by Sophie Bell
How does sustainability affect me - a wildlife worker?
As a conservationist myself, I never really thought about sustainability as a subject related to my field, or something I needed to worry about. I could focus on conserving the species and others could focus on sustainability. However, recently I have come to the realisation that practising sustainability is actually an important part of conservation which I can implement into my daily life (it can also be relatively easy). Looking at the bigger picture, in order to conserve the biodiversity of our planet, we need to conserve the environment it resides in. This is where sustainability comes in. As an individual, you have the power to make a difference with minimal effort. Of course, there are more extreme ways to reduce your carbon footprint and waste, but I wanted to share a few minimum effort ways that you can do this which I have found impactful (and fun!).
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by Lucía Caldas
How cool would it be to gather reliable data on a great number of species while tackling some of the bigger issues that researchers face when carrying out their surveys?
Problems like the cost of labour, logistics and equipment, access to remote areas and the disturbance of wildlife could all be a thing of the past with the use of drones for wildlife research!1
Drones are proving to be highly effective in avoiding these issues, and can help research a variety of topics such as tracking tagged individuals, identifying elusive marine mammals and evaluating their health, determining sex ratios in mating areas, investigating population densities, or offering guidance for agricultural and forestry practices.
Let’s fly over some examples of what drones can do!
Lost & Found
Imagine investing valuable time and resources in tagging individuals to never see or hear from them again. Frustrating, right? Fortunately, with advancements in modern technology this no...
by Dr Kayleigh Fawcett Williams, Wildlifetek Founder
Wildlife work can pose many challenges to professionals who are striving to better understand and protect wildlife species globally. With species being lost at an alarming rate, never before has this work been so important.
Thermal imaging is an innovative technology that can improve wildlife work by increasing accuracy, reducing cost, increasing efficiency and lowering carbon emissions.
Imagine if more wildlife workers could use a technology like this.
My name is Dr Kayleigh Fawcett Williams and I am currently conducting research for my book on thermal imaging for wildlife applications. I am on a mission to find 1000 other wildlife professionals who are also using thermal imaging in their wildlife work.
I have been working with wildlife for the past 17 years and have seen huge improvements in my wildlife work since introducing thermal imaging to my toolbox over a decade ago. I have seen how thermal imaging can help us to work...
by Dr Kayleigh Fawcett Williams, Wildlifetek Founder
I get hundreds of messages and emails from people who are thinking of doing a PhD. If you too have been wondering whether doing a PhD is the right step for you, it’s important to ask yourself some key questions before you throw yourself into the application process.
PhD’s aren’t for everyone. The process can be hard on your mental health, personal life and sometimes your finances too. Having a PhD can close some job openings to you, but open up lots of others. Like every step you take, it is so important to find the right fit for you and your personal wildlife career journey.
However, for those who get it right, a PhD can bestow a wealth of both short and long-term benefits. In the short term, a Wildlife PhD can allow you to travel to places you would never normally get to see and to work with species you might otherwise only read about or watch on documentaries. In the longer term, lots of benefits can come from...
by Lucía Caldas
It is probably fair to say that 2020 hasn’t been the best year for humans… but this has not been the case for many wild animal species. We have witnessed a large number of events that showed how quickly wildlife can claim their ground back1 when humans are not going about their usual business.1
One such case is that of many cetacean species visiting the Atlantic waters off the North-West coast of Spain (namely Galicia) in numbers unprecedented since whaling was banned in 1985. Among others, 20 fin whales and 9 blue whales were seen feeding together on September 6th!2
But why here? What is so special about this place for the largest mammals on our planet? This area undergoes seasonal upwelling events driven by northerly winds3 typically occurring in spring and summer, which cause cold, nutrient-rich waters to rise to the photic layer where primary production is enhanced. This in turn brings many zooplankton species (such as krill) to feed on all...
by Juliana Andrea Berner
Snot – not the most enticing or intriguing bodily function. However, a whole story unfolds when we examine whale snot. The combination of mucous, tissue particles, and water contain highly valuable information on the well-being of these fascinating creatures . From the blow-out – and not as we know it from the hairdressers – it is possible to deduce the sex, pregnancy, maturity, stress levels  , and the combination of microbes in the lungs e.g., bacteria, viruses, and fungi . This snot indicates the well-being of the individual whale at the specific point of collection. Methods to undertake similar analyses involved biopsies of the blubber. However, this only showed the earlier condition of the animal instead of its current condition. As these giants are elusive, sampling on a stranded whale was convenient, however the results would be compromised as this was not the animals normal state .
A new non-invasive method...
by Sophie Bell
As we go further into the new year with more of the same restrictions that we hoped to leave behind in 2020, the importance of acknowledging the positive events from the past year seems more necessary than ever.
Here are a few pieces of good news concerning the environment to put a smile on your face from 2020…
[image courtesy of Sophie Bell]
‘Lost’ chameleon species seen for the first time in 100 years
The Voeltzkow’s Chameleon (Furcifer voeltzkowi), is a species so elusive, it is featured on the Global Wildlife Conservation’s “25 Most Wanted Lost Species” list. A team of researchers in northwestern Madagascar found 3 males and 15 females of the species in - of all places - a hotel garden. They are yet to be officially evaluated by the IUCN, but are believed to qualify as an endangered species.
Phillipine eagle breeding success
The Phillipine eagle (Pithecopaga jefferyi) is critically...
by Line Faber Johannesen
One of the Largest Anthropogenic Causes of Wildlife Death
Mikumi National Park, Tanzania
A study from 1996 evaluated the effects of the A7 highway on large mammals of the Mikumi National Park in Tanzania. Park personnel recorded 456 highway mortalities of large mammals in the 16-year period between 1973 and 1988. (Newmark et al. 1996).
Not only are wildlife vehicle collisions [WVCs] a major concern for wildlife conservation, they also pose a serious concern for traffic and human safety and have the potential to cause severe economic losses. Mitigation strategies are often implemented to minimise or eliminate potential conflicts between infrastructure and wildlife but depending on the mitigation method, various rates of success have been reported.
WVCs causing animal mortality are one of the largest, if not the largest anthropogenic cause of wildlife deaths, according to John Griffin, Director of Humane Wildlife Services at HSUS, (Kelleher 2015).
by Sophie Kooros
Traditionally, behavioural observations have been used to infer the activity patterns of wild animals. Whilst comprehensive and valuable, behavioural observations are time-consuming and it can be extremely difficult to observe wild animals that live in inaccessible environments, avoid humans or are awake during the night.
Enter new possibilities… In the late 1990s, the first wildlife studies using accelerometers to measure animal activity started to appear (Brown et al. 2013). Since then, these devices have proven to deliver invaluable data to wildlife biologists wishing to understand activity in elusive wild species.
In this blog post, we discuss what accelerometers are and how we can use them in wildlife biology to understand animal activity.
Before diving into accelerometers, let's discuss what they actually are. Accelerometers are very common; you almost certainly have one in your phone right now and use it every day on games,...
by Aimee O'Hara
Vessel presence in coastal marine environments is on the rise, and there is growing concern as to the potential impacts the noise emitted from these vessels could have on cetaceans such as dolphins. Vessels generate underwater noise due to mechanical vibrations originating in the engine or hull, however most of the noise is created as a result of cavitation, a process in which air bubbles form and collapse along the edge of the fast-moving propeller blades of the vessel . An issue with vessel noise presence is that cavitation noise is often very broadband, as a result of this, it overlaps with the frequency ranges of many cetacean sounds . This overlap of anthropogenic noise with the acoustic frequencies that are biologically important to cetaceans is of growing concern to scientists .
Researchers have found that dolphins will have a varying response to vessel noise, ranging from no change at all to disruptions to feeding behaviour, amount of time...