Escape in the Serengeti: Hyraxes have become accustomed to increasing human disturbances

As human population increases, many wild animals are increasingly exposed to the presence of humans. Furthermore, nature based tourism can also increase exposure of wild populations to humans. Read on to find out how hyraxes, small African mammals, have been affected by increasing encounters with humans.

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What is scarier than zombies, ghosts, and witches? A modern mass extinction

When I was a little kid, the things that scared me were a little silly – the slime monster from Ghostwriter, caterpillars, or a sinkhole developing underneath my bed that would swallow me while I slept. While I’ve gotten over these mostly ridiculous fears, being an adult doesn’t mean I am now fearless. Instead, the things that I consider “scary” have shifted. Now, the things that scare me are all too real – things like climate change and mass extinction.

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Listen for a Change: Bioacoustics in Restored Habitat Combats the Bird Decline

Excerpt: A recent study has revealed that 3 billion birds have disappeared since 1970 in North America. Restoring habitat can help reverse this loss, and technology in listening for birds can be a vital tool to see if this approach to restoring bird habitat is working.

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A Grizzly Situation: Saving Bears by Mitigating Conflict

Many people become fearful at the mention of “bear country.” But is the risk of being hurt by a bear, or even seeing a bear, on your trip really that high? The answer is no: many campers and hikers don’t even know they have passed close to a bear during their time outdoors because bears largely try to avoid humans. When bears do come close to people, it is usually due to conflicts over food and space. Humans often retaliate against bears in these situations, which can ultimately threaten the survival of bear populations. In an effort to save these bears, a team of scientists came up with a program to mitigate human-bear conflicts and create spaces where both humans and bears can coexist.

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Duck broods are more resilient than expected in the face of oil and natural gas extraction

The Bakken Formation, a unique geological feature in the midwestern US and Canada, is a mecca for oil reserves and duck habitat. Scientists aimed to better understand how increased oil production has impacted the establishment and survival of duck broods.

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Friend or foe? Invasive earthworms can benefit agriculture but harm forests

Earthworms are welcome guests in the garden, but it’s a different story in the forest. By consuming and removing leaf litter too fast they set in motion complex cascades of ecological changes, with long-term negative effects on soil fertility and biodiversity.

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Crowdsourcing Sharks: a citizen science success story

Conserving the environment and its organisms works most effectively when managers and scientists have a lot of environmental information. However, some of the world’s most vulnerable animals, like the sand tiger shark, are also the most secretive. Luckily for these scary looking predators, amateur scientists can be an agent of change.

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Can you figure out what species this is? Computers can

Protecting wild animals requires far more data than scientists could collect alone, so researchers often enlist the help of amateur “citizen scientists” to help identify animals in photos. However, with more and more large scale projects that need help from citizen scientists, it is taking an increasingly long time to process all of the photos from any individual study. Marco Willi from the University of Minnesota and his colleagues thought there might be a way to speed things up: by getting computers to identify most of the easy animals, and leaving humans to figure out the extra hard ones. 

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Native milkweed supports healthy monarch communities

“Monarch butterflies do really well on the exotic milkweed species that’s being widely sold and planted under current environmental conditions. But under warmer conditions, the exotic plant becomes too toxic and monarchs become less healthy.”

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