27 new animal species discovered in Tanzania


This video says about itself:

The 2008 edition of the Exo Terra expedition headed for the Eastern Arc Mountains and the Southern Highlands of the Republic of Tanzania in East Africa. The main goal of this expedition was to map the amphibian and reptile biodiversity of these regions and to get a better understanding of the species inhabiting these complex ecosystems.

From Wildlife Extra:

27 new species found in Tanzanian forests

A recent study revealed that 27 new vertebrate species have been found in the forests of Tanzania’s Eastern Arc Mountains. Of these, 23 were amphibians and reptiles. Of the total species that were identified in the region, the study found that there are 211 vertebrate species that are found only in the Eastern Arc Mountains, and 203 of them are found in Tanzania alone. These findings, says the study, re-enforce the importance of the Eastern Arc Mountains as one of the top locations on Earth for biological diversity and uniqueness.

“The Eastern Arc Mountains were already known for the unusually high density of endemic species,” explains Neil Burgess, a leading expert on Africa’s biodiversity and vice-chair of the TFCG, “however we lacked comprehensive data from at least six of the 13 mountain blocks.”

The study was conducted by an international team, and included researchers from the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) and MUSE-Science Museum in Italy, and was financed by Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF).

The Eastern Arc Mountains are an isolated chain of geologically ancient mountains that extend from southern Kenya to south-central Tanzania. According to scientists, the forest has existed on the mountains for more than 30 million years and was once connected to forests in the Congo Basin and West Africa.

Hellbenders in Appalachia, USA


This video says about itself:

The Last Dragons – Protecting Appalachia‘s Hellbenders

An intimate glimpse at North America’s Eastern Hellbender, an ancient salamander that lives as much in myth as in reality…. and in many waters, myths are all that remain of these sentinel stream-dwellers.

9 min. Closed Captioned in English & Spanish. Produced by Freshwaters Illustrated in Partnership with the US Forest Service.

From the Bites @ Animal Planet blog in the USA:

Meet the Hellbender

By: David Mizejewski

Just in time for Halloween, I introduce you to the hellbender.

No, it’s not one of Satan’s minions or a CGI monster. It’s a type of salamander native to the streams and rivers of eastern North America.  Despite its demonic-sounding name, this spectacular amphibian is completely harmless to people. Yet the species is rapidly declining due to human activity such as deforestation, erosion and chemical runoff into our streams–which is the real horror story.

Watch this video put out by the Forest Service and partners about one of North America’s most fascinating and little-known wild animals. …

Save Appalachian streams and the hellbenders that live in them with National Wildlife Federation.

First eco-aqueduct for Dutch wildlife


This video from the Netherlands is about the start of building the new eco-aqueduct near Rouveen.

Translated from RTV Oost in the Netherlands, 22 October 2014:

The first eco-aqueduct for animals opens in Overijssel today. The crossover is between Rouveen and Zwartsluis and is intended for otters, snakes, frogs and fish.

Animals that use the crossing, first go through a water bridge across the Conrad canal. …

Then the passage goes underneath the Conradweg road. Also land animals can cross under the road through a dry passage.

New toad species discovery on Jersey


This is a Western Common Toad video from France.

From Wildlife Extra:

New toad species identified in the UK

Toads on the island of Jersey have been found to be an entirely different species to toads found in the rest of the UK.

The Western Common Toad (Bufo spinosus) – which is also found in western France, Iberia and North Africa – is more genetically different from the Common Toad than humans are from gorillas or chimpanzees. In the UK they are found only in Jersey, which is the only location in the Channel Islands to have toads.

As a new species, the toads will need a tailored conservation programme in place in order to ensure their future survival in Jersey.

“We always suspected there was something special about the toads of Jersey,” said Dr John Wilkinson, Science Programme Manager at Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC). “They grow larger, breed earlier and use different habitats than English toads. Now we know they are a new species, we can ensure efforts for their conservation are directed to their specific needs.”

Conservationists in the UK, the Netherlands and Portugal collaborated in order to correctly identify the toad. Fieldwork was carried out by Wilkinson along with researchers from Jersey Environment Department, and genetic studies were conducted by Dr Jan Arntzen at the Netherlands’ Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, and Dr Inigo Martinez-Solano at CIBIO in Portugal.

John Pinel, Jersey’s Principal Ecologist, commented on the discovery: “Conservation of biodiversity in Jersey has always had a high priority; this news will help ensure that toads continue to receive the positive action they deserve.”

Madagascar reptile and amphibian biodiversity, new study


This video is called THE CHAMELEONS OF MADAGASCAR.

From Wildlife Extra:

No single explanation found for Madagascar’s biodiversity

Just how the tiny African island of Madagascar (a country that makes up less than 0.5 percent of the Earth’s land surface) developed so many unusual species has puzzled scientists for decades.

But now a new study shows that there is no single explanation for biodiversity in Madagascar. Instead it owes its evolution of more than 700 species of reptiles and amphibians to a variety of circumstances and each group responded differently to environmental fluctuations over time.

The results are important because they suggest that climate change and land use in Madagascar will have varying effects on different species, said co-author Jason Brown of the City College of New York.

“It means that there won’t be a uniform decline of species — some species will do better, and others will do worse. What governs the distribution of, say, a particular group of frogs isn’t the same as what governs the distribution of a particular group of snake. A ‘one-size-fits-all’ model doesn’t exist.”

Located 300 miles off the southeast coast of Africa, the island of Madagascar is a treasure trove of unusual animals, about 90 percent of which are found nowhere else on Earth. Cut off from the African and Indian mainland for more than 80 million years, the animals of Madagascar have evolved into a unique menagerie of creatures, including more than 700 species of reptiles and amphibians — snakes, geckos, iguanas, chameleons, skinks, frogs, turtles and tortoises.

“Not surprisingly, we found that different groups of species have diversified for different reasons,” said Duke University biologist and fellow author Anne Yoder, ” “One of the lessons learned is that when trying to assess the impacts of future climate change on species distribution and survival, we have to deal in specifics rather than generalities, since each group of animals experiences its environment in a way that is unique to its life history and other biological characteristics.”

Understanding how species distributions responded to environmental fluctuations in the past may help scientists predict which groups are most vulnerable to global warming and deforestation in the future, or which factors pose the biggest threat.

Madagascar is of course famous for its lemurs, including the Ring-tailed Lemur. Read a field guide to these charismatic individuals with their striking stripy tails here.

Rare spectacled bear discovery in Ecuador


This video is called BBC Natural World – Spectacled Bears, Shadows of the Forest – Full Documentary.

From Wildlife Extra:

Rare Spectacled Bear found in new Ecuador reserve

There have been sightings of Spectacled Bear in Ecuador’s new Antinsanilla Reserve, confirming the animal’s presence in the area.

The reserve was primarily established to protect the rare Andean Condor, which numbers only around 50 in Ecuador today. It is also the habitat of a number of extremely endangered amphibians, making it a vital location for threatened Ecuadorian wildlife.

Antinansilla Reserve spans 6,100 acres, and was created with support from the Rainforest Trust, the Amphibian Survival Alliance, the Andrew Sabin Foundation and other conservation organisations working in collaboration with Ecuadorian Partner Fundación Jocotoco.

A Spectacled Bear was recently sighted in the reserve by park guard Manual Cuichan in September. “This marks the second time Spectacled Bears have been spotted in the reserve this year,” says Jocotoco’s Conservation Director Francisco Sornoza, “And it’s wonderful news since it’s clear that the bears are now using the reserve as a real refuge.”

Although the endangered Spectacled Bear – South America’s only bear species – is versatile and able to survive in cloud forests, alpine areas (known as páramo) and deserts, they are under continual threat from poaching and habitat loss due to agricultural expansion, road construction and other development. If current trends continue, their numbers are expected to decline by more than 30 per cent in the next thirty years.

“One of the iconic mammals of the Andes, the endangered Spectacled Bear has always been relatively rare, and now it is much persecuted almost throughout its range for alleged cattle depredations,” says President of Rainforest Trust, Dr Robert S Ridgley. “I knew that Spectacled Bears used to occur at Antisanilla and I hoped maybe one might wander in,” Ridgely added. “But never did I think that, hardly six months after Antisanilla’s purchase, two bears would have already been sighted on the páramo!”

Rare spadefoot toads discovery


This video is about an European common spadefoot toad digging.

Translated from Dagblad van het Noorden in the Netherlands:

30 September 2014, 18:22

VALTHE / NIJMEGEN – Good news for the endangered European common spadefoot toad.

In the area roughly between Weerdinge and Exloo four new sites have been discovered where the animals live. Richard Struijk of Ravon (Reptile Amphibian and Fish Conservation in the Netherlands) in Nijmegen speaks of spectacular news.