Beavers Manatees Belugas and Endangered Predators

Jenna: Oh boy! We’ve got a double feature this week with tons of animal news – the good, the not-so-good, and the super cute. We hope you’re ready. 

AJ: Let’s dive in. England’s beavers once again roam the waterways of the U.K. According to NBC News, in the 1600s, the beaver population was hunted to extinction. However since that time, according to Rebecca Pow (U.K. Environment Minister), the beavers’ return to their ecosystem has been successful in “improving biodiversity and water quality, mitigating flooding and making local landscaping more resilient to change”. Despite the beavers’ positive impacts, some locals were concerned about disease. After heavy debate between landowners and animal activists, the U.K. government has decided to let the beavers stay… probably because beavers are so dam adorable. 

Jenna: More good news up next. As I’m sure our readers know, marine parks around the world have controversially held whales and other sea life in captivity for years. According to Whale and Dolphin Conservation, two famous female beluga whales, named Little Gray and Little White, finally were able to retire from the harsh entertainment industry. The whales took a 6,000 mile trip to Klettsvik Bay in Iceland to be evaluated and cared for. The ultimate goal is to release them back into their home off the coast of Russia. In the meantime, the whales are enjoying an open water pool that is as natural as possible. 

AJ: Every part of an ecosystem has an important contribution. This is why breaking the relationship of predator and prey threatens the environmental stability of many areas. According to Nature World News, pandas are at the top of the popular endangered predator list, meaning that a good portion of conservation efforts are focusing on increasing the panda populations. While this is a great cause, we cannot forget the other lesser known and more unloved predatory animals that are suffering as well, such as Asian wild dogs and snow leopards. There are few organizations and efforts to help these animals compared to the pandas. The article explains how without a complete food chain, an entire ecosystem can collapse. Taking some time to explore the endangered animal lists could help you to discover other animals that need attention as we fight extinction. Here’s one list to explore from the Animal Welfare Institute. 

Jenna: Now, here’s a piece of not-so-good news. In our previous edition, we discussed the rapid extinction occurring on our planet caused by climate change.  Recently, NBC News reported on another human activity that contributes to species extinction: the illegal pet trade. The article highlights the story of Vickey, a rescued baby cheetah that would have been sent to the Middle East to become a pet. Pet traffickers mercilessly kill cheetahs in the wild to steal their cubs. The cubs are then sold for thousands of dollars, domesticated, and abused only to serve as a symbol of wealth for owners in the Middle East. Luckily, Vickey’s story ended happily. To help save more cheetahs, visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund’s website; this organization does wonderful work to conserve cheetah populations. 

AJ: Don’t worry; as promised, here’s your super cute news of the week. The Dodo shared a video of a baby manatee using its flippers to scratch its absolutely adorable face. The video is a very quick watch and worth checking out. It’s worth noting that the diver taking the video stayed a safe distance away from the animal. As all Fanimals know, keeping your distance from wild animals is of utmost importance when enjoying their wonder. Learn more about safe and ethical animal photography with these Fanimal resources: this “Selfies with Animals” article and this “Break the Chain” Animal Selfie infographic. See you next week. 

Animals in the news:

BELUGA WHALE SANCTUARY UPDATE: Little Grey and Little White arrive safely after move to bay care area from UK Whales

City growth favours animals ‘more likely to carry disease’ from BBC

Hunted to extinction, England’s first wild beavers in 400 years allowed to stay from NBC News

Mother Chimpanzees Know the Coolest Place in a Scorching Savanna from The New York Times

Saving Giant Panda at the Expense of Leopards, Snow Leopards, Wolves, and Asian Wild Dog from Nature World News

Sussan Ley urged to save Port Stephens koala habitat set to be destroyed by quarry from The Guardian

New Guinea has greatest plant diversity of any island in the world, study reveals from The Guardian

What ‘The Birdman of Wahroonga’ and other historic birdwatchers can teach us about cherishing wildlife from The Conversation

White giraffe believed to be last female in the world killed by poachers from the Independent

Beyond Meat CEO makes a big prediction for plant-based meat vs. animal protein from Inverse 

Bye Bye Birdie rollback: Judge invalidates Trump changes to law protecting birds from NBC News

Demand for cheetahs as pets is leading to their extinction from NBC News

Predators Have a Soft Side: Grey Reef Sharks Found To Form Long-Lasting ‘Friendships’ Says Study from Good News Network

Nothing Is Cuter Than This Baby Manatee Scratching An Itch On His Face from The Dodo 

Tourists choosing elephant bathing over elephant riding, unaware of cruelty involved from World Animal Protection 

A genetic map hopes to trace rescued chimps back to their homes from Mongabay 

Reptile Sentience And Why It Matters from Faunalytics 

Dunkin’ Officially Launches Oat Milk Nationwide from VegNews

Ghana Opens University Dedicated to Environment and Climate Change from LiveKindly 

Thank you to John Delconte for sending in articles!

Photo credit to Maegan Luckiesh from Unsplash 

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