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Seven-Mile Long ‘Bee Corridor’ Aims to Boost London’s Declining Bee Population

Emma Fiala

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Bee Corridor London
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London’s bee population will soon be getting a boost thanks to a seven-mile “bee corridor” being constructed in the London Borough of Brent.

The borough recently announced plans to connect 22 “urban meadows” together to create the corridor in an effort to encourage growth of the London bee population after a recent study revealed a large drop in the UK’s bee population since the 1980s. According to a statement on Brent’s website, “Researchers believe the loss of wild habitats has played a large part in this, with more than 97% of the UK’s wildflower meadows disappearing since the Second World War,” which is why they’re fighting back by boosting those very same habitats.

An artist’s rendition of a bee enjoying the seven mile-long corridor. (Brent Council)

The bee corridor will be bursting with vibrant and colorful wildflowers and should be done just in time for summer 2019. The borough hopes the corridor will not only support the declining bee population, but also serve as an oasis for other insects like butterflies, bees, dragonflies and moths that rely on the same flowers to flourish.

The bits of land that will serve as the connections between the 22 pre-chosen parks and green spaces are currently being plowed. When they are ready, seeds like ragged robin, cowslip and common poppy will be planted.

Kelly Eaton, public Realm Policy explained, “The Parks team curated the mix of wildflowers with bees and other insects in mind, choosing varieties that would attract these pollinators.”

Cllr Krupa Sheth, Lead Member for Environment, said of the plan:

Bees and other insects are so important for pollinating the crops that provide the food that we eat. We must do all we can to help them to thrive. I’m proud of Brent’s commitment to boost biodiversity in the borough and look forward to seeing the meadows in full bloom in just a few months’ time.”

Krupa Sheth sowing seeds on the corridor. (Brent Council)

Bees are critical pollinators and thus are vital to global food supplies. Nevertheless, bee populations have been on the decline worldwide in recent years, with scientists and activists sounding the alarm about the various causes, including the overuse of toxic insecticides called neonicotinoids, a dwindling food supply, parasites and diseases, and acts of vandalism.

Animals

As Marine Life Flees the Equator, Global Mass Extinction is Imminent: Scientists

Elias Marat

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The waters surrounding the equator are one of the most biodiverse areas in the globe, with the tropical area rich in marine life including rare sea turtles, whale sharks, manta rays, and other creatures.

However, rampant rises in temperate have led to a mass exodus of marine species from the sensitive region – with grave implications for life on earth.

While ecologists have long seen the thriving biodiversity of equatorial species holding constant in the past few centuries, a new study by Australian researchers published in The Conversation has found that warming global temperatures are now hitting the equator hard, potentially leading to an unprecedented mass extinction event.

The researchers from the Universities of Auckland, Queensland, and the Sunshine Coast found that as waters surrounding the equator continue to heat up, the ecosystem is being disrupted and forcing species to flee toward the cooler water of the South and North Pole.

The massive changes in marine ecosystems that this entails will have a grave impact not only on ocean life – essentially becoming invasive species in their new homes –  but also on the human livelihoods that depend on it.

“When the same thing happened 252 million years ago, 90 percent of all marine species died,” the researchers wrote.

To see where marine life is headed, the researchers tracked the distribution of about 49,000 different species to see what their trajectory was. The global distribution of ocean life typically resembles a bell curve, with far fewer species near the poles and more near the equator.

However, the vast alteration of the curve is already in motion as creatures flee to the poles, according to a study they published in the journal PNAS.

These changes augur major disruptions to global ecosystem as marine life scrambles in a chaotic fight for food, space, and resources – with a mass die-off and extinction of creatures likely resulting.

The research underscores the dire need for human societies to control rampant climate change before the biodiversity and ecological health of the planet is pushed past the point of no return.

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Animals

Rare Creature Photographed Alive In The Wild For The First Time Ever

Elias Marat

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Advances in the methods used by researchers to watch wildlife have allowed for the photographing of a rare creature whose image had never been captured in the wild before.

Researchers in the West African nation of Togo were able to spot the rare Walter’s duiker, a rare species of petite African antelope, for the first time in the wild thanks to camera traps equipped with motion sensors.

In addition to the Walter’s duiker, the camera traps were also able to discover rare species of aardvarks and a mongoose, reports Gizmodo.

At a time when the extinction of entire species is becoming more common worldwide, such devices should help conservationists not only preserve creatures sought by bushmeat hunters but also spot rare animals whose presence is elusive for human observers. In the past, biologists were forced to rely on the same hunters for information.

“Camera traps are a game changer when it comes to biodiversity survey fieldwork,” said University of Oxford wildlife biologist Neil D’Cruze.

“I’ve spent weeks roughing it in tropical forests seemingly devoid of any large mammal species,” D’Cruze continued. “Yet when you fire up the laptop and stick in the memory card from camera traps that have been sitting there patiently during the entire trip—and see species that were there with you the entire time —it’s like being given a glimpse into a parallel world.”

The Walter’s duiker was discovered in 2010 when specimens of bushmeat were compared to other duiker specimens. The new images of the creature are the first to have been seen.

Rare species like Walter’s duiker are often not listed as “endangered” by groups like the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to a lack of data.

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Animals

‘Horrific’ Swarms of Spiders, Snakes Invade Australian Homes Amid Devastating Floods

Elias Marat

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In recent years, Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales (NSW) has faced everything from drought to brushfires, a pandemic, a recent all-consuming plague of mice and now, devastating floods and massive hordes of spiders.

In videos shared across social media, hundreds if not thousands of spiders can be seen scrambling through people’s homes and garages prior to an evacuation order being issued on early Saturday in expectation of the floods.

In one video posted to Facebook by Melanie Williams, the arachnids of all sizes can be seen scrambling about in search of shelter from the coming deluge.

“Check these spiders out, oh my god, oh my god! Look at them all,” Williams said in the video. “No! No! Oh my god.”

The Guardian reports that Kinchela resident Matt Lovenfosse was pulling up to his home on Monday morning when he witnessed what appeared to be a sea of “millions” of spiders climbing about to escape the floodwaters.

“So I went out to have a look and it was millions of spiders,” Lovenfosse said.

“It’s amazing. It’s crazy,” he continued. “The spiders all crawled up on to the house, on to fences and whatever they can get on to.”

The flooding has resulted in some 18,000 residents fleeing their homes since last week, with authorities warning that the cleanup could last until April.

The floods have also seen thousands of snakes and insects of every kind scrambling to flee from the floods, with some snakes even leaping into rescue boats to avoid being drowned.

“There were also skinks, ants, basically every insect, crickets – all just trying to get away from the flood waters,” vistor Shenae Varley told Guardian Australia.

It’s just the latest reminder that Australia isn’t just another country – it may be its own entirely different world.

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