IT’S SNUGGLE TIME for this pile of Lake Erie Watersnakes (Nerodia sipedon insularum). This is a threatened subspecies (or possibly local race) of the Northern Water Snake, found on the western islands of Lake Erie in Ohio, UNited States, and Ontario, Canada.
(read more at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Endangered Species)
(Photo: Matthew Rogers) (via: Center for Snake Conservation)
The Grey-Faced Sengi (Rhynchocyon udzungwensis), an elephant-shrew from Tanzania, is listed as Vulnerable because it is known from only two areas. It belongs to a group of mammals called Afrotheria that evolved in Africa over 100 million years ago and whose relatives include elephants, sea cows, and the Aardvark. The Grey-faced Sengi was only described this year after being caught on film in 2005 in Tanzania’s Udzungwa Mountains.
(via: LiveScience) (image: F. Rovero, Trento Mus. of Nat Sci.)
Bats deserve freedom too
Fruit bats have a brutally hard life in Sulawesi, an orchid-shaped island in the heart of Indonesia. A remarkable 22 species of fruit bats live on the island and some of them are found nowhere else. But their numbers are being decimated by overhunting for the commercial “bushmeat” trade, and their treatment on the way to market can only be described as torture.
Now a previously untouched colony of some 10,000 Sulawesi fruit bats (Acerodon celebensis) has been discovered by commercial hunters on a small, uninhabited island off the coast of Sulawesi. And the bats are being destroyed with frightening speed.
Forest guards told to shoot poachers on sight after rash of tiger killings
India hits back against hunters who sell body parts to Asia for use in traditional medicines
by Andrew Bundcombe
Confronted by the killing of at least eight tigers in the state so far this year, officials in the western state of Maharashtra, whose capital is Mumbai, have told forest guards they will have the same legal protection as police officers who have to use their guns on duty.
According to a report in The Indian Express newspaper, the state’s Forest Minister, Patangrao Kadam, told officials this week that he wanted to do whatever was required to protect the guards. “Human rights groups come in the way if there is any such action, but there is a need to save the tigers,” he said. “If the staff spot poachers committing an offence, they have been given orders to shoot on sight. They should sound a warning asking them to surrender, but if the poachers fail to do so, they should be shot.”
The orders giving forest guards legal protection should they need to use weapons were apparently first issued in 2006, but reports suggest that a number of guards felt uneasy about using their guns. Most of the guards are poorly trained and badly paid and there had been cases where guards had been charged for firing a weapon…
(read more: The Independent) (image: Wildlife Protection Soc. of India )
Habitat for Leatherback Sea Turtles
Endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtles now have nearly 42,000 square miles of Pacific Ocean to call their own. Thanks to a decision in January 2012 by the National Marine Fisheries Service, these magnificent reptiles will now be safeguarded off the U.S. West Coast.
The new rule establishes critical habitat in areas where leatherbacks feed on jellyfish after swimming 6,000 miles across the ocean from Indonesia. This is the first permanent safe haven for leatherbacks designated in continental U.S. waters and is the largest area set aside to protect sea turtle habitat in the United States or its territories.
(photo: ZA Photos)
Tiger and hammerhead shark species win Florida protection
It is now a crime to kill tiger and hammerhead sharks in the waters off Florida. In a unanimous vote following two years of spirited public hearings, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to protect the tiger shark and three species of hammerhead from recreational and commercial anglers.
“Sometimes the appropriate measures of conservation are the problems we avoid, not the problems we have to fix,” said Commissioner Brian Yablonski.
The new measures, which take effect Jan. 1, also prohibit the possession, sale and exchange of the sharks in state waters. Fins from hammerhead sharks are among the most valued and used for shark fin soup.
Read More: Project Aware
Loggerhead turtles take 45 years to grow up
by Victoria Gill Science reporter, BBC Nature
A female turtle, the researchers report in the journal Functional Ecology, will not start to lay eggs until she is 45.
This estimate, based on examination of several decades of data on the turtles’ growth, has implications for conservation efforts.
It reveals how long it takes for turtles hatched at a protected nesting site to return to that site to breed.
Prof Graeme Hays from the University of Swansea, one of the authors of the study, explained how reaching maturity so slowly meant that the turtle population was “less resilient” than previously thought.
sexyactionplanet: Baby Sea Turtle and Jelly
This may look like a bad idea but jellyfish are part of a healthy diet for some sea turtles! Unfortunately for many though, a floating plastic bag looks very similar to their favourite food. It is for this reason that plastic bags are said to be one of the biggest killers of marine turtles. In 2008, a post mortem was carried out on a baby green turtle hatchling who washed up dead on a beach in Queensland, Australia. It was found to have a perforated gut from ingesting plastic marine rubbish. Say NO to plastic bags!