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...
by Dr Kayleigh Fawcett Williams, Founder of Wildlifetek
I’ve seen SO many applications this year from a wide range of humans who want to work with wildlife. Some of these have been from applicants who want to work with us at Wildlifetek, while others have been from students we have been working with in our courses and workshops. The quality of these application documents has been highly variable.
As someone who makes hiring decisions, I need to be able to quickly and easily assess an applicant’s capabilities and potential. Just to make it to the shortlist for a wildlife role, you need to know how to make it easy for an employer to hire you.
The truth is, most people who want a career with wildlife will never get there. This is often because they fail to effectively communicate what they are actually capable of, rather than what they have done. Even the most promising applicants who have invested heavily in years of education and experiences are failing to get into paid...
CAN WE PRINT A BETTER FUTURE?
by Sofiia Pyshnieva
When we talk about 3D printing, we think of products in healthcare, construction or manufacturing. But what if I told you that the future of wildlife conservation is closely related to the advancement of this technology? Recently, several high-profile 3D printing campaigns focused on animal welfare have captured the attention of a global audience and sparked widespread discussion. Is a new era on the doorstep?
Era of additive manufacturing
3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is defined as the creation of the specific physical object by adding material layer by layer according to the digital blueprint of the object. The technology was developed roughly 40 years ago, but the global industrial market of 3D printing is expected to grow to USD 5.3 billion by 2025 . And what’s more fascinating is that over the last few decades, this technology has found its way to wildlife conservation!
by Ellie Benton-Best & Dr Kayleigh Fawcett Williams
Consultant ecologists face some unique challenges progressing their careers. We have been exploring some of these challenges in our recent survey. In this article, we share with you some of our findings.
How it all started
From conversations with friends and peers in a range of ecology roles we noticed patterns in the career progression challenges they faced. We wanted find out if this was unique to our circle or was universal within the sector. So, we set out to gather data (because we love data!) from a broad range of ecologists and employers/managers in the industry.
What we did
In 2019, we asked consultant ecologists to complete one of two surveys. The first was for ecologists up to senior level. We asked them about their personal experiences of development and learning, as well as career progression. The second survey was completed by managers/employers in ecology. In this group were those responsible for teams, hiring,...
Nearly 80% of the world’s remaining white and black rhinoceros’ populations are in South Africa, making the country both a sanctuary for rhinos and a target for poachers. Nearly 1,000 rhinos were killed each year between 2013 and 2017, and although poaching has decreased since then, so has the overall population  . While many new technologies are being employed in the fight against poaching, the main line of defense remains foot and vehicle patrols . However, these patrols can be dangerous, and even deadly for the rangers . A team of researchers, led by Professors Adam Hart and Anne Goodenough from the University of Gloucestershire in the UK, sought to determine whether Infrared Thermography or IRT, might be a useful tool for making these patrols safer and more effective.
IRT works by remotely sensing temperature, giving the user a visual of heat sources in their environment. “Think of it like a digital camera, but...
At Wildlifetek, we love using technology to better understand and conserve wildlife, so when we had the opportunity to visit the Las Pumas Rescue Centre & Sanctuary in Costa Rica we jumped at the chance. With COVID-19 shutting down many of our wildlife travel plans, it’s not been as easy for us to do the work we love. Likewise, it’s been a tough time for wildlife organisations who rely on funding from visitors to do their work that is so vital to wildlife conservation. Las Pumas is now using technology to help get around some of these issues by offering virtual tours of their centre, enabling those of us who are grounded to experience and better understand wildlife while raising vital funds for their conservation work.
Bruno - a puma. He was kidnapped from the den at one month old and sold as an illegal pet to be displayed as a tourist attraction. He arrived at Las Pumas in 2012 at six months old.
Our amazing tour guide, Virginia Pelayo, gave us a warm...