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Earth's Sixth Mass Extinction Event Under Way, Scientists Warn

Researchers talk of ‘biological annihilation’ as study reveals billions of populations of animals have been lost in recent decades

           

Earth already in midst of sixth mass extinction, scientists say

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - PNAS - Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines

theguardian.com - by Damian Carrington - July 10, 2017

A “biological annihilation” of wildlife in recent decades means a sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history is under way and is more severe than previously feared, according to research.

Scientists analysed both common and rare species and found billions of regional or local populations have been lost . . . 

 . . . “All signs point to ever more powerful assaults on biodiversity in the next two decades, painting a dismal picture of the future of life, including human life” . . . 

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Brazil Yellow Fever Outbreak Spawns Alert: Stop Killing the Monkeys

Yellow fever is threatening species at risk of extinction, like the golden lion tamarin, which lives in the forests of Rio de Janeiro State. Credit Dado Galdieri for The New York Times

Image: Yellow fever is threatening species at risk of extinction, like the golden lion tamarin, which lives in the forests of Rio de Janeiro State. Credit Dado Galdieri for The New York Times

nytimes.com - May 2nd 2017 - Simon Romero

As fears spread in Brazil over the resurgence of yellow fever, health officials are issuing a warning: Stop killing the monkeys.

Some assailants clubbed monkeys to death in panicked reactions to Brazil’s most alarming outbreak in decades of a virus that haunted the country in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Authorities found other monkeys dead with fractured skulls after having been being attacked with stones. 

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Why Killer Viruses Are On The Rise

       

Once called the "Dutchmen" because of their large noses and large bellies, proboscis monkeys live only in Borneo. Ecosystems that have a lot of diverse animals, like this monkey, also tend to have a lot of diverse viruses.  Charles Ryan

npr.org - by Michaeleen Doucleff and Jane Greenhalgh - February 14, 2017

The next troubling outbreak could come from a rain forest . . . And a big reason why: all the crazy animals that live here.

. . . Wild animals are now refugees. They have no home. So they come live in our backyards. They pee on our crops. Share our parks and playgrounds. Giving their viruses a chance to jump into us and make us sick.

"So it's really the human impact on the environment that's causing these viruses to jump into people," Olival says.

And cause an outbreak? I ask. Or a pandemic, says Olival.

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Climate Changing 'Too Fast' for Species

           

Tropical species are thought to be particularly vulnerable.  Thinkstock

CLICK HERE - STUDY - Rates of change in climatic niches in plant and animal populations are much slower than projected climate change

bbc.com - by Helen Briggs - November 23, 2016

Many species will not be able to adapt fast enough to survive climate change, say scientists.

A study of more than 50 plants and animals suggests their ability to adapt to changes in rainfall and temperature will be vastly outpaced by future climate change.

Amphibians, reptiles and plants are particularly vulnerable, according to US researchers.

And tropical species are at higher risk than those in temperate zones.

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World on Track to Lose Two-Thirds of Wild Animals by 2020, Major Report Warns

Living Planet Index shows vertebrate populations are set to decline by 67% on 1970 levels unless urgent action is taken to reduce humanity’s impact

       

A victim of poachers in Kenya: elephants are among the species most impacted by humans, the WWF report found. Photograph: imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

CLICK HERE - Living Planet Report 2016

theguardian.com - by Damian Carrington - October 26, 2016

The number of wild animals living on Earth is set to fall by two-thirds by 2020, according to a new report, part of a mass extinction that is destroying the natural world upon which humanity depends.

The analysis, the most comprehensive to date, indicates that animal populations plummeted by 58% between 1970 and 2012, with losses on track to reach 67% by 2020. Researchers from WWF and the Zoological Society of London compiled the report from scientific data and found that the destruction of wild habitats, hunting and pollution were to blame.

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Democrats demand Congress end its vacation to approve Zika funding

Senate minority leader Harry Reid, one of the senators who has demanded Republicans reconvene Congress for Zika funding. Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Image: Senate minority leader Harry Reid, one of the senators who has demanded Republicans reconvene Congress for Zika funding. Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

theguardian.com - July 31st 2016 - Joanna Walters

Senate Democrats have called for Congress to end its recess and immediately approve emergency funds for combating the Zika virus in America, after Florida reported its first cases of mosquito-borne infections on the mainland, and funding for mosquito nets for pregnant women started running low.

Near downtown Miami, teams of doctors were going door to door on Saturday to alert an estimated 30,000 residents, particularly pregnant women, of the risks of being bitten by local mosquitoes believed to be carrying the virus.

On Friday, Florida governor Rick Scott and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that four new cases of the disease in the Miami area were almost certainly contracted through local insect bites.

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Disease Evolution: How New Illnesses Emerge When We Change How We Live

Humans have been “acquiring” infectious diseases from animals (zoonotic diseases) since we first started hunting wild game on the African savannahs. Indeed, nearly 60% of bugs that infect humans originated in animals.

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African Monkeys Caught Eating Bats For the First Time

Researchers working in Africa are the first to observe monkeys preying on bats. The unusual behavior, which may have something to do with loss of habitat, could explain how dangerous diseases such as Ebola spread among species—and eventually to humans.

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Boko Haram Falls Victim to a Food Crisis It Created

A village hosting internally displaced people in Mora, Cameroon, where Boko Haram fighters have conducted raids on livestock. The hunt for food appears to be pushing the militants deeper into Cameroon. Credit Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Image: A village hosting internally displaced people in Mora, Cameroon, where Boko Haram fighters have conducted raids on livestock. The hunt for food appears to be pushing the militants deeper into Cameroon. Credit Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

nytimes.com - March 4th 2016 - Dionne Searcey

At first, the attack had all the hallmarks of a typical Boko Haram assault. Armed fighters stormed a town on the border with Nigeria, shooting every man they saw.

But this time, instead of burning homes and abducting hostages, the fighters gathered cows, goats and any kind of food they could round up, then fled with it all.

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What's The Scariest Halloween Costume Of Them All?

 A mosquito lurks, eager to score some Halloween candy. Ben de la Cruz/NPR
Image: A mosquito lurks, eager to score some Halloween candy. Ben de la Cruz/NPR
 
npr.org - October 29th 2015 - Susan Brink
 
Who's the scariest animal of them all?

That's a good question to ponder as Halloween looms. Because everybody loves a good scary animal costume.

 
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