Namibia reports record level of rhino poaching

The number of endangered rhinos poached in Namibia last year was the highest on record and almost twice as many as the year before, officials say. A total of 87 rhinos were killed compared with 45 in 2021, official government data show. Most were poached in Etosha, Namibia’s biggest national park, officials say. Rhino numbers in Africa have dropped significantly in recent decades to feed demand for rhino horn in China and Vietnam. Poachers killed 61 black and 26 white rhinos mainly in Etosha, where 46 rhinos were found dead, Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism spokesperson Romeo Muyunda said. … Continue reading Namibia reports record level of rhino poaching

Big Daddy: The world’s biggest toad has been found in Australia

A cane toad so giant wildlife officers thought it was fake has been found in a north Australian rainforest. The “monster” specimen is six times bigger than the average toad, weighs 2.7kg, and could break a world record. Dubbed “Toadzilla”, the animal was quickly placed in a container and removed from the wild. Toads – which were first introduced to Australia in 1935 – are one of the country’s most damaging pests and are now estimated to number over 2 billion. When park ranger Kylee Gray first spotted the massive amphibian while out on patrol in Queensland, she couldn’t believe … Continue reading Big Daddy: The world’s biggest toad has been found in Australia

US approves world’s first vaccine for declining honey bees

The US has approved use of the world’s first vaccine for honey bees. It was engineered to prevent fatalities from American foulbrood disease, a bacterial condition known to weaken colonies by attacking bee larvae. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved a conditional license for the vaccine this week, according to the biotech firm behind its development. As pollinators, bees play a critical role in many aspects of the ecosystem. The vaccine could serve as a “breakthrough in protecting honey bees”, Dalan Animal Health CEO Annette Kleiser said in a statement. It works by introducing an inactive version of the … Continue reading US approves world’s first vaccine for declining honey bees

Poachers target hippos for giant teeth in place of ivory

Deepening restrictions on ivory trafficking have led to an increase of the trade in hippopotamus teeth, wildlife campaigners are warning, with potentially serious effects for a species already listed as “vulnerable to extinction”. When the UK last June announced a near-total ban on the trade in elephant ivory, an animal welfare charity studied what happened in three widely used online marketplaces. “We found the increase in hippo ivory trade in the UK within a month after the near total-ban of elephant ivory was introduced,” says Frankie Osuch, lead author of a report released by Born Free in September. This was “deeply … Continue reading Poachers target hippos for giant teeth in place of ivory

Thousands of pelicans found dead in Peru amid outbreak of bird flu

More than 5,500 pelicans have died in Peru in recent weeks due to an outbreak of bird flu. Several beaches are littered with the carcasses of the dead animals and some have also been found in protected areas. In total, more than 13,000 birds have been killed by the H5N1 avian influenza strain, according to biologists. Peruvian officials have declared a health alert to prevent its spread to farm poultry. H5N1 can spread extremely quickly between birds through their droppings and saliva. The virus can also spread to humans if they are in close contact with an infected bird, but scientists say the … Continue reading Thousands of pelicans found dead in Peru amid outbreak of bird flu

Giant panda gifted to Taiwan by China dies

A giant panda gifted by China to Taiwan in 2008 has died after a period of ill-health, Taipei Zoo has said. Tuan Tuan and his breeding partner Yuan Yuan were given to Taiwan when relations with China were more cordial. But relations have soured since then, with Beijing – which has long regarded Taiwan as a breakaway province – becoming more belligerent. The zoo first noticed Tuan Tuan was ill in August when he began suffering seizures. Vets from China were called to examine him, and scans showed he had a brain lesion and he was placed on medication. The … Continue reading Giant panda gifted to Taiwan by China dies

Palestinian mayor backtracks after dead dog reward outrage

A Palestinian mayor whose offer of a bounty for killing stray dogs caused outrage among animal-lovers has backtracked, saying he was joking. Hebron Mayor Tayseer Abu Sneineh had said those who killed strays in his city could get 20 shekels ($5.8) per dog. Stills and videos were then widely shared on social media which apparently showed dogs being killed or abused. Another mayor then encouraged people to also shoot dogs in his city. Diana Babish, who runs the West Bank’s only dog shelter, in Beit Sahour south of Jerusalem, condemned what she said was “a green light to violate and … Continue reading Palestinian mayor backtracks after dead dog reward outrage

Five lions escape exhibit at Sydney’s Taronga zoo

Five lions have sparked a brief emergency at an Australian zoo after escaping from their enclosure. The animals – one adult and four cubs – were spotted outside their exhibit at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo about 6:30 local time on Wednesday. The zoo was put in lockdown and one cub had to be tranquillised but all lions were secured within minutes, a spokesman said. No-one was injured. An explanation for the escape has not been given. But zoo executive director Simon Duffy called it a “significant incident” that would be investigated. He told local media the lions had entered a small … Continue reading Five lions escape exhibit at Sydney’s Taronga zoo

Scientists discover six new species of rain frog in Ecuador

Scientists in Ecuador have discovered six new species of rain frog. The new species were all found on the eastern slopes of the Ecuadorean Andes, in two national parks. But the scientists who discovered them have warned that all six Pristimantis species were found within a 20km-radius of deforested areas. They recommended that they all be added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) red list of threatened species. There is a huge diversity of Pristimantis frogs with more than 550 different species living in areas ranging from eastern Honduras through the Andes to northern Argentina and Brazil. Colombia and … Continue reading Scientists discover six new species of rain frog in Ecuador

A large marine protected area increases tuna stocks

A huge marine reserve in the Pacific Ocean has led to the recovery of tuna and other migratory fish around its borders, according to a study. The Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in Hawaii is almost four times the size of California. Fishing is banned inside the zone, but a spillover effect has boosted tuna stocks in nearby waters, scientists have found. Marine protected areas, or MPAs, act as sanctuaries for marine life. Scientists on board fishing boats found that the marine protections put in place had also boosted tuna species just outside the marine reserve. Catch rates for yellowfin tuna … Continue reading A large marine protected area increases tuna stocks

Ivory seized decades ago still turning up in raids

Confiscated ivory from elephants killed more than 30 years ago has turned up in recent raids, say scientists. The tusks were once part of a stockpile seized from poachers and held in sealed containers by the government of Burundi. In this study, researchers used DNA and carbon dating techniques to show that some of that stored material is now in the hands of smugglers. The authors say seizures should be destroyed and not stored. Between 2007 and 2016 some 100,000 elephants were killed for their tusks in different parts of Africa. The study examined samples from four major seizures made by law enforcement … Continue reading Ivory seized decades ago still turning up in raids

Australian zoo to investigate mysterious deaths of Quokkas and wallabies

An Australian zoo is investigating the sudden deaths of seven female quokkas and two yellow-footed rock-wallabies. Why the marsupials died remains a mystery but “plant toxicity” is believed to be the most likely cause, an Adelaide Zoo spokeswoman said. The vet team is confident it is an isolated incident but further investigation is under way, she said. No animals from other exhibits have shown signs of being unwell since the deaths, which happened last month. “The loss of one animal, let alone a large group in a sudden incident such as this, is extremely upsetting, particularly for those who care … Continue reading Australian zoo to investigate mysterious deaths of Quokkas and wallabies