90% habitat of African apes is at risk



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90% habitat of African apes is at risk

90% habitat of African apes is at risk, according to a recent scientific study. The research, published in the journal Diversity and distributions, said that half of the land that the apes will no longer have at their disposal is found in national parks and other protected areas.

The research shows that the sharp decline in habitable land for these monkeys will be closely linked to global warming, the destruction of wilderness to extract minerals, timber and food resources, but also human population growth.

In a first scenario, action is taken to curb the rise in temperature, the loss of habitat and the growth of the human population. In the second, this attempt is very limited. Climate change will create new habitats suitable for monkeys, but to reach them they will have to move.

There will be some migration and a key action to avoid loss of territories is to ensure a connection between the places where the monkeys live, creating new protected areas, easily reachable from each other. The scientists then said that good conservation work is already being done in some places on the continent, for example the development of agriculture, mining and Gabon's road and rail links has focused on already degraded areas, avoiding compromising the intact forests, habitat of many primates.

However, the most effective protection for great apes could come from consumers in wealthy nations if they committed to choosing to purchase sustainably produced goods.

Québec has authorized the hunt for gray seals

Meanwhile we told you how Canadian province of Québec has authorized the hunt for gray seals on the island of Brion, seals then destined for scientific purposes.

The authorities have announced that the entire hunting season will be the subject of scientific observations and complementary to a research project led by Professor Stéphane Boudreau, head of the Department of Biology at Laval University.

Minister of the Environment and Combating Climate Change Benoit Charette announced the authorization for the killing. The number of seals that will be sacrificed, as well as the modalities that will be allowed to hunt them, have not yet been decided.

At the moment it is only known that the first gray seals could be killed during the winter of 2021, but it is not specified whether in the first or last months of next year. The area where pinnipeds can be killed has not yet been established, but a part of the beach that is part of the island's nature reserve, where a large colony is located, will probably be affected of these animals.

The colony of gray seals has increased considerably on Brion Island, and scientists want to understand if the growing number of specimens can cause problems for local flora and fauna. According to the seal hunters, the government concession would not be sufficient to stem the problem of the colony's growth, while environmental groups protest against the decision.

The very practice of hunting, however, due to the panic unleashed among fleeing animals, in turn can lead to the destruction of the delicate ecosystem of the dunes, so the scientists want to evaluate the impact of both factors involved.

Laval stressed that the stomach contents of at least 30 or 40 specimens killed will be examined for ad hoc investigations, and the muscle tissue of pinnipeds will probably also be studied. The research project is expected to last 3 years and also includes the installation of cameras to observe the evolution of the colony and its impact on the balance of the ecosystem.

“We want to see if this seal, since the founding of the colony, has had an impact on the dynamics of terrestrial ecosystems, in particular on the island's dune ecosystems, where some species of fauna or flora considered vulnerable live,” said Professor Laval.

In simple terms, the large pinnipeds would be destroying several threatened species, the reduction of which can have an impact on the entire equilibrium of the island ecosystem.