Wildlife & Biodiversity

Global Eco Watch: Major ecological happenings of the week (October 14-21)

Down To Earth brings you the top happenings in the world of global ecology

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Monday 21 October 2019
A humpback whale. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Western South Atlantic humpback whales reviving

A new study has found that western South Atlantic humpback whales, which were on the brink of extinction, have made a comeback.

According to the study, nearly 25,000 western South Atlantic humpback whales were caught over 12 years in the early 1900s. They were hunted mainly for their large amount of body fat.

In the 1960s, when it was found that the species had been reduced to just a few hundreds, the International Whaling Commission applied protection measures. This allowed populations to recover, according to a media report.

The study, published by the Royal Society, found that the animals’ population now stands at 25,000.

A toad that mimics a deadly viper to ward off predators

A study has found for the first time, a toad that can mimic a deadly viper in appearance to escape from predators, according to a media report.

The study, conducted by Congolese and American scientists, is based on 10 years of fieldwork and direct observation. It found that the Congolese giant toad uses its ability to mimic the Gaboon viper to escape being eaten.

The Gaboon viper is a highly venomous snake and has the longest fangs of any snake species. It also produces more venom than any other snake.

Many predators are able to identify the distinctive markings and colour of the toad from a distance which resemble the viper’s, and thus keep clear of it, the researchers said. It even positions itself in such a way which look like it is hissing and preparing to strike, like the viper.

One of the important findings of the study was that both, the toad and the viper had evolved at the same time and in the same region of Africa.

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