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Marching in to Spring

Wildlife News
Spring makes its official appearance in the Northern Hemisphere at the Vernal Equinox. This is the moment at which there is exactly the same amount of daylight as there is darkness in your location. The exact moment varies from year to year and also depends on your partcicular latitude.

In Victora, B.C. Spring makes its official arrival Wednesday, March 19, 2008 at 22:49. (that's 10:49 PM)

Spring has many activites and events to celebrate and learn from, some of which you may have already noticed on our calendar.

If you are able to travel to Vancouver Island, make plans to drop in to the Rathtrevor Beach Nature House  near Parksville.
They have drop in hours beginning on March 20 and select days in April.

On Saturday March 29, wherever in the world you live, turn out your lights at 8PM for 1 hour and participate in Earth Hour!

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Leakey backing for elephant cull

Wildlife News

By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News website

The eminent conservationist Richard Leakey has given qualified backing for South Africa's plan to cull elephants.

"Though I find elephant culling repugnant, I can see the sense in it "-- Richard Leakey

In an article for the BBC News website, the former head of the Kenyan Wildlife Service says culling is "a necessary part of population management".

But Dr Leakey says there is also a responsibility to curb human activities that impinge on elephant habitat.

South Africa plans to allow culling after a gap of 14 years because of growing numbers of elephants.

The population is estimated to have expanded from 8,000 to 18,000 in little more than a decade. The plan has aroused the ire of some environment and animal welfare groups.

Some are so opposed to the plan that they have called for tourist boycotts.

Necessary evil

Having made his name as a palaeontologist studying the origins of humanity in Africa, the 1980s saw Dr Leakey at the forefront of the movement campaigning for the suspension of elephant culling.

But now he sees it as necessary.

"While I will never 'like' the idea of elephant culling, I do accept that given the impacts of human-induced climate change and habitat destruction, elephants inside and outside of protected areas will become an increasingly serious problem unless key populations are reduced and maintained at appropriate levels," he writes in an article for the BBC's Green Room series.

To read the remainder of this story please visit the website below:

Qualified support for Elephant Cull from Dr. Richard Leakey


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Eagles will Raise Money for Children

Wildlife News

Soon, the proud Bald Eagle will migrate onto the streets of Vancouver, Vancouver Island and beyond to complete the trilogy of public arts projects by the BC Lions Society. The first being the Orca coming out of the Pacific Ocean, then the Spirit Bear coming out of the forests of Northern BC and now the Bald Eagle soaring through the skies of the West Coast from April 2009 to April 2010 in support of the BC Lions Society’s Easter Seal Services and the Canucks for Kids Fund.

Local artists, in partnership with sponsoring individuals or organizations, will create a unique design and apply it to the surface of a 7 ˝ foot custom formed fibreglass Bald Eagle. The Bald Eagle becomes the artist's canvas. Once the work is complete, the Bald Eagle will be displayed in prominent public spaces around the participating cities

Please use the link below to learn more:

BC Lions Society presents Eagles in the City

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Butterflies remember caterpillar experiences

Wildlife NewsNewScientist.com news service
Phil McKenna
05 March 2008


Once a Brain, Always a brain?

Don't be cruel to caterpillars – they won't forget it. Moths and butterflies can remember what they learned as caterpillars, a study reveals.

The findings challenge the accepted wisdom that the insects – brains and all – are completely rewired during metamorphosis, and may provide clues about neural development. "Practically everything about the two phases of the organism are so different – morphology, diet, how they move, and what they sense," says Martha Weiss of Georgetown University in Washington, DC, in the US. "We were curious to see if we could train a caterpillar to do something it could remember as an adult," she says Weiss and colleagues exposed tobacco hornworm caterpillars, Manduca sexta, to ethyl acetate – a chemical often used in nail polish remover – and a series of mild electric shocks.

Caterpillar soup
Seventy-eight percent of the caterpillars that were shocked directly after exposure avoided the compound in subsequent tests while still in the larval stage. The tests were conducted inside a Y-shaped pipe that allowed the animals to choose an area smelling of ethyl acetate or of unadulterated air.
About a month later, after the caterpillars had metamorphosed, the adult moths were given the same choice test. Seventy-seven percent of them avoided the ethyl acetate pipe, suggesting that the lesson learned as a caterpillar is remembered as an adult. "People always thought that during metamorphosis the caterpillar turns to 'soup' and all the ingredients are rearranged into the butterfly or moth," says Weiss. "That clearly isn't what happens. Parts of the brain are retained that allow memories to persist through this very dramatic transition."

What does happen? Find out by reading the complete article at:

NewScientist Online

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South Africa Allows Killing of Elephants

Wildlife News

By CELEAN JACOBSON, Associated Press Writer Mon Feb 25, 5:14 PM ET

PRETORIA, South Africa - South Africa said Monday that it will start killing elephants to reduce their burgeoning numbers, ending a 13-year ban and possibly setting a precedent for other African nations.

Environment Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said the government was left with no choice but to reintroduce killing elephants "as a last option and under very strict conditions" to reduce environmental degradation and rising conflicts with humans.

The battle between humans and wildlife, how will it end?  First, it was the wolves, now it is the elephants.  Protect, then, kill.  More here:

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Bees Gain Advantages from Predecessors

Wildlife News By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer
25 February 2008

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer 33 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - When marauding Vikings decided to settle down they usually "went native," marrying local girls and blending in. Invading honey bees may be doing the same. The invasion of new bee populations has attracted attention in recent years with the spread of so-called Africanized, or "killer bees" moving north from South America.

When a new strain of bees invades a region already populated by honey bees, they interbreed and gain benefits from the genes of their predecessors, researchers report in this week's edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

What advantages?  How?  Find out here:

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First the Bengals, Now the Sumatrans

Wildlife NewsTiger Parts Openly Sold in Indonesia

By MICHAEL CASEY, AP Environmental Writer Tue Feb 12, 10:50 PM ET

BANGKOK, Thailand - The critically endangered Sumatran tiger will become extinct unless Indonesia takes swift action to clamp down on the illegal sale of the big cats' body parts across the Southeast Asian country, conservationists say.

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Big Brother bird watching boosts ecology

Wildlife NewsNewScientist.com news service
Tom Simonite  
21 February 2008

A wireless surveillance network will be used to monitor the nesting and mating rituals of a remote North Atlantic seabird colony, providing scientists with unprecedented access to their behaviour and ecology.

Researchers from Oxford University and Microsoft Research in the UK, and from the Free University of Berlin, Germany, developed the network to monitor more than 100,000 Manx shearwater birds that breed during the summer on Skomer Island, off the west coast of Wales in the North Atlantic.

Pairs of shearwaters raise their chicks inside metre-long burrows, visiting them during the night, sometimes after fishing trips that can last several days.

Wireless tags will be attached to many of the bird's legs, and sensors embedded in their burrows will detect when the adults enter or leave their nest, measure temperature and humidity within the burrow and, eventually, even weigh the birds as they pass by. The data will then be fed live to researchers via a satellite link.

The researchers say the network will provide unparalleled access to details of the birds' lives, from the comfort of a remote desk. Similar wireless networks could improve ecological monitoring or help protect vulnerable environments, they add.

To read the remainder of this article please use the link below.



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