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HUNTING & POACHING: Assessing The Risk Of Rhino Horn Trade

HUNTING & POACHING: Assessing The Risk Of Rhino Horn Trade | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it

Since the beginning of 2014 alone, about 172 rhinos have been poached with Kruger National Park being the most targeted.

 

Though rhino horn trade has been prohibited since 1997, horns are still sold illegally for about R536,119 per kilogram because they are believed to possess pharmacological properties and are used as an aphrodisiac or just for status. 


Via Wildlife Margrit, Jim Ries
PeerSpring's insight:

Over the years conservationists have marched, hosted campaigns and educated the masses about the danger of rhino poaching that will automatically lead to the extinction of the world’s second largest mammal.  Now the South African government is entertaining the thought of legalizing and regulating rhino horn trade, do you think that's a good idea? Why / why not?

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Wildlife Margrit's curator insight, April 8, 2014 3:37 PM

The line up of speakers for this conference is fantastic.

Wish I could be there ... however, look forward to reading the reports.

Sabine Anderson's curator insight, April 9, 2014 4:32 AM

Wish I could be there and have my say!

Jim Ries's curator insight, April 9, 2014 7:53 AM

Check out this article from Wildlife Margrit 

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BIODIVERSITY: Imperiled Monarch Butterflies Get $3.2 Million From U.S. Government

BIODIVERSITY: Imperiled Monarch Butterflies Get $3.2 Million From U.S. Government | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it
The U.S. government will commit millions of dollars to the fight to save monarch butterflies. 
 
PeerSpring's insight:

The monarch butterfly is an icon of America --  but their numbers have declined steeply in the past 20 years, down from 1 billion in 1996 to just 30-million today.  Now 750 schoolyard habitats and pollinator gardens are being planted to restore more than 200,000 acres of habitat, and the federal government has pledged $3.2 million to help save this precious pollinator. Though many environmental groups see this measure as a positive step-forward, critics fear that some well-intending citizens will plant the wrong kind of milkweed, which actually harms monarchs, according to various studies. Meanwhile, the root threat to the monarchs is under some debate. Some criticize corporations like Monsanto for using deadly pesticides, others believe they are threatened by climate change. How is the fate of pollinators like monarchs intertwined with federal policy?

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HUNTING & POACHING : Why wild giraffes are suffering a 'silent extinction'

HUNTING & POACHING : Why wild giraffes are suffering a 'silent extinction' | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it
The iconic animals have declined 40 percent in just 15 years, a plight that has gone largely unnoticed until recently.
PeerSpring's insight:

Humans have a long history of hunting giraffes, seeking food as well as thick, durable skin to make clothing and other items. But a belief that giraffe brains and bone marrow can cure HIV has recently gained traction in Tanzania, reportedly pushing prices for a head or bones as high as $140 per piece. And since giraffes are relatively easy for humans to kill, often with a single gunshot, they've also become a popular source of food and extra income among Africa's growing hordes of elephant poachers. Being that giraffe populations have declined more than 40 percent in just 15 years, explain why it is that these iconic creatures have not been listed is not listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)?

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BIODIVERSITY: The Living Planet Report 2014

BIODIVERSITY: The Living Planet Report 2014 | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it

The Living Planet Report is the world's leading, science-based analysis on the health of our planet and the impact of human activity. Knowing we only have one planet, WWF believes that humanity can make better choices that translate into clear benefits for ecology, society and the economy today and in the long term.

PeerSpring's insight:

In less than two human generations, population sizes of vertebrate species have dropped by half. These are the living forms that constitute the fabric of the ecosystems which sustain life on Earth – and the barometer of what we are doing to our own planet, our only home. In addition, the report's data point to other warning signs about the overall health of the planet. The amount of carbon in our atmosphere has risen to levels not seen in more than a million years, triggering climate change that is already destabilizing ecosystems. High concentrations of reactive nitrogen are degrading lands, rivers and oceans. Stress on already scarce water supplies is increasing. And more than 60 percent of the essential "services" provided by nature, from our forests to our seas, are in decline. What should humankind's role be in designing a sustainable future?

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BIODIVERSITY: Scary Black Seadevil Fish Caught on Video at Depth of 1,900 Feet

BIODIVERSITY: Scary Black Seadevil Fish Caught on Video at Depth of 1,900 Feet | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it
Scary Black Seadevil fish caught on video at 1,900 deep
PeerSpring's insight:

The aptly named seadevil — more precisely, a female deep-sea anglerfish from the genus Melanocetus — looks like something you wouldn't want to encounter in the water, but at 9cm (3.5 inches) in length, it's hardly a human-devouring monster. Angler fish live deep in the ocean and reproduce by "sexual parasitism" — meaning males latch onto their larger female counterparts and take nutrients from her blood in return for supplying her with sperm. According to Live Science, there are 60,000 vertebrate species living on Earth today. Of these, why do you think both the fish and land-dwelling vertebrates have  have scaled on the small edge of the size spectrum? 

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BIODIVERSITY: Dinosaurs lost the ability to taste sugar; hummingbirds re-evolved it

BIODIVERSITY: Dinosaurs lost the ability to taste sugar; hummingbirds re-evolved it | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it

Every day hummingbirds consume more than their own body weight in nectar. They can taste the difference between water and a sugar solution within a quarter of a second. And they also like the flavor of non-sugary artificial sweeteners like erythritol and sorbitol. How is this possible if they have no gene for sweet taste?

PeerSpring's insight:

Maude Baldwin, a postgraduate student at Harvard University, searched the genomes of ten species of insectivorous and grain-eating birds to see which of them had a "sweet tooth." Most vertebrates experience sweet taste because they possess a family of genes called T1Rs. The pairing of T1R1 and T1R3 detects amino acids and gives rise to the savory “umami” taste, while the T1R2-T1R3 pair detects sugars, giving us our sweet tooth. Being that these birds evolved from carnivorous theropod dinosaurs she expected them to lack the T1R2 gene normally used for sensing sweet tastes -- but in the hummingbirds, these same receptors fire in response to sweet-tasting sugars, sugar alcohols, and the artificial sweetener sucralose—but they do not respond to amino acids. Do you think it's possible that ancestral hummingbirds accidentally consumed some nectar when they frequented flowers to catch insects? Was it small mutations in T1R1 and T1R3 that allowed them to taste this sugary liquid, giving them access to a vital source of energy? Explain why or why not nectar-sipping animals might have an evolutionary upper hand compared to insect-eaters?



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TRAFFICKING & BREEDING: These adorable giant African rats detect land mines and TB for a living

TRAFFICKING & BREEDING: These adorable giant African rats detect land mines and TB for a living | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it

APOPO is an organisation that trains and deploys rats, named HeroRATS, for the detection of abandoned land mines and tuberculosis. 

PeerSpring's insight:

Since 2000, APOPO has bred hundreds of trained and accredited rats that have so far found 1,500 buried land mines across an area of 240,000 meters squared in Tanzania, and 6,693 land mines, 26,934 small arms and ammunitions, and 1,087 bombs across 9,898,690 meters squared in Mozambique. They’re also operating in Thailand, Angola, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. And don’t panic – they’re too light to be setting off any buried explosivesA spin-off project that trains tuberculosis-detecting rats has so far produced 54 accredited rats for use in 19 TB clinics in the Tanzanian city of Dar es Salaam. Since 2002, they’ve screened 226,931 samples and identified 5,594 TB patients. The TB-detecting rats can evaluate in 10 minutes more samples than a lab technician can do in an entire day. Anyone interested in supporting this work can "adopt" one of these rats for $7 USD per monthRats are easily and quickly trained, with less handler dependency than dogs, and certainly far easier to transport. With these successes in mind, do you have a personal issue with these giant rats being bred and used to save lives? Why / Why not?

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BIODIVERSITY: Meteorite that killed off dinosaurs shaped modern-day plants

BIODIVERSITY: Meteorite that killed off dinosaurs shaped modern-day plants | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it
The life strategy of plants that dominate our forests today may be linked to a massive meteorite that slammed into Earth 66 million years ago, according to a new study.
PeerSpring's insight:

Slow-growing evergreen plants such as holly and ivy appear to have been more prominent before the meteorite hit, while fast-growing flowering plants that lose their leaves during their lifetimes were more prevalent afterward. The researchers hypothesize that in the chaotic aftermath of the Chicxulub impact, as the meteorite strike is known, the plants with the flimsy leaves were more adept at surviving changing climate conditions than those that had invested a lot of energy into each leaf.  Does evolution move us towards the "ideal" or is it just about adapting to the environment? 

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FACTORY FARMING: Farmaceuticals: the drugs fed to farm animals

FACTORY FARMING: Farmaceuticals: the drugs fed to farm animals | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it
A Reuters investigation finds that antibiotics are fed far more pervasively to farm animals than regulators realize, posing significant risk to human health.
PeerSpring's insight:

Veterinary use of antibiotics is legal and has been rising for decades. But U.S. regulators don’t monitor how the drugs are administered on the farm – in what doses, for what purposes, or for how long. According to Reuters, certain poultry producers have administered drugs belonging to the same classes of antibiotics used to treat infections in humans. The practice is legal. The widespread use of antibiotics worries public health authorities. In a report this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) called antibiotic resistance “a problem so serious it threatens the achievements of modern medicine.” The annual cost to battle antibiotic-resistant infections is estimated at $21 billion to $34 billion in the United States alone. Many medical scientists deem it particularly dangerous, because it runs the risk of promoting superbugs that can defeat the life-saving human antibiotics. The poultry industry's lobby takes issues with the concerns of government and academic scientists, saying there is little evidence that bacteria which do become resistant also affect people. Do you think the use of antibiotics are responsible for creating "superbugs?" Should poultry farms stop applying the antibiotic gentamicin to eggs in chicken hatcheries?

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ANIMAL TESTING: Scientists Experiment With Reworking Memory in Mice

ANIMAL TESTING: Scientists Experiment With Reworking Memory in Mice | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it

In experiments on mice, scientists rewired the circuits of the brain and changed the animals' bad memories into good ones.

PeerSpring's insight:

A memory is created when a past experience becomes encoded in a network of neurons in the brain. The memory is recalled when the neurons fire in a particular sequence.

Some aspects of the memory can endure a long time, while others are more fickle. In this experiment, researchers gave one set of male mice fearful memories (via a small electric shock to the foot) and pleasurable memories (by allowing them to interact with female mice). By firing the laser into the mouse brain, the scientists could identify the specific cells that were activated when each of the two memories were formed. They were able to rewire the circuits of the brain and change the animals' bad memories into good ones, and vice versa.  Do you think experiment provides clues as to how we go about tackling things like anxiety disorder?


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PeerSpring's comment, August 31, 2014 1:53 PM
Also compare the findings of this research against one published in 2013 by Nature Neuroscience which suggested Targeted brain training during sleep can lessen the effects of fearful memories: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/sleep-therapy-can-change-bad-memories/
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HABITAT DESTRUCTION: Are Energy Resources For The Birds?

HABITAT DESTRUCTION: Are Energy Resources For The Birds? | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it
Certain avian species seem to crash into large solar power arrays or get burned by the concentrated rays
PeerSpring's insight:

Are California solar farms killing birds? According to The Associated Press as many as 28,000 birds are killed each year. Still, solar is not the only energy source that impacts animal welfare -- nuclear, oil, gas, wind and coal are killing birds too.  What other animals do you think are impacted by the use of different energy sources? 

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BIODIVERSITY: The Extinction Of A Pigeon

BIODIVERSITY: The Extinction Of A Pigeon | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it
The passenger pigeon The late summer of 1914 was not the ideal moment in history to get the world worked up over the death of a pigeon in Cincinnati Zoo. However, the news about Martha did get space in some of the American newspapers. One of them,
PeerSpring's insight:

“The Sixth Extinction” is the phrase sometimes used to describe the flora and fauna that have disappeared in the past five centuries, including at least 190 known birds. When the white man arrived in North America, the Passenger Pigeon was almost certainly the most common bird on the continent, quite possibly the most common in the world. However, the last Passenger Pigeon died September 1 1914. One group of American scientists is claiming it can render the bird de-extinct by using the DNA of a closely-related but still extant pigeon. If it were genetically possible to render this bird "de-extinct" do you think scientists could do it? Would the birds be able to survive today, why/why not? 


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BIODIVERSITY: Giant penguins roamed Antarctic 40 million years ago

BIODIVERSITY: Giant penguins roamed Antarctic 40 million years ago | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it
Huge penguins, which would have stood taller than the average man, lived in Antarctica 40 million years ago
PeerSpring's insight:

Climate has been hypothesized to play a key role in evolutionary patterns of both living and extinct penguins.  Scientific theories (including Bergmann's Rule) suggest animals will tend to be larger at higher latitudes than they will be at the equator, correlating average temperatures with body size. With these ecogeographic principles in mind, do you think an ancient climate change spurred penguin evolution? If scientific theory is correct, the diversification of modern penguins coincides with a time 10 to 15 million years ago when scientists think Antarctica underwent a period of rapid cooling that covered the continent in ice, what do you theorize will be the impact of our current changes in climate and global temperatures?

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BIODIVERSITY: Endangered orangutan born through assisted reproduction

BIODIVERSITY: Endangered orangutan born through assisted reproduction | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it
A small nonprofit conservation center in Connecticut has successfully developed a program using assisted reproduction to aid in the plight of wild orangutans facing extinction.
PeerSpring's insight:

Over the past 60 years, the orangutan population has decreased by 50 percent. Many experts estimate that orangutans will be extinct in their natural habitat in the next 25 years, to help with this issue, one doctor is using artificial insemination to diversify the gene pool.  This breakthrough could be very significant for orangutans both in captivity and in the wild, as one of the problems is that the orangutans are so fragmented in the populations they come from, that they are becoming interrelated. It took two years for the team to chart the ovulatory cycle of Maggie (the orangutan mother), to train 285-pound Patrick, (the orangutan father), to give sperm samples and learn how to preserve that sperm until the insemination could be performed.  Do you agree that insemination is a viable approach to helping these endangered animals? Why / Why not?

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PET HOMELESSNESS: Is Owning A Pet Still Part Of The American Dream?

PET HOMELESSNESS: Is Owning A Pet Still Part Of The American Dream? | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it
In the driveway of the Baltimore Humane Society in Reisterstown, a new shed is filled with bags of dog food, canned cat food, doggy treats and more.
PeerSpring's insight:

The number of pet-owning house-holds is significantly higher than it was 20 years ago, according to the National Pet Owners Survey. However due to our economic downturn, the ability to afford a pet is also harder than it was, so nonprofit organizations, such as Thankful Paws are popping up pet-food banks to help pet-owners with their cost of care, and others, like P.L.E.A.S.E. are shuttling people and their animals to veterinary appointments. Knowing that animals are a huge part of a community and society, would you say the growing trend towards shelter intervention is a byproduct of the American Dream? Why / Why not?

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BIODIVERSITY: What If We Geoengineered With Whales?

As the great whales declined, so did the numbers of fish and krill. It seems counter-intuitive: surely their numbers would rise as their major predators disappeared? But it now turns out that whales not only eat these animals; they also keep them alive.

PeerSpring's insight:

The decline in great whales numbers is estimated to be at least 66% and perhaps as high as 90%, and the need for recovery of this species is great, according to scientists. In the Southern Ocean alone, it is estimated that more than 2 million whales were slaughtered in the 20th century. Now with modern technology, scientists have began to observe the functional role of whales and have decreed the species potent ecosystem geoenginners. The term "geoengineering" defines the scientific selection of harnessing one of mother nature's natural systems in order to undo some damage created by mankind. Describe how the return of the great whales could have a positive effect to the living systems of the sea and design a campaign that could convince nations that still continue the practice of whaling.

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BIODIVERSITY: Extinction Countdown For The Palila Birds

BIODIVERSITY: Extinction Countdown For The Palila Birds | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it

These beautiful yellow-headed birds live in just one place on Earth: the upper slopes of the dormant Mauna Kea volcano on the island of Hawaii.

PeerSpring's insight:

Since 1800, more than 90% of bird extinctions have occurred on islands. In the Hawaiian Islands 14 of 44 species of historically known forest passerines (songbirds) are extinct or have disappeared while 20 are listed as endangered. How does the possible extinction of the Palila bird contribute to the overall loss of global biodiversity? 

 


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BIODIVERSITY: This Crazy-Looking Sea Slug Has an Ingenious Secret Weapon

BIODIVERSITY: This Crazy-Looking Sea Slug Has an Ingenious Secret Weapon | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it
All over our world’s oceans, the many astoundingly colored species of nudibranch are eating things like the vicious Portuguese man o' war, incorporating their stingers or toxins into their own skin, and using them to fend off predators.
PeerSpring's insight:

There are over 3,000 species of nudibranchs. How are these creatures capable of sequestering the various defenses of both stinging and toxin-coated critters?  They nibble on sponges, anemones and graze on corals, moving their prey's defensive stingers or chemicals through their own digestive system.  But nudibranchs aren't just pretty faces -- they may lead us to some serious medical advances, because at times they will chemically modify the ends of the chemical structures and essentially create brand new chemical compounds that are not found anywhere else in the world. The unique properties of organisms found in coral reefs was recognized by Eastern cultures as early as the 14th century. But "bioprospecting" - the act of searching for new pharmaceuticals in coral ecosystems may have unintended consequences. Coral reefs have long been considered the rainforests of the ocean. Should harvesting methods be regulated? If so, which entities should be responsible for that kind of regulation? 

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FACTORY FARMING: What if a deadly new virus jumped from animals to humans?

FACTORY FARMING: What if a deadly new virus jumped from animals to humans? | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it

Image: A chicken is about to be slaughtered in a market after it was declared an infected area in Hong Kong REUTERS/Bobby Yip

PeerSpring's insight:

All the greatest hits of modern infectious diseases emerged from wild animals: HIV, SARS, the pandemic influenza outbreaks, Ebola. Viruses cross to humans in a variety of ways; through people breathing in the exhaled breath of sick animals, through skin-to-skin contact, or from blood contact to which hunters are vulnerable. The most worrying thing is when viruses then mutate so that they can be transmitted directly from human to human. Although in western countries, most people buy their meat pre-butchered and shrink-wrapped, there are still plenty of areas where humans have a very high level of contact with animals. We have industrial-sized farms and slaughterhouses, and there are still hunters going after game all over the world, whether for vital protein in central Africa or for sport in the United States. What is different now from any other point in human history is that we live in a profoundly interconnected world. We can get anywhere in 24 or 48 hours. The pot keeps getting stirred: any virus that crosses over into humans has the potential to get to any other place amazingly quickly. How well do you think we are prepared for the next pandemic? In your answer, draw a comparison between the speed of a virus  and the speed of a viral story on social media.

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HUNTING & POACHING: New fishing nets reduce bycatch, sparing sea life

HUNTING & POACHING: New fishing nets reduce bycatch, sparing sea life | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it
Fishermen and innovators work together to make nets that leave certain kinds of fish — and birds, dolphins, turtles and whales — where they belong.
PeerSpring's insight:

Globally, the amount of marine life that is wasted or unmanaged — which makes it potentially unsustainable — forms about 40 percent of the catch. Many experts believe that the way we catch now results in overfishing, reduces the population of species that already might be endangered and, on the largest scale, interrupts food chains and damages whole ecosystems. It also amounts to an enormous waste of valuable fish protein. Thus a young designer came up with a way to free both young and endangered fish by using fitted LED rings, which flash like exit signs to alert smaller fish. The fish can then escape by squeezing through the rings. There's also a panel in the net that separates tighter mesh at the top from larger mesh below, allowing nontarget, bottom-dwelling species such as cod to escape through the bigger holes. With lights and panel working in tandem, "You can start almost herding the fish under the water," inventor Dan Watson said. For those fighting bycatch, there's a long road ahead — much of it determined by funding and policy. How is fishing tied to politics? Do you agree that there is a need to innovate in this industry? Which entity do you think should be responsible for funding innovation in this field?

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BIODIVERSITY: Do Plants Feel Pain?

BIODIVERSITY: Do Plants Feel Pain? | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it
Do you talk to your plants? Think of the stories they could tell if only they could talk back. The seemingly peaceful world of plants is actually a battlefield and a constant struggle for survival. See how some predatory plants use trapdoors and enticing, beautiful flowers to trap their prey, while others shrivel up or emit odors to fend off their enemy. Experts uncover the most fascinating secrets of the world of plants-roots and all.
PeerSpring's insight:

New research from the field of plant neurobiology has some scientists insisting that  plants have all the same senses as humans, and then some. Michael Pollan, author of such books as "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and "The Botany of Desire," wrote the New Yorker piece about the developments in plant science. Researchers say they have played a recording of a caterpillar munching on a leaf to plants — and the plants react. They begin to secrete defensive chemicals — even though the plant isn't really threatened.  In watching the video, how fine of a line do you think exists between plants and animals? Is intelligence a property of life? Why / Why not?

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HUNTING & POACHING: Can This Athlete Convince Chinese People To Give Up Ivory?

HUNTING & POACHING: Can This Athlete Convince Chinese People To Give Up Ivory? | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it

Former NBA center, Yao Ming, aims to persuade China to ban ivory sales to curb mass slaughter of elephants in Africa.

PeerSpring's insight:

In the past three years alone, about 100,000 elephants have been poached for their tusks, according to a new study: a mass slaughter propelled by an ever-rising Chinese demand for ivory from an ever-richer nation. Now a former NBA player once nicknamed the “Great Wall of China” aims to stop that flood, through the power of persuasion. Yao’s transformation from basketball center to wildlife activist began in 2006, when he first met with staff members from WildAid, a San Francisco-based charity, during another injury-plagued season in the NBA. The activists soon persuaded the man who began his career with the Shanghai Sharks to join their campaign to save the world’s actual sharks, by pressing the Chinese people to give up shark fin soup. In part as a result of an anti-corruption campaign in which the costly delicacy was banned at government banquets, shark fin soup is falling out of fashion here. A WildAid study released in August showed prices and sales of shark fins in China down by 50 to 70 percent. But the carving of ivory is perhaps an even more deeply rooted tradition in China, and as wealth has grown, so has the fashion for giving lavishly carved pieces to business associates and friends as gifts. Although China allows a small, legal trade in ivory from old stockpiles, this provides the cover for a vast, illegal trade that has fueled a new wave of poaching in Africa, experts say. Being that Yao is Chinese, how much do you think his heritage and celebrity will help an American charity that otherwise might be perceived as "lecturing" the Chinese people on how to behave?

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HUNTING & POACHING: Bald Eagles Are Victims of Lead Poisoning

HUNTING & POACHING: Bald Eagles Are Victims of Lead Poisoning | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it
An eagle and its rescuers fight for its survival after the raptor is found dying by the side of the road.
PeerSpring's insight:

During Wyoming's big game hunting season, virtually all eagles have lead in their system from scavenging bullet-riddled carrion. America's national bird is a frequent sight in this rugged landscape in the shadow of the Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. An estimated 200 nesting pairs make Wyoming their home, with even more migrating through. Every fall and winter, eagles converge here to take advantage of a feeding bonanza: the piles of entrails and other offal left behind by deer, elk, and antelope hunters. Although lead bullets were banned in the United States for waterfowl hunting in 1991, lead continues to be legal for other hunting ammunition. A lead-core bullet, unlike those made of solid copper, explodes upon impact, shooting dozens and sometimes hundreds of small fragments as far as 18 inches from the entry wound, according to x-ray analyses. No one has estimated how many raptors are killed by lead poisoning every year. But lethal concentrations were found in 21 percent of 168 eagles found dead along the Upper Mississippi River. In Washington state, more than half of the 96 bald and golden eagles admitted at a rehab center had levels of lead considered toxic. And in Wyoming, 68 of 71 bald eagles tested for a 2012 study had detectable lead. Why aren't lead bullets banned for all hunting ammunition? Do you think the hunting community would change to solid copper bullets, even if it meant they'd have to spend more? Why / Why not?

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BIODIVERSITY: What Does A Fish Out Of Water Tell Us About Evolution?

BIODIVERSITY: What Does A Fish Out Of Water Tell Us About Evolution? | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it

An unusual species of fish that can walk and breathe air shows that these animals may be more capable of adapting to life on land than previously thought, researchers say.

PeerSpring's insight:

According to evolutionary theory, around 400 million years ago, fish left the water and started to evolve into land-loving creatures. When fish started moving onto land, "the fossil record suggests there was a great deal of diversity among fish, and thus a lot of competition between the fish," said lead study author Emily Standen, an evolutionary and comparative biomechanist at the University of Ottawa in Canada. (see full article here). Do you think that generations of the bichir fish Emily is raising on land will become dramatically different than those raised in water? Do these fish exhibit plasticity? Why is plasticity a factor in evolutionary theory?

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BIODIVERSITY - Artistic Visualization

Human beings have a unique relationship to biodiversity.

PeerSpring's insight:

The greater the biodiversity in the ecosystem, the greater resilience of an ecological community and for adaption.  Everything is Interconnected and interdependent.  Even though there are over 80,000 plants that are edible, we choose only 30 of them to supply over 90% of the calories in our diet. Just 14 animal species make up 90% of our livestock. After watching this short 3 minute video, how do you think humans are protecting biodiversity?


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ANIMAL TESTING: Do lab monkeys suffer from depression?

ANIMAL TESTING: Do lab monkeys suffer from depression? | > Animal Welfare | Scoop.it
Scientists working for the Home Office investigate whether monkeys find repeated experiments on their brains a positive experience - or whether they are too depressed to object.
PeerSpring's insight:

Researchers say most monkeys, who have been bred and trained for laboratory work, do not put up a fight when experiments are conducted on them. They also say that without animal testing, cures for Parkinson's Disease and others related to brain function could never be cured. Do monkeys who have never known anything different mind being subjected to repeated experiments on their brains?  Is testing on highly intelligent primates necessary for neuroscience?

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