Pangolin traffickers opening up new routes: study

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) — Pangolin smugglers are constantly opening up new routes to evade law enforcement agencies, a study showed Friday, highlighting the challenge of tackling the trade in the world’s most heavily trafficked mammal. While at least 20 tons of pangolins and their parts are seized annually after being trafficked across borders, smugglers were using dozens of new routes for the illegal trade every year in a determined effort to stay ahead of […]

Global, Asian heat waves in 2016 due purely to climate change: study

by Kerry Sheridan Agence France Presse MIAMI, United States (AFP) — Last year’s global heat record, extreme heat in Asia and unusually warm waters off the coast of Alaska happened purely because the planet is getting warmer due to human activities like burning fossil fuels, a study said Wednesday. The findings mark the first time that global scientists have identified severe weather that could not have happened without climate change, said the peer-reviewed report titled […]

Ticked off: Tiny ‘dracula’ with a taste for dino blood

by Mariëtte Le Roux Agence France-Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — Dinosaurs, the most fearsome creatures ever to walk the Earth, were bugged already 100 million years ago by a paltry pest that still plagues animals today: the bloodsucking tick, scientists have discovered. Preserved for eternity in amber, fossilised tree resin, researchers have found a hard tick — uncannily similar to those we know — clinging to a 99-million-year-old dinosaur feather, a team wrote in the […]

Warming Arctic is ‘new normal,’ will affect us all: report

by Kerry SHERIDAN Agence France Presse MIAMI, United States (AFP) — A rapidly warming Arctic, where temperatures are rising twice as fast as the rest of the planet, is the “new normal,” and the melting ice is triggering environmental changes that will affect the whole world, warned a global scientific report Tuesday. The Arctic is going through “an unprecedented transition in human history,” that will accelerate sea level rise and boost the frequency of extreme […]

World’s space agencies propose setting up climate observatory

PARIS, France (AFP) — The heads of several of the world’s space agencies have proposed the creation of a climate observatory to pool acquired data and share it with scientists around the globe, according to a declaration adopted Monday in Paris. On the eve of the One Planet Summit organised in the French capital, the space agencies’ chiefs met to discuss climate monitoring from space, including such areas as greenhouse gases, water resource management and the use […]

France caught in war with wolves

by Marie Wolfrom Agence France Presse SEDERON, France (AFP) — Furtive, wily and the animal of fairy tales, wolves fascinate nature lovers, but they raise fears among French sheep breeders who are trying to save their flocks. Amid debate in France on a future policy towards wolves, the government is being asked to come to the aide of sheep farming. “In one night, we lost 10 percent of our flock,” said Claire Lapie, 32, a […]

World’s nations adopt plan ‘towards a pollution-free planet’

by Mariëtte Le Roux Agence France Presse NAIROBI, Kenya (AFP) — The world’s nations vowed Wednesday to curb plastic and chemical contamination of the air, soil, rivers and oceans, calling for a steep change in how goods are produced and consumed. Government envoys issued a political declaration outlining the path to “a pollution-free planet” at the third UN Environment Assembly (UNEA). “Pollution is cutting short the lives of millions of people every year,” said the […]

Climate change: can hummingbirds take the heat?

by Marlowe HOOD Agence France Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — Extreme heat sometimes forces hummingbirds to seek shade instead of foraging for food, researchers said Wednesday, warning that global warming could test the tiny birds’ capacity to adapt. With hearts beating more than 1,000 times a minute, hummingbirds need to feed constantly, which means they can ill afford to spend time dodging sunshine, according to a report in the journal Royal Society Open Science. “They […]

Global warming outpacing current forecasts: study

by Marlowe Hood Agence France Presse PARIS, France (AFP) — The UN’s forecast for global warming is about 15 percent too low, which means end-of-century temperatures could be 0.5 degrees Celsius higher than currently predicted, said a study released Wednesday. The prediction makes the already daunting challenge of capping global warming at “well under” 2.0 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) — the cornerstone goal of the 196-nation Paris Agreement — all the more difficult, the […]

Australian dogs trained to sniff out endangered species

SYDNEY, Australia (AFP) — Australian dogs are being trained to sniff out the droppings of endangered animals in a scheme that offers greater understanding of threatened species through the less-intrusive method of canine tracking. Emma Bennett, a PhD candidate at Monash University in Melbourne, is working with environmentally-conscious dog owners who have volunteered their pets in a rainforest region of Victoria state to track the scats, or droppings, of the endangered tiger quoll, a small […]

India, Sri Lanka cyclone death toll rises to 26

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AFP) — Thousands took to relief camps in Sri Lanka and southern India on Saturday to escape rising floodwaters after a cyclone killed at least 26 people. Cyclone Ockhi has left 13 people dead in Sri Lanka and killed an equal number in India’s Kerala and Tamil Nadu states since Friday as it churns in the Arabian Sea. Eleven people, mostly fishermen, remained missing in the two countries as nearly 9,000 people […]