In 2015, something strange happened as nearly 90% of saiga antelopes living in central Kazakhstan dropped dead in a matter of three weeks. The mysterious demise of some 200,000 antelopes, which is 62% of the global population of the critically endangered animal, took the world by storm at that time. Now, a group of UK-based researchers has got some insights into what may have triggered the mass tragedy. When saiga antelopes started dying at an alarming rate, scientists from different parts of the world came together to study the dead animals and conduct autopsies. Soon, they figured out that all of them suffered from internal bleeding or blood poisoning, a condition called Hemorrhagic septicaemia caused by a bacterium called Pasteurella multocida. As the bacterium, found in the tonsils of saigas, is typically harmless, researchers had no clue how it became deadly enough to harm the animals. The mystery stood for three long years until an international team of researchers posited a … [Read more...] about Did global warming kill 200,000 critically endangered saiga antelope in just three weeks?
Animals dying from global warming
Winter temperatures in Norway's Lapland could rise dramatically this century, with potentially devastating consequences for the region's reindeer and the indigenous Sami people who make their living herding them. A vast frozen tundra, the mountainous Finnmark plateau in Norway's far north, is experiencing a hot spell -- relatively speaking -- wreaking havoc on the centuries-old Sami way of life. "We already feel the effects of global warming here," says Per Gaup, a colourful reindeer herder in his 60s out on the job. "I can see that we're losing more reindeer because of climate change." Here, the continental climate with cold and dry winters is gradually becoming more like that of coastal areas, with milder temperatures and more rain. The change affects grazing conditions for the 146,000 or so semi-domesticated reindeer in the region who feed on lichen and moss under the snow. "When there's more snow and it turns hard, the animals die because there's less to eat, especially the … [Read more...] about Norway’s reindeer at risk from Arctic hot spell
HE is the only player to have played on all six continents, was beaten daily in a Singapore hell-hole jail, died on a pitch three times and kept a penguin in his bathtub.Nomadic keeper Lutz Pfannenstiel has a career like no other which took him to 25 different clubs in 13 countries including a stint with Vinnie Jones at Wimbledon’s ‘Crazy Gang’.But Pfannenstiel may just be the craziest of them all. Keep up to date with ALL the latest Football news, gossip and rumoursFrom Norway to New Zealand and Albania to Namibia, it would be hard to find a corner of the world where the 43-year-old hasn’t visited.So much so that he cemented his name in the Guinness Book of Records as the first professional footballer to play on all six Fifa confederations.Now juggling his time between being Head of International Relations & Scouting at Bundesliga surprise package TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and as a TV pundit, Pfannenstiel continues to globe-trot as he looks to unearth … [Read more...] about Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who is in the Guinness World Records, was locked in a Singapore jail for 101 days, died on the pitch and borrowed a penguin
Global warming is threatening Siberian reindeer and the nomadic herders who depend on them by turning snow to impenetrable ice, say scientists.Autumn rainfall can prove catastrophic for the deer when freezing temperatures return in winter, creating a crust of hard ice several centimetres thick that covers the grass the animals feed on.When snow lies on the ground the deer are able to root through it and find sufficient food to last the winter.Two extreme episodes of icing in 2006 and 2013 caused mass starvation among reindeer herds in western Siberia.Scientists have now linked both to thinning sea ice and higher humidity in the Arctic Barents and Kara seas as more water escapes into the atmosphere.Heavy ice crusts following rain are said to be having "long-term and serious" effects on about 6,000 Yamal Nenets, among the last truly nomadic reindeer herders in the Arctic.Study leader Professor Bruce Forbes, from the University of Lapland, said: "In a normal year, crusted snow patches are … [Read more...] about Santa’s favourite animals STARVING to death due to climate change
SANTA may need extra reindeer to pull his sleigh this year after reports the animals are shrinking.Arctic reindeer are getting smaller and lighter due to the impact of climate change on food supply, say scientists.In the 16 years to 2010 the average weight of an adult animal fell from 55kg to 48kg, a study on the islands of Svalbard in the Arctic Circle found.Warm winters produce more rain, which forms a layer of ice over pasture grass which the deer cannot break through.This means females go hungry and lose their calves in spring or give birth to lighter young.An increase in numbers also means more competition for food.Lead researcher Prof Steve Albon, of Scotland’s James Hutton Institute, said: “There is a risk of catastrophic die-offs.” … [Read more...] about Scientists claim global warming is making reindeer smaller and lighter as winter rain ices up their grass
After extensive aerial and underwater surveys, researchers at James Cook University said only seven percent of the huge reef had escaped the whitening triggered by warmer water temperatures. "We've never seen anything like this scale of bleaching before. Our estimate at the moment is that close to 50 percent of the coral is already dead or dying," said Terry Hughes, convenor of the National Coral Bleaching Taskforce. The damage ranges from minor in the southern areas - which are expected to recover soon - to very severe in the northern and most pristine reaches of the 2,300 kilometres (1,430 miles) site off the east coast. Hughes said of the 911 individual reefs surveyed, only 68 (or seven percent) had escaped the massive bleaching event which has also spread south to Sydney Harbour for the first time and across to the west. Corals can recover if the water temperature drops and the algae are able to recolonise them, but scientists warned last year that the warming effects of a El … [Read more...] about Great Barrier Reef “dead or dying” ?
Of all my errors of well-intentioned parenthood, an incident involving a dear friend's son and a parrot has filled me with the most guilt. My friend, who lived in the same apartment complex in Rome as I did, had died the year before after a long illness. We were all still reeling from her loss when one day I suggested to her son, then 13 years old, to bring their caged bird up to our terrace for a little fresh air and sunshine. Caged animals have always filled me with dread and Shaulin, as the bird was called, seemed particularly miserable in a dark corner of their flat. Giovanni and I placed her cage on a table outside in the shade. She sprang to life instantly, flitting about the cage and bursting into song. A surge of relief ran through me. That is, until Shaulin hopped over to the cage door and popped open the latch with her beak, fluttering off to perch on the palm tree in our condo courtyard. For a few minutes, I held out hope she might come back. Then she flew off out of sight. … [Read more...] about Letter from Rome: Prolific parrots and galling gulls
Ninety percent of all the coral reefs in our oceans are set to disappear by 2050 – that is the shocking figure that has led to the launch of a new global initiative to try to save coral reefs. The 50 Reefs campaign brings ocean, climate and marine scientists and conservationists together to tackle the damage being caused to coral reefs by climate change, pollution and poor fishing practices. The initiative aims to identify 50 of the "most critical” reefs that have the best chance of surviving climate change and could aid in the revitalization of other reef ecosystems once global temperatures have stabilized. "It's based on the best science. It's saying we will only have 10 percent left, but let's make sure those 10 percent have the best chance of survival,” said the initiative's head scientist, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg. Biodiversity in peril Over the past few years, scientists have reported record bleaching of some of the world's largest coral reefs. Last year, the … [Read more...] about Scientists plan to save 50 key coral reefs from climate disaster
Scientists confirmed the largest die-off of coral ever recorded in Australia's renowned Great Barrier Reef on Monday, saying 67 percent of shallow-water corals in its northern region have been lost over the past eight to nine months. "Most of the losses in 2016 have occurred in the northern, most-pristine part of the Great Barrier Reef," said Terry Hughes, director of the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, which has led aerial surveys of the damage, in a statement. "This region escaped with minor damage in two earlier bleaching events in 1998 and 2002, but this time around it has been badly affected." It's the third time in 18 years that the 2300-kilometer reef system has undergone mass bleaching as a result of global warming and strong El Ninos. But the current event is said to be the worst on record, partly triggered by warmer underwater temperatures over the past year. Corals can only survive within a narrow … [Read more...] about Largest ever coral die-off confirmed on Great Barrier Reef
With wisps of morning fog drifting across the surface of the Irrsee, ecologist Harald Ficker lowers a thermometer into the deep blue water to measure the Earth's global warming fever. Since the 1970s, the water has warmed about 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) - twice as fast as the global average. Although that may be nice for early-season visitors to the popular swimming lake near Salzburg, it's not so good for fish. Global warming has been disrupting ecosystems here, and in lakes around the world. As temperatures continue to rise, that will affect fisheries, water supplies, farming, recreation and energy production - prompting scientists to consider how to make lakes more resilient to climate change. Ficker monitors lakes for the Austrian environment ministry. As he takes readings at different depths, he describes the changes. In spring, the ice has been melting a month earlier than in 1975. With the ice gone, the top layer of water heats up. Measurements show that the … [Read more...] about Can we save our lakes from global warming?