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

Giant panda (Photo by Chen Wu, Wikimedia Commons)

Giant panda (Photo by Chen Wu, Wikimedia Commons)

June 3, 2016 | by Wendy Ho

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 May 30, 2016.

Let it go, let it flow!

The Elwha River in northwestern Washington State flows again after being dammed up for a century. The final part of the 210-foot-high dam was removed in 2014, but the restoration of aquatic and nearshore ecosystems are still ongoing. Marine Biologist Anne Shaffer shares what the removal means for species and the environment and the conservation challenges that still lie ahead.

Read more on the biggest dam removal project in the U.S. >

How to live alongside flying foxes in urban Australia

In a small coastal town in New South Wales, Australia, residents and government are trying to cope with a recent influx of grey-headed flying foxes (a type of bat) that are attracted to flowering gum trees and are roosting in town by the thousands. The town has declared a state of emergency and in need for effective management options that balances community concerns and conservation priorities.

Read about the tension between urbanites and wildlife >

Giant pandas could see a downgrade on the IUCN red-list

Currently listed as “endangered” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature red-list, giant pandas are being reassessed by the conservation organization after a Chinese survey found a 17 percent increase in the species’ population over the past decade.

Read it in the news >

Eight reasons why octopuses are the geniuses of the ocean

A comparative psychologist from the University of Lethbridge is out to show that our eight-tentacled shape-shifter friends are more intelligent than they are given credit for. Examples of the creatures’ ability to make use of tools, display personalities, solve puzzles and other behaviours gives us insight to the cognitive capacity of this crafty cephalopod.

Find out what are octopuses capble of doing >

Urchin sunscreen and other ways animals beat the burn

While us, humans may choose SPF sunscreens for UV protection, spiny cousins of the sand dollar are reaching for seaweed in the wild. Researchers found collector urchins that live in partial shade use more algae to cover themselves than those that live in complete shade. In the lab, urchins show a distinct preference for coloured pieces of plastic that offer some UV protection.

Find out how other animals beat the burn the natural way >

Wendy Ho (Photo by NCC)

About the Author

Wendy Ho is Nature Conservancy of Canada's editorial coordinator.

Read more about Wendy Ho.

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