Animals, News

400 Million Fewer Animals Were Killed for Food in 2014 Because People Eat Less Meat

Photo Credits: vegankit.com

Whether it’s Meatless Monday, Weekday Vegetarianism or simply cutting down meat consumption – people from developed countries are eating less meat, and it’s already making a difference. Even though some argue that cutting-back-consumption campaigns don’t push enough of a paradigm-shift, we’re already seeing the changes: 400 million animals were spared in the US alone in 2014 because people ate less meat. Some 93

Animals, Biology, News

Fish diversity took off once dinosaurs went extinct

Perch (Ray-Finned Bony Fish)

Today, ray-finned fish make up 99% of all fish species, but it wasn’t always like this. In an attempt to find out what triggered this spectacular multi-niche dominance, paleontologists traveled back in time sort of speak and analyzed ancient fossils to see what the fish diversity makeup looked like millions of years ago. Intriguing enough, the ray fish practically exploded in their diversity right after the last great mass extinction which occurred 65 million years ago. An asteroid impact wiped out thousands of species, including all dinosaurs. But there was now enough room for other creatures to take their place. On land, mammals started filling in the large-scale niches eventually reaching a dominant position. In the water, it was the ray-finned fish that seized the opportunity.

Biology, Chemistry, Climate, News

Carbon emissions threaten to destroy pink salmon population

pinksalm

The effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are great and long reaching – a new study has found that pink salmon in the Pacific Ocean are threatened by increasing ocean acidification.

Animals, Offbeat

Meet Puka and Rocket Larry: The Unlikely Dog-Tortoise Friendly Duo

Puka-rocket-Larry-chilberg-

You wouldn’t expect a dog and a turtle to be best friends, but as we’ve learned on the Internet, the animal kingdom can create some surprising friendship relationships. It all started when Christine Hilberg, a 29-year-old photography retoucher and animal Instagrammer rescued Puka, a 4-year-old mixed breed with a cleft lip from a homeless man in Los Angeles. She wanted to help

Animals, Biology, News

New firefly species from California discovered by undergrad student

fireflies glow

Despite what you might have seen or not seen, there are actually some fireflies living west of the Rocky Mountains, though they mostly keep to themselves and are rarely spotted by humans. Every once in a while, people spot some. This time, one undergrad who was busy insect hunting in the Los Angeles County hit the jackpot after he discovered a new firefly species.

Animals, Biology, News

Monarch butterfly populations went down 80% in 21 years

DSC_1429

A new study has found that monarch butterfly populations have went down at alarming rates in the past couple of decades, going down on average by 80%. In the forests of Mexico, they went down by as much as 90%.

Animals, Feature Post

Japanese women are going bananas after this ridiculously handsome gorilla

shabani gorill

In the last couple of months, Japanese women flocked in unusual numbers to the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Japan to see the main attraction in the flesh: a western lowland gorilla named Shabani. Apparently, the young Japanese women are going crazy after the gorilla’s alleged good looks.

Animals, Genetics, News, World Problems

Tracing Ivory DNA helps curb massive poaching that’s killing 1 in 10 elephants each year

To keep the ivory from the black market, a plainclothes ranger hacks the tusks off a bull elephant killed illegally in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park. In the first half of this year six park rangers died protecting Kenya’s elephants; meanwhile, rangers killed 23 poachers. Photograph by Brent Stirton

We seem to be losing the war on elephant poachers, but a new toolset that involves tracing slaughter hotspots in Africa based on DNA taken from ivory might be exactly what law enforcement needed all these years. This way, researchers at University of Washington, in collaboration with INTERPOL, found that most of the ivory seized since 2006 originates in just two areas.

Animals, News

Seven lions will be re-introduced to Rwanda park 15 years after they were all wiped out

Two males lions in Kenya. Photo: Smithsonian Mag

Rwanda’s Akagera national park will soon be home to seven lions flown in from South Africa. This is the first time in 15 years that lions will set foot in the country after the entire population was wiped out by cattle herders in the chaos that followed the 1994 genocide. The predators will hopefully mate and steadily replenish lion numbers back to a historical level.

Animals, Great Pics

National Geographic Traveler Contest Is Almost Wrapped Up – Here Are Some Amazing Entries

Photo and caption by Marja Schwartz /National Geographic Traveler Photo ContestLion cub jumping on mother’s head, Naboisho Conservancy, Masai Mara, Kenya, Africa

National Geographic invites photographers from around the world to enter the 2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest – but hurry up, the final submission date is 30 June! Eligible contestants can visit natgeo.com/travelerphotocontest to submit photographs in any or all of four categories: Travel Portraits; Outdoor Scenes; Sense of Place; and Spontaneous Moments. The entry fee is $15 (USD) per photo,