TVC’s YourView – Nigerian Conservation Foundation

TVC #YourView features NCF to discuss environmental and wildlife conservation in Nigeria.

This content was originally published here.

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TVC’s YourView – Nigerian Conservation Foundation

TVC #YourView features NCF to discuss environmental and wildlife conservation in Nigeria.

This content was originally published here.

Related posts

Red tide concentrations appear to be declining off south Lee, Collier

boat

Red tide appears to be declining off south Lee, Collier counties


Chad Gillis


Fort Myers News-Press
Published 5:11 PM EST Nov 29, 2019

A red tide bloom that’s lingered along the coast for several weeks may be waning as counts in south Lee and parts of Collier County have improved in the past week. 

Reports from the Sanibel area south to Marco Island show that the outbreak appears to be subsiding, which would be a welcome reprieve from an area that’s seen red tide in all but seven months out of the last two-plus years. 

“Counts appear to still be elevated, but patchy, varying from beach to beach,” said Rhonda Watkins, an environmental specialist with Collier County. “However, it appears on the most recent satellite imagery that the entire bloom has dissipated, so fingers crossed, that trend continues.”

Fish kills and breathing irritation can start once levels reach 10,000 cells per liter, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the state agency that monitors red tide. 

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FWC’s Friday report was not available at press time. 

“We had quite a few dead fish at our north Naples beaches and some on Marco (Monday),” Watkins said. “We are getting respiratory irritation reports whenever the wind is blowing onshore.”

Levels this year have upwards of 15 million cells per liter and higher, according to samples taken by local water quality scientists. 

The bloom is strong enough to show up on satellite imagery from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA. 

Recent satellite images have shown clearer patches of water along the Southwest Florida coast, although there are areas where red tide levels are still high. 

Red tide is caused by the organism Karenia brevis and is naturally occurring in the Gulf of Mexico, although many water quality scientists say it can be fed by human-sourced nutrients when the blooms get close to shore. 

Relatively small fish kills have been reported in Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties for several weeks.  

Rick Bartleson, a chemist with the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, said samples he’s taken this week have improved and that some waters off Sanibel are actually clear and blue. 

“It looks like the big patch that’s been hanging off the south end of the Sanibel for weeks is about gone, and from our samples since Monday we haven’t seen any high levels,” Bartleson said. 

This outbreak is more of a “normal” bloom than the one that devastated the region between October 2017 and earlier this year. 

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That bloom killed millions of pounds of marine life and shut down the local tourism, real estate and recreational fishing industries. 

“This year continues to be a fairly normal year when you look at the cell numbers and where we’re seeing the high concentrations,” said Mike Parsons, Florida Gulf Coast University professor and Blue-Green Algae Task Force member. “They’re at about the same frequency we usually see.” 

Water quality scientists at the University of Miami say red tide blooms are more frequent, stronger and longer in duration than they were before modern development, farming and urbanization of coastal areas. 

Onshore winds push red tide blooms toward the coast, and offshore winds push any outbreak further into the Gulf of Mexico. 

Winds have been blowing out of the east, or offshore, in recent days, and that trend is expected to continue much of this week, according to the National Weather Service in Ruskin.

The bloom seems to have started south of the Naples area in late summer/early fall and is now centered around Lee waters. 

Strong counts of 1 million cells per liter and higher have been recorded in the northern reaches of Pine Island Sound for several weeks. 

“The (daily incoming) tide will be moving the water in, and we don’t necessarily have the outflow because we don’t have a lot of freshwater discharge (from the Peace River and its watershed),” Parsons said. “So once it gets into Pine Island Sound the wind can’t push it around.”

The University of South Florida’s College of Marine Science predicts that the bloom will drift southwest and away from the coast over the next three days. 

Connect with this reporter: @ChadGillisNP on Twitter. 

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THE DEATH OF ‘ALAGBA’

Government could do more to protect wildlife

The death recently of a famous tortoise, named ‘Alagba’, at the palace of the traditional ruler in Ogbomosho, Osun State, has elicited reactions from across the world. Said to have outlived several kings in the town, and very popular as a pet, it is no surprise that many feel a sense of loss.

However, the death of ‘Alagba’ has raised concerns among conservationists who believe these reptiles are almost extinct in the wild in Nigeria due to the activities of traditional institutions, particularly monarchs, native doctors, sorcerers and, of course, rich people who keep tortoise illegally as pets.

Ordinarily, the tortoise is highly vulnerable, particularly because it cannot take flight from danger, so people simply pick them from forest floors. While there are several species in Nigeria, the ‘Alagba’ specie is ‘centrochelys sulcata’. It is commonly called Desert Spurred Tortoise, according to Edem A. Eniang, Professor of Wildlife Resources Management, Herpetology and Biodiversity Conservation Department of Forestry and Natural Environmental Management, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. This specie of tortoise used to exist in Nigeria, and was originally found around Borno, Yobe, Katsina and Kano States. But the few of them in the country today are in captivity and because these species are almost locally extinct in Nigeria, what is seen in most places is trafficked into the country from Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, and other West African countries.

Sadly, habitat destruction and fragmentation are among the biggest threats to their survival. Moreover, there is also heavy internal market within Nigeria that is fed by hunters who forage for tortoises in the thick forests of the southern parts of the country. This internal trade is also fuelled by an understanding that the tortoise has become more or less a status symbol collector’s item for the monarchs and the rich in the country. This is completely bizarre and puts Nigeria in a negative light in the comity of nations. Also, people in some communities eat the flesh as a delicacy. Interestingly, the exact number of tortoises in existence, in the wild or in captivity, in Nigeria is unknown because no one has done such research.

The major problems of tortoise conservation in Nigeria include habitat degradation (through uncontrolled logging, agricultural projects, industrial plantations, highway and urban development, and exploitation for fuelwood), over-hunting and poaching. Steps taken so far to protect wildlife include the creation of one National Park and 18 Game Reserves, enactment of wildlife laws, signing of international treaties, and manpower development. These measures have however failed to produce the desired effect owing largely to public apathy, low level of funding, inadequate game laws and weak enforcement of existing legal provisions. Several laws protect the tortoise, like other wildlife species, in Nigeria and these are: The Endangered Species’ Act; Convention on Biological Diversity; NESREA Act; National Park Service Act; Convention on migratory species; several states environmental protection laws and edicts.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is the strongest global law protecting endangered animals, tortoises inclusive. All protect different endangered tortoises in Nigeria. The federal government should intervene more positively in favour of conservation by creating more national parks and assume joint responsibility with the states government for formulating wildlife laws. Also, communities where tortoise exists must play a prominent role in their conservation.

Meanwhile, there is a controversy around the exact age of ‘Alagba’ which was believed to have lived 344 years before its death. This claim can be fact-checked by scientists if the carcass is well-embalmed. Conservationists say the carapace (shell) can help indicate the age of the tortoise by the number of concentric rings, much like the cross-section of a tree. If it is not too late, scientists should be brought in to confirm the real age of the late ‘Alagba’.

The post THE DEATH OF ‘ALAGBA’ appeared first on THISDAYLIVE.

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More Than 130 Whales Dead After West African Mass Stranding Event

At least 136 melon-headed whales are dead after a mass stranding event off the coast of western Africa last week, according to environmental conservation non-profit BIOS.CV.

Dozens of volunteers from local agencies assisted in relocating a total of 163 adult, juvenile, and calf whales back into the water after they were discovered on September 24 on the island of Boa Vista.

“Unfortunately, upon being re-introduced in the sea, most of the animals stranded again,” wrote the organization in a Facebook post.

Officials are working to bury the individuals to “prevent any environmental and public health hazards,” said BIOS.CV in an update posted on September 26. Samples were taken from 50 of the whales and another four individuals were frozen for future examination by veterinarians.

Though the International Union for Conservation of Nature considers melon-headed whales a species of least concern, the toothed cetaceans are threatened by a number of concerns including habitat changes from climate change, ocean noise, and fisheries bycatch. Closely related to pygmy sperm whales and false killer whales, Peponocephala electra are often found in deep tropical waters around the globe, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). They typically live together in groups of hundreds to over 1,000 individuals.

Researchers are still unclear as to what caused the whales to beach themselves.

 

In recent years, a number of mass stranding events have occurred around the world. Last November saw several events, including two pods of pilot whales, totaling 145 individuals, dead after stranding on New Zealand shores. Just three days later, a humpback whale and 27 pilot whales were found beached in Australia. Earlier this year, at least 50 pilot whales were found dead on a remote beach in Iceland after possibly becoming caught in a strong tidal current that prevented them from reaching deeper waters. Since the beginning of 2019, at least 70 gray whales have washed up along the west coast of North America, from Alaska southward to Mexico – so many that NOAA has run out of space to bury decomposing carcasses. 

Mass mortality events and whale strandings are becoming more common than before and the reason why is unclear. This could in part be due to the fact that protections in the last few decades have increased whale populations in waters around the world. However, it could be due to external factors such as disease or extreme weather. Cetaceans may also become stranded after being chased into shallower waters by predators or when chasing prey, increasing the likelihood that they become disoriented and caught by a retreating tide. Furthermore, studies have suggested that naval sonar could impact whales’ ability to navigate via echolocation, perhaps even giving them decompression sickness.

Even after human intervention, many whales die from dehydration and can drown if the tide rises over their blowholes.

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A biker group’s kindness, a great Disney idea and a very lucky monkey

A biker group's kindness

(CNN)Hey morning people, I have a question: Um, how do you do it? How do you start the day with smiles and birdsong and a piping hot cup of coffee and not, you know, curse words and five alarm snoozes? My theory is, morning people are born and not made. However, experts say there are some things you can do to kickstart your mushy morning brain: Splash some cold water on your face, caffeinate slowly, make sure to get a little sunshine as soon as possible and, if you can, try to get outside for a brisk walk. My suggestion? Wake up at noon and avoid mornings altogether! Oh, if only.

Get going with some of our most popular good news stories of the week
a great Disney idea and a very lucky monkey - CNN
What goes around comes around
    Buckle up, because this one’s a great ride: In September 2018, Daryn Sturch and her daughter Bryanne came across a bad accident involving several motorcyclists with the Milwaukee Iron Biker Group. Sturch is a nurse in Chili, Indiana, and obviously felt compelled to stop and treat them. Some of the bikers were critically injured, and after she left the scene Sturch reached out to the group on Facebook to check up on them. To her relief, all of the injured bikers survived. The unfortunate incident kicked off a nice little friendship. Sturch says some of the bikers would check in occasionally on Facebook and offer her support or a kind word. Fast forward to this month: Sturch’s daughter Bryanne had planned a lemonade stand, but it got rained out. Some of Sturch’s biker friends suggested she reschedule for the next week, when the group would be in town. When the day of the lemonade stand came, Sturch and her family were overwhelmed: 30 bikers showed up to support Bryanne, including some Sturch had treated at the accident. Needless to say, it was definitely a waterproof mascara kind of day. “I think it’s a perfect example of how just because you don’t look the same way or dress the same way or have the same hobbies or interests doesn’t mean we don’t have the same core values inside us,” Sturch said. “We shouldn’t make assumptions about people, we should just love each other.”
    news
    A once-in-a-Millennium moment
    When a group of special-needs adults in Louisville, Kentucky, made a video of themselves lip-syncing to a Backstreet Boys song, their infectious joy captured the hearts of the internet. That alone is Good Stuff worthy, but then something even cooler happened: The Backstreet Boys saw the video, too, and arranged to meet the group before a tour stop in Louisville. When the big day came, 12 members of the group attended the concert and spent time with the boy band singing, taking photos and rocking out to a BSB dance party. Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson even recorded a heartfelt video message for the performers. “The passion, the joy, the soul that you put in that video was inspiring,” he said.
    us
    I’m gonna stop talking now and just show you another amazing photo from their meet and greet, because that’s where the real story is.
    A biker group's kindness
    This takes the cake
    An officer with a cake baking hobby helped put together a magical birthday for a 13-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. Now that’s multi-talented! Lt. Brandy Forman of the Smyrna Police Department volunteers with a nonprofit, Icing Smiles, that provides custom cakes for families with ill children. The Clinner family had requested a cake for their son, Tye, who was turning 13 and was about to embark on a special trip to Disney World. Tye has cerebral palsy and is unable to walk or sit up on his own, but his mom says he lights up any time someone mentions anything Disney. After hearing his story, Forman told CNN she knew she could help with “way more than a cake.” Her department coordinated a surprise party for Tye complete with pizza, wings and his own officer shirt. They even invited the community to join in, and a few other Atlanta-area police departments brought some police cars around for local children to check out during the celebration. Oh, and of course, the cake was gorgeous. “If you have the opportunity to do something good for someone else, do it,” Forman said.

    Raise a glass to…

    a great Disney idea and a very lucky monkey - CNN
    Kodi Lee, the newly-crowned winner of Season 14 of America’s Got Talent! Lee, 22, is a gifted singer and pianist who blew the judges away from the very start with his rendition of Donny Hathaway’s “A Song For You.” He’s blind and has autism, and his mom says being able to express himself musically has helped him deal with a world that is often hard on people with disabilities. “Through music and performing, he was able to withstand living in this world,” she said. “Because when you’re autistic, it’s really hard to do what everyone else does. It actually has saved his life, playing music.”

    A bright idea

    news
    We have a double dose of Disney this week! The big Mouse has rolled out the Disney Bedtime Hotline again for a limited time. The phone service allows kids to receive a special bedtime message from their favorite Disney character (with help from their parents, of course). It goes like this: The characters detail their day, talk about how ready they are for bedtime, then playfully suggest the child on the phone get ready for bed, too. So, if your best Serious Parent voice can’t get them under the covers, maybe Anna and Elsa can give a much-needed assist. No long-distance fees to Arendelle required!

    You gotta see this

    us
    A lost toy monkey got the royal treatment at Buckingham Palace recently, and there are photos to prove it! Savannah Hart, a 5-year-old student at Woodside Preschool in south Australia, accidentally forgot Harriet, one of her school’s traveling stuffed monkeys, during a tour of the palace. (Harriet is an excellent monkey name, by the way.) Once she was back home, Savannah and her preschool classmates sent a letter asking for Harriet’s safe return. Sure enough, the preschool heard via email that Buckingham Palace staff had found the toy monkey. They said she had been busy eating scones and promised to send her back after photographing her at work around the palace. Okay, Harriet HAS to be the most interesting stuffed monkey in the world now.

    Heroes among us

    A biker group's kindness
    “No charge for this lady under any circumstances.” That was a note left by plumber James Anderson on a bill for a 91-year-old woman with leukemia who needed her boiler replaced. Anderson says the woman, who is receiving palliative care, will have round-the-clock plumbing help if she needs it, and free services for life. Anderson of Burnley, Lancashire turned his plumbing business, DEPHER, into a community project for vulnerable people after he saw an elderly man being “manipulated” by another engineer in the area. Since then, he’s helped thousands of people with their plumbing needs at a reduced or waived cost — even when the work leaves him with a loss. “We need to do something more to help the people who need it most,” Anderson said. The daughter of the 91-year-old woman he helped described Anderson as an “angel dressed as a plumber,” which is just another way of saying he’s a straight-up hero.

    Wanna get away?

    a great Disney idea and a very lucky monkey - CNN
    Looking for your next big trip in 2020? Why not Africa? CNN Travel has put together 30 of the continent’s most breathtaking destinations, any of which could easily reach trip-of-a-lifetime status. Of all the scenic views, this one from the Lekki Conservation Centre in Lagos, Nigeria, really speaks to me. What’s just beyond this lush, curving boardwalk path? Probably more lush, curving boardwalk path, and we’re totally okay with that.

    Tell us something good

    news
    Macon, GA
    After seeing the destruction Hurricane Dorian wrought on the Bahamas, Rikki Kahley turned her bachelorette party to Nassau into a relief trip. Originally, the 24-year-old was going to cancel and even offered to donate the group’s hotel rooms to local families in need but was moved when the resort’s receptionist got emotional about how much tourism business the area was losing. So Kahley and her sister Chloe put out a call for donations and started collecting donated baby wipes, diapers, food, clothes, toys, books and water filtration tools. By the time they boarded the flight to the Bahamas, they had 37 suitcases full of supplies. (Delta Air Lines waived the extra baggage fees.) “Our experience was great. We enjoyed all the Bahamian people we encountered, heard lots of stories about their families and how the hurricane impacted them,” Kahley said.

    Impact your world

    Today is World Gratitude Day! I am grateful for every single person in our Good Stuff family, and for all of the wonderfully kind and insightful notes you send week after week. You are appreciated more than you know. If you want to up the gratitude in your life, here are three easy rituals that can have you feeling more thankful and ready to take on life’s, well, less gratitude-inspiring tasks.

    Shameless animal video

      There’s always time for cute animal videos. That time is now.
      All animals deserve to be petted! Unless they really don’t want to be, of course. But you’d be surprised at how many un-cuddly species are actually just lovebugs in disguise. This baby croc is so happy to get chin scratches he’s making little laser sounds of gratitude. Who could ever say no to that? (Click here to view)

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      Atlantic Coral Grown In Lab For The First Time Offers Hope To Save Wild Reefs

      Coral conservationists at the Florida Aquarium successfully spawned Atlantic pillar coral for the first time in a lab setting earlier this week, a historic breakthrough that could help save wild species and reefs from extinction.

      Sexual reproduction of corals is a notoriously finicky process and can occur both asexually, when new clonal polyps bud off of existing ones, and sexually. Many sexual corals are broadcast spawners, which means that corals produce many male and female gametes to eventually release enormous clouds of sperm and eggs into the water column, according to NOAA. The conditions for such a massive synchronized event have to occur under just the right circumstances, and scientists are still uncertain of all the variables but believe most have to do with temperature, day length, and perhaps even moon cycles – all conditions that have made sexual reproduction in the lab exceedingly difficult.

      As part of Project Coral, scientists at the aquarium’s Center for Conservation in Apollo Beach were able to induce spawning in captive corals using innovative technology. Coral experts mimicked the natural environment of corals by manipulating the lighting of their habitat, including reproducing the timing of the rising and setting of the Sun and Moon.

      Apollo Beach
      A coral spawning event can result in the release of millions of eggs and sperm into the water column. Florida Aquarium

      “The massive and fully synchronized spawning at The Florida Aquarium’s Center for Conservation, which occurred exactly at the predicted wild spawning time, indicated perfect aquatic conditions for pillar corals in our Project Coral system,” said Senior Coral Scientist Keri O’Neil. “When you have great husbandry, great water quality, and all of the right environmental cues, this is what you can do, you can change the game for coral restoration.”

      Coral conservationists say their work will help inform and save corals around the world, including the endangered Florida Reef Tract, a national marine sanctuary located in the Florida Keys. Measuring 2,800 square nautical miles, this diverse area of coral is experiencing a multi-year, disease-related mortality event that has affected as many as 25 coral species, including those listed under the Endangered Species Act, that have shown tissue loss lesions, reports the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.

      Florida Aquarium says their program will offer a “head start” for corals, allowing staff to raise juveniles long enough in captivity before repopulating them in reef systems that offer a better chance of survival.

      “When history is made, there is hope, and today’s scientific breakthrough by The Florida Aquarium’s team of coral experts gives us real hope that we can save the Florida Reef Tract from extinction,” said Roger Germann, Florida Aquarium President and CEO, in a statement. “And, while many coral experts didn’t believe it could be done, we took that challenge to heart and dedicated our resources and expertise to achieve this monumental outcome. We remain fiercely committed to saving North America’s only barrier reef and will now work even harder to protect and restore our Blue Planet.”

      The team first managed to artificially induce a spawn in 2013 and have since spawned 18 species of Pacific corals, but spawns for Atlantic were a challenge up until now, said the aquarium in a blog post

      Association of Zoos & Aquariums
      Project Coral hosts four tanks each measuring 2.4 meters (8 feet) long that are home to around 15 corals. Florida Aquarium

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      Apple’s New Repair Policy Makes Fixing Your iPhone Less of a Nightmare

      Apple announced Thursday that it would expand its iPhone maintenance programs to include selling the same genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics to independent repair shops for the most common out-of-warranty fixes.

      Previously, a store needed to be part of the network of service providers officially authorized by Apple to purchase authentic materials from the company or to repair iPhones without voiding the devices warranties.

      Apple has long faced criticisms for an opaque and restrictive repair process that limited customers options to Apple Stores and its authorized service providers, which were scarce in some regions and often charged large markups for their services.

      When a repair is needed, a customer should have confidence the repair is done right. We believe the safest and most reliable repair is one handled by a trained technician using genuine parts that have been properly engineered and rigorously tested, Apples Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams said in a company blog post.

      Under the new program, an individual repairman at a given business of any size can obtain a certification from Apple at no cost, and his employer can then apply to be able to purchase parts and other repair components from the company. The change will likely extend the business opportunity of repair to smaller stores. Apples authorized service providers have tended to be larger players like Best Buy. Apple said in its blog post that it had piloted the new policy with 20 shops in North America, Europe and Asia.

      Burdens on Apple Stores have risen as consumers arent as quick to upgrade to new iPhones. The need for repairs has increased so much that store staff has complained to the press, an unusual break from the companys stringent anti-leak policy.

      Many consumers simply throw their devices away rather than repairing, recycling, or reselling them, and Apple will often replace a broken device if a consumer brings it into the Apple Store. But the tech giant says its taking steps toward more sustainable operations. The company attempted to emphasize its heavy metal conservation efforts at its annual keynote event last fall, and it releases an environmental report each spring.

      The policy change is a concession to Apples critics, as the tech giant has lobbied against Right to Repair legislation that would make it illegal for the company to keep its repair process so close to the chest.

      iFixit, a chain of repair shops and one of the most adamant proponents of Right to Repair, wrote in a blog post Thursday, By offering this program, Apple is in some ways admitting that much of the lobbying it has done against Right to Repair, on loose warnings about safety and hacking, has been inherently false.

      Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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      World’s largest frogs can move rocks half their weight

      news The Goliath frog belongs to the largest known frog species in the world.(Credit: M. Schäfer/Frogs & Friends e.V.)

      The world’s largest frogs may also have the best pollywog daycare on the market. To protect its wee tadpoles, these enormous amphibians build their own “nursery ponds,” sometimes moving rocks more than half their weight to do so, and then guarding the pond to ensure the next generation’s survival, a new study details.

      The finding marks the first time scientists have described the Goliath frog’s(Conraua goliath) unique nest-building and parenting tactics. However, local frog hunters in Cameroon have known about it for years, and they were the first to tell the researchers about the frogs’ parental dedication.

      In fact, the researchers were studying something completely different (they were studying the diet of Goliath tadpoles) when “we heard about the breeding behavior of the Goliaths and decided to investigate if it [were] true or not,” said study senior researcher Mark-Oliver Rödel, curator of herpetology at the Natural History Museum in Berlin. [15 of the Largest Animals of Their Kind on Earth]

      The 7.3-lb. (3.3 kilograms) Goliath frog is native to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. To learn more about its nesting quirks, the scientists spent part of spring 2018 searching a 1,300-foot (400 meters) section of the Mpoula River in western Cameroon. They also interviewed four frog hunters and two villagers who lived near the river to learn more about C. goliath’s habits.

      In all, the scientists found 22 breeding sites, 14 of which had almost 3,000 eggs apiece. The team even set up a time-lapse video at one nest, which showed a Goliath guarding the nest at night.

      These frogs are creative builders, constructing three different types of nests, the researchers found. One type, the rock-pool nest, was built on larger rocks within the river, meaning that “frogs were using pre-existing structures for breeding,” the researchers wrote in the study.

      For the second type, frogs used naturally existing shallow pools near the river as nests. It appeared that the frogs had enlarged these pools, the researchers noticed, in essence turning a cottage into a McMansion. For the third type, the frogs dug small ponds, surrounding them with large stones, some weighing up to 4.4 lbs. (2 kg).

      Impressively, none of these nests had debris in them, suggesting that the frogs also acted as housekeepers, keeping the ponds clean for their tadpoles. “We have never observed them directly, but from indirect evidence, it is apparent that they push out material (e.g. leaves, pebbles) from natural ponds or push away larger and smaller stones to create their ‘own’ ponds,” Rödel told Live Science in an email.

      It’s likely that the male frogs, which are more than 1.1 feet (34 centimeters) long, use “their huge and very muscular hind legs” to move the stones, he added.

      While the researchers never directly witnessed a Goliath frog digging a nest, “the most detailed description we got (from one frog hunter) was that the male would construct the nest while the female waits in proximity,” the scientists wrote in the study. “Once the nest is finished, the male whistles to attract the female, which then is grasped by the male and eggs are deposited. Afterwards, the female would guard the nest and subsequently open the nest towards the river.”

      Is daycare worth the cost?

      The frogs invest a substantial amount of energy into nest-building, cleaning and guarding. But is it worth it? If their tadpoles survive, it absolutely is, but it appears each nest has benefits and challenges, the researchers found. Nests within a riverbed can flood from heavy rains, allowing predators such as shrimp and fish to get inside and devour the tadpoles, said Rödel, who is also the president of Frogs & Friends, the nongovernmental organization that co-funded the research. [So Tiny! Miniature Frog Species Are Among World’s Smallest (Photos)]

      Digging a pond alongside the river would sidestep these predators, but if it doesn’t rain for a spell, the pond could dry up, killing the tadpoles. “Thus, each of the three nest types has advantages and disadvantages, and the frogs need to choose what is best at a certain time,” Rödel said.

      Goliath frogs aren’t the only amphibian superparents out there. The gladiator frog (Hypsiboas rosenbergi) in South America builds nests for its young, while the male African bullfrog (Pyxicephalus adspersus) guards tadpoles and digs channels up to 40 feet (12 m) long to allow tadpoles to escape from drying pools, the researchers noted. However, Goliath is the only known African frog to build nesting ponds, the researchers said.

      Unfortunately, the Goliath frog is endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, largely because of habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution, disease and hunting. (The frogs are considered a luxury food and are often served at weddings, Rödel said.)

      It would be a shame to lose these creatures without fully understanding them, he said. “The reason why we wanted (and actually did) study the tadpoles, was that we needed to know more about the biology of the species, just to make sure we know what to do in case a captive breeding program might be the last chance for the Goliaths’ survival in the future.”

      The study was published online Friday (Aug. 9) in the Journal of Natural History.

      Originally published on Live Science.

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      Baby rhino is America’s first born from artificial insemination

      Southern white rhino calf at San Diego Zoo raises hopes for the future of wild rhinoceroses

      The bumbling, sleepy rhino calf at San Diego Zoo is sure to delight animal lovers around the world. But for conservation scientists, his birth has additional meaning it marks a significant step toward saving wild rhino populations from the edge of extinction.

      The newborn southern white rhino is the first in North America, and the third in the world, born as the result of artificial insemination.

      His mother Victoria, who carried the calf for 493 days, stayed calm during her 30-minute labor on Sunday, the zoo announced.

      Victoria is doing a great job as a mother, said Barbara Durrant, director of reproductive sciences at San Diego Zoo Global, the not-for-profit organization that runs the zoo. And the calf is doing great. As soon as Victoria took the placenta off him, he was moving. He stood very quickly, and of course, he was very wobbly.

      At two days old, he is steadying himself. And though he stays close to his mother, appears to be growing curious about his surroundings, she reported. The zoo has yet to announce a name for the calf.

      He is very cute, but he has much greater significance, said Durrant. The birth of the new southern rhino calf is part of a plan to save the northern white rhino a related subspecies whose population has dwindled to two.

      The
      The calf stands on its wobbly legs at the zoos Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center. Photograph: Ken Bohn/AP

      Whereas populations of southern white rhinos have recovered and stabilized, thanks to a century of protection and management, northern white rhinos have been decimated by hunting during the colonial era and poaching in recent years. The last male northern white rhino died in March, and only two females of the species remain.

      Durrant and her colleagues at the San Diego Zoo hope that eventually the six female southern white rhinos under their care, including Victoria, will serve as surrogates for northern white rhino embryos, helping revive the population.

      San Diego Zoo Safari Park (@sdzsafaripark)

      BIG NEWS: The pitter patter of little hooves at the Nikita Kahn Rhino Rescue Center ushered in a historic milestone yesterday as Victoria gave birth to a healthy male calf.

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