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Extinction: Urgent change needed to save species, says UN

Extinction: Urgent change needed to save species, says UN

Science
Humanity is at a crossroads and we have to take action now to make space for nature to recover and slow its "accelerating decline".This is according to a report by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. It sets out a bullet point list of eight major transitions that could help stop the ongoing decline in nature. "Things have to change," said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, the convention's executive secretary. "If we take action, the right action - as the report proposes - we can transition to a sustainable planet." What's the link between exploiting nature and human health?New diseases emerge in the human population probably three or four times every year. It is only when...
Sir David Attenborough makes stark warning about species extinction

Sir David Attenborough makes stark warning about species extinction

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your device Sir David Attenborough returns to our screens this weekend with a landmark new production.The tone of the programme is very different from his usual work.For once Britain's favourite naturalist is not here to celebrate the incredible diversity of life on Earth but to issue us all with a stark warning. The one-hour film, Extinction: The Facts, will be broadcast on BBC One in the UK on Sunday 13 September at 20:00 BST. "We are facing a crisis", he warns at the start, "and one that has consequences for us all."What follows is a shocking reckoning of the damage our species has wrought on the natural world. Scenes of destructionThere are the stunning images of animals and plants you would expect from an...
Earth’s ‘lost species’ only the tip of the iceberg

Earth’s ‘lost species’ only the tip of the iceberg

Science
Scientists have calculated how many mammals might be lost this century, based on fossil evidence of past extinctions.Their predictions suggest at least 550 species will follow in the footsteps of the mammoth and sabre-toothed cat.With every "lost species" we lose part of the Earth's natural history, they say.Yet, despite these "grim" projections, we can save hundreds of species by stepping up conservation efforts.The new research, published in the journal Science Advances, suggests that humans are almost entirely responsible for extinctions of mammals in past decades. And rates will escalate in the future if we don't take action now.Despite this "alarming" scenario, we could save hundreds if not thousands of species with more tar...
Lake Titicaca giant frog: Scientists join forces to save species

Lake Titicaca giant frog: Scientists join forces to save species

Science
Five scientific institutions are joining forces in a cross-border effort to preserve the Lake Titicaca giant frog (Telmatobius culeus).The frog is one of the world's largest exclusively aquatic frogs and lives in the waters of Lake Titicaca, which straddles the border between Peru and Bolivia. The aim of the project is to ensure the future of the endangered frog.The amphibian is threatened by pollution from mining and also by its use in traditional medicine. The scientists will study the habitat of the Lake Titicaca giant frog and also carry out genetic analyses to find out how to best protect the species. The frog lives its entire life in the waters of Lake Titicaca and nearby lagoons. It has loose, baggy skin which ripp...
Species that use sound to ‘fake’ their body size are usually skilled vocal learners

Species that use sound to ‘fake’ their body size are usually skilled vocal learners

Science
July 8 (UPI) -- Animals that use their voice to sound bigger than they are tend to also be skilled vocal learners, according to new scientific paper, published Wednesday in the journal Biology Letters. Previously, researchers approached acoustic allometry, the relationship between voice and body size, and vocal learning as two distinct fields of study. But over time, scientists have started to see the overlap between the two areas of research. Advertisement "We decided to bring our expertise together under an evolutionary framework," study co-author Maxime Garcia told UPI in an email. "In particular, we wondered: For species that are vocal learners, and which can flexibly modify their vocalizations, then how do allometric principles apply?" said Garcia, an evolutionary biologist at the Un...