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Endangered Species

Wildlife

Animal Extinction Statistics: How Many Species Will We Lose in Our Lifetime?

April 18, 2019
animal extinction statistics

Do you think you could name 200 species, or 2000 if you could include plants? When looking at plant and animal extinction statistics, research has found 200 to 2000 extinctions occur every year.

It’s important to frame the crisis in this context because numbers can only say so much. Statistics provide a picture of the problem, but that picture is incomplete. It’s difficult, if not impossible to imagine 2000 of anything, let alone 2000 individual species disappearing from the face of the planet in a single year.

These numbers are an attempt to quantify the damage humans have caused through deforestation, poaching and other harmful practices. As the effects of climate change continue to disturb the environment and disrupt ecosystems, the rate of extinction will increase, and the issue will only intensify.

With this in mind, how many species will we lose in our lifetime? What’s the extent of the damage, and more than that, what are possible solutions to the problem? These critical questions have fascinating answers, and we’ll walk you through everything you should know moving into 2019 and the next decade.
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Wildlife

Are Conservation Efforts Overlooking Animals’ Social Lives?

April 4, 2019
animal social

Wildlife conservation isn’t a polarizing issue. Most would agree it’s necessary, and few would argue against it. As deforestation and other harmful practices continue to destroy and disturb ecosystems, it’s difficult to believe anyone would think we shouldn’t make an effort to preserve endangered species.

That said, the subject of wildlife conservation isn’t so simple. Even the best intentions can go wrong when conservationists don’t understand the subtleties of natural habitats. Specifically, conservationists cause more harm than good when they overlook animal social lives, a fundamental part of their existence.

When you hear “animal social lives,” you might imagine some rudimentary imitation of what you’re familiar with. After all, non-human animals don’t appear have spoken languages, complex tools or any system in place that allows them to lead the same kind of social lives we do. While this is true, it doesn’t capture the full picture.

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Wildlife

Ivory Trade Ban in China Punishing Ivory Smugglers

March 21, 2019
ivory trade ban

China is known as the largest illegal ivory market in the world. Up until recently, it was also the biggest legal ivory market. Effective Dec. 31, 2017, China banned all trade in ivory and ivory products.

The ban had immediate impacts on China’s legal ivory trade. In September 2018, wildlife monitoring organization TRAFFIC visited 71 shops in China that had previously sold ivory. They found 17 of the stores had closed, and 54 had no ivory products in stock. At the end of 2017, all of China’s ivory-carving factories shut down.

TRAFFIC also visited 157 markets and found ivory products in 345 unauthorized shops. Compared to a similar survey conducted the year before, the number of stores illegally selling ivory decreased by 30 percent, while the number of ivory products on display increased by 22 percent.

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Wildlife

Social Media and Wildlife Conservation: Is It Doing More Harm Than Good?

March 4, 2019
social media and wildlife conservation

With Instagram, Facebook and Twitter generating plenty of information about the earth, efforts to protect creatures has changed. Now that you can scroll on your smartphone to learn about the environment and endangered animals, it should be easy to support wildlife. But the connection between social media and wildlife conservation isn’t simple.

Photos, comments and videos can lead citizens to form opinions about the rescue methods, protection of public lands and habitat policies. With a range of people using these platforms, both positive and negative effects come out of social media and wildlife conservation.

So, is the overall impact of social media leaving wildlife better off or not? Mainly, social media is helping promote conservation. Check out these ways social media and wildlife conservation intersect.

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Wildlife

Will 2019 Be the Year of Wildlife Conservation?

January 31, 2019
Wildlife Conservation

Wildlife is facing immense threats, and 2019 will be no different. While conservation saw some successes in 2018, it was still a rough year for wildlife. Species disappeared and regulatory changes, climate change and other threats continued to worsen the situation. Meanwhile, conservationists continued to work tirelessly.

In 2019, this trend will continue. New threats will emerge and many existing ones will continue to worsen. While these things will threaten wildlife, it will also spur more people into action to help protect the planet’s incredible biodiversity.

So, what can we expect in 2019 in relation to wildlife conservation? While the world is always full of surprises, here’s a look at the year ahead.

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Wildlife

6 Best Conservation Movies for the Whole Family

January 7, 2019
best conservation movies

It can be hard for anyone, child or adult, to believe in conservation and climate change when those in power are continually denying its existence. Thankfully, plenty of amazing movies and documentaries can introduce everyone to the idea of conservation, regardless of their age.

Here is a list of six of the best conservation movies you can watch with the entire family.

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Wildlife

Do Animals Mourn Like People?

November 29, 2018
animal mourning

Grief is a universal human experience. We feel grief following the loss of friends, family members, pets and sometimes even strangers. Though funeral traditions vary from culture to culture, mourning remains a consistent aspect of human societies.

Are humans alone in the experience of grief, though? Many people wonder whether animals may experience any of the same emotions. Some people even report behavior that seems like mourning when pets lose their owners or animal companions.

In the past, scientists hesitated to say animals experienced complex emotions like grief or love. However, new research suggests that the issue of animal grief may be more complicated than people initially assumed.

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Wildlife

Wildlife Forensics Helping Uncover Illegal Poachers

November 12, 2018
Wildlife forensics

It isn’t an uncommon scene in the savannas of South Africa. A grazing rhinoceros lowers its head to a patch of grass, and a sudden gunshot from a heavy caliber weapon catches them in the side. An illegal poacher comes to collect its horn, and in little as 10 minutes, they’ve moved on to their next target.

Poaching remains a critical issue across the globe, with endangered animals at threat of extinction over the value of their body parts. The musk deer of Asia are a popular target for their glands, which can sell to foreign traders for upwards of $200. A single tiger can yield over $50,000 in their skin, teeth and claws.

Through the application of wildlife forensics, however, poachers have a far more difficult time plying their illegal trade. Modern technology has proven so effective in stopping them that a system installed in a South African reserve has reduced the number of poached rhinos to zero. So how do these new methods work?

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Oceans

Is There Any Way to Stop Vaquita Extinction?

October 11, 2018
vaquita extinction

Is there any way to stop the extinction of the world’s rarest marine mammal? It’s a pressing question for conservationists.

They’ve posed the same question of the white rhino, saiga antelope and golden lion tamarin with varying degrees of success. Conservation is no easy task, and saving an endangered species of marine life comes with a unique set of challenges that complicates the undertaking.

Compared to the white rhino or saiga antelope, the vaquita is a relatively new discovery. It’s the most recent cetacean — a grouping that includes whales and dolphins — to be recognized by modern science. It was only in 1966 that a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recovered the first full specimen for observation.

Since then, the vaquita population has only continued to diminish. Earlier in the decade, an estimated 200 vaquitas inhabited the Northern Gulf of California in Mexico — shallow waters that make up their natural habitat. Today, fewer than 30 of these rare porpoises remain.

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Wildlife

Why Are Elephants Important to the African Ecosystem?

August 27, 2018
elephants important

When learning about any animal, it’s easy to focus on the creature’s bodily features, behaviors and habitat without stopping to think about how they influence their native ecosystems. Take the elephant, for example. It’s a gigantic creature that has captured the interest of people through the years. Observers appreciate their huge ears, smooth tusks and leathery skin. But why are elephants important to the African ecosystem? Here are five reasons.

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