Britse onderzoekers hebben voor een periode van 18 jaar gekeken naar data over 62 wilde bijensoorten in relatie tot de inzet van neonicotinoïden in de teelt van koolzaad. Het bleek dat wilde bijensoorten die hun voedsel uit koolzaad halen gemiddeld 3 maal zo veel te lijden hadden onder de inzet van neonicotinoïden dan soorten die hun voedsel niet uit koolzaad halen. De onderzoekers vermoeden dat de teruggang in de populatie van bepaalde wilde bijensoorten gelinkt kan worden aan de inzet van neonicotinoïden.
Britain’s wildlife is facing a “crisis” with more than 120 species at risk of extinction due to intensive farming, a report will warn. Hundreds of the country’s best-known animals - including types of woodpecker and butterfly - will have an uncertain future with some disappearing completely as their numbers decline rapidly, the State of Nature 2016 report will say. Sir David Attenborough, writing in a foreword for the report, is expected to label the drastic changes a “crisis”.
There has been a lot of discussion about the decline in bee populations and its dire consequences for agriculture. We have also talked about the efforts to save the monarch butterfly, whose numbers have been dropping dramatically over the years. But the rest of the insect world does not get much attention. For the most part, we think of insects as a nuisance or as potential pests. A number of studies in recent years in Germany, Great Britain, and in the United States have concluded that many insect populations worldwide are in severe decline, and this is not a good thing.
At a time when the bird population should be peaking, the Johnson's Mills Shorebird Reserve has seen a sharp decline in numbers, according to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Some flocks of shorebirds that normally visit the reserve, which is near Dorchester in southeastern New Brunswick, are down by half. "This time of year we typically see flocks of 140,000 birds, 100,000 at least. [Tuesday] there was 70,000," said Andrew Holland, the national spokesperson for the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Traditional farming and gardening has long taken a straightforward approach: if an unwanted plant or animal interferes, it is to be killed. We even developed a special vocabulary to help justify our actions: the animals were “vermin” and the plants were “weeds”. And, in the case of one hen-house plunderer, we came up with the elaborate ritual that is fox hunting, complete with a special ‘language of avoidance’ that anthropologists have found in cultures around the world (the fox is a “dog”, its face is a “mask”, its tail is a “brush”, the dogs are “hounds”).
The link has been established before. When we reduce pests with most insecticides, they discriminate too little between friend and foe. We cant always see butterflies as friends because of the function of their caterpillars. However, as birds, reptiles and mammals rely on these insects and their relatives for food, what happens is simply Silent Spring, all over again.
Wild bee declines have been ascribed in part to neonicotinoid insecticides. While short-term laboratory studies on commercially bred species (principally honeybees and bumblebees) have identified sub-lethal effects, there is no strong evidence linking these insecticides to losses of the majority of wild bee species. We relate 18 years of UK national wild bee distribution data for 62 species to amounts of neonicotinoid use in oilseed rape.
Biologists have spent 30 years painstakingly nurturing the California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) back from the brink of extinction. They are America's largest land bird, with a wing span reaching up to 9 feet. Due to lead poisoning, the majestic birds' population had dropped to just 22 nationwide by 1982. In a desperate gamble to save the birds, federal biologists captured all the remaining wild condors in 1987 and began a breeding program in zoos. The birds' young have been gradually released back into the wild.
At first the biologists noticed something unusual about the dead fish washing up on the shore of the Salton Sea: All of them were fully grown, at least 7 inches long. There were no smaller fish among the carcasses pushed ashore by the lapping waves. Then the biologists started seeing other clues in the birds. Western grebes, which normally arrive by the thousands to forage, were nowhere to be found. Thousands of Caspian terns would normally stop off to nest, but they were also missing.