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Long term use of some pesticides is killing off dung beetle populations

New research led by scientists at the University of Bristol has uncovered that long-term use of some pesticides to treat cattle for parasites is having a significantly detrimental effect on the dung beetle population. Researchers studied 24 cattle farms across south west England and found that farms that used certain pesticides had fewer species of dung beetle. Dr Bryony Sands, from the University's School of Biological Sciences, who led the research, said: "Dung beetles recycle dung pats on pastures, bringing the nutrients back into the soil and ensuring the pastures are fertile.

Exposure of hummingbirds and bumble bees to pesticides

New research reveals that hummingbirds and bumble bees are being exposed to neonicotinoid and other pesticides through routes that are widespread and complex. The findings are published in Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry. To measure exposure to pesticides in these avian pollinators, investigators made novel use of cloacal fluid and fecal pellets from hummingbirds living near blueberry fields in British Columbia. They also collected bumble bees native to Canada, and their pollen, and blueberry leaves and flowers from within conventionally sprayed and organic blueberry farms.

Study finds 29 pesticides in Devon river

Researchers have found 29 different pesticides in a single river in Devon. Tests on four rivers in the county revealed 34 pesticides in total, as well as nine antimicrobials and veterinary drugs. Scientists said they were surprised and concerned by the results, and warned there would be harmful effects for plants and wildlife. The tests were carried out using a high-quality new technique created by scientists in Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter.

Bee losses in Virginia over the winter nearly 60 percent

Winter losses of honeybee colonies over the 2017-2018 season were greater than expected and greater than the average of 30 percent per year for the past decade. “The winter losses were 59.5 percent,” said Keith Tignor, Virginia State Apiarist. He adds that this is the highest rate since 2000 when the state began monitoring winter losses. There was a decrease in colony losses reported for the summer of 2017 when compared to the 2016 summer season. VDACS staff found high levels of Varroa mites and nosema infections in wintering bees.

The British population of swifts was halved in just 20 years

It is the most miraculous bird, the ultimate winged messenger, exploring our globe, spending its life on the breeze. Sickle-shaped wings silhouetted against the sky, the swift (Apus apus) is the fastest of all birds in level flight and remains entirely airborne for 10 months, or more, feeding, sleeping and mating on the wing. These long-lived creatures can clock up 4 million miles, commuting between English summers and African winters.But this bird is in freefall.

Scientists find widely used neonicotinoids in Ontario wild turkeys

Scientists with the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph and Environment and Climate Change Canada examined the livers of 40 wild turkeys in southern Ontario and found nine had detectable levels of neonicotinoids, a group of insecticides that coat the seeds of cash crops such as corn and soy beans to protect them from pests. The insecticide is taken up by the plant and distributed through its tissue as it grows.

Bangladesh lost 80% of its birds in less than 25 years

Once a land of indigenous and migratory birds, Bangladesh is witnessing rapid decline in the number of birds in recent years, conservationists say. In the country’s coastal belt and Sonadia island in particular, the population of birds, as suggested by their movement, came down to a half in a year. Countrywide, the number of birds as counted by their presence here and there, declined by 40,000 this year compared to a year before, according to a census.

Canada has been losing species for a long time

Since European settlement, over 100 species have been lost here. These include plants and animals that are extinct and extirpated, and species that are considered historic (no one has seen them in Canada for a long time). The number of lost species varies between different regions of the country. In the Great Lakes region of southern Ontario, there are extinct species (passenger pigeon), extirpated species (paddlefish) and historic species (Eskimo curlew). There are also species that have vanished from this landscape but still exist elsewhere in Canada.

Food shortage for New Zealand‘s godwits

Food sources for the bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica) on its annual journey to Alaska have been depleted, but researchers have devised a plan to keep them fed. Godwits travel 17,000 km from the southern hemisphere to the north, and back every year. After leaving New Zealand in March, thousands of godwits have made it to China‘s Yalu Jiang National Nature reserve. However, after experiencing the coldest winter in almost half a century, clams at the mudflat have been dying off.

Spain's most endangered birds

Recognisable by its black plumage and striking red beak, the Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) is found in low numbers all over the planet. European populations migrate to Sub-Saharan Africa in the winter and during the summer an estimated 470 pairs can be found in Spain, a large proportion of which are found in the north of Extremadura. They are threatened.