Two lion subspecies in Africa, new research


This video is called Lions Documentary National Geographic – The Kingdom of Lion.

Translated from Leiden University in the Netherlands:

African lion has two subspecies

The traditional separation of lions in an African and an Asian subspecies is unjustified, says biologist Laura Bertola. In Africa two subspecies live. PhD defence on March 18th.

Unique position

Lions are found in virtually all of Africa and a small part of India. Until now, they were divided into two groups: an African subspecies, Panthera leo leo, and an Asian subspecies, Panthera leo persica. This format is not correct according to Laura Bertola. They examined the DNA of lions in Africa and India. The animals in West and Central Africa are more like the Asiatic lions than like other African lions. Bertola: “They are clearly different from the lions in the rest of Africa. You can speak of two African subspecies. The unique position of the lions from West and Central Africa calls for even better protection. Especially because these populations are under great pressure. ”

Separated by rainforest and desert

Changes in the African climate over the last 300,000 years separated certain populations,” says Bertola. “The expansion of dense rainforest and dry desert formed a barrier to the lions. The historical isolation which arose so, is still visible in the DNA. From the DNA we can deduce what groups recently have been contacted and which groups have long been separated in their mutual evolution.”

Himalayan quail, alive or extinct?


This video is called Rescuing Himalayan Monal (Manali).

From Bird Conservation International:

5 February 2015

Mapping the potential distribution of the Critically Endangered Himalayan Quail Ophrysia superciliosa using proxy species and species distribution modelling

Summary

The Critically Endangered Himalayan Quail Ophrysia superciliosa has not been reliably recorded since 1876. Recent searches of historical sites have failed to detect the species, but we estimate an extinction year of 2023 giving us reason to believe that the species may still be extant.

Species distribution models can act as a guide for survey efforts, but the current land cover in the historical specimen record locations is unlikely to reflect Himalayan Quail habitat preferences due to extensive modifications. Thus, we investigate the use of two proxy species: Cheer Pheasant Catreus wallechi and Himalayan Monal Lophophorus impejanus that taken together are thought to have macro-habitat requirements that encapsulate those of the Himalayan Quail.

After modelling climate and topography space for the Himalayan Quail and these proxy species we find the models for the proxy species have moderate overlap with that of the Himalayan Quail. Models improved with the incorporation of land cover data and when these were overlaid with the Himalayan Quail climate model, we were able to identify suitable areas to target surveys. Using a measure of search effort from recent observations of other galliformes, we identify 923 km2 of suitable habitat surrounding Mussoorie in Northern India that requires further surveys. We conclude with a list of five priority survey sites as a starting point.

Poetry about wildlife, competition


This video says about itself:

Australian Birds The Best Documentary

29 May 2014

Great video about Australian birds

Australia has about 800 species of bird, ranging from the tiny 8 cm Weebill to the huge, flightless Emu. It has been suggested that up to 10% of bird species may go extinct by the year 2100 as a result of climate change.

Many species of Australian birds will immediately seem familiar to visitors from the northern hemisphere – Australian wrens look and act much like northern hemisphere wrens and Australian robins seem to be close relatives of the northern hemisphere robins, but in fact the majority of Australian passerines are descended from the ancestors of the crow family, and the close resemblance is misleading: the cause is not genetic relatedness but convergent evolution.

From BirdLife:

A Call to Verse

By Martin Fowlie, Fri, 23/01/2015 – 15:00

Calling all BirdLife poets! There is still time to enter 2014’s RSPB/Rialto Nature Poetry Competition. The deadline is GMT midnight on March 1: so you have six weeks to polish draft poems or versify anew.

Last year’s winner, Colin Hughes, drew his inspiration from watching Black Kites circling New Delhi, India: familiar sights across so many major cities in Asia and Africa.

Colin said that he stood at a window, ”watching several hundred of the city’s huge population of pariah kites gathering at sundown”, reflecting that it was a day in which ”the papers had reported that more than half the world’s population now lives in cities”. After Tokyo, with its staggering 38 million people, Delhi is the world’s second most densely populated metropolis and, with a forecast that 2050 will see two thirds of us living in cities, it seems highly likely that encounters with nature, the fuel of so much poetry, will be increasingly urban. Colin’s winning poem is reproduced in full below.

In 2013, locations and species that inspired poets to enter the competition ranged widely: from China to New Zealand, from Ireland to Peru; and from cats and rats to condors and eels, iguanas and juniper trees. All were grist to the mill of people’s verse, with many poets, as competition judge, Ruth Padel, reported, creating lines that were “breathtaking and beautiful but also painful because so many poems, underlined, rightly, what a precarious state nature is in”.

This year’s judge is the celebrated British poet, broadcaster and writer, Simon Armitage, author of more than twenty collections and co-editor, with Tim Dee, of the anthology, The Poetry of Birds. Simon’s own work draws deeply on nature and landscape; he has recently walked the Cornish coast, a follow up to his “troubadour trek” along the UK’s Pennine Way, paying his way by giving poetry readings en route. This journey was celebrated in his book, Walking Home.

Like Ruth (and 2012’s judge, Andrew Motion), Simon will, no doubt, have a great swathe of entries to consider this year, so please do join the fray! You might find your words being celebrated round the world, just like Colin’s poem.

Kites

Seems all the city’s sly guys pitched up at the park.
A couple of hundred pariahs, idly climbing spirals
Of dense dusk air, twisting their two-finger tails:
A devil crowd, loafing on thermals, presaging dark.
This is no free-flowing flock, no liquid shoal that wheels
As one in-unison wave: these are scavenger anti-souls
Forming vortices of slo-mo dervishes,
Each spiky silhouette in separate gyration.
Hell-born hoodlums, who thrive on all that perishes.
Some pack out the lifeless branches of a leafless grove:
They lift lapels to check the contents of their pockets,
Correcting brown-coat buttons with a flick of their beak-knives,
Or brush the Delhi dust from their death-black jackets;
Then one by one flap up to join the anarchist claque
That cracks the abnegate sky – that lumbering bomber stack
Of cut-outs, off on a night-raid, stark-hard flags unfurled.
They soar and scorn the din, pharp-parping to damnation,
The busy-ness below, the choke-locked inner ring,
The humans who learned today they’re more than half urban.
No: this couldn’t-care-less congregation would not lift a wing
If you told them tomorrow is doomsday, and they the last left alive.
Forewarned, they’d still flop off to run their lazy rackets,
Go poke through piles of plastic trash in derelict dives,
Then gather to shrug disdain at the end of the day, or world.

By Colin Hughes, 1st Prize winner, 2013

Good Indian tiger news


This video from India says about itself:

Tiger Hunts Large Gaur [NEW FOOTAGE]

11 November 2013

Amazing new footage of the dominant male tiger from Bandipur, Raja, taking down and killing an adult gaur on a hunt. Gaurs are the largest bovine in the world, and this is a very rare incident caught on tape.

From Wildlife Extra:

India’s tiger population on the increase

New figures released indicate India’s tiger population has significantly increased from 1,411 in 2006 to 2,226 in 2014, an increase of 60%.

The increase in the tiger population can be largely attributed to better management and improved protection within tiger reserves and other tiger bearing protected areas. Poaching remains the greatest threat to wild tigers today with tiger parts in high demand throughout Asia.

“These results confirm that more than half of the world’s tigers are in India, and thus, an up-to-date and precise estimation becomes imperative for assessing the success of future conservation efforts. This demonstrates that species conservation works, especially when it brings together political will, strong science and dedicated field efforts,” said Ravi Singh, Secretary General & CEO, WWF-India.

The report highlights that the future of tigers in India depends on maintaining undisturbed core habitats for breeding tiger populations, habitat connectivity and protection from poaching of tigers and their prey.

The estimation exercise in India saw an unprecedented effort from the National Tiger Conservation Authority, state forest departments, the Wildlife Institute of India, and conservation organisations including WWF-India, CWS, ATREE, Aaranyak, WRCS and WCT.

Flaws in a method commonly used in censuses of tigers and other rare wildlife put the accuracy of such surveys in doubt, a new study published in the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution suggests: here.

Lynx reintroduction in Scotland?


This video from India is called Rare Eurasian Lynx in Ladakh.

From the BBC:

29 December 2014 Last updated at 13:00 GMT

Scottish Wildlife Trust calls for lynx reintroduction

he Scottish Wildlife Trust has called for the reintroduction of the lynx to Scotland.

The charity said there was a “moral and ecological” case for the return of the once native Eurasian lynx.

The animal was hunted to extinction in the UK hundreds of years ago.

The wildlife trust believes the reintroduction of predators like the lynx would help restore balance in Scotland’s natural ecosystems.

The lynx is the third largest predator in Europe, after the brown bear and the wolf.

It can currently be found in the forests of western Europe, Russia and central Asia.

‘Right locations’

Jonny Hughes, the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s chief executive, said: “The Scottish Wildlife Trust has experience in bringing keystone species back to Scotland, having been a lead partner in the ground-breaking Scottish Beaver Trial, a trial reintroduction of the Eurasian beaver to Argyll.

“We believe that lynx should also be considered for reintroduction and in many ways could be a flagship for the restoration of native habitats, particularly woodlands, into the future.”

He added: “Finding the right locations will be one of the major challenges for a potential lynx project and there will be a range of stakeholders who will need to work in partnership to ensure the best chance of success and support, as has been the case in the Scottish Beaver Trial.

“It is important that we all understand the potential benefits of bringing back the lynx to our woodland ecosystems, but also to our forestry and tourism industries.

“At the same time we should understand the challenges that this beautiful once-native cat will bring with it.”

Earlier this year, conservation charity Trees for Life and writer George Monbiot promoted the reinstatement of the Eurasian lynx to Scotland.

Colourful new lizard species discovery in India


This video says about itself:

In Rajasthan, India, a 15-year-old boy called Navratan Harsh or ‘lizard boy’ lets lizards crawl all over his face.

From Wildlife Extra:

New species of gecko lizard has been found in Central India

A new species of gecko lizard has been discovered in the Satpura Hill ranges in Central India by four researchers.

The new species has been named Eublepharis satpuraensis after the location in which it was found in, reports The Asian Age.

The lizard belongs to the family of leopard geckos, which are some of the least studied lizards in India.

The gecko was located while researchers Zeeshan A Mirza, Rajesh V Sanap, David Raju, Atish Gawai and Prathamesh Ghadekar were studying amphibians in the region.

“The first picture of this species came to me in 2009 from Melghat Tiger Reserve,” said Mr Mirza, who is currently doing his research at Bengaluru’s National Centre for Biological Sciences.

“Later a few more pictures followed which led us to Satpura Hills, where we discovered the new gecko,”

The specimens of adult male and female were found in the Satpura Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh, and juveniles were collected from Amravati district.

The species were collected near the boulders, rocky outcrops and burrows mostly in the nights.

The paper also states that the geckos are nocturnal and secretive in nature. At the slightest disturbance, the species retreats.

The scientific description of this new species is here.

See also photo here.