Nature News #27

Bird News

Researchers tracking the migration of a red knot have documented an annual flight of 26,700 km between its Argentinian wintering grounds and breeding site in Nunavut.

Levels of toxic mercury in the eggs of water birds downstream from the oilsands have grown by 50 per cent over the last 30 years

Research is beginning to show that tens of thousands of tagged gannets from Newfoundland are flying into the oil spill area in the Gulf of Mexico.

A young girl in Ontario concerned about Piping Plovers has sparked a month long art display to support the National Audubon’s efforts to clean the Gulf of Mexico.

Manitoba and The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel are to sign a memorandum of understanding for further cooperation regarding birding, tourism and the environment.

A Calliope hummingbird from the western mountains was spotted in Nova Scotia after the passage of hurricane Earl.

As Ontario moves the bobolink to the list of threatened species, the full force of habitat protection regulations will fall on farmers with hay crops.

Mammal News

For the second year in a row, captive raised black-footed ferrets have been released into the protected plains of Saskatchewan’s Grassland National Park.

Environment Canada has put out a tender for companies to study the socio-economic importance of polar bears for Canada to “appraise the animal’s value as a national icon”.

Dozens of rabbits who escaped a cull by the University of Victoria broke out of their safe haven at the World Parrot Refuge and were shot by a neighbor.

Scientists studying the narwhal in the Arctic have found there are more than 10 million tiny nerve connections in their tusks, making them unique in the animal world.

The mayor of Castlegar, BC wants to know why conservation officers have killed 60 bears in the area this year, compared to 12 animals in 2009.

Fish News

The total number of salmon in the North Pacific is at a historic high, although as much as 20% of the population comes from fish hatcheries and are not wild.

Scientists are wondering if the high numbers of Humboldt squid off the BC coast last year may be the cause of  the drop in salmon numbers in the Fraser River.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada will allocate  $415,000 to assess the ecological risk of an Asian carp invasion to the Great Lakes.

Canadian scientists from COSEWIC are reviewing whether to list Atlantic bluefin tuna as an endangered species in Canada.

The cod spawning stock on the Grand Banks have increased 69 per cent since 2007, but are still well below historic levels.

Herptile News

Laurentian University has received a federal grant to find ways of reducing the mortality of turtles in Ontario

Researchers have attached radio collars to Blanding’s turtles in an effort to understand their movements, and where they cross roads

Provincial wildlife officials think there is now a breeding population of garter snakes in western Newfoundland.

Insect News

A late rush of aggressive mosquitoes has invaded Moncton, NB

The brown marmorated stink bug is making its way north, and may be in Toronto already.

Ecosystem News

Suncor has revealed a patented new technology that creates quick-drying material in days, thus ending the need for tailings ponds.

Enbridge’s current proposal to have oil supertankers sail right through the Great Bear Rainforest region conflicts with the $120M committed for conservation of the area.

As wetlands vanish, the Alberta government is ignoring recommendations for a new provincial wetland policy and implementation plan.

The Canadian Council on Ecological Areas website shows how much of Canada’s lands and marine areas are protected by provincial and federal governments.

An advocacy group has been formed to monitor and protect the the North Saskatchewan River,  the surrounding land and water that drains into it.

UNESCO has named 2,500 sq km along the Bay of Fundy coastline as North America’s first geopark, one of 77 in the world.

The Alberta government has appointed six independent scientists to investigate conflicting water monitoring data from the oilsands region.

The Quebec government has imposed a two year moratorium on any oil or gas exploration in the fragile St. Lawrence Estuary.

Note: Canada hasn’t been this newsworthy in just one week – this recap actually covers two weeks, as I was away last week and unable to post on Friday.

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