Science/Nature

'Conservation successes' bring hope for mountain gorilla

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Mountain gorilla: From critically endangered to endangered Conservation efforts appear to be paying off for some of the world’s most charismatic animals, according to new assessments for the extinction Red List. Prospects look better for the mountain gorilla, after years of conservation measures, including anti-poaching and veterinary patrols. And […]

Science/Nature

South Pole: Rock 'hotspot' causes ice sheet to sag

Image copyright TOM JORDAN Image caption The British Antarctic Survey flew one of its planes back and forth across the pole A “hotspot” is melting the base of the Antarctic Ice Sheet at the South Pole. The area affected is three times that of Greater London. Scientists suspect a combination of unusually radioactive rocks and […]

Science/Nature

Climate change: Heatwaves 'halve' male insect fertility

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Beetles represent the largest insect group Heatwaves can damage the sperm of insects and make them almost sterile, according to new research. Scientists exposed beetles to experimental heatwaves in the laboratory, which resulted in reduced male fertility. The effects could be passed down to the beetles’ offspring. Further work […]

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Flushable wet wipes 'causing sewer blockages'

All wet wipes sold as “flushable” in the UK have so far failed the water industry’s disintegration tests, the BBC has found. Water companies say wet wipes don’t break down and are causing blockages which cost millions to put right. Manufacturers insist their test is adequate and say sewer blockages are caused by people putting […]

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Badger culling has 'modest' effect in cutting cattle TB

Image caption Culling badgers has a “modest” effect in slowing the spread of TB say experts An independent scientific review has said that badger culling can have a “modest” effect in reducing cattle TB. But it adds that the policy would lead to more than 40,000 badgers being culled a year. The report says that […]

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Hopes for AI to stop bee decline

Image copyright World Bee Project Image caption There are 20,000 species of bee, but many are under threat around the world Can artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning help save the world’s bees? That’s the hope of scientists who are scrambling to reverse the dramatic declines in bee populations. Bees are in trouble, but we’re […]

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Mystery monkey: history of unique Xenothrix fossil revealed

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The monkey, called the xenothrix, was closely related to the titi monkey which lives in the Amazon A mysterious extinct monkey from Jamaica that is unlike any other in the fossil record has South American roots, according to new evidence. DNA extracted from fossilised bones suggests the monkey first […]

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Ministers 'misleading on badger cull'

Image copyright SPL A campaign group of vets has accused Defra and its ministers of telling “barefaced lies” about the effectiveness of one of its badger culls in England. The group has written to the Chief Vet, Dr Christine Middlemas, asking her to ensure that the department retracts “insupportable claims that its badger cull policy […]

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The 'painted wolves' of Zimbabwe

Image copyright ©Nicholas Dyer Image caption Staring competition: Painted wolves, or African wild dogs, do everything as a group – even facing up to a hyena They are stunning; there’s no question. And the name, “painted wolves”, seems so apt. Their dappled tan and black fur, shot through with flashes of white, dazzles in the […]

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EU moves to protect large carnivores

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Populations of brown bears have increased in many parts of Europe The EU is to allow farmers to receive full compensation for any damages caused by attacks from protected animals like lynxes, wolves and bears. Other expenses including installing electric fences or acquiring guard dogs to prevent damage will […]

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ExoMars: Life-detecting robot to be sent to Oxia Planum

Image copyright AIRBUS Image caption ExoMars: A copy of the rover undergoing testing The robot rover that Europe and Russia will send to Mars in 2020 will be targeted at a near-equatorial site on the Red Planet known as Oxia Planum. The area was recommended by an expert panel meeting at Leicester University. Oxia is […]

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Sutherland spaceport project to move to next stage

Image copyright Rocket Labs Image caption It has been proposed that microsatellites could be launched from Sutherland Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) said it will “step up” its engagement with people who live close to the site of a proposed spaceport in Sutherland. Land on the Melness Crofters Estate (MCE) has been identified as the […]