Tag: endangered species

Popular Weed Killer Harms Honeybees, New Study Shows

Can you imagine a world without honey? It’s a depressing thought, but according to a new study, honeybees are increasingly in danger of deadly infections. What’s the culprit? Look no further than the world’s most popular weed killer, glyphosate.

But this isn’t the first time weed killers have been known to damage honeybees.

What The Previous Reports Said

Previous studies reported that harmful pesticides, including neonicotinoids, can damage honeybees’ abilities to pollinate. As we all learned in school, pollination is a vital function in the food chain and a crucial process for nearly three-quarters of food farms.

Thanks to a new study from the University of Texas at Austin, researchers have learned the weed killer glyphosate, manufactured by Monsanto, is damaging a lot more than the bees’ abilities to pollinate; it’s killing them.

Observing The Bees

Researchers learned bees “lose some of the beneficial bacteria in their guts and are more susceptible to infection and death from harmful bacteria.”

The only way to test this theory, however, was to subject bees to levels of glyphosate commonly found in the weed killer used for crop fields, yard, and roadsides. After three days, the exposed bees already showed signs of a “significantly reduced healthy gut microbiota.”

It wasn’t long after the experiment that the bees began dying from the exposure, and that’s when researchers knew the severity of using glyphosate.

Supporting The Facts

It was previously reported that bees weren’t harmed by herbicides. However, according to Erick Motta, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin, this isn’t true.

“We need better guidelines for glyphosate use, especially regarding bee exposure,” Motta said.

But Motta’s research isn’t the only data supporting this study. Other research from China reported in July that honeybee larvae grew more slowly and died more often after being exposed to weed killer.

Another study, conducted in 2015, showed that adult bees exposed to high levels of glyphosate have an increased chance of impairing “the cognitive capacities needed for a successful return to the hive.”

Denying The Truth

But Monsanto, whose product Roundup contains the herbicide, has denied the findings of research into the harmful levels of glyphosate.

A representative commented, “Claims that glyphosate has a negative impact on honeybees are simply not true.”

Glyphosate isn’t the only harmful threat to the honeybee population.

Bees and other pollinators are affected by the same environmental challenges as other endangered species, including habitat loss, degradation, diseases, pollution, fragmentation, and climate change.

As is the case for many animals, we need honeybees. Bees pollinate about 80% of wildflowers, and as noted, play a key role in the food chain. We may take them for granted, but we shouldn’t. Bees help plants grow, breed and produce the food we consume—including almonds, vanilla, apples, and squash. If you like those foods and other plants, thank a honeybee today.

After all, they keep you fed. Isn’t that a reason to be treated well?

Endangered Animal Lovers Rejoice! Nepal’s Tiger Population Doubles After 9 Years

There may be hope yet for the endangered Bengal tiger.

These majestic creatures, which once roamed the Earth in numbers topping 50,000, have seen their population quickly decline over the last century due to habitat loss and poaching. In 2008, the Bengal tiger was listed as an endangered species as more and more began dwindling away. Only about 4,000 Bengal tigers are alive today.

While all of these tiger statistics are grim, conservation efforts in Nepal have shown great progress.

In a survey carried out earlier this year, 235 Bengal tigers were accounted for in Nepal, which is nearly a two-fold increase from the 121 tigers recorded in 2009. Thanks to political involvement and innovative conservation strategies, the Bengal tiger population in Nepal may sustain itself longer than previously thought.

Tiger Numbers On The Rise

By utilizing more than 4,000 cameras and 600 elephants, wildlife experts were able to track tigers residing along Nepal’s southern planes. After traveling the 1,700-mile route, they amazingly found the tiger population doubled in size after 9 years.

Its important to point out that the population’s growth isn’t due to luck.

“This is a result of concentrated unified efforts by the government along with the local community and other stakeholders to protect the tiger’s habitat and fight against poaching,” said Man Bahadur Khadka, director general of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation.

The 2010 Conservation Plan

After severe deforestation and habitat loss ravaged big cat populations all across Asia, several countries decided to make a difference.

In 2010, Nepal and 13 other countries pledged to double their tiger populations by 2022 by signing the 2010 Tiger Conservation Plan. This plan has been backed by officials across the world, including high-profile celebrities like actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

“This significant increase in Nepal’s tiger population is proof that when we work together, we can save the planet’s wildlife – even species facing extinction,” DiCaprio said. “Nepal has been a leader in efforts to double tigers within its own borders and serves as a model for conservation for all of Asia and the world. I am proud of my foundation’s partnership with WWF to support Nepal and local communities in doubling the population of wild tigers.”

DiCaprio founded the Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation in 1998 in an effort to protect the world’s wildlife.

The foundation has been actively working with the World Wildlife Fund, an international wilderness preservation organization, to increase tiger populations in Nepal and around the world.

Every Tiger Counts

Ghana Gurung, a representative of World Wildlife Fund, said the progress in Nepal is an example tiger conservationists around the globe should follow and take note of. Although, Gurung also notes the work to protect the world’s tigers is far from over.

“The challenge now is to continue these efforts to protect their habitats and numbers for the long-term survival of the tigers,” Gurung said.

“Every tiger counts, for Nepal and for the world,” said Gurung. “While Nepal is but a few tigers away from our goal to double tiger numbers by 2022, it also underscores the continued need to ensure protection, and improved and contiguous habitats for the long-term survival of the species.”