Animals of the Week
Thu, 31 May 2012 3:30p.m.
By Hannah Sarney
This week it was reported that one of the ocean's largest and fastest fish, the Pacific bluefin tuna, carried radioactive contamination almost 10,000km - from Japan's crippled nuclear plants to the United States (I immediately thought of this, not this).
It is the first time an enormous migrating fish has been shown to carry radioactivity such a distance. Scientists didn't expect it to linger in the huge fish because they can metabolize and shed radioactive substances.
Pacific bluefin tuna migration has been described as "sailing the world" - they spawn off Japan's coast and swim east at breakneck speed to school in waters off California and the tip of Baja California, Mexico.
David Attenborough has added a touch of class to humour more suited to the gutter and/or back lawn. He narrated a tortoise mounting a croc (of the shoe variety) on the fantastic The Graham Norton Show:
Another highly respected gentleman has predicted that scepticism over evolution will soon be history. Richard Leakey believes that in the next 15 to 30 years scientific discoveries will have accelerated to the point that "even the sceptics can accept it.”
"If you get to the stage where you can persuade people on the evidence, that it's solid, that we are all African, that colour is superficial, that stages of development of culture are all interactive," Leakey says, "then I think we have a chance of a world that will respond better to global challenges".
One of those challenges is global warming. It is threatening the existence of many species. However, warming temperatures have been the rescue remedy for the once-rare brown Argus butterfly.
Short-haired bees have also made a comeback. They were almost entirely wiped out in rural Britain about two decades ago due to habitat destruction - and they were declared extinct in Britain 12 years ago. But 50 of them were released this week!
Fun facts: they are otherwise known as the humble-bee, but their scientific name is Bombus subterraneus. Good names.
The UN estimates more than 70 crop species (of the 100 that provide 90 percent of the world’s food) are pollinated by bees. Therefore, the global decline in bee populations could soon hit food supplies.
"The problem of vanishing bees is a complex one and there is no single solution, but the planting of wildflowers is enormously helpful," said Tim Lovett, a former president of British Bee Keepers Association. "Other people can help too, by planting bee friendly plants like lavender in their garden, and local authorities can plant more trees. We all have to do something because we are all in it together.”
MUCH HAPPIER NEWS:
Here is the new Simon's Cat!
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