Hedgehogs, Bats

In the last few years, the population of bats has dropped 36 percent in the northern part of Georgia

The Peach State has 16 species of bat, but they're becoming more scarce by the minute. In the last few years, wildlife officials say the population has dropped 36 percent in the northern part of Georgia. One reason: a fungal disease called white nose syndrome. "They're finding that it's traveling further south. They're still doing a lot of research of what's causing it," Daniele Buck said. Buck, senior bird keeper at the Jacksonville Zoo, says pesticides and the loss of roosting locations may also be contributing to the decline. Now, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources wants our help. Biologists are asking coastal homeowners to count and document as many as they can. "You can report the number of bats you see in your neighborhood. Of course, if you do see a bat on the ground -- never touch it," Buck said. While the coastal area doesn't have caves, bats can be found in marshes, palm fronds and barns. They're one of the most important species in the ecosystem. Buck says their survival is key. "They eat mosquitos and other insects that can actually be harmful to humans," he said.

There were 30 million hedgehogs in the UK 50 years ago but their numbers have slumped to just one million.

ONE of the nation’s best-loved garden creatures is in rapid decline right under our noses and needs urgent help to survive. A Somerset wildlife rescue charity is hoping to bring the plight of the hedgehog to the forefront of public attention. The hedgehog population is dwindling rapidly in the West Country, and East Huntspill’s Secret World is hoping a special open weekend will highlight the issue. Secret World founder Pauline Kidner says there were about 30 million hedgehogs in the UK 50 years ago but now it is estimated their numbers have slumped to one million. She said: “So if we carry on at this rate and positive steps are not taken to encourage them and preserve their habitats then they could be almost extinct in 10 years.”

Fledermäuse sind vom Aussterben bedroht

„Quartiere für bedrohte Tiere“ … was wie ein lustiger Kinderreim klingt, hat einen bitterernsten Hintergrund: Die Fledermäuse sind vom Aussterben bedroht, stehen auf der so genannten ‚roten Liste’. Jetzt startet das Naturschutzzentrum in Rees-Bienen mit Unterstützung des Landschaftsverbandes eine Aktion, bei der es um die Dokumentation vorhandener Fledermaus-Quartiere geht. Darüber hinaus veranstaltet das Naturschutzzentrum am Samstag, 30. August im Rahmen der ‚Europäischen Fledermausnacht’ eine tolle Aktion für Familien. Die Zerstörung von Lebensräumen, das Vergiften von Insekten durch Pestizide aber auch Vertreibung durch den Menschen … das sind die wichtigsten Faktoren, die für die Dezimierung der possierlichen, pelzigen Nachtflieger verantwortlich sind.

De ecosystemen die het leven op aarde dragen gaan naar de knoppen door de neonicotinoiden

Vier jaar lang heeft de zogenaamde Task Force on Systemic Pesticides op vraag van de International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) de gevolgen van het gebruik van de nieuwe generatie van pesticiden onderzocht. Die expertengroep bestaande uit een dertigtal wetenschappers uit vijftien landen, heeft ruim achthonderd collegiaal getoetste wetenschappelijke studies doorgenomen en hun conclusies samengebracht in een Worldwide Integrated Assessment (WIA). Die wereldwijde integrale beoordeling besluit dat de zogenaamde systemische pesticiden niet alleen een ernstig gevaar vormen voor bestuivende insecten, maar ook voor talloze ongewervelde bodemdieren, zoals regenwormen en mijten, en evengoed voor gewervelde dieren zoals vogels.

A review of the direct and indirect effects of neonicotinoids and fipronil on vertebrate wildlife

Concerns over the role of pesticides affecting vertebrate wildlife populations have recently focussed on systemic products which exert broad-spectrum toxicity. Given that the neonicotinoids have become the fastest-growing class of insecticides globally, we review here 150 studies of their direct (toxic) and indirect (e.g. food chain) effects on vertebrate wildlife—mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles. We focus on two neonicotinoids, imidacloprid and clothianidin, and a third insecticide, fipronil, which also acts in the same systemic manner. Imidacloprid and fipronil were found to be toxic to many birds and most fish, respectively. All three insecticides exert sub-lethal effects, ranging from genotoxic and cytotoxic effects, and impaired immune function, to reduced growth and reproductive success, often at concentrations well below those associated with mortality. Use of imidacloprid and clothianidin as seed treatments on some crops poses risks to small birds, and ingestion of even a few treated seeds could cause mortality or reproductive impairment to sensitive bird species. In contrast, environmental concentrations of imidacloprid and clothianidin appear to be at levels below those which will cause mortality to freshwater vertebrates, although sub-lethal effects may occur. Some recorded environmental concentrations of fipronil, however, may be sufficiently high to harm fish. Indirect effects are rarely considered in risk assessment processes and there is a paucity of data, despite the potential to exert population-level effects. Our research revealed two field case studies of indirect effects. In one, reductions in invertebrate prey from both
imidacloprid and fipronil uses led to impaired growth in a fish species, and in another, reductions in populations in two lizard species were linked to effects of fipronil on termite prey. Evidence presented here suggests that the systemic insecticides, neonicotinoids and fipronil, are capable of exerting direct and indirect effects on terrestrial and aquatic vertebrate wildlife, thus warranting further review of their environmental safety.

The disaster I described in 2010 is taking place before our eyes. Crisis in insect biodiversity with knock-on effects for many species

Butterfly Conservation warns that Britain’s biodiversity is under threat following analysis of data from the National Moth Recording Scheme (NMRS), which has collated more than 16 million moth sightings dating back to 1769. The study by Butterfly Conservation, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology and University of York, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, is the first to examine long-term trends for all of Britain’s resident larger moth species; common and scarce, nocturnal and day-flying. Trends for 673 species were calculated, 60% of which showed a significant change over the 40-year period. Two thirds more species declined than increased. Moths are a key part of the food chain and act as pollinators for plants. The substantial declines revealed by this study provide further evidence of a wider utterfly Conservation warns that Britain’s biodiversity is under threat following analysis of data from the National Moth Recording Scheme (NMRS), which has collated more than 16 million moth sightings dating back to 1769.

24 Junge Igel in Jena beenden ihren Winterschlaf

Wenn es im Herbst ab und an in der Hecke raschelt, dann sucht wahrscheinlich ein kleiner Igel Deckung und wühlt sich unter die Blätterhaufen. Vielleicht sucht er hier auch nach einer Schnecke, um seinen Hunger zu vertreiben. Roland Seime ist der Mann, der sich im Saale-Holzland-Kreis und Jena um Igeljunge kümmert, die den Herbst alleine nicht überleben würden. Er nimmt sie bei sich auf und pflegt sie in seiner Igelstation in Jena-Winzerla. Zur Zeit wachen seine kleinsten Igeljungen aus dem Winterschlaf auf. "Sie haben Hunger und müssen fressen", sagt er. Die kleinen Tiere sind auf Futtersuche, weshalb es sein kann, dass man sie am Tag auch in der freien Wildbahn sieht. Denn eigentlich sind Igel nachtaktiv und wollen sich tagsüber verstecken und schlafen. Roland Seime hält zwei Jungtiere in seinen Händen, die es jeweils gerade einmal auf 400 Gramm bringen. "Sie sind schon wach, um nach Nahrung zu suchen", sagt er. "Sonst würden sie nicht überleben."

Impacts of Neonicotinoid Insecticides on Biodiversity Need Urgent Attention

Neonicotinoid insecticides are a relatively new, but widely-used, class of systemic, water-soluble nerve poisons. They are readily incorporated into all plant cells, as well as pollen and nectar. They act by binding to acetylcholine receptors of plant-feeding insects, inducing depolarization of motor neurons, tetanic contractions, neuromuscular destruction and death. Non-target plant-feeding insect groups (e.g., bees, certain moths and butterflies) exposed to these insecticides are at risk. Declines in these insect groups are well documented, while noting that these declines can be attributed to habitat loss and invasive species as well as to pollution from neonicotinoid insecticides and other agricultural chemicals. In many agricultural areas, populations of animals that rely on plant-feeding insects as food sources (e.g., birds, bats, amphibians, predatory insects) are also declining.

De neonicotinoiden veroorzaken met de uitroeiing van de geleedpotigen een breuk in de voedselketen en vernietigen de 'web of life'

In minder dan 20 jaar zijn de neonicotinoiden wereldwijd uitgegroeid tot de meest gebruikte insecticiden met een marktaandeel van meer dan 25%. Dat deze stoffen ook de meest gevaarlijke insecticiden zijn die ooit op de markt zijn gekomen, begint velen zo langzamerhand te dagen. Neonicotinoiden verontreinigen het milieu overal daar waar ze gebruikt worden, zoals bijvoorbeeld is aangetoond in het Westen van Nederland, op de Southern High Plains van Texas, in de Central Valley van Californië, en op de uitgestrekte Canadese prairies. De stoffen worden maar langzaam afgebroken, en hebben halfwaardetijden die op sommige bodems kunnen oplopen tot bijna 20 jaar, en ze zijn bovendien uitzonderlijk giftig voor geleedpotige dieren, vooral op langere termijn. Zo is een scenario voor een milieu catastrofe ontstaan zoals de Amerikaanse biologe Rachel Carson heeft beschreven in haar boek Silent Spring ('dode lente'). Sinds 2009 verzamelt de toxicoloog Henk Tennekes op deze website gegevens over geleedpotigen (bijen, hommels, vlinders, en vele andere soorten) en dieren die van geleedpotigen afhankelijk zijn (vogels, vissen, amfibieën, reptielen en zoogdieren). Na vijf jaar verzamelen van gegevens maakt de website het overduidelijk dat het bar slecht gaat met deze soorten en ze met uitsterven worden bedreigd. Als niet op korte termijn wordt ingegrepen met een verbod op alle toepassingen van de neonicotinoiden, zal een ineenstorting van het ecosysteem onvermijdelijk worden, waardoor vrijwel alle levensvormen met uitsterven worden bedreigd.

A new fungal infection is killing Quebec’s bats at a fearsome rate and could lead to the disappearance of entire colonies and species in the province if its spread is not checked

White-nose syndrome attacks bats as they hibernate and induces activity that wastes vital energy reserves needed to get them through the winter. The disease gets its name from the white fungus identified as geomyces destructans that grows around the muzzles of infected bats. First detected in Quebec three years ago, white-nose syndrome has now decimated bat colonies around the province and is estimated to have killed 5.7 million bats in eastern North America. There is no known cure for the fungal infection. “It’s one of the fastest declines for a species,” says Anouk Simard, a biologist with Quebec’s Environment Ministry. “In three years a very common species that we never worry about is now so low that it might disappear. It’s very serious.”

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