Why reintroducing species isn’t as straightforward as we realise! –
For the first time in 140 years, wolves have an official home in the Netherlands.
Ecologists told BBC Radio 4 that a female wolf they had been tracking had stayed in the country for six months and could therefore be called “established,” BBC News reported Tuesday.The ecologists had been tracking two females in the Hoge Veluwe nature reserve, which has now been designated as a wolf habitat, Dutch News reported. There is also evidence that a male wolf has been moving in and out of the area, and scientists told BBC that the wolves could form a pack within months.
Ecologist Hugh Jansman of Wageningen University, who had been commissioned to investigate wolves in the area, told Dutch News their return would benefit the local ecosystem. “We shoot 50% of deer and 80% of boar to maintain a socially acceptable level. I think the wolves could do a lot of good,” he said.
But park director Seger Emmanuel baron van Voorst tot Voorst disagreed.”We are working hard on a daily basis to maintain the unique ecological balance of the park,” he told EenVandaag, as Dutch News reported. “There will be big consequences if we let the wolves in.”
The return of wolves to many European countries has been controversial. Most were driven out by hunting in the nineteenth century but have returned in recent years, BBC News reported. Since wolves returned to France from Italy in 1992, there have been 12,000 incidents reported of wolves attacking goats or sheep. Farmers have turned to protective measures like guard dogs or electric fencing, and can receive compensation from the government if these measures are in place and their flocks are still attacked.
Source: Wolves ‘Established’ in Netherlands for First Time in 140 Years – EcoWatch
What the accumulation of chemicals in our bodies can do to our health, not just in the short-term but in the long-term too –
PBDEs were banned in Europe by 2008 and voluntarily withdrawn by industry in North America by 2013. It is likely that PBDEs’ production ceased all over the world, although data are missing for many regions. However these chemicals are still present in products used in U.S. households and cars. PBDEs are very stable compounds. Once released into the environment, they accumulate in sediments and in fatty tissues of wildlife and humans and stay there for many years. For example, the half-life of different PBDEs in the human body is between one and seven years. In the environment they found their way to fatty tissues of animals, many of which represent important sources of food for us.
Although production of PBDEs has ceased in developed countries, some studies report that concentrations of PBDEs in human tissues in the U.S. continue to grow.People born in the U.S. and Canada during the last 15 to 20 years were exposed during their early life to environmental concentrations of PBDE, comparable to those that reprogrammed lipid metabolism in our experiments with mice. Thus, we believe that about 20 percent of the North American population may be at risk of conditions associated with altered lipid concentrations in blood and liver.
Source: Flame Retardant PBDE Puts Kids At Risk for Liver, Heart Problems | Fatherly
Natural disasters have unintended side-effects that go far beyond the immediate –
Researchers are examining soil tested for the presence of chemical compounds in neighborhoods destroyed by the 2017 wildfire that swept into Santa Rosa, in California’s Sonoma County north of the Bay Area, and comparing it to uninhabited land nearby where only trees had burned, Hertz-Picciotto said.
In that still-uncompleted study, researchers found nearly 2,000 more chemical compounds in the soil than in uninhabited parkland nearby. Researchers are now working to identify the compounds.
While scientists have studied wildfires for decades — learning much about the impact on air, soil and nearby ecosystems — fires that race from the forest into large urban communities were, until recently, exceedingly rare.
As natural disasters increase in scope and frequency, public health researchers across the United States are developing new lines of inquiry with unusual speed.Scientists, many of them funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), are studying pregnant women exposed to polluted air and water after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in 2017; residents of Puerto Rico forced to live in unrepaired homes where mold and fungus grew after Hurricane Maria in 2017; and eggs from backyard chickens that ate California wildfire ash, among other topics.
“It’s fundamentally critical that we be able to understand these situations and the risks to populations both in the short term and in the long term,” said NIEHS senior medical adviser Aubrey Miller, who is helping to develop quick-response disaster research cutting across scientific specialties.
Source: A growing problem after wildfires: Toxic chemicals – The Washington Post
We don’t think this should be an excuse to start scoffing them! –
Q. Eating dark chocolate is encouraged for its health benefits. I’ve been buying chocolate with 75 percent to 90 percent cocoa content. But the label notes a high amount of saturated fat. Is this as harmful as the saturated fat in meat?
A. The fat in chocolate is not as harmful as the fat in meat, said Alice Lichtenstein, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer U.S.D.A. Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. It comes from cocoa butter and is made of equal parts of oleic acid, a heart healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, and stearic and palmitic acids. Stearic and palmitic acids are forms of saturated fat, which has been linked to heart disease, but stearic acid does not raise cholesterol, and palmitic fat makes up only a third of the fat in chocolate. (Beef has proportionately more palmitic fat.)
Source: Is the Saturated Fat in Chocolate as Bad as the Fat in Meat? – The New York Times
What can happen when nothing is done to protect the environment, why we all need to be watchful and aware of what’s taking place on our planet –
The Amazon rainforest in Brazil is being clear cut so rapidly — a rate of three football fields per minute — that it is approaching a “tipping point” from which it will not recover, according to the Guardian.
As trees are lost, researchers said there is a risk that large areas could transition from rainforest to savannah as they lose the ability to make their own rainfall from evaporation and from plants giving off water vapor, according to Newsweek.
A transition on that scale could have significant implications for global warming since the rainforest absorbs vast amounts of atmospheric carbon. Recent research has shown the potential for massive tree plantings to remove excess carbon from the atmosphere.
“It’s very important to keep repeating these concerns. There are a number of tipping points which are not far away,” said Philip Fearnside, a professor at Brazil’s National Institute of Amazonian Research, as the Guardian reported. “We can’t see exactly where they are, but we know they are very close. It means we have to do things right away. Unfortunately that is not what is happening. There are people denying we even have a problem.”
Source: Amazon Deforestation Rate Hits 3 Football Fields Per Minute, Data Confirms – EcoWatch
Nothing beats the natural version! –
Taking dietary supplements will not extend life, researchers report, and taken in large quantities may even be harmful.In a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, scientists gathered dietary information in repeated in-person interviews with almost 31,000 men and women 20 and older.
They also collected data on supplements used over the previous 30 days, including type, dosage and frequency of use. Slightly more than half the participants took supplements, and about a third took multivitamins.
Over six years, there were 3,613 deaths, including 945 from cardiovascular disease and 805 from cancer. Over all, after adjustment for other health and behavioral characteristics, they found that using any dietary supplements had no effect on mortality. Adequate intakes of vitamins A and K, magnesium, zinc and copper were associated with reductions in all-cause mortality, but only when the substances came from food, not supplements.
Source: Choose Foods, Not Supplements – The New York Times