Archive | Ecosystems

Invasive Tilapia Threatening Fiji Fish Species and Ecosystems

SUVA, Fiji, Jan. 13 (UPI) — Tilapia, an African fish introduced to Fiji for sustainable farming, is threatening the larvae and juvenile fish of several native species, officials said.

Tilapia, a member of the cichlid family, is popular in fish farming because it grows quickly, tastes good and is a valuable source of protein.

The species, however, is proving problematic in the waterways of the Fiji Islands where it is eating several native species of goby that live in fresh and salt water and begin their lives in island streams, the Wildlife Conservation Society said in a release Tuesday.

The native fishes also are being threatened by human development, said Caleb McClennen, head of the conservation society’s marine program.

“As aquaculture continues to develop worldwide, best practices must include precautionary measures to keep farmed species out of the surrounding natural environment,” McClennen said.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Posted in Conservation, Ecosystems, Fish0 Comments

Destructive Wild Boars on the Rise in North Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 13 (UPI) — Destructive wild boar populations are increasing in North Carolina and have been documented in nearly half of the state’s counties, officials said.

The hogs, which can grow to 180 pounds, disrupt the ground with their tusks, damaging land in search of roots, insects and fallen fruit and nuts.

The boars were spotted in November in Mecklenburg County on the outskirts of Charlotte, where plans are under way to trap the animals and shoot them, said Chris Matthews, a county natural resources manager.

“We’re not talking about nice, sweet, pink piggies. These guys just don’t belong here,” Matthews told The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer in a story published Wednesday.

Wild boar populations in recent months have been documented in about half of the state’s 100 counties. The pigs may have been illegally trapped in some areas to be released in others for hunting, state biologist Jon Shaw said.

Females sexually mature when they’re less than a year old and can produce two litters a year with as many as 12 piglets in each litter.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Posted in Animals, Ecosystems0 Comments

Invasive Asian Carp DNA Found Near Lake Michigan

CHICAGO, Jan. 12 (UPI) — Asian carp DNA has been found near a pumping station that moves water from Lake Michigan into the Chicago River, federal officials said Tuesday.

The announcement came at a conference at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago hosted by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., the Detroit Free Press reported. Officials said the DNA was in samples taken in October near the Wilmette Pumping Station.

Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Wisconsin and Ontario have sued to close the locks in the Chicago River to keep the carp out the Great Lakes. Illinois and the Army Corps of Engineers say the closing would interfere with shipping.

The plaintiffs fear the carp would wipe out commercial and sports fisheries in the lakes. No live carp have been found north of an electronic barrier 20 miles south of Chicago.

“It’s concerning to us that a state with so little shoreline on the Great Lakes — Illinois — is really holding fate of Michigan’s economy and ecology in its hands,” said John Sellek, a spokesman for Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox. “It’s not right.”

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hold a closed conference Friday on a request for a preliminary injunction to close the locks.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Posted in Ecosystems, Fish0 Comments

Steelhead Trout to Benefit from Deal to Remove San Clemente Dam

CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, Calif., Jan. 12 (UPI) — Public and private officials say they have reached an agreement to tear down a 106-foot-tall dam in Monterey County, Calif.

The dam removal would be the largest ever performed in the state and is seen as a victory for endangered steelhead trout, which are blocked by the obsolete structure from returning to their spawning grounds on the Carmel River, the San Jose (Calif.) Mercury-News reported Tuesday.

The decision to take down the 89-year-old San Clemente Dam came after state and federal government officials and a Monterey, Calif., water company reached an $84 million agreement Monday following 10 years of study and debate, the newspaper said.

“What we’re doing here is truly of national significance,” U.S. Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., told the Mercury-News. “We are going to have some tough days ahead. But it is the right thing to do and we are going to get it done.”

Historians say the dam for years had been used to supply drinking water to thousands of Monterey Peninsula residents, irrigated golf courses and helped run sardine canneries. But its reservoir is now 90 percent filled with silt, sand and mud and is not used for electricity or flood protection.

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Posted in Drinking Water, Ecosystems, Electricity, Fish, Rivers, Lakes & Wetlands0 Comments

The Bob Barker, New Ship of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Chases Japanese Whaling Fleet off Adelie Coast

TMZ reports today:

Less than an hour ago The Bob Barker — a private ship operated by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society — chased a fleet of Japanese whaling boats off the Adelie Coast.  It was the maiden voyage of the rehabbed ship — retrofitted thanks to a $5 mil donation from Mr. Price Is Right himself. We’re told the B.B. thwarted the whalers’ grand plan and they left sans any Shamus. The Bob Barker is still on the tail of the whaling fleet.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is most recently known for the Animal Planet television series, Whale Wars.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Posted in Animal Rights & Issues, Conservation, Ecosystems, Mammals0 Comments

Florida's Freezing Weather Threatens Invasive Iguana Species

MARGATE, Fla., Jan. 5 (UPI) — Southern Florida’s unusually cold weather likely will reduce the number of invasive iguanas considered a pest by many, officials said.

Temperatures dropped into the 40s this week, immobilizing the lizards and making them easy to catch, said Tiffany Snow, a biologist with the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Temperatures are expected to drop even more within the next few days, which could kill many of iguanas, Snow said.

Some animal control shelters will accept iguanas and homeowners are allowed to kill them if it is done humanely.

“If somebody is looking to trap them, I guess right now would be a good time because they’re not moving,” Snow said.

The lizards boldly occupy yards and terraces and make a messy nuisance of themselves, Margate, Fla., homeowner Jessica Morgan told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in a story published Tuesday.

“They climb up on the bank and will poop on my dock,” Morgan said. “Fingers crossed that this cold snap will kill them.”

Copyright 2010 by United Press International

Posted in Animals, Conservation, Ecosystems, Fish0 Comments

Chub Now Rare in Great Lakes Due to Zebra Mussels and Other Invasive Species

MILWAUKEE, Dec. 31 (UPI) — Chub, a small fish found only in the Great Lakes, has become a rare find in stores in the U.S. Midwest thanks to zebra mussels and other invasive species.

Fishermen say catches have become so small in Lake Michigan going out for chub is no longer worth the fuel, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Thursday. Dan Anderson of Milwaukee said the last time he went out he got 45 pounds of chubs out of 18,000 feet of nets.

The chubs he did bring in were not the fat fish prized as a holiday treat in Wisconsin.

“The larger chubs that are marketable aren’t out there. There are a lot of smaller ones that, with enough food, will grow to market size,” Anderson said. “But quite honestly, I don’t think there’s enough food in the lake.”

Zebra mussels, tiny shellfish native to Russia, were first reported in the Great Lakes in 1988 and have multiplied and become a major nuisance. Anderson said when he hauls in his nets he pulls in large amounts of zebra mussels.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Ecosystems, Fish, Rivers, Lakes & Wetlands0 Comments

Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota Legally Fighting Illinois for Invasive Asian Carp Protection

CHICAGO, Dec. 29 (UPI) — Ohio, Michigan and Minnesota have joined forces to seal Illinois waterways from the Great Lakes in a fight against an invasive carp, officials said.

Minnesota Monday joined Ohio and Michigan in a U.S. Supreme Court petition that asks for closure of the Chicago and O’Brien locks — waterways in downtown Chicago and south suburban Burnham that handle hundreds of millions of dollars in shipping and recreational boating each year.

Closing the locks would have major repercussions for the Chicago area and require rerouting an enormous amount of freight overland, including jet fuel, coal and road salt, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.

Officials in Michigan, Ohio and Minnesota argue those obstacles are worth protecting the lakes’ $7-billion-a-year fishing industry.

Federal and state officials from Illinois deliberately poisoned the locks several weeks ago, creating a massive fish kill after DNA samples showed the carp had evaded electronic barriers in the locks.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Animals, Coal, Ecosystems, Fish0 Comments

Swiss Alps Wildlife Hurt by Increase in Winter Tourism

BERN, Switzerland, Dec. 27 (UPI) — Swiss authorities say they are urging winter tourists to be aware of their impact on wildlife in the Alps.

With the booming popularity of winter sports such as free-ride snowboarding and snowshoe walking, Alpine wildlife — especially its deer population — is being impacted as never before, and officials are becoming concerned that human activity is threatening their survival, Swissinfo reported Sunday.

In response, Swiss federal wildlife officials, in cooperation with environmental groups and tourism managers, have launched an international awareness campaign urging visitors to stick to established routes, the Web site said.

Swiss mountain ranger Andres Overturf wouldn’t point fingers at any particular sport or activity, but noted that skiers, snowboarders and cross-country snowshoe hikers are all impacting wildlife by taking unpredictable paths.

“Animals can get used to human presence off-piste but only if people stick to the same routes and zones,” Overturf told Swissinfo, saying wild animals are losing crucial retreat spaces and must expend much physical energy to run away through high snow and cold temperatures.

“Added to this is food scarcity and often there is not enough time to rest because of the stress,” he said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Air Pollution, Animals, Business & Economics, Consumer Products, Ecosystems, Mammals, Nature & Ecosystems, Pollution & Toxins, Recreation & Travel, Walking0 Comments

Climate Change Threatens Duck Wetlands

BROOKINGS, S.D., Dec. 22 (UPI) — Climate change could adversely impact the Prairie Pothole Region that produces more than half of North America’s migratory duck population, scientists said.

The region, filled with millions of glacially formed wetlands, includes parts of western Iowa and Minnesota, the central and eastern Dakotas and parts of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Scientists at South Dakota State University examined 20th century records starting in 1906 for 18 Prairie Pothole Region weather stations.

The records showed a widespread trend toward warmer minimum temperatures, especially in the Canadian prairies, where some stations showed increases of more than 6 degrees Fahrenheit, wetland ecologist W. Carter Johnson said in a release Monday.

Much of the region has been turned into farmland and the best remaining duck nesting grounds are in the parts of the region where the effects of climate change are projected to be the most severe, he said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Animals, Birds, Ecosystems, Effects Of Air Pollution0 Comments

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