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Wed, 22 Aug 2018
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France: Mystery plague kills French oysters

Oysters have been mysteriously dying in the worst crisis to hit France's shellfish industry in 40 years.

In the last few days farmers have lost between 40 and 100 per cent of their oysters aged one to two years old.

Such a death toll has not been seen in France since 1970, when virtually an entire harvest was wiped out. Experts are unsure if the shellfish are succumbing to a viral epidemic or to poor water conditions caused by global warming.

Butterfly

UK: Plague of caterpillars destroys acres of fell land

A plague of caterpillars has defied the odds by returning for a second year in succession to eat away miles of grass in the Lake District.

Moth
©Unknown

The antler moth caterpillars, which are about two inches long, have hatched in their millions in the Helvellyn and Skiddaw areas.

The phenomenon, which has always been thought to occur once in every eight to 10 years, has left wide expanses of dead grass where sheep are normally grazed. But what is puzzling the experts is the fact that there was also an invasion of caterpillars last year.

For the first time in living memory, the plague of caterpillars has been followed by a second epidemic in the subsequent year.

Attention

Lead Shot From Hunting and Fishing Kills Wildlife

Millions of pounds of lead used in hunting, fishing and shooting sports wind up in the environment each year and can threaten or kill wildlife, according to a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Lead has long been known to be damaging to biology. It's previous use in gasoline, paint, pesticides, and solder in food cans has nearly been eliminated. Lead shot was banned for waterfowl hunting in 1991, but its use in ammunition for upland hunting, shooting sports, and in fishing tackle remains common.

Image
©Jacobson et al. 1977, courtesy of Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Radiograph of immature bald eagle containing numerous lead shot in its digestive tract.

Numerous previous studies have documented adverse effects to wildlife, especially waterbirds and scavenging species, like hawks and eagles, the researchers say. Lead exposure from ingested lead shot, bullets, and fishing sinkers also has been reported in reptiles, and studies near shooting ranges have shown evidence of lead poisoning in small mammals.

Cow Skull

Severe Droughts Trigger Disease, Lion Die-Offs



Image
©Unknown
Located in Northeastern Tanzania, the Serengeti National Park has the greatest concentration of large mammals in the world

Wild lion populations can generally tolerate a certain level of parasites and disease. But new research shows that extreme climate conditions - such as severe droughts - can cause infection rates to skyrocket, resulting in mass die-offs. Véronique LaCapra reports.


Red Flag

Great white shark reported at 'Jaws' filming site

Edgartown, Mass. - The island where "Jaws" was filmed had a real-life shark scare Thursday, when an unconfirmed sighting of a great white forced the closure of two beaches.

South Beach on Martha's Vineyard was closed for a short time, and swimmers were kept out of the water at State Beach in Edgartown, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation said.

Hourglass

Wild Orangutans Declining More Sharply In Sumatra And Borneo Than Thought

Endangered wild orangutan (Pongo spp.) populations are declining more sharply in Sumatra and Borneo than previously estimated, according to new findings published this month by Great Ape Trust of Iowa scientist Dr. Serge Wich and other orangutan conservation experts in Oryx - The International Journal of Conservation.

Question

South Africa's Mystery Croc Die Off Continues

Something very strange is happening in a favorite crocodile haunt, the Olifants Gorge, in South Africa's Kruger National Park. Crocodiles are dying en masse, and a local television documentary has showed, recently, the many carcasses floating in the river or lying dead in the sun on the river bank.

In the month of June alone, 30 carcasses were counted in the Olifants River area alone. This figure has subsequently risen to 50.

Fish

Study Shows Rise In Cornwall's Dolphin, Whale, And Porpoise Deaths



Image
©University of Exeter
New research has revealed a disturbing rise in the number of whales, dolphins and porpoises found dead on Cornish beaches.

Four weeks since the shocking incident that led to the death of 26 dolphins near Falmouth, research sheds new light on the extent of the problems facing Cornwall's marine mammals.

A study by the University of Exeter and Cornwall Wildlife Trust, published in the journal Biodiversity and Conservation (July 7, 2008) has revealed a disturbing rise in the number of whales, dolphins and porpoises found dead on Cornish beaches. The frequency of these mammals, collectively known as cetaceans, found stranded on beaches in Cornwall has increased with a sharp rise in the last eight years. After analysing nearly 100 years of data, the researchers believe this could, in part, be due to more intensive fishing.

Question

Mystery surrounds Eden Antarctic whale sighting

There has been further scientific interest in a pod of Antarctic killer whales that were sighted recently off the New South Wales far south coast.

An Eden couple took photographs of the mammals while on a pleasure cruise off Eden's Twofold Bay.

Researchers identified the pod as a species that exclusively inhabits the cold, southern waters.

David Donnelly from the Dolphin Research Centre says the sighting remains a mystery.


Magnify

US: On Plum Island, scientists track a tiny sparrow in hopes of saving the marshes

An elusive, palm-sized bird that spends its entire life in marshlands may help scientists unravel a mystery that, they say, could have profound implications for a lot of other creatures.