EU ban on bird imports sees ‘massive’ cuts in global trade

EU ban on bird imports sees ‘massive’ cuts in global trade

Wild birds are one of the most traded animals on the global market, with approximately 1.3 million birds bought and sold internationally every year, according to Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) [1].However, the introduction of the EU ban on trade of wild birds in 2005 has reduced global trade by around 90%, according to new research published in the journal Science Advances [2].Before 2005, EU members such as Belgium, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain accounted for the buying of around two thirds of all birds sold on the global market.The ban was a result of fears of a loss of biodiversity in countries where the birds were captured and an increase in the spread of exotic birds in imported nations, which can cause damage to ecosystems as local crops are destroyed and the population of native birds is threatened as they are outcompeted for food.As a result of the ban, Latin America has...
Read More
Dogs help to keep you happy and healthy!

Dogs help to keep you happy and healthy!

Dogs have long been associated with a range of health benefits such as: Improving your heart health - dog owners have been found to reduce your risk of heart disease. Improving your physical health - dog owners are recommended to do 2 and a half hours of moderate exercise. Helping you lose weight as a result of moderate exercise. Decreasing your stress levels - dogs have been found to help decrease stress hormones in the human body. Improve your social life as you meet more people through your dog. Decrease depression - dogs provide great companionships which helps to decrease loneliness and depression. A new study has recently added increased lifespan to that list! Researchers at Uppsala University, Sweden [1]carried out a 12 year longitudinal study to investigate dog ownership and lifespan. The study analysed 3.2 million Swedes aged 40-80 years old who had no history of illness. In Sweden, all dogs must be registered with the Swedish Board of Agriculture and, consequently,...
Read More
A new DNA tool may help reduce illegal wildlife crime

A new DNA tool may help reduce illegal wildlife crime

There are approximately 41 000 species on the Red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)(http://www.iucnredlist.org/), the most comprehensive inventory of the conservation status of plant and animal species. Of these species, 16 306 are classified as endangered species at risk of extinction.Although extinction is a natural evolutionary process, human activity such as hunting and wildlife crime has been a significant contributor to the number of species at risk of extinction and the loss of biodiversity.Wildlife crime refers to the illegal selling and trade of animals and plant parts such as tissue, bone and meat for the purpose of food, pets, leather, medicine and regalia. Increased levels of wildlife trade has caused a negative effect on wildlife populations and is a significant threat to the survival of many species.However, engineers have recently developed a new tool, a DNA barcoder, which can rapidly identify species using a minute sample of tissue.The DNA barcoder uses a DNA sequence to...
Read More
How well do you know your food?

How well do you know your food?

Spices are parts of a plants that have been powdered into small pieces; they are widely used in cooking and some are known to have medicinal benefits. In some countries, plants used for spices are considered economic crops. For example, Saffron, per ounce, is worth more than gold! However, where there is potential for economic gain there is also potential for exploitation. Particularly with spices, as they are distributed in their processed form, it can be very difficult to prove and identify their original species and whether they are the genuine product. Recent developments combining DNA barcoding and High Resolution Melting Analysis (HRM) has been used by scientists to determine the authenticity of several spices belonging to the Zingiberaceae family (ginger family) [1]. Only one of seven of the shops which bought spice products contained the species on their label, the remainder were either incorrect or had contamination of other products in them. Being able to detect substitution, adulteration or contamination of products...
Read More
Sixth mass extinction is underway..

Sixth mass extinction is underway..

Evidence from fossil records has suggested that a sixth mass extinction is underway due to a large number of species disappearing within a relatively short period of time. Although extinction is a natural process which scientists suggests effects up to 98% of species., there is growing concern for the rate of modern extinction. The dramatic increase in extinction rate due to human activities such as hunting, trade, development and pollution is 100-1000 times higher than the natural background rate and does not give ecosystems enough time to recover their populations, causing many species to be listed as endangered under the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. But are some species more prone to extinction than others? New research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [1] which compared more than 27 000 vertebrates and analysed the relationship between body size and extinction risk found that of the 4000 species threatened with extinction both the heaviest and the smallest...
Read More
Eagles killed and sold illegally on the black market

Eagles killed and sold illegally on the black market

Project Dakota Flyer, an operation set up by the Fish and Wildlife Service in the US, has been investigating the illegal selling of eagles and other protected birds in South Dakota. Eagle parts such as wings, head, feet and feathers are often illegally sold on the black market. This commercialisation of protected birds for the economic gain of illegal traders goes against the safeguarding of species such as the bald eagle and the golden eagle. Bald eagles were removed from the Endangered Species act in 2007 after intense population management resulted in a flourishing increase in the bird of preys population. This increase was due to the banning of the pesticide DDT which contaminated the birds prey, resulting in a great decline in population. Both the golden eagle and the bald eagle are protected by federal laws in the US to help prohibit the possession, use and sale of eagle feathers and parts that have been illegally obtained through means...
Read More