Lonely Planet: This website aims to find the top places for wildlife spotting in Africa. “Whether you want to tick the Big Five off your African safari bucket list or seek out specific species, a new website from Expert Africa is making it easier than ever to decide which country and even which lodges offer the best chances for wildlife sightings. The data, sourced from more than 700 traveler surveys compiled by the tour operator over two years, has morphed into a huge ‘citizen science’ project and represents nearly 30,000 observations of 26 animal species.”
BBC: Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2020 finalists revealed. “A fish that appears to smile, a bear giving a friendly wave from afar and a very grumpy sea turtle – this year’s finalists show animals in relatable comedy moments. The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards were founded by Paul Joynson-Hicks and Tom Sullam, both professional photographers and passionate conservationists.”
Center for Biological Diversity: Nation’s First Public Database Launched Featuring Research on Links Between Human Population Growth, Extinction Crisis. “The Center for Biological Diversity today launched the nation’s first public database featuring research documenting the links between human population growth and the escalating wildlife extinction crisis. Crowded Planet is a compilation of studies, reports and reviews detailing how human population growth and its associated pressures are driving habitat destruction and other threats to wildlife. The database also features research on effective, human rights-based solutions and the barriers to population advocacy.”
Taipei Times: Taiwan’s wildlife database the second-largest in Asia . “A database on biodiversity in Taiwan has compiled records of almost 10 million wildlife sightings, making it the second-largest wildlife index in Asia, with the vast majority of data coming from volunteers, the Council of Agriculture’s Endemic Species Research Institute said. The Taiwan Biodiversity Network, which was launched in 2007, has recorded 9.87 million animal and plant sightings, Ko Chih-jen (柯智仁), an assistant researcher at the institute, said… adding that India maintains Asia’s largest database with up to 19 million recorded sightings.”
Reuters: Vietnam bans wildlife trade to curb risk of pandemics. “Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has issued a directive to ban the Southeast Asian country’s wildlife trade with immediate effect in order to reduce the risk of new pandemics, a government statement said. The directive bans imports of live wild animals and wildlife products, eliminates wildlife markets, and enforce prohibitions on illegal hunting and trading of wild animals, including online sales, according to the statement issued late on Thursday.”
CNET: Bears thrive at Yosemite National Park without pesky humans around. “With Yosemite National Park in California closed to the public due to coronavirus concerns, the wildlife seems to be flourishing. In fact, animals like bears, bobcats and coyotes that usually shy away from crowds are venturing into areas where people normally camp or park their cars.”
Phys .org: Most laws ignore human-wildlife conflict—this makes us vulnerable to pandemics. “The current available evidence indicates COVID-19 was first transmitted in a wildlife market in Wuhan. The disease likely originated in pangolins, bats, or a combination of both and was then transmitted to humans. While various commentators have blamed pangolins, bats, or even our lack of ‘mastery’ of wildlife, the real cause of this pandemic goes deeper—into the laws, cultures and institutions of most countries.”
Al Jazeera: Illegal wildlife trade goes online as China shuts down markets. “China’s top e-commerce and express delivery operators are under pressure from the government and wildlife activists to become de facto enforcers of the country’s temporary ban on the trade in wildlife.”
National Geographic: Fake animal news abounds on social media as coronavirus upends life. “People are compelled to share posts that make them emotional. When we’re feeling stressed, joyous animal footage can be an irresistible salve. The spread of social phenomena is so powerful, 2016 research shows, that it can follow same models that trace the contagion of epidemics.”
The Next Web: AI analyzes biology studies to find out we’re getting better at wildlife conservation . “A new AI system has revealed that we’re finally getting better at wildlife conservation. Researchers came to this conclusion after using machine learning to analyze more than 4,000 studies on species reintroduction across four decades.”
KSL: New website allows people to look at Utah’s wildlife migration patterns. “Since the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Wildlife Migration Initiative launched in 2017, nearly 3,000 animals have been tracked over more than 15 million locations. Some of the information gathered from the research is now available for the public to see online.” Regular readers of ResearchBuzz might be saying, “Didn’t you just do a thing about wildlife migration in Utah?” I did in October, but that was just waterfowl.
Atlas Obscura: See 500 Years of Artful Nature Illustrations. “Now, the collaborative Biodiversity Heritage Library—a digital archive compiled by a consortium of natural-history libraries—has released over 150,000 artworks of the natural world, allowing public access to one of the largest illustrated compendiums of life on Earth. Years before wildlife photographers began to catalogue the world’s egrets, cephalopods, and rafflesia corpse flowers, artists like Elizabeth Gould were portraying species with illustrations, often reprinted as lithographs for the public.”
EurekAlert: I spy with my digital eye … a tiger’s breathing, a lion’s pulse. “A pilot study undertaken by researchers from the University of South Australia at Adelaide Zoo, has developed a new way to undertake basic health checks of exotic wildlife using a digital camera, saving them the stress of an anaesthetic. Filming animals using a high-resolution digital camera installed on a tripod could offer another way for veterinarians to take an animal’s pulse or check its breathing rate.”
Times of India: Forest department to use artificial intelligence in lion census. “The state wildlife board has directed the forest department to use methods based on artificial intelligence during the lion census to avoid and eradicate duplication of entries, and enhance identification of individual animals.”
Science: New website aims to gather all those camera trap mugs of wildlife. “Wildlife Insights will allow users to upload camera trap images and then have software powered by artificial intelligence analyze them. Users will be able to ask the system to search for their animal of interest, and all of the images will be publicly available. That could be a huge help to researchers, Kinnaird says, saving time and putting a global data set within easy reach.” I spent a few minutes playing with this, and for the most part it’s pretty good, but I really doubt there’s a camera in North Carolina capturing pictures of white-nosed coati. Call me cynical.