Article and video Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39738582
“Lulu had a level of PCBs of 957mg/kg – and this has put her as one of the most contaminated individuals we have ever looked at.”
Scientists believe Lulu’s age, estimated to be at least 20, may be one reason that the levels of PCBs were so high, because they had built up over the years.
The chemicals have a range of effects. There is evidence that they can impair the immune system. They also affect reproduction, preventing killer whales from bearing young.
It is estimated that there is a million tonnes of PCB-contaminated material waiting to be disposed in Europe.
But getting rid of them is expensive and difficult – they need to be incinerated at more than 1,000C to be destroyed.
Prof Ian Boyd, chief scientific adviser at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), said that the issue was very concerning but also complicated.
He said: “The records show PCBs have been declining in concentration in the marine environment, so the regulation we have in place is working.
“It’s just they take a very long time to disappear. Overall I think we are going in the right direction, but it is going to take many more years to get to a point where they are going to disappear entirely.”
Of all the stresses that humans have inflicted on the world’s oceans, including pollution and global warming, industrial fishing ranks high. For years, trawlers capable of scouring the ocean floor, and factory ships trailing driftnets and longlines baited with thousands of hooks, have damaged once-abundant fisheries to the point where, the United Nations says, 90 percent of them are now fully exploited or facing collapse.
The damage is not just to the fish and the ecosystem but also to people who depend on them for food and income. This is particularly true in Africa. In 2008, in two striking articles, The Times reported that mechanized fleets from the European Union, Russia and China had nearly picked clean the oceans off Senegal and other northwest African countries, ruining coastal economies.
In a move that is baffling many, from environmentalists to its own people, the Norwegian government has announced a plan to cull two-thirds of its wild wolf population. At last count, that population is currently at just 68.
The government is justifying the cull – the largest planned since 1911 – by claiming it is predator population control to minimize harm done to farmers’ sheep. However, environmental groups, including WWF Norway, have argued that the damage caused by such a small population is minimal and the government’s response is out of proportion and motivated by other factors.
At the heart of the matter is the conflict between sheep farmers and conservationists. Norway is a large sheep farming nation, unique in letting most of its 2 million sheep roam free all summer without herding, fencing and with little supervision.
- Why do you think that the Norwegian government has decided to cull wolves, an endangered species?
- In a situation where human interests and animal well-being conflict, which should win out? Why?
Other videos (spoken English, but Chinese subs): https://youtu.be/OpQ9uDMEPwQ?list=PLIxEknQ66lKSk0fwlDkl88DBCdktya6-9
- Do you buy animal parts from endangered animals?
- How would using celebrities help to increase awareness of important matters?
Giant panda populations in the wild have risen steadily by 17 percent in the decade up to 2014, when a nationwide census found 1,850 giant pandas in the wild in China. That’s up from the last census of 1,600 animals in 2003.
“It’s a good day to be a panda,” Ginette Hemley, senior vice president for wildlife conservation at WWF, a nonprofit whose logo is the giant panda. “We’re thrilled.”
Success for the giant panda, endangered since 1990, is thanks to two factors: A marked decrease in poaching, which was rampant in the 1980s; and a huge expansion of the animal’s protected habitat. (Also read “Pandas Get to Know Their Wild Side.”)
The name Gila monster comes from Arizona’s Gila River Basin, where the lizards were first discovered. But new research suggests the iconic animals are facing new threats, from development and a changing climate in their natural habitat. Officially, the animals are classified as near threatened, but their status could soon change for the worse, scientists warn.