Category Archives: Wildlife

Flight by electrostatic repulsion

The Atlantic: Spiders Can Fly Hundreds of Miles Using Electricity. “Scientists are finally starting to understand the centuries-old mystery of “ballooning.””

“The upper reaches of the atmosphere have a positive charge, and the planet’s surface has a negative one. Even on sunny days with cloudless skies, the air carries a voltage of around 100 volts for every meter above the ground. In foggy or stormy conditions, that gradient might increase to tens of thousands of volts per meter.

Ballooning spiders operate within this planetary electric field. When their silk leaves their bodies, it typically picks up a negative charge. This repels the similar negative charges on the surfaces on which the spiders sit, creating enough force to lift them into the air.”

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Ein halbes Grad Unterschied

Deutsche Welle: Klimawandel begrenzen, um Arten zu schützen. “Naturschützer kämpfen dafür, Arten vor dem Aussterben zu bewahren. Klimaschutz ist möglicherweise eine Schlüsselmaßnahme. Er könnte die Tiere bewahren, von denen wir am abhängigsten sind.”

“Die Forscher untersuchten drei Szenarios: eine Erderwärmung von 1,5 Grad, 2 Grad und von 3,2 Grad Celsius. Auf letzteren Wert laufen wir derzeit zu, wenn alle Länder ihre international abgegeben Versprechen in punkto CO2-Emissionsreduktion einhalten.

Nach derzeitigem Verlauf würden bis zum Jahr 2100 etwa 49 Prozent aller Insekten, 44 Prozent aller Pflanzen und 26 Prozent aller Wirbeltiere die Hälfte ihres Lebensraum verlieren. Beschränkt sich die Erderwärmung auf 2 Grad Celsius, wären es noch 18%, 16% beziehungsweise 8%. Und bei einer Erwärmung von 1,5 Grad Celsius erniedrigt sich die Zahl der betroffenen Arten auf 6% der Insekten, 4% der Pflanzen und 4% der Wirbeltiere. In dem Fall hätte quasi der Großteil der weltweiten Arten Glück gehabt.

“Die aktuelle Studie bestätigt frühere Erkenntnisse, dass der Klimawandel die Biodiversität bedroht”, sagt Tiffany Knight vom deutschen Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung in Leipzig. “Es gibt klare und eindeutige Belege dafür, dass der Klimawandel bereits die geographische Verbreitung, die Häufigkeit und die Migrationsmuster von Arten beeinflusst hat und damit die Biodiversität des Planeten bedroht.”

Aber, so fügt die hinzu: “Wenn wir als globale Gemeinschaft die Ziele des Pariser Klima-Abkommens erreichen oder übertreffen können, dann können wir einige der prognostizierten dramatischeren Verluste verhindern, die fatale Folgen für uns Menschen hätten.” “

Ice Age megafauna left tracks on Alkali Flat

The Conversation: How to hunt a giant sloth – according to ancient human footprints.

“Rearing on its hind legs, the giant ground sloth would have been a formidable prey for anyone, let alone humans without modern weapons. Tightly muscled, angry and swinging its fore legs tipped with wolverine-like claws, it would have been able to defend itself effectively. Our ancestors used misdirection to gain the upper hand in close-quarter combat with this deadly creature.

What is perhaps even more remarkable is that we can read this story from the 10,000-year-old footprints that these combatants left behind, as revealed by our new research published in Science Advances. Numerous large animals such as the giant ground sloth – so-called megafauna – became extinct at the end of the Ice Age. We don’t know if hunting was the cause but the new footprint evidence tells us how human hunters tackled such fearsome animals and clearly shows that they did. “

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Letting Mother Nature do it’s job

Isabella Tree: Back to the wild! How letting Mother Nature reclaim prime farmland and allowing cattle and ponies to run free produced breathtaking results. (Link to the Daily Mail, but I promise, it’s a worthwhile article.)

National Geographic: Can Rewilding Bring Nature Back to Modern Britain?. “Rewilding Britain aims to deliver a more dynamic countryside. The author is a zealous participant in a growing movement.” By Isabella Tree. (Published July 15, 2015.)

Here’s the website of Knepp Wildland including a 15 minute video.

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“We were frozen out,” said Knowles.

The Washington Post: Nearly all members of National Park Service advisory panel resign in frustration.

“More than three-quarters of the members of a federally chartered board advising the National Park Service have quit out of frustration that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had refused to meet with them or convene a single meeting last year.

The resignation of 10 out of 12 National Park System Advisory Board members leaves the federal government without a functioning body to designate national historic or natural landmarks. It also underscores the extent to which federal advisory bodies have become marginalized under the Trump administration.”

NPR: Majority Of National Park Service Board Resigns, Citing Administration Indifference.

“”The President still hasn’t nominated a director for the National Park Service and Secretary Zinke has proposed tripling entrance fees at our most popular national parks,” [Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell] said. “His disregard of the advisory board is just another example of why he has earned an ‘F’ in stewardship.”

“To not have any meetings, to not have their phone calls returned, to not have any opportunity to have an audience with the officials at the interior department is really a slap in the face and I think sometimes you have to make a statement,” Sally Jewell, the secretary of the interior during President Obama’s second term, told NPR’s Here and Now on Wednesday.

“They were being ignored, and I have to believe that’s consistent with what this administration has done with other advisory boards and councils in other agencies, as well,” she said.

Since taking office, President Trump has sought to roll back protections of national parks and public lands under the auspices of the Department of the Interior. The administration has ordered a dramatic downsizing of two massive national monuments in Utah and has announced plans to open up oil drilling in protected areas of the Arctic and the Atlantic.

“If we lose the people with the knowledge and the ability to educate the next generation of young people, to appreciate our history, our culture, our natural world,” Jewell said, “then we lose the value of the national parks.””