Nature Snippets

Nature Snippets

(Photo above of a black rhinoceros)

A round-up of environmental news that’s been overlooked recently.

By Colin Serjent

Steep decline in black rhinos

The black rhino population has declined by an estimated 97% since 1960 with numbers as low as 2,410 in 1995, mainly as a result of poaching. Since then, numbers have been steadily increasing but the species is still seriously at risk.

World’s rarest turtle

A British family found the world’s rarest turtle on a beach 4,500 miles from its usual home. The Kemps Ridley sea turtle, native to the Gulf of Mexico, was on the sand in Clwyd. It has been transferred to Anglesey Sea Zoo.

Dog-dinosaur with blades’ fossils found

Fossils found in Chile are from a strange-looking dog-sized dinosaur species that had a unique slashing tail weapon, scientists have told the journal Nature. The new species has something never seen before on any animal: seven pairs of “blades” laid out sideways like a slicing weapon used by ancient Aztec warriors.

Offer of a free tree

Every household in Wales is to be offered a free tree to help tackle climate change. The Welsh government and Woodland Trust scheme, which will launch in March at a cost of £2million, aims to plant 86 million saplings by the end of the decade.

Random killing of dogs

Up to 1.5 million dogs are killed each year for food in South Korea, a decrease from several millions 10-20 years ago. Farmers are currently raising around 1 million to 2 million dogs for meat in South Korea.

Red list of at-risk birds grows

More than a quarter of bird species are under serious threat, among them swifts, house martins and greenfinches.

A record 70 of 245 assessed UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man birds are on conservationists’ red list because of big declines or risk of extinction. Additions include purple sandpipers, ptarmigans, Montagu’s harriers, Bewick swans, goldeneyes and dunlins – with issues including disease, hunting and climate change.

The future of the Arctic

Rain is expected to replace snow as the Arctic’s most common precipitation by 2050, new research suggests – decades earlier than previously thought.

Steep decline in black rhinos

The black rhino population has declined by an estimated 97% since 1960 with numbers as low as 2,410 in 1995, mainly as a result of poaching. Since then, numbers have been steadily increasing but the species is still seriously at risk.

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