Wildlife & Biodiversity

Global Eco Watch: Will burbot return to UK after half a century?

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

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Monday 09 March 2020
A burbot. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
A burbot. Photo: Wikimedia Commons A burbot. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The British government will start a programme to re-introduce burbot, a fish that disappeared from the country almost 50 years ago, The Guardian reported.

The burbot is the only freshwater species of cod. It once thrived in rivers across eastern England. However, extensive agriculture and metallic pollution after World War II contributed to its local extinction in the UK.

The fish was last sighted in 1969.

Natural England, the British government’s conservation watchdog is sponsoring a project to re-introduce the fish, according to the report. Under the project, burbot eggs will be brought from Europe and hatched and the young fish will be raised in hatcheries before being released into the wild. The fish has already been successfully reintroduced in Belgium and Germany.

First snakebite in Irish history reported

A 22-year-old man from Dublin was hospitalised after being bitten a snake, the first such instance in Ireland’s history, according to The Washington Post.

The man was bitten in late February by a puff adder, a snake not native to Ireland. The hospital to which the man was taken, requested antivenom from the National Reptile Zoo, the only authorized holder of the same in Ireland. Since the zoo didn’t have any, it had to be shipped in from Liverpool in the United Kingdom.

According to Catholic Irish legend, Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland drove away snakes from Ireland in the fifth century. Modern scientists say that Ireland does not have snakes as the island, unlike neighbouring Britain, did not share a land bridge with Europe and hence animals could not get there.

Near-extinct hard ground swamp deer see revival in Kanha

Hard ground swamp deer (Barasingha or Rucervus duvaucelii), the state animal of Madhya Pradesh, is seeing a revival in the Kanha National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR) after having been perilously close to extinction for a long time.

The species now numbers 800, after five decades of persistent conservation work.

KNPTR is on the Maikal range of the Satpura hills, and is spread over an area of 940 square kilometres between Mandla and Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh. The swamp deer is endemic to KNPTR.

In 1967, the numbers of swamp deer decreased to 66 due to rampant hunting, habitat loss and diseases. The number was estimated at around 551 in 1953.

The deer was brought back from the verge of extinction with the help of a successful breeding programme and conservation practices at the KNPTR.

Various conservation methods were used, including habitat improvement and captive breeding that led to an increase in the population to around 450 in 2015 and 800 this year.

Global Coalition for Biodiversity launched on World Wildlife Day

The European Commission launched the ‘United for Biodiversity’ coalition made up of zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, national parks, and natural history and science museums from around the world, on World Wildlife Day 2020, according to a statement.

The coalition offered the opportunity for all such institutions to “join forces and boost public awareness about the nature crisis, ahead of the crucial COP-15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Kunming, China in October 2020,” when nations will adopt a new global framework to protect and restore nature, the statement added.

The coalition adopted a common pledge, citing the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Global Assessment finding that one million species were already at risk of extinction, and appeals to visitors to each of their institutions to “raise their voice for nature.”

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