Snake Population On The Decline On Three Continents

Distinct populations of snake species on three continents have crashed over the last decade, raising fears that the reptiles may be in global decline, according to a study published recently.The pattern across the eight species monitored was alarmingly similar despite their geographical isolation, which points to a common cause such as climate change, the researchers said.

Other factors known to play a role include habitat loss, pollution, disease, lack of prey and over-exploitation, either for food or trade.The study showed that 11 of 17 snake populations in Britain, France, Italy, Nigeria and Australia dropped off sharply over a four-year period starting in the late 1990s.“Our data revealed an alarming trend,” the authors reported in the British Royal Society journal Biology Letters.
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Baghdad To Kill A Million Stray Dogs

More than a million stray dogs roaming Baghdad are facing destruction.The initiative has so far led to 42,000 strays being killed in only two months.Teams of riflemen and vets are trying to thin out a rogue canine population that has reached at least 1,250,000. Numbers grew hugely after the fall of Saddam because of the lawless state of the Iraqi capital.But with the streets now much safer, the authorities are trying to clear out the stray dogs.

‘We could consider this the biggest campaign of dog execution ever,’ said Baghdad chief veterinarian, Mohammed al-Hilly.Mr al-Hilly claimed the huge amounts of litter that began heaping up in the capital as violence paralysed public services had helped to trigger the problem.The cull involves 20 specialist teams each consisting of two shooters and two vets, often backed up by police patrols.The dogs are either shot or poisoned and their bodies are then taken to refuse dumps.
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Great White Sharks Now One Of The Most Endangered Creatures On Earth

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They are known as one of the deadliest creatures on Earth. But according to a shocking new study, great white sharks are also one of the most endangered. Wildlife experts say there are now fewer than 3,500 great whites left in the oceans, making them rarer than tigers.Yesterday, marine biologists called for an end to mankind’s long battle with sharks and demanded urgent action to prevent them going extinct.Great white sharks have a deserved reputation as ruthless and efficient killers, who use ambush techniques to attack fish, dolphins and seals from below.
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Bird Song Intensity Used To Calculate Size Of Population

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Scientists have for the first time worked out a way of using birdsong to accurately measure the size of bird populations. The sound recordings from a microphone placed in forests or woods can now be translated into accurate estimates of bird species’ populations and could revolutionise this branch of ecology.

Because the new technique is so accurate it could lead to a major advance in our ability to monitor whale and dolphin numbers as well.Measuring populations of animals such as birds, dolphins and whales has always been difficult because they are often heard but not seen.Actually trying to count numbers is extremely time consuming.

Biologists have long counted songs to get an idea of bird abundance but it is much harder to work out the actual density.Existing methods need observers to measure either the distance to each bird, or whether they are within a set distance from the observer.Now Deanna Dawson of the US Geological Survey and Murray Efford of the University of Otago, New Zealand, have developed a system that combines audio equipment with computers.
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