dublin, and an aggressive rat snake was kept in a shed in County Meath, northwest of Dublin, an area dotted with sprawling houses built during the boom.

“The recession is the thing that’s absolutely causing this,” said Kevin Cunningham, a 37-year-old animal lover who started the National Exotic Animal Sanctuary after he left his job at a Dublin nightclub. He has transformed an old single-room schoolhouse near Ballivor, a hamlet in the Meath countryside, into a reptile sanctuary.

“It was about status,” Mr. Cunningham said as he waved to a four-foot red iguana that was found under a sink in an abandoned house in Dublin. “During the boom, people treated these animals as conversation starters.”

Animals have always been abandoned in greater numbers in times of famine, economichardship and mass emigration in Ireland, but in the past that usually meant farm animals. TheDublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was taking in five or six emaciated horses a week as recently as 2010. Now, though, snakes are more common among the foundlings, including a python named Basie that someone dropped by the side of a road.

“In the Tiger economy,” said P. J. Doyle, a reptile expert, “young people could pay 600 quid for a snake” and the necessary equipment — about $700 to $1,000 during much of the boom. But these days, he said, some owners “just drive up and throw them somewhere.”

Mr. Doyle, a hulking man with weathered skin and a gap between his teeth, helped the cruelty prevention society brace for an influx of reptiles around, of all dates, St. Patrick’s Day, when the warmer spring weather means that the coldblooded snakes will be more active and more likely to show themselves.

“We always get a bump in calls around Paddy’s Day,” Gillian Bird, the education officer at the society, said as she pet Carl, a green iguana from South America that she named after a colleague’s boyfriend.

Irish legend holds that the country has no native snakes because St. Patrick banished them in the fifth century. But science says the country was snake-free long before Patrick’s time. When the glaciers of the most recent ice age retreated from the British Isles more than 10,000 years ago, Ireland was already separated from the rest of Europe by open sea, an isolated ecosystem with a damp, chilly climate that is hostile to almost all reptiles, other than a common lizard.

Most of the recent snake sightings have occurred in the counties around Dublin, where the newly prosperous congregated in the country’s boom years. The government does not require owners to register pet reptiles, so there are no official statistics on the total number of snakes present in the country.

“If you buy a dog, you need a license, but if you buy a snake, you don’t,” said Brendan Ryan, a director of the Irish Pest Control Association.

Like the country’s housing boom and subsequent bust, the snake influx can partly be traced to European integration. In the years when Ireland stood somewhat apart from the broader European economy, it had strict regulations on the types of plants and animals that could be imported, but now Ireland’s standards match the more relaxed rules of other member states of the European Union.

“We’ve got no regulation whatsoever covering exotics,” said James Hennessy, zoo director and founder of Reptile Village Conservation Zoo in County Kilkenny. “Once it’s in Europe legally and coming from other European states, you can pick up whatever you want.”

Reptile Village is often called upon to rescue animals, including a crocodile that had been bought online and then abandoned in a Dublin apartment and a six-foot boa constrictor that had taken up residence under a skylight in an attic in County Meath. “His name’s Sammy, and he’s brilliant,” Mr. Hennessy said of the snake.

A spokesman for the Department of the Environment said Ireland adheres to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. But the convention does not prohibit trade in venomous snakes, which, while still rare here, can legally be bought in Ireland. That presents a scary proposition in a country with almost no antivenin stocks.

“You have to ask yourself why it’s permissible to have these animals in the country,” Mr. Ryan said.

Though a few loose rattlesnakes, cobras and vipers have been reported, most of the released snakes are not venomous and pose little or no hazard to humans. That does not always make them a welcome sight, though. “We have it deep inbred in us that they’re evil and nasty and tempted Eve and were led out of Ireland,” said Mr. Cunningham, the animal sanctuary founder.

He said one six-foot snake ended up with him recently after its owner lost his job and had to move in with his parents: “Being a good Irish mother, she said, ‘Of course I’ll take you back home — but I’m not taking your boa constrictor.’ ”

China's 'Snake Village' Breeds More Than 3 Million Snakes A Year - via Herp Digest

Business Insider, Megan Willett | Mar. 13, 2013,

According to Reuters, the 160 farming families that live in the Zisiqao village in the Zhejiang Province of China are known for their snakes. They collectively breed over three million snakes annually for food and medicinal purposes. 

Cobras, vipers, and pythons are not only a common sight in the small village, but a way of life:Serpents outnumber the residents 3,000 to one.

It has become quite lucrative for the residents to raise and sell the snakes, with some even earning tens of thousands of dollars for their efforts, according to the BBC. 

It was Yang Hongchang, a 60-year-old farmer, who first introduced snake breeding to the village in 1985. When the wild snakes Hongchang used to catch and sell became scarce, he researched how to raise snakes at home instead. After three years of successful breeding — and a healthy profit — the other villagers began to emulate his methods.

The result is an industry unlike any other in the world, with millions of snakes being raised for food or traditional Chinese medicine that is not only sold in China, but exported to the United States, Germany, Japan, and South Korea as well.

For slide show go to

Mass. Endangered Species Act Still Under Attack! - via Herp Digest

The wildlife of Massachusetts is facing it a new and terrifying threat. A bill to kill the MA Endangered Species Act (MESA) is circulating around the state legislature. It is circulating in several variations under different names. This is a very serious, multi-year effort by anti-wildlife developers and politicians. (See “Who is Bill Pepin?” in the Valley Advocate 2009). It will come to a head this year and your help is needed to put an end to this. This is not a plea for donations! You just need to do a little typing.

If you are a Massachusetts resident:
1. Contact your state senator and representative and tell them, “I expect you to support the Massachusetts Endangered Species regulations! Any ‘compromise’ bill should in no way diminish the ability of the Natural Heritage Program to do its job.”
2. Find your legislators’’ contact information at
3. Send a similar message to the governor. Contact information posted

MA Residents and Others:
The “Victims of Natural Heritage” have created a You Tube channel to spread their propaganda.
1. Go to their channel to vote down and leave disapproving comments on their four videos.
2. Is it a coincidence that the leader of this group is a high-ranking official (Valley Advocate, 2009) at an NBC affiliate and very professional videos have been posted on Youtube? If you do not believe in coincidence you may want to contact NBC Corporate

Massachusetts wildlife needs your voice now! Please take a little time to help.

Two-Headed Lamb Born In Ghana

The Huffington Post  |  By David Moye Posted: 03/12/2013 5:13 pm EDT  |  Updated: 03/12/2013 5:53 pm EDT

A two-headed lamb was born Monday afternoon in Tarkwa, Ghana.

Unless someone is pulling the wool over the eyes of Internet users around the world, a two-headed lamb was born Monday afternoon near Tarkwa, Ghana.

The double-domed black and white lambwas born next to Sackious Ventures, a spare parts and general goods dealer’s shop, according to MyJoyOnline. The animal is reportedly completely normal in all other respects.

Little other information is known about the lamb, but one person who is doubly interested in the two-headed creature is Todd Ray, star of the AMC TV series, "Freakshow."

Ray has the largest collection of two-headed animals in the world, according to Guinness World Records, including a two-headed goat, a two-headed chicken and two living two-headed six-legged bearded dragons.
Ray, who displays his collection at the Venice Beach Freakshow in Los Angeles, doesn't know if the animal is still alive, but hopes the owners play close attention to the animal's heads to see if one is more dominant.
"People often try to feed both mouths, but one may not have a functioning throat or it may have an obstruction," Ray told The Huffington Post. "If one head seems more capable, feed that one because there's only one stomach."

Found: Africa's Oldest Penguins

Tia Ghose, LiveScience Staff Writer
Date: 26 March 2013 Time: 11:16 AM ET

Penguin fossils from 10 million to 12 million years ago have been unearthed in South Africa, the oldest fossil evidence of these cuddly, tuxedoed birds in Africa.

The new discovery, detailed in the March 26 issue of the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, could shed light on why the number of penguin species plummeted on Africa's coastline from four species 5 million years ago to just one today — Spheniscus demersus, or the jackass penguin, known for their donkeylike calls.

Daniel Thomas, a researcher at the National Museum of Natural History, and colleague Daniel Ksepka of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center were studying rock sediments near a steel plant in Cape Town, South Africa, when they uncovered an assortment of fossils, including 17 pieces that turned out to be backbones, breastbones, legs and wings from ancient penguins.

The bones suggested these ancient birds ranged from 1-to-3 feet tall (0.3 to 0.9 meters).  For comparison, Africa's living jackass penguin, also called the black-footed penguin, stands at about 2-feet tall (0.6 meters) and weighs between 5.5 and 8.8 pounds (2.5 and 4 kilograms). 

Little Bitty Ancient Mammal Unearthed in Japan

Tia Ghose, LiveScience Staff Writer
Date: 26 March 2013 Time: 08:01 PM ET

Paleontologists in Japan have unearthed the jaw of a primitive mammal from the early Cretaceous period.

The pint-size creature, named Sasayamamylos kawaii for the geologic formation in Japan where it was found, is about 112 million years old and belongs to an ancient clade known as Eutherian mammals, which gave rise to all placental mammals. (A clade is a group of animals that share uniquely evolved features and therefore a common ancestry.)

The jaw sports pointy, sharp teeth and molars in a proportion similar to that found in modern mammals, said paleontologist Brian Davis of Missouri Southern State University, who was not involved in the study.

"This little critter, Sasayamamylos, is the oldest Eutherian mammal to demonstrate what paleontologists consider the modern dental formula in placental mammals," Davis told LiveScience.

The new mammal fossil, described today (March 26) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, suggests that these primitive creatures were already evolving quickly, with diverse traits emerging, at this point in the Cretaceous Era, he added.


Eating locusts: The crunchy, kosher snack taking Israel by swarm

By Cordelia Hebblethwaite, PRI's The World

Israel is in the grip of a locust invasion. Farmers are seeing their crops gobbled up in minutes - and some people are taking a novel approach to pest control. Eating them.

Rabbi Ari Zivotofsky's children have been busy in the kitchen.

On the menu… breaded locust, and chocolate-covered locust.


Israel is dealing with a locust emergency.

For the last two weeks, the skies in the south have been swathed in a moving carpet of the swarming insects.

Locusts eat their bodyweight in food every day. And they have been chomping their way through fields of potato and maize.

They are showing little sign of letting up.

Friday 29 March 2013

Five-legged Frog Found In Christmas Tree Jumps Into Todd Ray's Collection Of Weird Animals

Posted: 03/21/2013 3:39 pm EDT

Seeing a five-legged frog might make some people jumpy, but not Todd Ray, star of the AMC reality program "Freakshow."

Ray runs the Venice Beach Freakshow in Los Angeles, and is considered to have the largest collection of multi-limbed and double-domed creatures, living AND dead, in the world.

His latest acquisition is a five-legged frog named Freddie whose origin story is even more amazing than his extra appendage.

"I found out about him from a woman who visited the Freakshow and she said she found him in a Christmas tree," Ray told The Huffington Post. "She loved that frog and kept it for two months before she decided it'd be better here."

Freddie's fifth leg is longer than the others but the end of the foot is not fully developed.

"But it moves," Ray said.

Freddie isn't the only five-legged creature Ray owns. He also has Rocky, a five-legged miniature pinscher; Fluffy, a five-legged Bijan poo; and Sammy, a five-legged salamander.

Camera Trap Snaps Curious Tiger Cub

Andrea Thompson, OurAmazingPlanet Managing Editor
Date: 26 March 2013 Time: 11:29 AM ET

Cats, whether house-size or larger, are known for their curiosity. A tiger cub in India's Bhadra Tiger Reserve was no exception, as it was photographed inspecting a remote camera set up in the park to monitor its species.

The cub is estimated to be about four to five months old, according to a release from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which conducts animal surveys in the area and helped place the camera that captured the young tiger's image. A second camera can be seen in the background of the picture.

The Bhadra reserve stands as an example of tiger conservation success, the WCS notes, with their surveys showing that tiger numbers are rising. The cameras the group places help them identify tigers by their stripe patterns, which are unique to each animal.

Local conservationists have joined the WCS to push for more protections in the reserve, as well as opposing forest exploitation, illegal settlements and other development projects that could damage the habitat of the tigers and their prey, the group said in the statement. An increase in the tigers' prey has also contributed to the tigers' own increasing numbers.

101 Beetles Get Names from Phone Book

Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience Senior Writer
Date: 27 March 2013 Time: 08:01 AM ET

What do you do when you run across hundreds of nameless species of beetle in the wilderness of New Guinea?

No, the correct answer is not "run away screaming" — at least if you're a scientist dedicated to discovering the massive diversity of insect life. Instead, researchers from the German Natural History Museum Karlsruhe and the Zoological State Collection in Munich turned to the phone book to label all the new species.

After discovering hundreds of distinct species of weevils (a superfamily of beetles) in the genus Trigonopterus, scientists Alexander Riedel and Michael Balke realized they could spend a lifetime describing and naming them all. So they created a scientific shortcut: sequencing a portion of each weevil's DNA to sort out the different species and taking photographs for the online database Species ID, a Wikipedia-like website for cataloguing biodiversity.

"More than 100 species were brought to the light of science and public attention this way right now — about five times faster than possible with traditional techniques," Riedel said in a statement.

To quickly label the species, the researchers used common family names from the Papua New Guinea phone book. One weevil got the moniker Trigonopterus moreaorum after the common name "Morea."

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