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 discoveries in nature and wildlife around the world. Here are some of the conservation and nature stories that caught our attention the week of July 4, 2016.
Great news for grouse in Saskatchewan and Alberta
Sage grouse numbers grew to 33 males as of spring 2016 in Grasslands National Park alone, up from just six in 2014. This second consecutive year of rising sage grouse populations is encouraging after low numbers in 2013. Milder winters are the surprising driving force behind this small biodiversity victory.
Time to call Ghostbusters?
In the western Pacific Ocean’s Marianas Trench, a fish believed to belong to the Aphyonidae family has been spotted by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ship. In a video that went viral this week, the four-inch-long, almost-transparent fish greatly excited many fishery biologists, as it is the first species in the Aphyondiae family seen alive.
Country hedgehog, city hedgehog: A tale of urban wildlife
Certain species definitely belong in the wild, but research conducted at the University of Hamburg has found that urban hedgehog populations have been higher than their rural counterparts. Urbanized areas such as public parks, home gardens, busy roads and quiet sidewalks all contribute to the urban hedgehogs’ unique living conditions and hibernation habits.
Jurassic butterflies in the time of dinosaurs
The beautiful butterflies we see today on Earth aren’t the same ones that existed with the dinosaurs, but they do come close. A group of insects called lacewings produced butterflies that evolved over 165 million years ago. Ironically, they then went extinct around the same time the first flower on Earth evolved. But these Jurassic butterflies might actually still exist today.
Fish or foe? Alligator fishes swimming in Koltana
The discovery of an alligator-like fish called alligator gar in the eastern waters of Koltana in India has many experts worried. Closely resembling an alligator from its appearance as well as its predatory nature, the carnivorous fish has records of attacking not only other fishes, but humans too. Experts believe the gar’s presence is dangerous to the local ecosystem, as well as fishermen’s livelihoods.