Global Impact of Extreme Weather Events: Climate Change Can


Experts explained that climate change played a significant role in the rapid intensification of extreme weather events. Hurricanes, wildfires and prolonged drought can significantly impact human lives and environments.

Rapid intensification of hurricanes due to climate change

Recent Tropical Storm Hilary in Southern California.

(Photo : by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Recent Tropical Storm Hilary in Southern California. Hurricane Idalia hit parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast, Eastern Carolinas and the Big Bend Region in August and early September. Meanwhile, tropical storm Hilary unloaded heavy rain conditions in Southern California

As September begins, active hurricanes are most likely to emerge. Hurricanes and tropical storms can unleash severe weather conditions:

  • Landslides
  • Flooding
  • Torrential Rain
  • Mudslides
  • Evacuations
  • Flash flooding

Recently, Hurricane Idalia hit parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast, Eastern Carolinas and the Big Bend Region in August and early September. Meanwhile, tropical storm Hilary unloaded heavy rain conditions in Southern California.

According to an expert, Andrew Grigg, the Gulf of Mexico experienced a noticeable increase in hurricanes’ frequency and rapid intensification in recent years.

Grigg is a weather historian and an MA student in Environmental Science.

Grigg added that the trend of hurricanes can be attributed to the climate change effects. Grigg also began a blog called Climate Conduit that provides perspectives and articles about climate, environment and weather conditions.

“The key factors driving this phenomenon include warmer sea surface temperatures, which provide more energy for hurricanes to intensify and rising sea levels that exacerbate storm surge impacts,” according to Grigg.

The recent Communications Earth and Environment report showed climate change could fuel back-to-back or shift from flooding to drought conditions. The frequency of shift could make it more challenging for communities to prepare.

Grigg added that climate change could help shift atmospheric circulation patterns. It can allow hurricane development to intensify due to favorable conditions.

The ocean’s role in climate change

As global warming unleashes more heat, the ocean plays a crucial role in absorbing the heat and greenhouse gas emissions. It could likely influence the intensification of possible storms or hurricanes.

“Warmer ocean waters supply the fuel that hurricanes require to thrive,” according to Abner Miller, who is also an environmental scientist at starlinkhow.

Miller explained that warm waters and global temperature rise could likely accelerate hurricane formation. He mentioned that “every 1°C increase in sea surface temperatures, storm intensity increases by 5% to 10%.

Climate change has a crucial role in sudden or unprecedented excessive rainfall.

According to Miller, the warmer air has more moisture, which can unload stronger storms and rain. The result can cause dangerous flooding and damage to infrastructures.

People near the coast or flooded-prone areas can become at risk of hurricane impacts, especially in poorer countries.

As a result, weather forecasting and improved warning systems can help anticipate the impacts of intense weather events.

Also Read: Climate Change Threatens Sea Urchin Survival That Can Devastatingly Affect Coral Reef 

Climate change linked to wildfires

Wildfire in Greece on September 3, 2023.

(Photo : by SAKIS MITROLIDIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Wildfire in Greece on September 3, 2023. Climate change is linked to the global impacts of drought, wildfires and powerful hurricanes. Extreme weather events can rapidly intensify, causing damage to wildlife and humans.

Climate change is also a key driver in prolonged drought and extreme wildfires. The human-caused activities has caused all-time greenhouse gas emissions.

Grigg explained that wildfire frequency in parts of Canada and the Western US is linked to climate change. The role of rising temperatures and prolonged droughts are conducive conditions to wildfires, including dry vegetation.

“Climate change can lead to altered precipitation patterns, reducing rainfall in certain regions and contributing to drier conditions that increase the risk of wildfires, ” Grigg said.

In a study in Environmental Research Letters, researchers warned of the unusual autumn wildfire in California that caused widespread power outages and safety concerns. The favorable conditions could unleash unprecedented fires.

On the other hand, Miller noted the the infernos in the making or the increasing wildfires in parts of the Western United States and Australia.

“Long periods of high temperatures and drought produce tinderbox landscapes. The changing climate exacerbates these conditions, increasing the likelihood of wildfires erupting and spreading quickly,” Miller added.

According to a report in Ecosphere, researchers warned that fire frequency could result in potential ecosystem collapse, affecting animals sensitive to heat.

In Australia, low-intensity fires harm the habitats of riparian birds, causing a significant impact on the rare and threatened population of Purple-Crowned fairy-wrens.

In the US and Canada, the greenhouse gas emissions contributed by 40% to deadly wildfires in US and Canada.

Also Read: Summer Reaches Hottest On Record; Warmer Temperatures Become Unusually Frequent, Reports Warn

Climate change can prolong drought conditions and heatwaves

Grigg explained that prolonged drought conditions and heatwaves are also linked to climate change, especially the extreme heat waves in the Pacific Northwest in 2022.

“In various parts of the world, climate change is associated with an increased likelihood and severity of droughts, ” Grigg said. He noted that higher temperatures can likely lead to reduced soil moisture and water scarcity, impacting water resources and ecosystems.

In addition, Miller explained that the rising temperatures would result in high temperatures that cause the water supply to dry up, leading to problems in food security.

In the US, the American Red Cross warned of the health impacts of extreme heatwaves, bringing more risks to people without cooling conditions and vulnerable sectors.

Intense heat can kill more people than other natural weather events.

In Europe, a recent study in Nature Medicine showed that 61, 672 deaths were linked to heat illnesses due to challenging heatwaves in 2022 based on the record between May 30 and September 4.

Meanwhile, soaring temperatures can harm coral reefs and aquatic animals, making survival challenging amidst the heat. The rising global temperatures impact human health and food security without mitigation efforts.

Extreme weather event significant damages

Extreme weather events can result in a devastating aftermath, especially to biodiversity and ecosystems.

In the US, NOAA records showed the country suffered from heavy losses due to billion-dollar weather disasters.

  • Since 1980, the US has experienced about 363 weather disasters. The disaster cost reached $2.590 trillion.
  • This year (2023), at least 15 weather disasters occurred in the country, of which 13 refer to severe storm events.
  • Yearly, at least 3.3 million adults in the US are forced to relocate or displaced due to extreme weather and natural disasters.

Climate change is a societal and environmental problem, together with global warming. The increasing burning of fossil fuels, the greenhouse effect, and deforestation can worsen the impacts of climate change.  

Preparing for extreme weather events 

As extreme weather events become more frequent, preparations and disaster management are essential to prevent devastating impacts. Widespread loss of infrastructures and lives could happen without efficient weather forecasting.

Countries are advised to invest in disaster-resilient plans and improved weather-predicting tools to mitigate the possible effects of human-induced hurricanes or heat waves.

Better forecasting can efficiently warn and suggest to communities to anticipate the shift from drought to extreme rainfall.  

Moreover, coordination with local, regional and national forecasting agencies is essential to inform communities about possible weather events.

Homeowners can also prepare by turning on their mobile disaster alerts or checking the weather outlook. Keeping home emergency kits is also vital during evacuations.

Related Article: Fire Frequency Can Cause Ecosystem Collapse, Research Shows

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Feral Cat Problem in Australia Pushes New Restrictions,


Feral Cat Problem in Australia Pushes New Restrictions, Curfew for Pet Owners

(Photo : Michaela Filipcikova / Unsplash)
The feral cat problem in Australia is restricting pet owners to a curfew.

Officials in Australia are tackling the feral cat problem with new regulations, which may require pet owners to adhere to a rigorous curfew for their feline pets.

Pet Owners vs. Feral Cat Problem

According to new regulations that the federal government is considering, cat owners may not be allowed to let their pets outside.

This Monday, Tanya Plibersek, the environment minister, presented new regulations to safeguard native wildlife, which are gravely threatened by both domestic and wild cats.

On Thursday, the government made its suggested strategy to deal with the cat issue available for public comment. It involves granting authority to councils across Australia to forbid cats from going outside altogether or to put nighttime curfews on them.

New Restrictions and Fines

If people break the regulations or reside close to conservation areas, local governments may even completely ban cat ownership in addition to enforcing the rules with steep fines.

One of the main causes of the extinction of 20 of the 29 native mammal species in Australia since settlement, according to Professor Sarah Legge, who participated in the plan, cats are one of the biggest risks to the country’s native biodiversity.

Although local governments all around the country currently have their pet ownership regulations, the national government’s proposed proposal would aim to standardize them rather than create a “patchwork” of different rules.

In the study, the Australian government will also discuss approaches to managing the threat posed by feral cats.

Naturally, feral cats pose the biggest hazard, but domestic cats must also be carefully controlled, according to Plibersek.

Pets, Ferals, Invasives, and Natives

The Invasive Species Council estimates that Australia has 5 million domestic cats, which kill 500 million indigenous creatures annually.

Feral cats typically kill 1.5 billion native mammals, birds, and reptiles annually, while their numbers can vary from 1.4 million to 5.6 million depending on rainfall.

According to the Australian government, feral cats are a significant factor in the demise of numerous land-based endangered species, including the bilby, bandicoot, bettong, and numbat.

To create the regulations and local councils responsible for their enforcement, the federal government would need to collaborate with the State and Territory governments.

Plibersek emphasized that this consultation document would address very significant issues including whether or not there should be a curfew for cats and whether or not local governments should have the authority to impose cat ownership restrictions in their communities.

The need for improved management was also mentioned by Plibersek, who added that most responsible cat owners who genuinely love their pets already practice many of these measures, such as keeping their pets indoors, especially over the course of the night.

Also Read: Utah Coyotes Kill 4 Pet Cats in Sandy Neighborhood 

Policy Draft

The document is aiming for an increase of 30% in suburbs where the number of cats is controlled, either by prohibiting cat ownership or by forbidding them from going outside.

The government’s paper is up for public comment until December 11th. To guarantee the long-term survival of indigenous species and ecological communities, the plans outline research, management, and other activities stakeholders across Australia can take.

Related Article: Australia Takes Out Feral Cats via Solar-Powered Lasers Rigged with Toxic Gel 

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Whale Sharks Exhibit Disturbed Behavior Patterns Due To


A new study shows that shark tourism, in which people pay to swim with and interact with sharks, may be hampering the species’ capacity to hunt and reproduce.

In a paper published in Scientific Reports, researchers noted that whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) exhibit aberrant behavior patterns in the presence of human tourists, such as quick and zigzag motions consistent with fleeing predators.

They added that ecotourism increases the likelihood of sharks being in a disturbed behavioral state, which likely increases energetic expenditure and may have downstream ecological consequences.

Read Also: Great White Shark Tourism in Guadalupe Island Banned by Mexico

Disturbed behavior patterns

The researchers examined 39 overhead recordings of whale sharks in Bay of La Paz, Mexico.

Their goal was to see if shark behavior changed in the presence of a swimmer emulating tourist behavior versus sharks swimming in isolation.

When the swimmer was present, the researchers found an increase in disturbed behavior patterns, resulting in the sharks consuming more energy than when swimming alone.

The researchers believe this behavior will make it more difficult for whale sharks to scavenge for food and may potentially harm reproductive success.

“At this stage it is difficult to say exactly how concerning the findings are. The shifts in behavior observed in the presence of humans mean that these sharks are going to be using more energy, and spend less time performing natural foraging behaviors,” study author Joel Gayford of Imperial College London, in the U.K, said in an interview.

Shark tourism poorly understood

While earlier research into the effects of tourism on the species has been conducted, the study concluded that the ecological consequences are not entirely known.

Prior research has discovered that in regions where there is a lot of shark ecotourism, there is sometimes a drop in the number of species found. According to the authors, more research is needed based on these new findings.

The researchers proposed first assessing the shark’s behavioral patterns before allowing swimmers into the water with the creatures.

The study also suggests that regulated distances between tourists and sharks be investigated in order to give animals enough room.

The researchers clarified that they are not saying that ecotourism is harmful to sharks or that it should be prohibited.

They also recognized that ecotourism is vital to shark conservation and will continue to be so in the future.

This also drives the economy as the global shark diving industry is estimated to produce more than $300 million USD per year.

“We are suggesting that the rules and regulations surrounding shark ecotourism should be reviewed regularly, taking into account scientific studies such as this one. Many more studies are required before we will fully understand the ecological implications of shark ecotourism,” Gayford said.

Whale sharks are considered one of the most amazing creatures in the ocean.

They are members of the carpet shark family, and despite their enormous size, they are reputed to be peaceful and pose no harm to humans.

The IUCN has classed the whale shark as endangered. Human-caused hazards to whale sharks include accidental capture in fishing gear, boat strikes, and targeted killing for their fins, skin, and flesh.

Related Article: Whale Shark Sight: How Rhodopsin Evolved for Them To See Through the Years?

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100-Year-Old African Tortoise Rescued From A Canal,


Biscuit, a 100-year-old African tortoise, has been reunited with his owner after being rescued from a canal.

A local animal control crew rescued the animal after the sheriff’s office discovered it “in distress” in the New River Canal, which runs between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, according to a parish Facebook post.

Animal control officers Curt Trepagnier and Isreal Millet were able to humanely collect the tortoise, put him onto a truck, and transport him to the local Cara’s House animal sanctuary, giving the creature’s owner three days to reclaim him.

Reunited with owner

Hours later, the animal shelter reported that the owner of the tortoise, Lamoine Howard, has claimed him.

“We are happy to report that Biscuit has been reunited with his family!” Cara’s House posted on its Facebook. “This boy is 100 years old.”

The shelter released a video of Biscuit strolling slowly toward Howard’s pickup truck.

Biscuit takes around 30 seconds to go from the shelter’s front door to his owner’s pickup, which is parked only about 10 yards away.

“Come on, Biscuit,” Howard says in the video as they walk out together. “He knows the truck,” Howard adds to the onlookers and Biscuit. “Go ahead.”

The African tortoise escaped from its Louisiana home after the back garden gate was left open due to wind and rain.

Howard said a co-worker later spotted Biscuit’s picture on social media.

Howard didn’t realize Biscuit had escaped when he left for work that morning, and it wasn’t until he saw the posts that he realized it was the family tortoise.

He also claimed he noticed certain distinctive features and quickly called the shelter to prove the turtle was his.

Biscuit has been a member of the Howard family for seven years, when Howard purchased Biscuit from a friend as a birthday present for his daughter.

Read Also: Galapagos Tortoise Making a Slow and Steady Recovery

Largest mainland tortoise

The African spurred tortoise, also known as the Sulcata tortoise, is the largest mainland tortoise, reaching lengths of up to 30 inches (76 cm) and weighing well over 100 pounds (45 kilograms).

Some males can weigh up to 200 pounds (90 kilograms).

Their name derives from the many spur-shaped scales on the front of their forearms, which they utilize for protection and to dig subterranean tunnels.

This turtle is a popular pet. It is produced and marketed throughout the United States, but as adorable as the babies are, they grow quickly.

Many owners consider them unmanageable and in need of relocation. They are inquisitive, intelligent reptiles with vibrant personalities, particularly when young.

They require a long-term commitment to be properly cared for as pets because many African tortoises, especially those raised in captivity rather than in the wild, can live for 80 to 100 years.

They are also listed as an endangered species and are protected in their natural habitat in Africa.

Threats to the African spurred tortoise include capture for the pet trade, habitat degradation due to urbanization, and cattle overgrazing.

Related Article: Geometric Tortoise Conservation: Endangered Rare Animal Get New Home [PHOTOS]

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Denver Zoo Angelfish Gets CT Scan After Abnormal Swimming


Denver Zoo Angelfish Gets CT Scan After Abnormal Swimming Patterns

(Photo : Brian Gratwicke / Wikimedia Commons)
An angelfish from Denver Zoo for its CT scan appointment. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The Denver Zoo’s resident angelfish underwent a CT scan after zookeepers noticed unusual swimming behavior.

Angelfish CT Scan

After taking some time away from its tropical surroundings to receive a CT scan at the Denver Zoo, a fancy-looking French angelfish who was discovered one day with a strange float has regained its buoyancy.

The yellow and blue fish was recently discovered to be having problems with buoyancy and swimming strangely with a tilt, according to the zoo. The facility’s on-site hospital was visited last week as a result of performing an ultrasound and a CT scan.

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Some unusual arrangements were needed because the CT scan was performed in a machine big enough to hold a 700-pound grizzly bear, according to zoo spokesperson Jake Kubie. The roughly seven-inch fish was tranquilized, supported upright on a sponge, and had water pumped over its gills to maintain its life during the scan.

The Diagnosis: Enteritis

According to Kubie, increased internal gas as a result of enteritis, or inflamed intestines, was having an impact on the fish’s buoyancy. In other words, the body of the angelfish had too much gas.

Carnivorous fish reared in farms frequently develop enteritis, a diet-related disease that can delay growth and increase death. The cost of this disease to the aquaculture sector is estimated to be over $1 billion annually.

According to Kubie, the fish that had antibiotic treatment was doing considerably better and was now swimming normally.

On Instagram, the zoo shared images of the peculiar CT scan.

According to the Zoo, they are delighted to provide the greatest degree of care to their animal residents, who range from the smallest tree frog to a fully-fledged grizzly bear.

Only a few weeks before this unexpected CT scan at the Denver Zoo, a 376-pound alligator that was “behaving strangely” at a zoo in Florida turned out to have an ear infection as seen in its CT scans and X-rays.

Also Read: Idalia Aftermath: American Flamingos Seen in South Carolina Feeding on Crustaceans  

French Angelfish

Foragers by nature, French angelfish consume a wide range of sessile invertebrates and plants, such as algae, tunicates, sponges, and soft corals, among others. Large fish, especially several predatory species, have their parasites and loose scales removed by juveniles. Typically, French angelfish forage in pairs. They almost always appear in pairs, which they establish for mating and to jointly protect a feeding zone from other fishes.

By simultaneously releasing their sperm and eggs in the water column above the reef, the males and females of this species reproduce by broadcast spawning.

With this technique, there is a greater chance that fertilized eggs will survive fertilization and that egg predators won’t consume them on the coral surface. French angelfish do not assemble in huge groups to spawn, in contrast to several species that disperse their eggs. They can only procreate with a mate.

Although they are not caught for economic purposes, French angelfish is consumed by locals in some regions. The youngsters with more vibrant colors are also taken alive and put on display in both public and private aquariums. The populations of French angelfish are now thought to be unaffected by either of these actions, and experts list this species as being of least concern.

Related Article: Florida Alligator Brooke Gets CT Scan with Help of Six Vets, Strappy Board Following Ear Infection Symptoms 

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Storm Daniel Leaves Trail of Destruction in Greece, Turkey


Storms have devastated parts of Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey with heavy rain, producing floods that have killed at least 14 people.

The storm, dubbed Daniel by Greek meteorologists, has been pounding the region since Monday, primarily affecting the central Greek region of Magnesia and its city, Volos, which is located 300 kilometers (185 miles) north of Athens.

According to the fire department, the rains caused at least three deaths near the central city of Volos and in Karditsa, farther west. Three people have gone missing.

Power outage due to Storm Daniel

An 87-year-old woman who had been missing since Tuesday was discovered dead on Wednesday in the village of Paltsi in Magnesia, while a 51-year-old man was discovered dead in Volos on Tuesday after being swept away by a rising flood.

Volos has been without power since Tuesday morning, and landslides and water have badly destroyed buildings and roads in adjacent communities.

The heavy rains come after weeks of destructive wildfires in Greece. “This is an extreme phenomenon,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said in an interview.

Read Also: Storm Daniel: Intense Weather Warnings Raised In Greece, Massive Floods Expected

Flash flood in Turkey

A flash flood at a campsite in northeastern Turkey near the Bulgarian border killed at least five people, three of whom were discovered dead on Wednesday, and washed away bungalow dwellings. Rescuers were still looking for one person who had gone missing at the campsite.

Another two individuals were killed in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, where rains on Tuesday flooded hundreds of homes and businesses in various neighborhoods.

According to Turkish station HaberTurk TV, one of the victims in Istanbul was a 32-year-old Guinean citizen who was trapped inside his basement apartment in the low-income Kucukcekmece area.

The other was a 57-year-old woman who died after being swept away by floodwaters in another area.

According to the Istanbul governor’s office, the city’s floodwaters affected more than 1,750 homes and businesses. This includes a row of storefronts in the Ikitelli area, where the torrential rain pulled parked cars and muck into furniture stores, ruining the products.

Meanwhile, the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria has also been hammered by the highest rainfall in years.

Thunderstorms have forced rivers to flood, damaging bridges and blocking access in the region south of the coastal city of Burgas since Monday evening.

On Wednesday, the body of a missing tourist was discovered in the sea, bringing the total death toll in the area to three.

Border patrol vessels and drones were assisting in the search for two more people who had gone missing.

According to Tourism Minister Zaritsa Dinkova, the disaster affected around 4,000 people along Bulgaria’s whole southern Black Sea coast.

There is a problem transporting tourists because it is dangerous to go by coach on the roads affected by the floods,” she said in an interview.

According to the head of the fire department, Alexandar Dzhartov, the rains were the highest since 1994, with as much rain falling in 24 hours as is generally observed in several months.

Flooding, which was previously uncommon on the Black Sea coast, is becoming more widespread in Bulgaria as a result of climate change and poor infrastructure maintenance.

Related Article: Rare Event: Hurricane-Like Storm in the Mediterranean Makes Landfall in Greece

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Eastern Oregon Forest Restoration: Collaboration Efforts


The recent report revealed the role of forest thinning in restoring and improving the forests in Eastern Oregon.

With collaborative efforts, researchers helped improve the forest resiliency amidst the fire threat.

Forests are essential to humans and animals as it is a home to many species, and also help protect biodiversity and fight against the effects of climate change.

However, forests also suffer from intense heat, wildfires and human-caused activities such as illegal logging.

As a result, the conservation and protection of trees and forests are vital to ecosystems and cities, especially for urban communities.

In the latest report published in Forest Ecology and Management, researchers explained the importance of forest resilience in Eastern Oregon and collaboration to save trees from possible decline.

Eastern Oregon Forest Restoration

A stock photo of Medford, Oregon fire crew as they put out a burned area.

(Photo : By Jennifer DeMonte/Getty Images)
A stock photo of Medford, Oregon fire crew as they put out a burned area. The restoration of forests in Eastern Oregon showed a successful beginning using forest thinning that helps return the unique biodiversity in the area and fire resiliency.

Forests are at risk of fires during high temperatures and dry conditions. The lack of rain makes growing trees and surviving scorching heat more challenging.

Ecological restoration has been crucial to all forests vulnerable to fires. As extreme weather events worsen, forests should be more resilient to counter the effects of climate change.

In Eastern Oregon, researchers explained that dry forests could likely suffer from decline without mitigation plans.

With the advantage of forest thinning, researchers from James Johnston of the OSU College of Forestry helped save the area’s forests.

The thinning process successfully increased the vegetation of forests in the area. According to the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, forest thinning is effective in restoring trees.

In thinning, they cut or remove the part of trees that could affect their possible growth, assisting the trees to become healthier.

With the increasing concerns of wildfires, forest thinning can reduce the possibility of fire emergence.

The US Forest Service noted that mechanical thinning of forests is considered one of the main ways to protect tree species distribution. It ensures the trees are not vulnerable to possible disease or invasive species attacks.

In some cases, the low-intensity fires in forests can maintain the health of trees.

Also Read: 409 Human-Caused Fires Recorded in Oregon, Washington in 2022; People Urged to Follow Wildfire Restrictions in Forests

Human-caused fires

Furthermore, one of the main concerns is human-caused wildfires. The report highlighted that human-caused fires manage to increase over the Pacific Northwest.

Over the Washington and Oregon, the record showed that about 197 human-caused fires have occurred since June 1.

In 2022, at least 409 human-caused fires happened.

Lightning strikes can unleash sudden bushfires and wildfires. In addition, the main problem of human-caused fires could quickly spread.

As a result, people are advised to observe the rules while in the forests. Car owners should not park their vehicles in the dry grass.

People should properly dispose of their cigars after consuming them. Cigarettes may be small, but they can spark massive fires.

Related Article: Fire Frequency Can Cause Ecosystem Collapse, Research Shows

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Parasite Philaster Sends 5000 Sea Urchins Dead to France’s


Parasite Philaster Sends 5000 Sea Urchins Dead to France's Reunion Island Shores

(Photo : Quartl / Wikimedia Commons)
The parasite philaster might be the cause of death of 5000 sea urchins that line the shores in a mass die-off in France.

Since July, 5,000 dead sea urchins have washed up on the shores of Reunion Island in France. Scientists believe this major die-off is being caused by the parasite philaster.

5,000 Dead Sea Urchins

The inexplicable death of thousands of sea urchins found stranded on the western shores of Reunion Island in the Seychelles has left scientists puzzled. Since July of this year, more than 5,000 urchins have washed up lifeless on the French island in the Indian Ocean. As they investigate the source of these mass deaths, scientists have put forward a theory attributing the phenomenon to a parasite that had previously caused extensive die-offs.

It could be caused by a parasite called a philaster, according to biologist Jean-Pascal Quod, as it was just discovered for the first time on the island.

According to Quod, the parasite philaster is the most likely explanation for this extra mortality. But they won’t be able to confirm that this parasite is actually the main cause of these deaths until they have completed the molecular biology investigation.

Philaster Parasite

Although it was initially identified in or around Reunion Island, this parasite has surfaced in various locations worldwide, linking it to significant sea urchin die-offs in the Caribbean and along the Mediterranean coast of Israel. This parasite undermines the sea urchins’ immune systems, resulting in the gradual loss of their spines and suction abilities, ultimately culminating in their demise.

According to Quod, this compromises the sea urchin’s immunity by upsetting its physiological balance. They do not yet know how the parasite got to the island; it could have originated from microplastics, algae, or the emptying of boat water tanks but they know that there is no way to stop it. The sea urchins will need to adapt, according to Quod, who claimed that the only choice was to accept this pathology.

Also Read: $10000 Endangered Sea Cucumbers From Mexico Seized at Border in Smuggling Attempt

Philaster in the US

A parasite has been responsible for the catastrophic impact on coral reefs and other marine ecosystems in the Caribbean Sea, leading to the demise of long-spined sea urchins. Long-spined sea urchins, scientifically known as Diadema antillarum, play a vital role as herbivores, curbing the proliferation of algae. Unchecked algae growth could otherwise outcompete corals for resources and space, smothering them in algae and depriving them of vital light, ultimately resulting in coral death.

The sea urchins are crucial to preserving coral health and ecosystem balance in the marine environment because they graze on algae.

The first diadema fatalities were noted in late January 2022 at St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. By the end of March, the condition had spread to Jamaica, the Mexican Caribbean, and the Lesser Antilles. By June of last year, it had been found in Florida, Curacao, and the majority of the Greater Antilles.

Even though P. apodigitiformis infections are currently untreatable, Ian Hewson, a marine ecologist from Cornell University said that learning more about the parasite could help researchers develop methods for keeping Diadema sea urchins, which are being raised for rewilding efforts throughout the Caribbean, healthy.

Related Article: Sunflower Sea Star Population Down to 10% Due to Fatal Syndrome That Turns Them to Goo 

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Brazil Celebrates As Deforestation in Amazon Falls 66% In


Environment Minister Marina Silva announced that deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon decreased 66.11% in August to its lowest level for the month since 2018, marking a significant milestone for the country’s environmental strategy at a time when devastation often peaks.

According to satellite data from the Brazilian space research agency INPE, 563 square kilometers (217.38 square miles) of rainforest were removed in the month, a 66.1% decrease from the same period a year ago.

According to INPE data, deforestation decreased by 48% in the first eight months of the year compared to the same time in 2022.

Brazil celebrates

The findings give President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva reason to celebrate, as he has pledged to halt deforestation in the region by 2030, after it skyrocketed under his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, who reduced environmental protection measures.

He acknowledged the result of the great work of the Environment Ministry and the federal government.

“Hurry that allows us to arrive with new announcements of concrete actions. Actions that will change people’s lives in the short term and that will contribute so that, in 2030, we can be proud to say: we achieved the Zero Deforestation we promised,” Lula posted in X, formerly known as Twitter.

Some experts were concerned that the large decline in deforestation recorded in the first seven months of Lula’s presidency would be jeopardized by increasing destruction in August and September, when the weather turns drier.

However, early indications suggest that those fears were unfounded.

Brazil hosted a significant rainforest summit last month, at which eight Amazon states agreed to a set of unified environmental policies and measures to strengthen regional cooperation but failed to reach an agreement on a common target for stopping deforestation.

Lula has placed his international reputation on Brazil’s environmental performance.

Read Also: Brazilian Amazon Deforestations Release 90 Million Metric Tons of Carbon Dioxide from 2013 to 2021 [Report]

New Indigenous lands

During the celebration of Amazon Day, Lula also signed the creation of two Indigenous territories totaling 207,000 hectares (511,000 acres)-more than twice the size of New York City-as well as a network of conservation areas adjacent to the Yanonami Indigenous Territory to act as a buffer against invaders, primarily illegal gold miners.

The demarcation of the Acapuri de Cima reserve and the Rio Gregorio reserve arrives at a critical juncture in the nation’s history, when the nation has been waiting for a decision that might derail or cement Indigenous victories.

“The Amazon is in a hurry to survive the devastation caused by those few people who refuse to see the future, who in a few years cut down, burned, and polluted what nature took millennia to create,” Lula said during a ceremony in Brasilia. “The Amazon is in a hurry to continue doing what it has always done, to be essential for life on Earth.”

According to the Brazilian Indigenous Affairs Agency, the country has 800 reserves, over a third of which have not been officially designated.

The new program will provide technical help worth up to $120 million.

The funds will be distributed in accordance with the municipality’s effectiveness in decreasing deforestation and fires, as determined by official satellite monitoring. An annual list of municipalities eligible for the money will be released.

Related Article: Brazil Records Big Increase in Amazon Forest Fires

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Wild Horses Form Bonds and Alliances in Their Society


Wild horses are fascinating animals that have roamed the earth for millions of years. They have adapted to various habitats and climates, and have developed complex social behaviors and interactions.

However, studying these behaviors in the wild is challenging, as wild horses are often elusive and wary of humans.

Fortunately, a new technology has emerged that allows researchers to observe wild horses from a safe distance and with minimal disturbance: drones.

The case of the Przewalski’s horses


(Photo : GUILLERMO SALGADO/AFP via Getty Images)

One of the recent studies that used drones to study wildlife behavior focused on a group of Przewalski’s horses in Hungary.

The study was conducted by researchers from the Hungarian Research Network (HUN-REN), the University of Debrecen (UD), the Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) and the Hortobágy National Park Directorate.

They used drones to capture footage of Przewalski’s horses in the Pentezug reserve. The footage revealed a complex social structure among the horses, with different groups of horses forming distinct communities.

The researchers identified four types of groups among the horses: harems, bands, bachelor groups, and loners.

Harems consisted of one dominant male and several females and their offspring. Bands were larger groups composed of two or more harems that stayed together for long periods.

Meanwhile, bachelor groups were made up of young males who had left their natal harems and were looking for mates, and loners were solitary males or females that did not belong to any group.

The researchers found that the groups had different patterns of movement and association. Harems tended to stay close together and move slowly across the landscape.

Bands were more dispersed and moved faster than harems. Bachelor groups were highly mobile and often changed their location and composition. Loners were unpredictable and sometimes joined or left other groups.

The researchers also discovered that the groups had different levels of social cohesion and stability.

Harems were the most cohesive and stable groups, as they rarely split or merged with other groups. Bands were less cohesive and stable than harems, as they sometimes split into smaller units or merged with other bands, while the bachelor groups were the least cohesive and stable groups, as they frequently split or merged with other bachelor groups or loners.

The researchers concluded that Przewalski’s horses have a multilevel society, similar to some primates and elephants.

They suggested that this society may have evolved in response to environmental factors, such as food availability, predation risk, and human disturbance.

They also highlighted the importance of drones for studying Przewalski’s horse behavior, as they provided a novel perspective and a wealth of data.

Also Read: Human Emotions Affect Animal Welfare for Horses, Pigs – Study Confirms

Drones as a tool for studying wild horse behavior

Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles that can fly over large areas and capture high-quality images and videos.

They can be controlled remotely or programmed to follow a predefined route. Drones have been used for various purposes, such as mapping, surveillance, delivery, and entertainment.

Recently, they have also been used for wildlife research, as they offer several advantages over traditional methods.

One of the advantages of drones is that they can access remote and rugged areas that are difficult or dangerous for humans to reach.

They can also cover more ground and collect more data in less time than ground-based observers.

Another advantage is that they can reduce the impact of human presence on wildlife behavior, as they are relatively quiet and inconspicuous.

This allows researchers to observe animals in their natural state, without altering their behavior or causing them stress.

Drones have been used to study various aspects of wildlife ecology and behavior, such as population size, distribution, habitat use, migration, reproduction, and social interactions.

Some of the animals that have been studied using drones include birds, whales, dolphins, seals, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, and wolves.

Related article: Horses have Night Eyes, Extra Toes, Vestigial Glands on Their Legs – or Do They?

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