Grizzly bears in Washington state, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

Grizzly Bears in North Cascades: Recovering an Icon

20 March 2015

North Cascades National Park, considered the “wild nearby” for its incredible scenery and wildlife, is also at the center of an opportunity being led by the National Park Service, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and U.S. Forest Service to restore a grizzly bear population.

Recovering these rare bears to the North Cascades Ecosystem, an area of nearly 10,000 square miles of protected public land, including the national park, would be a gift of the natural world to ours and future generations. It also provides a rare opportunity to recover all of the large native wildlife that were present prior to the turn of the 19th century.

Grizzly bears, of which less than twenty likely remain in the North Cascades Ecosystem, have long been an important cultural symbol for local Native American tribes, as well as playing an important ecological role for the health of the environment and other animal species.

Join the National Parks Conservation Association and special guests, including TV host and bear specialist Chris Morgan, to learn more about grizzly bears, their importance to creating and maintaining healthy ecosystems, the history leading up to the current public process, and how you can get involved.

Panelists:
• Bill Gaines, Ph.D., Wildlife Ecologist and Director of the Washington Conservation Science Institute. Gaines has been involved in the grizzly bear recovery efforts in the North Cascades for the past 25 years.

• Chris Morgan, Ecologist, bear specialist, author, filmmaker and TV host. Chris has spent more than 20 years working as a wildlife researcher, wilderness guide, and environmental educator on every continent where bears exist.

• Joe Scott, International Conservation Director, Conservation Northwest

• Rob Smith, Northwest Regional Director, National Parks Conservation Association

Giant panda news update


This video is called Life of Giant Pandas – Full Documentary.

From Associated Press today:

China’s latest survey finds increase in wild giant pandas

BEIJING — Wild giant pandas in China are doing well.

The latest census by China’s State Forestry Administration shows the panda population has grown by 268 to a total of 1,864 since the last survey ending in 2003.

Nearly three quarters of the pandas live in the southwestern province of Sichuan. The remaining pandas have been found in the neighboring Shaanxi and Gansu provinces.

“The rise in the population of wild giant pandas is a victory for conservation and definitely one to celebrate,” said Ginette Hemley, senior vice president of wildlife conservation for World Wildlife Fund.

Hemley credited efforts by the Chinese government for the increase. The survey shows 1,246 wild giant pandas live within nature reserves. There are 67 panda reserves in China, an increase of 27 since the last survey.

“The survey result demonstrates the effectiveness of nature reserves in boosting wild giant panda numbers,” said Xiaohai Liu, executive program director for WWF-China.

But the survey also points to economic development as a main threat to the rare animal. It says 319 hydropower stations and 1,339 kilometers (832 miles) of roads have been built in the giant panda’s habitat.

WWF said it is the first time that large-scale infrastructure projects such as mining and railroads get referenced in the survey. Traditional threats such as poaching are on the decline, WWF noted.

China began surveying its giant pandas in the 1970s. The latest census began in 2011 and took three years to complete.

The number of giant pandas in captivity grew by 211, more than double the previous survey figure, according to the census released Saturday.

North American animals in winter


This video from the USA says about itself:

Black-Capped Chickadee Calls and Sounds – Fee Bee Call, Chicka Dee Dee Dee Call and a couple of others

An amiable sight to behold at winter backyard feeders, chickadees are a delight to watch as they fly with their happy, bouncy flight back and forth to feeders collecting seeds to eat elsewhere or to hoard away for later feeding. But most delightful of all is hearing their “chicka dee dee dee” call, in the quiet and desolate feeling dead of winter their call stands out and begs to be heard, like a song of promise for bright sunny days to come.

The black-capped chickadee may be the most incredible of all winter survivors. These little birds have evolved an unusual means of saving energy and coping with cold weather—they actually lower their body temperature! Click here to get the story of how a tiny bird is able to keep the elements at bay.

It’s been a cold winter across the US and many of us are struggling to stay warm. Animals have special adaptations to survive the cold. There’s a lot we can learn from Arctic Foxes, Ptarmigans and even Polar Bears. Read on to find out how YOU can stay warm too.

When winter arrives in the Arctic, the Wood Frog responds accordingly. That is, it freezes and becomes, basically, a frog-shaped Popsicle. But when spring arrives, an interesting thing happens: the frog thaws and is soon hopping, croaking, mating—enjoying all the amphibian pleasures life has to offer. How is this possible? Read on to learn more about this deep frozen frog.

Bears have an interesting problem as they hibernate through the winter. Where and when to go to the bathroom? As with many such quandaries, nature has evolved a clever solution to a potentially messy problem. Read onto get the scoop.

Do you know how animals cope with winter’s severe conditions? Test your winter wildlife knowledge by taking the quiz.

Valentine’s Day teddy bears against dictatorship in Bahrain


Teddy bears starting to appear at barricades before #Bahrain Feb 14 anniversary

From GlobalVoices:

Teddy Bears Face Off with Police as Bahrain Marks its Fourth Anniversary of Anti-Regime Protests

Posted 14 February 2015 17:05 GMT

Written by Amira Al Hussaini

For the past four years, Bahrainis have been marking Valentine’s Day with massive protests, which are faced with a brutal clampdown by the regime. This year is no different, except that protesters, in keeping with the spirit of Valentine’s, took with them stuffed teddy bears to face off with the riot police.

On February 14, 2011, Bahrainis joined the bandwagon of protesters across the Arab world and staged anti-regime protests, which ushered a new era of widespread human rights abuses, arbitrary arrests of thousands of Bahrainis and the killing of protesters and bystanders, including women and children.

This year protesters marked the anniversary with a three-day strike, in which businesses in villages and protest areas shut down.

According to Bahrain Mirror, an opposition online publication in Arabic, the teddy bear has become a “political icon” used by the protesters for “political satire.”

Translation:

The village of Diraz, west of Manama, was the first village to see the appearance of the teddy bear with the start of the strike, announced by the revolutionary forces.

Copycat teddy bears soon popped up across villages in Bahrain, and were placed at barricades put up by the protesters to protect themselves from police attacks.

Teddy bear

Bahraini human rights activist detained, family claim risk of torture. Hussain Jawad is being held by Bahraini police officers for reasons unknown according to family members: here.

International cave bear symposium in the Netherlands, September 2015


This video is called Cave Lion vs Cave Bear – Ice Age Giants – Episode 2 Preview – BBC Two.

From the Pleistocene Mammals site:

The 21st edition of the International Cave Bear Symposium (ICBS) will take place in the Netherlands in 2015. It is a fitting host as this is a unique country in paleontological terms. While the sediments that are found near the surface are of a relatively young age (Holocene), our fossil record is also particularly rich in Pleistocene material – mostly the effect of being bordered by the North Sea. In Pleistocene glacial times, the North Sea was dry land and densely populated by mammoths, bison, woolly rhinoceros and horses, closely followed by carnivores such as the cave lion, cave hyena, wolves and brown bear – evidence of which is still commonly discovered.

The symposium will be 10-13 September 2015 at Naturalis Biodiversity Center in Leiden. The provisional programme is here.

Bears, ants and flowers in Colorado, USA


This video from North America is called DISCOVERING THE BLACK BEAR.

From Wildlife Extra:

The bear, the ant and the yellow flower – scientist discovers an odd relationship

For a huge Black Bear, a very small ant would hardly seem to make a meal but in numbers these tiny insects are protein-packed.

Not only that, but the fact that bears eat ants is a crucial part of a complicated food chain that has wide-reaching benefits for wildlife in the US.

In a paper published in Ecology Letters, Florida State University researcher Josh Grinath examines the close relationship between bears, ants and rabbitbrush — a golden-flowered shrub that grows in the meadows of Colorado and often serves as shelter for birds.

Scientists know that plant and animal species don’t exist in a vacuum. However, tracing and understanding their complex interactions can be a challenge.

Grinath, working with Associate Professors Nora Underwood and Brian Inouye, has spent several years monitoring ant nests in a mountain meadow in Almont, Colorado.

On one visit, he discovered that bears disturbed the nests, which led him to wonder exactly how this disturbance might affect other plants and animals in the meadow.

From 2009 to 2012, Grinath, Underwood and Inouye collected data on bear damage to ant nests. In the course of this they noticed that rabbitbrush, a dominant plant in the area, was growing better and reproducing more near to the damaged nests.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Rabbitbrush-Nectar Source for Butterflies

18 September 2012

Rubber Rabbitbrush (Ericameria nauswosa) is in bloom now; most all other flowering plants have already gone to seed. Adult butterflies still on the wing that nectar visit these shrubs; at times several lep[idopteran] species can be found at these shrubs. Featured are: West Coast Lady, Hoary Comma, Juba Skipper, and Red Admiral.

The Wildlife Extra article continues:

The reason why was an insect called a treehopper, a tiny cicada-like arthropod that sucks sap out of plants such as rabbitbrush, which damages the plant.

Previous studies had established that ants and treehoppers have a mutualistic relationship, meaning they benefit from one another.

So the team began a series of controlled field experiments to see what would happen to treehoppers, first if there were more ants around and then if there were fewer.

They found that ants didn’t prey on the treehoppers or the rabbitbrush. Rather, they scared away other insects that typically prey on treehoppers.

In a situation where bears disturbed and ate ants, other bugs were free to prey on the treehoppers and the rabbitbrush thrived.

The study also highlighted how a modern phenomenon could end up causing more than just a nuisance.

Bears’ diets are being changed by their proximity to human habitation, and many populations are now eating human rubbish regularly instead of ants and other traditional food sources.

“Bears have an effect on everything else because they have an effect on this one important species — ants,” Grinath says.

“If bears are eating trash instead of ants, that could compromise the benefits the plants are receiving. These indirect effects are an important consideration in conservation.”

European wolf, bear, lynx news


This video says about itself:

Link with the Lynx – The Secrets of Nature

24 March 2014

With large tufted ears, a short tail and a trusting look, one could almost believe that lynxes are just big cats. In their hearts, however, they are wild and untamed. They are the tigers of Europe. This is the story of a hard earned friendship. On the one side is Milos Majda, a quiet, nature loving ranger at the Mala Fatra national park in Slovakia. On the other side are two small lynxes, fresh from the zoo. With Milos’ help, it’s hoped the lynxes will return to the home of their ancestors in the forests of Mala Fatra in the heart of Slovakia. For two years Milos Majda and the biologist and animal filmmaker Tomas Hulik follow the journey of the lynx siblings from their warm nursery inside a cabin into the wilderness.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Brown bears, wolves and lynx numbers rising in Europe

Land-sharing model of conservation is helping large predators thrive in the wild – and even the British countryside could support big carnivores, study finds

The forests – and suburbs – of Europe are echoing with the growls, howls and silent padding of large predators according to a new study which shows that brown bears, wolves and lynx are thriving on a crowded continent.

Despite fears that large carnivores are doomed to extinction because of rising human populations and overconsumption, a study published in Science has found that large predator populations are stable or rising in Europe.

Brown bear, wolf, the Eurasian lynx and wolverine are found in nearly one-third of mainland Europe (excluding Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia), with most individuals living outside nature reserves, indicating that changing attitudes and landscape-scale conservation measures are successfully protecting species which have suffered massive persecution throughout human history.

The bears are the most abundant large carnivore in Europe with around 17,000 individuals, alongside 12,000 wolves, 9,000 Eurasian lynx and 1,250 wolverines, which are restricted to northern parts of Scandinavia and Finland.

Only Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands and Luxembourg in mainland Europe – like Britain – have no breeding populations of at least one large carnivore species. But the paper’s lead author and other conservationists said these animals’ surprising distribution across well-populated regions of Europe showed that even the British countryside could support big predators.

Guillaume Chapron from Sweden’s University of Agricultural Sciences and researchers across Europe found wolves in some cases living in suburban areas alongside up to 3,050 people per square kilometre – higher than the population density of Cambridge or Newcastle.

On average in Europe, wolves live on land with a population density of 37 people per sq km, lynx in areas with a population density of 21 people per sq km and bears among 19 people per sq km. The population density of the Scottish Highlands is nine people per sq km.

“In order to have wolves we don’t need to remove people from the landscape,” said Chapron.

According to Chapron and his colleagues, the big carnivore revival shows the success of a “land-sharing” model of conservation – in stark contrast to keeping predators and people apart by fencing off “wilderness” areas as occurs in North America and Africa.

“I’m not saying it’s a peace and love story – coexistence often means conflict – but it’s important to manage that conflict, keep it at a low level and resolve the problems it causes. Wolves can be difficult neighbours,” said Chapron. “We shouldn’t be talking about people-predator conflict; we have conflict between people about predators. These animals are symbolic of difficult questions about how we should use the land.”

According to the researchers, this “land-sharing” approach could be applied elsewhere in the world.

The reasons for its success in Europe include political stability, burgeoning populations of prey species such as wild deer, and financial support for non-lethal livestock protection such as electric fences, which mean that farmers do not resort to shooting wild predators. Most crucial, said Chapron, has been the EU habitats directive which has compelled member states to protect and revive rare species.

“Without the habitats directive I don’t think we would have had this recovery,” he said. “It shows if people are willing to protect nature and that political will is translated into strong legislation like the habitats directive, it’s possible to achieve results in wildlife protection.”

The revival was welcomed by author and commentator George Monbiot, who is next year launching Rewilding Britain, a new charity to encourage the return of wild landscape and extinct species.

“It is great to see the upward trend continuing but Britain is completely anomalous – we’ve lost more of our large mammals than any country except for Ireland,” he said. “Apart from the accidental reintroduction of boar we’ve done almost nothing whereas in much of the rest of Europe we’ve got bears, lynx and wolves coming back. It’s a massive turnaround from the centuries of persecution.”

The survey found the Eurasian lynx living permanently in 11 population groups across 23 European countries, of which only five were native populations – indicating the success of reintroduction efforts. According to Monbiot, momentum is building for the reintroduction of the lynx into the Cairngorms in Scotland.

“If it works in the rest of Europe, there’s absolutely no reason why it can’t work in the UK,” he said, pointing out that bears and wolves are found within an hour of Rome. “There’s no demographic reason why we can’t have a similar return of wildlife in the UK.”

An extensive European study has found that the numbers of carnivorous animals are on the rise across the continent, with Sweden seeing a hike in the populations of bears, lynxes, wolves, and wolverines: here.