The Friday Five: Conservation and nature stories from around the world that caught our eyes this week

Western (boreal) toad (Photo by NCC)

Western (boreal) toad (Photo by NCC)

August 12, 2016 | by Sophia Yang

Each week, countless inspiring and informative stories are published about conservation successes or discoveries in nature and wildlife around the world. Here are some of the conservation and nature stories that caught our attention the week of August 8, 2016.

No parking on this road, unless you want to be "toad"

Thanks to the efforts of dozens of volunteers in Whistler, BC, endangered western toads can safely hop over to Lost Lake to mate and lay eggs this summer. Less than 500 individuals out of 50,000 make it across the road each year due to incoming traffic and predators, but the community has come together to protect this endangered species.

See for yourself how these tiny amphibians can cross safely this summer >

Findings emerge of the first modern extinction of a Galápgos bird species

Researchers have unearthed interesting information about a colourful songbird in the Galápagos. A subspecies of Vermilion flycatchers, the San Cristóbal Island Vermilion flycatcher, should be given full species status, but this bird hasn’t been seen since 1987. This is considered the first modern extinction of a Galápagos bird species, scientists believe this to be an important turning point for conservation in the area.

Read more to learn about how this finding will affect conservation efforts in the Galápagos >

Nature's fireworks: Watch out for an extraordinary Perseid meteor shower this year

While the middle of August seems like the end of summer to many, the Perseid meteor shower may change your mind. Predicted to be extra-spectacular this year, the peak of the Perseids meteor shower is projected to be on the night of August 11-12, and is expected to produce twice as many meteors as it normally does. In Canada, the best viewing time will be from midnight to sunrise on August 12, with the best viewing spots away from the city lights in the wonders of the dark skies.

Tips & tricks on how you can see the Perseid meteor shower in full force >

Greenland shark determined to be the oldest living vertebrate animal in 2016

Joining a league of Earth's oldest organisms, an estimated 400-year-old Greenland shark is the oldest living vertebrate animal in 2016. Growing to a length of five metres, it is also one of the world's largest carnivores. After struggling for decades to determine the age range of these "wise" creatures, scientists have come close to accurantely estimate the shark's age by examining the proteins inside the lens of the shark's eyes. How eye-opening!

Learn more about the Greenland shark and its fascinating biological history >

Bison DNA believed to be the leading evidence in determining how people migrated to the Americas. Or is it?

A group of researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz have deemed bison to be the ideal proxy for determining how human migrated through the Alaska and Beringia glaciers. However, a research team from the University of Copenhagen disagrees with this theory, and have a different say on how bison really shaped human migration.

More about the debate here >

Sophia Yang

About the Author

Sophia Yang was the 2016 summer communications intern for the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s national office.

Read more about Sophia Yang.

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