Woodpeckers Moths Pink Dolphins and Burmese Roofed Turtles

AJ: Nature works in many strange and unexpected ways. For example, the wildfires of Oregan and California would help the repopulation of endangered woodpeckers. According to the Good News Network, the black-backed woodpeckers have been thriving off of the black fire beetle, which prefers charred trees to lay their eggs. The authors noted that the holes left behind from the woodpeckers are used as homes for other small animals, who will eat fire retardant plants, dispersing the seeds in their droppings, replenishing lost vegetation from the fire. This is one great example of how nature can self-heal without human interaction.

Jenna: Here’s a new concept that I was unaware of: pollution is impacting pollination. Science News says pollution impacts the smells put off by flowers and plants and can make finding and identifying flowers difficult for insects. Without insects to help with pollination, entire ecosystems and food supplies can be destroyed. In a surprising study, scientists were able to alter the behavior of tobacco hawkmoths by giving the moth sugar water after exposing it to a flower’s pollution-impacted aroma. The moth learned to correlate the new scent with the sweet water. With these results, it is hoped that other pollinating insects can adapt like the moth. 

AJ: Pollinators are not the only animals being impacted by human activity. BBC writer, Helen Briggs, shared that scientists are warning that one million species are facing extinction. This potential mass extinction can be prevented through immediate changes in human behavior and activity. A graphic in the article from the World Wildlife Fund shows that almost 2 million square kilometers of land have been lost in the last 20 years, and over 1 billion tonnes of food is thrown in the trash annually. A main way of helping highlighted by the article is through changes in food consumption and production. Taking up a vegan diet is a great way to fight for these animals and our planet. Fanimal provides delicious monthly recipes to help you get started and/or stay happy on your vegan journey. This month, check out our Cheezy Polenta Bruschetta and Slow Cooker Portobello Pot Roast. Saving our planet has never been so delicious!  

Jenna: Now, here’s a positive story. As you probably know, the lack of travel and the reemergence of animals reclaiming their territory is a recurring theme in 2020. According to Good News Network, the return of the pink dolphins in the waters of The Pearl River Delta in Hong Kong are a welcomed surprise. Reimmergances like this one, due to reduced boat traffic, have been noted around the world. In case you missed it, we reviewed quite a few examples of this in our “Traveling After COVID-19” Creature Feature News Special Edition. 

AJ: I’m inclined to end with a story from The New York Times about the Burmese roofed turtle. These adorable turtles boast a coy smile and have luckily been reintroduced to their natural habitat after almost going extinct. With the help of villagers and researchers in Myanmar, about a thousand of these cute turtles were released in recent years, bringing population numbers up significantly. Check out the pictures to bring an instant smile to your face. Have a wonderful rest of your week, animal fans! 

This week’s animal news:

Covid travel ban ‘may put tortoises in danger’ from BBC

Video: Hundreds of sea turtles begin synchronized nesting on beach from ABC News

Once near death, rescued sea turtles sent back to the ocean from ABC News

Beaked Whale Shatters Record With 3 Hour 42 Minute Dive from The New York Times

Migrating monarchs are in trouble. Here’s how we can all help them. from Popular Science

This moth may outsmart smog by learning to like pollution-altered aromas from Science News

Sea butterflies’ shells determine how the snails swim from Science News

Rare Pink Dolphins Returning to Hong Kong as Coronavirus Halts Ferry Traffic, Giving Scientists a Closer Look from Good News Network

Fires Have Helped These Endangered Woodpeckers Make a Comeback, and It’s a Reminder of Nature’s Resiliency from Good News Network

Millions of wild animals imported from emerging disease hot spots, risking new pandemics, study warns from The Independent

Left behind because of Covid-19, a tiny dog travels 10,000 miles to rejoin her owners from CNN 

Is Plastic Recycling A Lie? Oil Companies Touted Recycling To Sell More Plastic from NPR

Why black Americans are more likely to be vegan from BBC

A Turtle With a Permanent Smile Was Brought Back From Near Extinction from The New York Times

The ‘world’s loneliest elephant’ is finally cleared to find a new home from The Washington Post

Wildlife in ‘catastrophic decline’ due to human destruction, scientists warn from BBC 

Thank you to John Delconte for sending in articles! 

Photo credit to James Wainscoat from Unsplash

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