The Friday Five: Conservation and nature stories from around the world that caught our eye this week
Each week, countless inspiring and informative stories are published about conservation successes or new discoveries in nature and wildlife around the world. Here are some of the conservation and nature stories from around the globe that caught our attention the week of September 12, 2016:
Rain, rain here to stay on this island
Taking the silver medal for the wettest place in the world is the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i’s Mount Wai’ale’ale. With 1,000 centimetres of annual rain, this island lives up to its name, which means “overflowing water.” Its soggy terrain is due to the cylindrical shape of the mountain and the island’s vulnerable location.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a…catfish?
If you ask Philadelphia’s Lisa Lobree about the last thing that hit her while walking to a fitness class earlier this week, she might say a catfish. Dropped by a bird sitting in a tree above, the large catfish came crashing down knocking her to the ground. Despite suffering some swelling and a cut on her face, Lobree is doing fine after the surprize dropping.
Freshwater stingrays chew on food like goats
Chewing, previously thought to be a unique mechanism used by mammals to break down food, has been seen in freshwater stingrays. With high-speed video and CT scans, a University of Toronto researcher found these rays ingest aquatic insects into their mouth, where they shred and tear apart their meal, using suction generated by their fins.
Trees as social beings?
Many of us think of trees as solitary, unmoving plants, but not so with forester Peter Wohlleben. According to a growing body of scientific research, trees may recognize kin and family, and communicate through a root system Wohlleben calls the “woodwide web.” What’s more? Some trees stick around for thousands of years because they act like families, whereas others are more tribal, outcompeting other species, and there are those that behave like loners.
Where have the birds gone?
A new report, possibly the most complete survey of land bird populations, shows that over the last few decades North America has seen 1.5 billion less birds in its skies, backyards and forests. Species include the once-common Canada warbler, whose population has declined by 63 percent. Meanwhile, snowy owls numbers are down by 64 percent. The culprits continue to be climate change, habitat loss and fragmentation, agricultural disturbances and predation by domestic cats.
This post was written in collaboration with Raechel Bonomo, communications assistant with the Nature Conservancy of Canada.