Posted: 09 Mar 2012 04:30 AM PST
Seabirds, as is the case with other major species found in the world’s oceans, are indicators of the overall health of the oceans. Which is why a recent study published in the Bird Conservation International journal indicating major declines in populations is alarming to conservationists.
BirdLife International is a group which determines the status of seabirds for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). BirdLife conducts numerous studies regarding the health of seabirds, including the one just published surveying the 346 species of seabirds. Of the 346 species, forty-seven percent were found to have declining population numbers
Such a finding indicates that seabirds are the greatest threatened of any group of birds globally. While seabirds represent only 3.5 percent of all bird species, they are vital to determining the health of individual ecosystems and overall ocean health.
Of the seabird species, BirdLife determined that twenty-eight percent are considered at high risk of extinction. However, only five percent of seabird species are currently listed under the IUCN’s Red List for endangered species as critically endangered. Of the species in decline, the albatross family is the most affected. Seventeen of twenty-two species are currently threatened with extinction.
Chair of BirdLife’s Global Seabird Program, John Croxall, stated: “[Seabirds] are top predators in their marine systems. The fact that almost a third are globally threatened should really be telling us something about how we need to look after where they occur to breed on land and where they go to feed in the ocean.”
The main causes of the declining seabird populations are commercial fishing, such as the use of longlines, and invasive species decreasing breeding success. Cats and rats, amongst other species, are top threats to the breeding ability of seabirds due to their propensity to consume the eggs and young of seabird species. Invasive species are also known to disturb breeding grounds, altering the ability to breed.
Longline fishing is considered especially concerning for seabird species. The number of seabirds lost yearly to longline fishing operations are in the hundreds of thousands, numbers which are considered unsustainable for species survival by experts. Another study by BirdLife over the span of four years found that approximately 300,000 seabirds die each year due to longlines. Seabirds dive for fish below the surface and end up on the hooks themselves.
Longlines are essentially fishing lines with thousands of hooks which can be upwards of hundreds of miles in length. The mere length of longlines can pose major hazards for aquatic life and due to the haphazard catching the lines tend to do this type of fishing causes much controversy. Many organizations, including BirdLife, have pushed for stronger regulations regarding longline fishing, especially regulations which would help protect species which are unintended catches.
Ben Kessler, a student at the University of North Texas and an
environmental activist, was more than a little surprised that an FBI
agent questioned his philosophy professor and acquaintances about his
whereabouts and his sign-waving activities aimed at influencing local
gas drilling rules.
“It was scary,” said Kessler, who is a national organizer for the
nonviolent environmental group Rising Tide North America. He said the
agent approached him this past fall and said that the FBI had received
an anonymous complaint and were looking into his opposition to
hydraulic fracturing, also known as “fracking.” The bureau respected
free speech, the agent told him, but was “worried about things being
taken to an extreme level.”
Even as environmental and animal rights extremism in the United States
is on the wane, officials at the federal, state and local level are
continuing to target groups they have labeled a threat to national
security, according to interviews with numerous activists, internal
FBI documents and a survey of legislative initiatives across the
Iowa Gov. Terry Brandstad (R) signed a law this month, backed by the
farm lobby, that makes it a crime to pose as an employee or use other
methods of misrepresentation to get access to operations in an attempt
to expose animal cruelty. Utah passed a similar bill, nicknamed an
“ag-gag” law, on Wednesday. Last month, Victor VanOrden, an activist
in his mid-20s, received the maximum sentence of five years in prison
under a separate Iowa law for attempting to free minks from one of the
state’s fur farms.
A book about the cheating and drugging of horses going on in racing. Written by a trainer who has been in the business for over 30 years and is tired of the state of affairs in racing. He is trying to make a difference and be a voice for the horses. A portion of proceeds is being donated to retired race horses.
Cornwall's Voice for Animals endorses this book and admires his courage to stand up for this injustice.
Matt Bisogno is the owner of a portfolio of websites, including horse-racing.ie and Geegeez.co.uk. He has written numerous statistical analyses on trainer patterns, and written a weekly feature column for the Irish Field (Ireland’s equivalent to DRF).
Read his review of "The Tradition of Cheating at the Sport of Kings" below
'Cheating in the Sport of Kings' by Glenn Thompson
A short time ago, I was approached by a US trainer with a story to tell. His name is Glenn Thompson and he trains horses mostly out of Monmouth Park, New Jersey, on the East Coast.
But Thompson has a mission. He wants to publicise the use of ‘raceday medication’ at Monmouth and lots of other US racetracks. For those who don’t know, administering raceday medication helps horses to relax before a race. It is also illegal in most states, including New Jersey where Thompson trains.
That doesn’t stop a majority of trainers allowing their vets to perpetuate the practice, sometimes with dangerous consequences both for horse and rider.
‘Cheating in the Sport of Kings’ looks further than that into the problems at Thompson’s home track, including a contentious point about whether George Washington, the great ‘Gorgeous George’ of Ballydoyle fame, should have been allowed to run in the Monmouth Park Breeders Cup Classic in which he broke his front right leg.
The decision to allow him to run and the horrible accident that led to his death may have been directly unrelated, but there is no question that if the local rules were adhered to, the horse would have been scratched and we would be watching his progeny race today.
Thompson comes across as an engaging man: thick-skinned enough to take on the local authorities and not afraid to take some flack for his troubles. He cites his religion for helping him choose the right path, and I respect him for that, despite not being religious myself.
He’s had good times and bad; good horses and bad; and he has a vision for all US racing to ban raceday medication.
The book is concise and can be read in an hour or two, and it raises some important points about the frequent and flagrant drug culture in US racing. This is a subject that we Europeans – Irish, British or Continental – should not imagine is only an issue across the big pond. You can be sure there’s plenty of drug misuse happening in stables across the EU.
My personal view is that there is definitely fire to accompany the ‘smoke’ of these pages, but the book could use more clinical support in terms of veterinarian samples and such like. I’m not disputing the points being made, but I think as it stands it is too easy for others who ought to be made accountable, to dispute those claims.
This is an interesting read as it opens the mind to the realities of what may well be happening up and down our countries, and it also brings it home with the all too familiar case of ….
Call it a sixth sense, a special connection, or just plain mystery. But whatever gift cats and dogs have that allows them to detect health conditions in their owners sure has been saving a lot of lives.
Wendy Humphreys, a mother of two from Britain, found out first-hand how powerful that gift can be when her cat Fidge sniffed out a potentially fatal health condition that even doctors hadn't detected, the Daily Mail reports.
Bewildered at first, Humphreys was compelled to visit a physician after the 10-month-old cat began jumping on her breast and continued to do so for weeks on end.
What doctors found astounded Humphreys: She had a malignant tumor in her breast about the size of a pea that could have metastasized if it hadn't been discovered early. She is now scheduled to undergo chemotherapy and credits Fidge with saving her life, according to the paper.
Studies have shown that dogs, too, can pick up on illnesses and physical ailments by detecting acute changes in people's smell. In a 2011 study, researchers in Japan conducted trials to see how well a dog could identify people with colorectal cancer. The dog had a 98 percent accuracy rate, NPR reported.
Sometimes, however, animals' aptitude for detecting changes in humans defies scientific explanation. In 2006, a cat named Oscar confounded experts by "predicting" the deaths of a number of residents at a Rhode Island nursing home. Oscar would begin hanging around people days before they passed away, according to CBS News.
"Oscar is a normal cat with an extra-normal sense for death," Dr. Joan M. Teno, professor of community health at Brown and associate medical director of Home & Hospice Care of Rhode Island, told the Boston Globe. "As a scientist, I want to offer a biological explanation for this," she said. "But I can't."
Pink bunnies or blue chickadees?
Dyeing animals the color of your choice has been against Florida law
for 45 years – along with selling chicks and ducklings before they are
4 weeks old and bunnies before they are 8 weeks old.
The ban would be lifted under a bill that won approval in the state
Legislature last week.
While the bill awaits Gov. Rick Scott's signature, animal activists
are urging him to veto the measure and keep the ban in place.
EAST RUTHERFORD — About a dozen protesters shouted slogans and played
graphic videos of elephant abuse outside the Izod Center on Friday
night as spectators — including scores of children — arrived for the
opening night of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
“It’s inexcusable what our species is doing to another species,” said
Ray Ipolito, 42, a protester from Ridgewood.
The protest Friday was sponsored by Friends of Animals United NJ/NY,
or FAUN, a nonprofit based in Red Bank.
The Board of Game has made changes to expand bear baiting in the interior. Bear baiting programs have primarily focused on black bears, but Fish and Game spokeswoman Cathie Harms says the board approved proposals that would allow hunters to kill grizzly bears at bait stations in game management units 20C, southwest of Fairbanks and 21 D near Galena. The action followed approval earlier in the week, of baiting of grizzlies in 2 game units near Tok. The board rejected a proposed predator control program for unit 20C in the interior, and 9B near Lake Clark in southwest Alaska. The board cited moose populations that are close to objectives and limited resources for additional intensive management programs.
Thanks for the information
Thank you Dusty, very informative