Picture of the week: submission

A nice scratch under the chin. Dogs as well as sharks enjoy it. Taken at Bimini Feb 2017

News: New chance for survival for the Tasmanian devil

The Tasmanian devil  (Sarcophilus harrisii) is threatened by extinction due to an infectious  (nonviral) cancer of the mouth caused by mutual bites. The poor devil now seems to have a new chance to survive, thanks to its positive reaction to an  expensive human drug called  afatinib that inhibits this rare form of  cancer,

News: Wolf Naya tracked along Dutch-German border

Track followed by Naya between 18 December 2017 and 15 January 2018 (from North to South)

Naya, a she-wolf born in 2016 on a military training field in German Mecklenburg-Vorpommern,  was GPS satellite tagged and followed this winter on a 1 month 400 km solitary trip along the  Dutch-German border that ended on another military field in Belgium.  In Germany, the number of wolf packs has increased in recent years from 1 to 74. In densely populated  Holland only a few have been spotted along the eastern border. Leaving urine and poop tracks  Naya has so far not succeeded to attract a suitable male wolf to mate with.  The only male that came near  was killed by a passing automobile

News: Plastic soup contains mainly waste from fishing boats

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch appears to be contaminated with 4–16 times more floating plastic by mass than previously estimated, according to a paper published today in Nature Scientific Reports.The garbage patch covers about 3 times the area of continental France and encloses buoyant plastic tonnage equivalent to 500 jumbo jets, according to the Dutch Ocean Cleanup Foundation. 70%of the rubbish consisted of waste from fishing vessels like buoys, cables and ghost nets. Researchers estimate the increase of plastic to have tripled to 1.3 kilograms per square meters over 40 years (see also the Blog).


Urangutans hunted down in Borneo

Orangutan orphans brought to jungle school in National Parc Tanjung Puting in Mid-Kalimantan

Between 1999 and 2015, half of the orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) population in Kalimantan, Borneo was affected by logging, deforestation, or industrialized plantations. A recent article, however, suggests  that a  much larger number of orangutans were lost in selectively logged and primary forests, where rates of decline were less precipitous, but where far more orangutans are found. A probable reason is shooting of orangutans that come to the villages to scavenge fruit

How tourism can destroy an idyllic island

Boracay   a speck of an island of only four-square-miles in the central Philippines has turned its beaches and sea into a stinking cesspool, due to inadequate sewage, with most sewers from hotels and resorts entering directly into the sea. It is now closed to tourism and big cruise ships starting on April 26. This is what mass tourism can do to an idyllic island.