Weekly Roundup 21/12/14
It’s officially Christmas with just four days left until the big day, which either means you’ve spent your weekend madly gathering last minute presents or in a stupor watching classic films on Channel Five and preparing yourself for the approaching glut of food. Whether you’re one of these two people or a long suffering member of retail, take some weight off your feet and catch up on the weeks latest wildlife news.
New Snailfish Sets Depth Record
Scientists have captured footage of the worlds deepest dwelling fish; a type of snailfish living at depths of 8,145 metres. That’s the equivalent of 77 football pitches or 25 Eiffel Towers deep!
The fish itself is unlike anything ever seen before. It has an almost alien fragility, with large wing like fans, and a head not dissimilar to a cartoon dog. The scientists sampling the Mariana Trench also caught on film a super-giant amphipod, a rare, large crustacean. Footage of the expedition can be viewed here .
Typhoon or Disease Outbreak Could Wipe out World’s Rarest Ape
The Hainan Gibbon is on the brink of extinction as it’s revealed that there are only 25 individuals remaining, which gives them the unfortunate crown of world’s rarest ape and world’s rarest primate.
Although the Gibbons are protected under Chinese law, their populations have been ravaged by poachers and loggers in the Hainan Province. It is now feared that their numbers may be too low to recover as if only a couple are lost to disease or natural disaster it will severely impact upon any population recovery.
Although the outlook is seemingly bleak for the species, senior researcher Samuel Turvey claims that now is the time for everyone to come together and make a conservation success story. He believes that greater monitoring of the Gibbons to work out what might prevent them from forming social groups and reproducing is the first step to saving the species.
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Large Carnivores in Europe
A new study has shown that despite predictions that rising human populations would quash their numbers; large carnivores such as lynx, brown bears and wolves have populations that are either stable or increasing.
Brown Bears are the most abundant of the large carnivores with 17,000 individuals closely followed by 12,000 wolves. Overall the species are found in nearly one third of mainland Europe, with the majority of them found outside protected areas such as nature reserves. This is representative of the changing attitudes towards previously persecuted large carnivores.
The rise in population numbers is being atttributed to a variety of causes. Firstly there is the shift in attitudes but also the EU Habitats Directive and landscape-scale conservation measures are also being thanked. It is now believed that land-sharing measures could be implemented in other places across the world.
Interestingly the study also showed the potential for rewilding Britain. Currently Britain is one of a handful of European countries without any breeding populations of large carnivores, however campaigners are trying to change this. From looking at the populations of wolves across Europe the study has proven that even the British Countryside is capable of supporting a population.
The study showed that on average European wolves live on land with a population density of 37 people per sq km and were sometimes found living in suburban areas alongside up to 3,050 people per sq km. To put that in perspective these suburban wolves are living in a higher population density than that of Newcastle.
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