Jenna: We sure do have a lot of catching up to do after last week’s special COVID-19 edition. This week, AJ and I want to discuss an article sent in by Julie Tanner that highlights an important and often overlooked issue – the rapid animal extinction that is occurring on our planet today. The article from The New York Times covers the predicted extinction of polar bears, as climate change caused by humans has quickly and alarmingly melted ice caps in the Arctic. The article details the severe struggle this will create with regard to polar bear mating and feeding; there are only approximately 25,000 polar bears left in the Arctic region. We must do something now to prevent their extinction.
AJ: Rapid extinction is not only occurring in polar regions, the loss of species threatens animals world wide. An example of this is the Argentinian jaguar’s disappearance from the wetlands. Luckily, devoted activists have been hard at work to restore Argentina’s wildlife. According to BBC, the absence of the predator in the wetlands has caused the prey animal populations to rise creating an unhealthy and unbalanced ecosystem. A reintroduction of the animal is hoped to bounce back the wetland’s ecosystem and repair the fractured food chain. Another species returning home is highlighted in this article by Good News Network. The famous tortoises of the Galapagos! A number of tortoises were taken from their home in the Galapagos over fifty years ago to help repopulation in surrounding islands, where tortoises population numbers had fallen drastically due to hunting. The article stated that they are returning home to spend the rest of their elder years in their original home. Their legacy will live on through their offspring, saving the species survival in many areas.
Jenna: If you feel inspired to help species facing extinction such as the tortoises (as you should), here are some simple and easy ways provided by the Endangered Species Coalition that you can do everyday to help save endangered animals. The HuffPost provides a similar list here for your reference.
AJ: Extinction is a problem for land, sea, and air animals. The Philippine Eagle is a rare species of predatory bird that’s population plummeted due to hunting and deforestation. This article by Mongabay shows how impactful COVID-19 has been on the species rescue. Protecting the species survival was hard enough before the pandemic, especially with only an estimate of 400 breeding pairs left. The article highlights the amazing rescue of an eagle named Siocon (after the municipality he was sheltered in) whose rescue happened during the pandemic. Siocon is now helping scientists study flight patterns and behavior to further advance the way these birds can be protected in the future.
Jenna: It appears as extinction and preservation has moved into the spotlight in recent years, thanks to great contributors to animal rehabilitation and preservation, such as the rescuers of Siocon. Wild Bison have been largely absent in the UK with the current population close to nonexistent according to CNN. In the spring of 2020, $1.4 million will be spent to bring in bison from the Netherlands or Poland. Hopes are high for this effort.
AJ: Now for some exciting news before we go, let’s talk about bird songs! Studying the evolution and patterns of wildlife can take a really long time but can lead to some amazing discoveries. The New York Times highlighted a 20 year long study of the evolution and change of Canada’s sparrows songs. This study is said to be the first tracking of bird cultural evolution spanning a whole continent. They found that song birds have started singing a new song. This is a variant of their original chirping song we all know and love. The new song alters the rhythm and structure slightly. The studies showed the rapid popularity growth of this new song in the bird community is far and wide. I am excited to hear what future iterations of the song sounds like as birds experiment with their singing talent.
Jenna: We loved receiving your articles this week! If you have an article you wanted featured, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. See you next week.
Animals in the news:
Global Warming Is Driving Polar Bears Toward Extinction, Researchers Say from The New York Times
10 Easy Things You Can Do to Save Endangered Species from the Endangered Species Coalition
12 Things We Should All Do To Protect Endangered Species from HuffPost
Canada’s Sparrows Are Singing a New Song. You’ll Hear It Soon. from The New York Times
Indian state of Nagaland bans sale of dog meat from The Guardian
Yellowstone park to reconsider controversial bison plan From ABC News
How Koalas With an S.T.D. Could Help Humanity from The New York Times
Elk Return to Kentucky, Bringing Economic Life from The New York Times
The Great Wonders Beyond the Great Reef from The New York Times
On the front: The pangolin is the most poached mammal in the world [Video] from France TV
25 years after returning to Yellowstone, wolves have helped stabilize the ecosystem from National Geographic
The Living Ghost Dogs That Haunt the Amazon from Gizmodo
Thank you to Julie Tanner, Francis Tarla, Erik Hoffner and John Delconte for sending us articles!
Photo credit to Hans-Jurgen Mager from Unsplash